The Midwest is chock full of team icons for which the fandom has been labeled fanatic. Certainly we have the Cubs and Cardinals, the Packers and the Bears, as well as the Red Wings . Today’s article deals with a franchise that has gone through the metamorphosis of being the doormat and renewing itself — the St. Louis Blues.
Before you all click off your mouse to another one of Adam’s self indulging vlogs (editor’s note: the original draft called them “V-Plogs”…get with it, old man), stay a minute and let me explain the relevance. From their beginning in 1967 the Blues were a successful franchise. They reached the Stanley Cup Finals their first year. They also held the longest streak of consecutive appearances by any pro franchise. But that all came to a halt in 2004. Facing a work stoppage and wanting to unload the franchise, then owner Bill Laurie began trading stars like Chris Pronger and dismantling the team. Ultimately, the team was sold to a group headed by Dave Checketts of New York.
Checketts began cleaning up the mess he inherited. He hired John Davidson, a retired goalie and TV analyst, as his general manager. They immediately began collecting draft choices for worn-out and unwelcome veterans. They hired a coach they both believed in — Andy Murray.
Despite four seasons of dismal failure — being one of the worst teams, if not the worst, in the NHL — they did not deviate from their plan. As the youngsters began maturing, they added seasoned veterans like Andy MacDonald and Paul Karyea to help mature the roster.
The result: the Blues had the best record in hockey the second half of the season and stormed from last place to the playoffs Friday. The celebration: it was like the Blues had won the Stanley Cup and the Lombardi trophy.
Our neighbors to the East represent what will happen in time to our Chiefs if we the fans and the ownership can be patient. Like the Blues, we have a new owner, GM and coach who are all on the same page. This is crucial as it avoids panic draft choices (Ryan Sims), short-term solutions to personnel (rent-a-QB) and improves franchise stability.
As a lifetime Chiefs fan I can hardly wait till the demonstration I saw Friday moves to the new Arrowhead. Lift up your heads Chief fans, for we are headed back to the promised land.