St. Louis is a baseball-mad city, but the Blues are a hot ticket. (Mark Buckner/NHLI via Getty Images)
By Stu Hackel
The news that the St. Louis Blues are for sale continues a season of disappointment for the team and its fans. Many had expected the Blues would be in the thick of the playoff race this season, but injuries and some underachievement did them in. Give them credit, however, for recognizing the need for change when they traded both their captain, Eric Brewer, and the guy who was considered to be the foundation of their youth movement, Erik Johnson, at the trade deadline in order to revamp their club and reset for the future.
The Blues are a special organization in many ways, part of the NHL’s first big expansion and the first of the new teams to be something of a dynasty. An extraordinary connection between the city and the team was forged during those early years and in what was then a non-traditional hockey market despite many ups and downs — including a bankruptcy and an aborted sale by one-time owner Rolston-Purina that would have moved the club to Saskatoon. This franchise has endured both on and off the ice, and the connection with its fans remains strong. The Blues fill their arena every night and rank eighth in attendance among NHL teams. In a city known for its crazy passion for baseball’s Cardinals, the embrace of the Blues has always been heartening.