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Blues put Mueller, Prosser on waivers.
Hall of Famer will be a sounding board for Hitchcock and also work with the club's minor-league affiliate.
The lineup Hitchcock put on the ice vs. Carolina is close to the one he’ll have on opening day.
He will play on a line with Stastny and Lindstrom.
First NHL teams looked at their kids. Then they gave depth guys their chance. Now coaches are locking in serious season preparation with their key players.
One team owns the privilege of being called St. Louis’ team. That is neither the football or hockey team.
It’s true, no matter how much you want to deny it, the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team numero uno in the Gateway City. If you don’t like baseball, you probably are not from St. Louis.
But who is the second favorite team?
This question was recently tweeted by St. Louis’ Mayor, Francis Slay (@MayorSlay) on Twitter. The public responses were a resounding positive for a certain team named after a genre of music.
@pmcgrew: I don't think that's even close. Blues.
@notjustanotherj: BLUES!!!!!!! SIlly question sir. If the blues won the cup... this city would be intoxicated for a week.
@aPaulitical: Football is more popular, but Blues support is stronger.
And of course, everyone’s favorite tweeter had a response:
@STLBluesRadio: Blues- even though media won't agree.
So the support seems to be going to the Blues’ favor… at least to the people of Twitter. What about all the people that don’t follow Mayor Slay, or those millions of people that are not even on Twitter?
The only way to judge that is to take a look at attendance numbers.
The Rams’ home arena, the Edward Jones Dome, can hold 66,965 spectators in its building. Scottrade Center, home of the Blues, can hold up to 19,150 people.
I did a little bit of math on this subject. Here is a graph that I constructed that shows the Rams’ average attendance since the 2007 season and the Blues’ average attendance since the 2007-08 season.
*For those of you reading this on the HockeySTL App, go here to visit this image
As you can clearly see, the Blues’ attendance numbers are slightly better over the past four seasons.
It is only fair to point out that the products on the rink and on the field are a little different as well.
The Rams have only mustered 21 wins out of a possible 80 games in this time, giving them a .263 winning percentage. The Blues have gathered 152 wins out of a possible 328 games, earning a .463 winning percentage. The Blues have supplied St. Louis a better product which will result in more support.
But the bottom line is that neither team has been a shoe-in for the playoffs since the early 2000s. Yes, the Blues made the playoffs in 2008-09, but that was short-lived as they were swept by the Vancouver Canucks in four games. That left a sour taste in Blues fans’ minds for the following season.
Yet the fans still came.
Last season was a hopeful one for the Rams, as young quarterback Sam Bradford, in his first NFL season, led the team to a 7-9 record after a dismal 2009 in which the Rams had just one victory. Still, the dome was only full 79% of the time despite the winning increase.
Last season did not start off well for the Blues. Facing an ownership dilemma, ownership sat on their hands as free-agents were snatched up by opposing teams last summer. Everyone seemed to get better while the Blues just stayed in the same spot.
The team finished in 11th place in the Western Conference with a 38-33-11 record for 87 points. Still, the fans showed their full support by selling out the arena more often than not, placing the franchise 7th in the NHL in average attendance.
Numbers don’t lie.
While the Rams are on the upswing from a bad batch of seasons, fans seem to be backing the Blues in higher numbers.
I think, for the moment, it is safe to say that the Blues are getting more support from the city as a whole.
For the Blues’ sake, let’s hope that continues.