Are the St. Louis Blues Serious Contenders this Year?
The St. Louis Blues topped the Central division in the Western Conference, a division that featured four playoff teams when all was said and done. They put together a total of 109 points and had 49 wins, 22 losses, and 11 overtime losses heading into the playoffs. The problem was, they ended up running into the eventual Stanley Cup winners in the Los Angeles Kings. They were the second seed going into the playoffs, but lost in the second round. After that season, they now enter the year as one of the intriguing betting options to contend for the Stanley Cup in 2012-2013. Their players are also incredibly ready to follow up on the promising season that had a disappointing end to it.
Even though the team is still worried about the potential of a lockout coming up this season, they are focused on building on that 109 point season with another playoff showing, and hopefully an even later run. The key issue standing in their way is that the NHL collective bargaining agreement expires in around a week, on September 15th. So while the players are reporting for their workouts currently, everyone knows that things are really just going day by day right now.
Continuing on the topic of the lockout, the real issue that seems to be causing the holdup is the hockey-related revenue situation. According to the Blues' defenseman Barret Jackman, said that the percentages "don't add up", but the team and himself are also very hopeful that the negotations will move on much faster while the deadline approaches rapidly. Currently, training camp is set to open up for players on September 21st, but not all of the players have found their way to St. Louis just yet.
Another bit of interesting information coming out, is that while Jackman was devastated by the lockout back in 2004-2005, but he feels that there is a different sense to this year. According to multiple Blues players, they feel that both sides are very focused on getting the deal done, and that they feel much more confident that things will get taken care of before it gets too late.
Obviously the Blues are definitely hoping to get it done, because they don't want to miss any games, and especially a full season in what has been an impressive last year for this team. The Blues are a team to watch moving forward, and I think that they have a very serious shot to contend for the Stanley Cup in 2012-2013.
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