2/13 sharks 6, ST. LOUIS 5
To borrow a line from my father, "Hi, I had a heart attack ... but I'm better now".
In a game that ended up having entirely too much action and entertainment for the hometown crowd, the Sharks were able to escape with the narrowest of victories. The ugly, nasty winter weather outside provided a nice foreshadowing for the game, which saw both the Blues and the Sharks take turns playing games that would be properly identified as either of those first two adjectives (the Blues in the 1st and 2nd periods, and the Sharks in the 3rd). Alas, the Sharks were able to clamp down in the 3rd (allowed 2 goals, kind of a clamp) to hold onto a hard fought first 40 minutes.
Jonathan Cheechoo continued his goal scoring streak (whopping 3 games [gotta start somewhere]) recording the Sharks 6th and final goal  (Joe Thornton), which ended up being the difference in the game. He led the team with 4 points, along with Thornton, who had a goal  (Christian Ehrhoff, Jonathan Cheechoo) to go with his 3 assists. Matt Carle  (Jonathan Cheechoo, Joe Thornton), Ryane Clowe  (Joe Thornton, Jonathan Cheechoo), Mike Grier  (Patrick Marleau, Milan Michalek), and Captain Patrick Marleau  (Mike Grier, Milan Michalek) also scored for the Sharks. Vesa Toskala, starting his 4th consecutive game (Nabokov out due to injury/ birth of his second child, Andrei) made 18 saves for his 24th win of the season.
St. Louis has long been a big sports town, like many in the midwest. Long have the people of St. Louis cheered for the Cardinals (baseball), Cardinals (football, unoriginal, yes) and Cardinals, er, Blue Cardinals, er, Blues (hockey), but recently, the Blues fans have been under fire for not filling their building night in and night out. On this night, (which was just recovering from a nice dusting of 6 inches with plenty of ice too) the paid attendance was 9,235 (capacity is somewhere around 18,000 I believe). Far from full, yes, but this crowd was different than that from many buildings I've seen. The Blues were down at one point 6-2, but nobody left. The Blues were down 6-5 with a few minutes left, but nobody went home. These fans, who ventured out in the crappy weather on this evening, stayed until the end of the game, even though their team didn't win. They filed out of the building as soon as the game ended, but very few people vacated the premesis prematurely.
To further my discovery and point of expressing the dedication of the St. Louis fans, let me introduce Exhibit B, the "St. Louis Gametime". It's an underground publication in it's second year under the current editor, who goes by the pen name of Gallagher (I believe it to be his last name). Gametime columnist Chris Gift wrote a very nice column about me and the Odyssey in Volume II, Issue XXX. Once it's uploaded, it should be available online at St. Louis Gametime . Basically, it's a privately funded underground newspaper, updated for each Blues game during the winter, and each Cardinals game during the summer. Sold right outside Scottrade Center and Busch Stadium, respectively, for just $4, it's a cool publication, created by true fans, and purchased by people of similar fanaticism. With equal parts knowledge and humor, it's a must read for St. Louis sports fans and visitors to Blues and Cardinals games alike.
I had an opportunity to meet up with some friends that I met in Dallas during the All-Star Game. I met up with the Blues fans whom I stayed across hallway from at the Hotel Lawrence. I also had the pleasure of running into Mr. and Mrs. Thornton again, who made the trip by car from their home in Ontario, and will be in attendance both tonight here in Nashville and Friday night in Columbus, Ohio.
The Sharks complete their 9th back-to-back tonight in Nashville (5:00 pst). Team Teal is 7-1 on the back end of games on consecutive days, with the only loss coming in the HOP (House of Predators) here in Nashville back on October 26th (Sharks lost 4-3). This is the 3rd game against the Predators this year, each team winning the game played in their home building (10/26 Nashville 4-3, 12/9 San Jose 3-1). Assuming the Sharks decide to show up for 60 minutes tonight, this should be a good contest.
Go Sharks (hooray for no more snow... for a day [Columbus is still snowy])
The outside of the Scott, and yes, that is a banner for a sign.
My father bought my ticket for this game, and didn't realize he bought me a seat on the glass. Which is funny, because the building was at a level of fullness tonight that would have made it not difficult to sneak down to the glass anyway. The following shots are from my seat on the glass.