Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hey, Blues Fans: Dull Can Be Beautiful

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hey, Blues Fans: Dull Can Be Beautiful

Article excerpt

Near the end of regulation play Tuesday night, the Kiel Center crowd followed a scoreboard cue and got noisy. For the first time all night, the din was building, the place was rocking . . . and then Blues coach Mike Keenan called time out.

The guy has flair, doesn't he? The crowd settled back into the seats. As the third period ended with the Blues and Rangers tied 1-1, fans began streaming out of the palace. Overtime didn't hold much allure.

Which is too bad, really. The Blues may be a marketing nightmare - how can fans embrace a dull team with unfamiliar players? - but they are starting to do some good things on the ice.

Pretty soon St. Louis will wake up and realize this season doesn't look so bleak after all.

Without Brett Hull, the Blues went stride-for-stride with the elite New York Rangers and broke even. With checking center Peter Zezel sidelined, too, Coach had to stick Ian Laperriere on Mark Messier.

There was Lappy pestering Messier and crashing into Ulf Samuelsson. There was Lappy involved in some exotic Greco-Roman grappling with Adam Graves, doing his very best to make the Blues more ornery.

"The chemistry is coming," Laperriere said. "We're getting to know each other. Everybody is starting to loosen up a bit."

The Blues are proving they might be a factor this season despite those annoying budgetary constraints. And Coach Keenan is proving he hasn't gone loopy after all.

Grant Fuhr? He's been a pillar, bouncing back from his occasional clunkers to keep the Blues viable every night. Coach looks like a genius. All of us who examined Fuhr's last half-dozen years of infirmity and mediocrity and wrote him off, well, we're flummoxed.

(This explains why Coach pockets $2 million a year, and we still buy our creamed corn in bulk loads at the Sack 'N' Run. Oh, well.)

Chris Pronger? He isn't quite Larry Robinson, but on his good nights you can understand the fuss. It's in there somewhere, and we figure Coach will find it. Veteran newcomers Dale Hawerchuk, Geoff Courtnall, Brian Noonan and Shayne Corson are all productive citizens and kids Laperriere, Dave Roberts, Craig Johnson and Roman Vopat add life. …

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