No signs of backlash for NHL lockout
by Scott Bierman / HockeyStL
Posted on January 23, 2013 at 12:16 PM
(HockeyStL) — One of the more popular questions in the Blues locker room last week pertained to winning back the fans after a lockout wiped away the first four months of the season.
The same answer was given each time: win games. It’s the only proven recipe for success. The players know it and so do the fans.
The die-hard fans will still come and spend money to watch the game in person. It’s luring the casual fans back that will be the challenge.
Will an opening night 6-0 victory over the Red Wings do the trick?
“We hope so,” Alex Pietrangelo said. “It’s a good start. We hope they come back for more. It’s going to be like that all year, that’s the way we’re going to play. We’re going to play a hard game. Hopefully the fans can find that entertaining, but it’s fun for us.”
The announced attendance at the game was 20,035. It’s an example the fans in St. Louis can forgive the players and owners for the lockout.
“It was awesome,” Kevin Shattenkirk said. “It was just loud. It really was loud down on the ice level and I think we fed off the energy and not getting too out of hand and too emotional. It was just a great atmosphere.”
Maybe the “win games” should be replaced with “win a game.” FOX Sports Midwest recorded its highest rating for a regular season telecast when the Blues beat the Predators in a 4-3 shootout on Monday. It was the second game of the seaons and the first on the road for the Blues.
The game registered a 7.4 household rating in St. Louis market, according to Nielsen Media Research. The previous high of 6.3 was set March 13, 2012 when the Blues lost 4-3 to the Blackhawks in a shootout. Prior to that loss, the Blues had won five-straight games which created a large buzz heading into it.
What’s the buzz this year? 1. Hockey returns from a lockout. 1a. The Blues are a Stanley Cup contender this season. 1b. People want to see Vladimir Tarasenko.
Those should make it a lot easier for fans to forgive and forget – and it seems they already have.
The answer might come when the Blues have to play a Tuesday night game against a much-weaker opponent, but, as mentioned before, winning is the ultimate recipe for getting the fans back.
There have been fans I have spoken with who have told me they will not pay to go to a game this season. Others have told me they won’t even watch a second of it — some of which already have. Can fans stay away from hockey? Not when you have a team like the Blues.