St. Louis Transit: With the weather being less than optimal, we have been using the Metro Link system to get around St. Louis, and it has been fantastic. Station right across from the hotel, and $7.50 gets you an all day pass that gets you virtually anywhere you want in St. Louis. One semi-comical note are the drivers in the cars -- as you approach a station they announce the arrival, the bus lines you can connect to at the station, what other Metro lines can be accessed, etc. This is done live, not via recording. Only problem is that the intrepid drivers are obviously a tad bored by having done this every 30 seconds or so for God-knows-how-long, so most of them speak so quickly, softly and indistinctly, that you have difficulty figuring out what language is being spoken, let alone what is being said. Sort of of like the old-time radio traffic reports that would come directly from the helicopter, blade noise and all.
Non-Smoking? Not so much . . . Maybe I notice this more as a former smoker, but it is a bit of a shock to the system to be in restaurants, etc. here and be exposed to smoking right next to you. I watched the Miami upset of Denver in the NCAA Hockey tourney last night through a haze of smoke, and same for the pre-comedy show festivities (though the show itself was smoke-free). This town is one of the few that can make Columbus look like a bastion of the healthy lifestyle!
Playoff Madness: A good amount of buzz here in St. Louis over the Blues surge toward the playoffs. Chatting with a couple of the Scottrade Center folks this morning, it was clear that they were proud of the effort, and shared our enthusiasm for the Jackets effort. Don't get me wrong, both squads will be out for blood tonight (and reports from Portzline indicate a very high energy level at the morning skates), but there is a healthy respect for the mutual level of effort that has been required to put the squads where they are. The Blues have even more desperation, as they are still on the outside looking in, and tonight represents the next-to-last home game for them, so the challenge is stiff as they head out on the road.
Scoreboard Watching: Here is the slate of games on tap tonight, and the probably rooting interest:
Los Angeles @ Nashville -- LA is done in the playoff race, so we want them to knock of the Predators. Tough job with the Preds at home, but could be a battle of goaltenders.
Florida @ Dallas -- Panthers are another desperate club, and a win for them puts the final nail in the Stars' playoff hopes coffin.
Minnesota @ Calgary -- Another very tough road test for the Wild, against a very motivated Calgary club, coming off of being shut out in consecutive games, and needing to defend their division lead over Vancouver. Root for the Flames.
Big night in the chase. Go Jackets!!!