This won't be dishy. This won't involve scoop quotes or anything like that. This is just what I realized after getting back to my hotel room at Union Station yesterday evening -- the Blues are fortunate to have an owner interested in seeing what the team's fans think. Mr. Tom Stillman, the owner of the St. Louis Blues, as well as COO Mr. Bruce Affleck and VP of Marketing and PR Mr. Mike Caruso met with myself, Chris Gift, Brad Lee, and Sean Gallagher of St. Louis Game Time over drinks at Joe Buck's last night. We discussed the lockout (like I said, no dishing other than everyone really hopes that it's over soon -- duh), Game Time, how the fans feel about the team and the whole lockout situation, as well as a few players who we all feel are underrated as both players and people. It was a very pleasant evening, and I won't lie, it was surreal.
Not because I had a beer with the owner of a NHL franchise. Not one bit. It was surreal because it affirmed a fact that's been lost in all of this lockout fighting: not all of the owners are big scary bazillionires who are out of touch. A lot of them are fans of the game like the rest of us are. Is it a stretch to call the owners of mid and small market teams "average joes?" If you take their jobs, money, and the fact that they own a hockey team out of the equation, I don't think that it is. Many of them care as much about the team and the sport as they do anything else, if not more so.
Does this mean that I'm 110% on the side of the owners? Nah. I think that there are jerks involved on both sides, specifically some of the guys who have owned teams for a long time and who have a lot of clout. I also really don't care for the parties in charge of the NHL and NHLPA. But it's still nice to know that not everyone involved is an ogre, just like not all of the players are money grubbers. Stereotypes are pretty useless in a situation like this.
That being said, I still dislike Gary Bettman. That's more reflexive than anything else, and its something I'd type halfway through an actual season, too.