2nd Annual Blues Betrayal #SaveTheOrgan

3:35:00 PM Add Comment

It's that time of year again Blues fans. While most NHL teams are focused on building team chemistry and engaging their fans, the Blues are again taking their fans for granted while distracting themselves from the bigger problems that plague the team. The St. Louis Blues are a team with a great history. They began this history with a play-to-win mindset and found themselves playing deep into the playoffs, something that they have not been able to do in many years.

Over the years many traditions have been adopted and cherished by the Blues and their fans, but one in particular dates all the way back to the inaugural season. The Blues hit the ice greeted by a full house of fans full of anticipation that was created in part by the Blues original organist, Norm Kramer. The Blues goal song was "When The Blues Go Marching In" and the crowd would sing along with excitement as the team celebrated on the ice.

There have been different organists over the years, and there was even stretch of time where the organ music was recorded/programmed music. All along the goal horn remained "When The Blues Go Marching In" though the lack of personality behind the music and nobody to play just that right song at the right moment took a toll on the atmosphere. It was the one time where fans struggled to embrace the organ and seemed to set up several attempts by the Blues management to put some energy back in the building following a Blues goal.

In the early 2000's, management tried at least twice, to use a locally recorded rock instrumental version of WTBGMI, but both times were met with strong opposition by the fans. A few years later they even tried to replace the goal song again through a fan poll. To the team's credit, it was the one time they actually seemed to respect the fact that the fan's should have a say in the team's traditions. This attempt ultimately failed too and the organ version returned.  All the while, the in game organ music was scarce and lacked emotion.

2007 marked the return of live organ music to Blues games with the hiring of Southeast Missouri State Alumni Jeremy Boyer. Soon Blues games had a new excitement with a traditional sound that featured an array of old and new elements. Boyer played new songs and crowd prompts to bring noise and enthusiasm to the building, while continuing to play traditional hockey songs and long time St. Louis Blues fan favorites as well. He may have put his own spin on the goal song among many other songs but if you really listen you can also hear some inspiration from previous organ greats like Norm Kramer and Ernie Hays.  Since Boyer took over the organ has taken on a new life and has been making fans cheer ever since.

Last season, the Blues once again decided to replace the goal song and they did so by using "Tick Tick Boom" in one of the pre-season games, likely as a test to see how fans would react. It is truely a shame that the management felt the need to test this on the fans as by now you would have to think they would know their fans well enough. They did not though and the reaction on social media was not at all favorable to say the least. The Blues quickly changed back to our traditional organ version and issued a statement which, among other things, promised that "our signature organ music will remain a key feature of our game experience." Can view the full statement here.

That was not the end of the drama for last season though. A couple months later fans noticed someone else was playing the organ. The goal song sounded terrible and the energy created by the new music was not up to the high standards we had become familiar with which lead to the #SaveTheOrganist campaign. To be honest the conclusion to that drama only came over time as Boyer resumed playing the organ several games in a row and no further attempts to replace him were made.

That brings us to this season. I would never have expected this to happen again just one year later. I thought last year should have proved how much the fans value our organ and our organist. Here we are again though. It has come to several people's attention that their had been a lot less organ music at the games the last week or two. I dont know what the motivation was behind this but if they were hoping to change something quietly, they failed miserably last night when an empty net goal was scored and the goal song was replaced with a Black Eyed Peas song. That moment led to a large number of tweets ranging from anger to disbelieve and a feeling of betrayal by a team who has once again taken it's fans for granted.

So it comes to this again. It is time to remind the Blues management of how important our traditions are. It is time to understand that while you as an employee or owner of the team may prefer an endless supply of canned music, there are 19,000 fans filling your arena every game that are paying far to much to simply be entertained by what they already here on their radios. We want our organ music back, both for goals and throughout the game to pump up the crowd and we want our organist. If there is any part of you that wishes to keep your fans happy, the answer is as simple as that.

I believe @forestlivemuz sums it up best here...
Below are some examples of the support the organ has received in the past, from Blues fans and believe it or not, even other teams fans.

So fans, please continue to tweet @StLouisBlues and include #STLBlues #NHL and #SaveTheOrgan in your tweets.

Please also take a moment to sign this petition started by another die-hard Blues fan.

Also below is the Blues contact information page.

NHL 16 Center Ice Accuracy - 2nd Update

7:08:00 PM Add Comment

Every year, we look at the center ices from EA Sports latest version of the NHL series' games. We watch for accuracy and try to help point out areas for improvement. This year will be a bit different, as we have very little to critique compared to previous years. The EA Canada team worked very hard on these ices this year and the results should speak for themselves.

One thing to keep in mind is that EA bases most of their work on the center ice designs from the previous NHL season. This is because they do not have any way of knowing what might changed for the upcoming season. Ices usually do not even go in until after the game is finished. Also keep in mind that anniversary ices are never in EA games. I do not know the exact reason but I would assume that is because it would quickly date the game as the anniversary season for that team would already have concluded. I agree with EA's decision to not include these by the way. Now lets take a look at this year's recreations.

UPDATE: In the latest NHL 16 update, EA Sports has surprised updating some center ices as well as fixing the off pitch goal horns that some fans noted early on after the release. This kind of update is very exciting and extremely rare but the team said they wanted to win fans back and they are continuing to go above and beyond to make NHL 16 as authentic as possible. Well done EA! (updated ices are shown under the comparison images.

Anaheim: Updated with the current red line, this ice is perfect!

Arizona: The red line has been changed to solid but unfortunately EA has legal restrictions on using a gambling brand in an E-rated game, so the arena name this year will be Arizona Arena.  UPDATE: EA managed to make the Arizona Arena text look very similar to the actual wordmark. Nice!

Boston: The solid red line has made a comeback in real life and in the game. Its a great look for such an iconic logo. Update: The TD Garden word mark has been sized down to match the real center ice.

Buffalo: Perhaps pull the word mark away from the circle just a bit and you have a perfect ice. Pull it away even more and it will match the ice for the upcoming NHL season. Update: The arena wordmark has been moved out from the circle.

Calgary: Looks perfect!

Carolina: For years, Canes fans have had to play on a very generic looking ice in a generic rink. Not this year! The first year out of the gate with PNC Arena and EA has nailed the center ice! Next year they just need to add the black boxes just outside the circle and it will again be up-to-date. Update:  The new Hurricanes red line is now included in NHL 16!

Chicago: Also a huge year for the Blackhawks fans who have been upset not to be able to play in United Center. The arena seems to be alternating between too variations of the white boxed red line. EA seems to have come up with their own variation but it looks really good none-the-less.  Update: The red line is now accurate. Very nice job EA!

Colorado: EA fixed the font for the word "CENTER" and now they have a perfect ice! The Avs would have been smart to just stick with the primary logo. This anniversary ice is not a good look in my opinion.

Columbus: The arena text has been fixed and the Nationwide logo has been updated. Perfect!

Dallas: The font for American Airlines Center needs some work but its not terrible by any means. For next year, the red line stars will need to be changed to the shape of Texas. Update: EA has updated the new Texas red line!

Detroit:  Not a bad recreation but it could use a couple tweaks. The arena text needs to be a bit smaller and the font needs some work. The other issue is the logo which needs enlarged. Update: EA fixed the arena wordmark size, fixed the Detroit Red Wings font and enlarged the logo. Also they have their own boxed red line now! Looks great!!

Edmonton: This year, EA fixed the Rexall Place font and we now have a perfect recreation!

Florida: Updated to the solid red line from last year, the only minor flaw is the word mark. The BB&T Center should be darker and have less space between the BB&T letters.Nothing that should spoil the game for any Panthers fan though. For next year the red line will need updated again. Update: The BB&T text has been tightened to match it's real life counterpart and the red line is now very similar to the current one in real life.

Los Angeles: The Kings changed up the logo by added an outline to it so that will need updated for next years game. This year though, they again perfected the ice. Update: The Kings are using the outlined version of their logo this year and now so is EA.

Minnesota: Looks great. A minor tweak to the word mark by using less spacing between letters would be nice but its a great recreation. Update: The arena wordmark now fits tightly around the center circle.

Montreal: With an updated red line and the Centre Bell text fixed, Habs fans will be very pleased with this ice!

Nashville: The Preds keep messing with the spacing of the Bridgestone Arena words but EA picked one and stuck with it and that is the one that will be used this year in real life too.

New Jersey: EA added the Prudential icon to the ice and it looks great!

NY Isles: The Barclays Center ice in NHL 16 will be based on the past two years center ices from Pre-Season games at Barclays Center, and it is a great recreation. Next year the logo and wording and red line will need some work as the team decided to change up the ice for its first official season. Update: The Islanders switched up their Barclays Center ice after the game had already come out, but now the layout has been updated in game too including an updated red line!

NY Rangers: This ice still has the generic boxed red line used on many rinks with similar real life patterns. On some rinks its not as noticeable but this one stands out a bit. EA did fix the 1926 font and the ice really does look very good this year!  Update: The Rangers have a pretty unique version of the boxed red line and now they do in NHL 16 as well!

Ottawa: This year EA added the detailing to the Sens logos in the red line and this ice looks perfect in game!

Philadelphia: This is the only ice this year which seemed to slip between the cracks. The red line was from two years ago and while many Flyers fans still wish the team used the long time triple red line look, it would have been nice to see last years design make the game. For next year the red line will need to be updated to the boxed look which seems like an odd choice for the Flyers given their recent history of ices. On the plus side, EA did update the arena word mark this year. Update: The new Flyers red line has been added to NHL 16!

Pittsburgh: Nothing at all to complain about here!

San Jose: This one just needs a more accurate red line. Otherwise it looks great. Update: The red line has been fixed!

St. Louis: This year EA has fixed the size and colors of the Scottrade Center word mark. Perfect recreation!

Tampa Bay: Amalie Arena debuts in NHL 16 and it looks very nice!

Vancouver: The solid red line is back and the ice looks perfect!

Washington: Hard to complain about this ice but one minor tweak would make this one perfect. the font and spacing of the letters on the Verizon Center word mark could use a little work. Great job though. Updated: The Verizon Center word mark is now tighter and fits around 1/4 of the circle.

Winnipeg Jets: EA nailed this ice last year and no change to it for this year. Looks great!

Overall: Way to go EA. You did an amazing job on the center ices this year. They even worked on improving red lines and other details on AHL and CHL ices this year which is a first! Last year every AHL team but 2 or 3 had the same generic red line. We will take a look at those in the near future! Update: Wow EA, you started out this game with a lot of really great ices, but you have managed to make every center ice in the game quite authentic. Very impressed!

As a bonus, I wanted to include the fact that the boards in Honda Center have been changed to black to match the new boards the Ducks installed for this season!