Name: Laura Astorian
Location: Atlanta, GA
Occupation: Teacher/Writer for SB Nation
Twitter name: @hildymac
Favorite Team (s): St. Louis Blues; Atlanta Thrashers
Your site, ThrashingtheBlues.com, strangely combines both the Atlanta Thrashers and the St. Louis Blues. Care to shed some light on how your site developed and how your fandom grew to support two very different franchises?
Gosh, the site developed basically out of my schizoid fan nature. I figured I should give time to both of my favorite hockey clubs, so I shoved both together and hoped that fans of each team didn’t mind. The best part about my site is that the name was created by a Blackhawks fan. Synergy!
I’m originally from St. Louis, and I have been a Blues fan all my life. When I moved to Atlanta at the age of 12, it was hard for me to not have a team. All I had was some street hockey stuff I played with and NHL94. People had no clue what hockey was around here, unless they were a misplaced Yankee like me. Of course, over time more and more misplaced Yankees came down here, and a demand for NHL hockey grew. I was elated in ’97 when they announced that the Thrashers were approved by the league.
I’ve been attending Thrashers games since the very first one, and have grown to enjoy the team almost (but not quite, of course) as much as the Blues. They share a lot of similarities: a good, youthful core; a blue-collar attitude; and a status as an underdog. I’d rather be a fan of a team that had to try than a team that could just coast by. I believe that hard work’s more rewarding.
As a fan of two different clubs, which side do you pull for when the two teams square off?
Much to the chagrin of my friends at Philips Arena, I always show up in a Blues sweater. I’m not terribly crushed at the out come of any of the games, though I always hope for at least OT so they both can get a point.
Those of us on Twitter have become very familiar with your “Law of Hildy”. Can you explain what it is to those who haven’t seen it, and offer some insight to how you created it?
That evil thing? Basically, it states that the Blues and Thrashers absolutely cannot win on the same night. I haven’t gotten a chance to compile the final stats – when I do I’ll probably tweet a complaint about it – but the teams’ records can be found here.
It’s extremely annoying, but I’m pretty sure both teams wound up equally screwed by it in the long run.
Since you closely follow two organizations, how would you compare how the Atlanta Thrashers use social media compared to how the St. Louis Blues use social media? Where can each organization improve?
The Blues tend to use Twitter, Facebook, and their website as a strict informational resource. That’s swell, but a lot of things I can find out quicker by following the local STL sportswriters on Twitter. It’s all very impersonal. I *think* that Louie has a Twitter account, but I’ve never noticed it. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Louie Blues can be found here.) They really need to make their social media about communicating with the fans and having a dialogue.
The Thrashers, on the other hand, have OUTSTANDING social media use – it’s probably the one place where the office excels. Ben Wright, the Thrashers’ website coordinator, always has a post-game analysis and Q&A up after each home game. He constantly tweets news about the team before anyone else does. He converses with other writers and fans, re-tweeting information as need be. He’s got a great rapport with the fan base and it shows. Also, Thrash – the mascot – has a twitter account and a Facebook account that are both very in-line with the mascot’s sharp, dry sense of humor and devil-may-care persona. He’s a blast to interact with on-line as well as at games.
What was your first moment or memory that made you a Blues fan? Same question for the Thrashers?
For the Thrashers, it was my first game. Hockey’s such a great sport, and so addictive, that it needed very little more than that. As a kid with the Blues, my first memory was watching Brett Hull and just thinking “wow, baseball players can’t do that! He’s way cooler than anyone on the Cardinals!” Considering how much I love the Cards, that’s a huge statement.
What would you like to see the NHL do differently, whether on or off the ice?
Actually promote more players. Yes, I think that the ones they “choose” to promote – Crosby, Ovie, and now more and more Stamkos – are great players and more than worthy of marketing. But come on. There are all sorts of fun people to market that they don’t. David Backes? TJ Oshie? Dustin Byfuglien? Yeah, they’re not in HUGE markets, but they have great personalities and talents and are good ambadassors for the league. Use it.
Outside of winning a Stanley Cup, what would you like to see the St. Louis organization do differently, whether on or off the ice?
A lot of it stems from ownership situations that are currently un-resolved. I’d love to see them be more assertive more often with signing players – those “missing pieces.” Sure, they have great youth movement and can build from within, but there’s no denying that they could benefit from one more consistent goal scorer. Get him!
Favorite current player and favorite player of the past?
Currently it’s David Backes, though I really enjoy watching Steven Stamkos – he reminds me of Brett Hull. Once he gets to where he can score from anywhere, that package’ll be complete. All time? Toss up between Hull, Patrick Roy, and Mario Lemeuix. Mario I just absolutely respect the hell out of and think that his overcoming of so much adversity while being so brilliant makes him the greatest player of all time. Roy, well, there have been a lot of goalies, but few have been as insane and quirky – except for maybe Ron Hextall, though he was just violent as hell.
I’m seriously hoping that the Thrashers stay around, and I think that they will. However, if not I guess I’ll have to follow them on Center Ice, like I do with the Blues now. I probably would be miserable without games to go to.
Which, of course, means that I’d move home – and there’s nothing I’d rather do.