Joy and happiness to you, St. Louis hockey fans. The lockout is finally over, the Blues are actually good and you have another site to read about them, Mound City Sports (@moundcitysports on Twitter), written and produced by former veteran Post-Dispatch Blues beat writer Dave Luecking. The site, which features game reports and analysis, launched last week, just in time for the abbreviated hockey season.
Luecking covered hockey for the P-D for thirteen years, from the 1988-89 season through 2000-01 when he decided he needed to stop traveling and stay home and spend more time with his son who was then in grade school. He went back to work in the newsroom on the sports copy desk, eventually rising to desk chief, until he was laid off last September after a total of 28 years with the paper.
His time on the sports desk helped him learn more about other sports, namely baseball and football, but when it came time to launch his own site, Luecking decided to go back to what he knew best. His contacts with the Blues PR department gave him access to games and practices.
"I'm focusing on Blues home games because I have no budget," he explains cheerfully. "If I had no access, I wouldn't have done it. I'm a one-man band as far as content and pages. I have zero experience in terms of web building and HTML. I'm learning on the fly. It's been fun. And it's fun being a scribe again."
It helps, too, that the Blues are actually doing well this season (current record 5-1 with the only loss to division-leader Chicago) and that hockey fans are remarkably forgiving about missing half a season. "People in St. Louis were so ready for hockey to start," Luecking says. "The first day of training came, there was a huge turnout at Scottrade. I didn't expect that after a lockout."
Despite its name and logo, which encompasses a baseball and a football as well as a hockey net, Mound City Sports is going to concentrate just on hockey for now. But Luecking admits that the off-season, which he predicts will begin for the Blues after the Stanley Cup playoffs, might be "brutal."
"I know that if you look at websites and there's nothing new, you go somewhere else," he explains. "This is definitely a work in progress. If it lasts a season or two, that would be outstanding. If not, so be it. We'll see where it goes."