Ladies and gentlemen, we are so very close to hockey time that it's almost painful to contemplate how many hours still remain until the 2003-2004 campaign begins. To help stave off the delicious pangs of anticipation, the Blues have scheduled intrasquad training camp games at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. starting Monday, September 15, through Thursday, September 18, at Savvis Center (1401 Clark Avenue, 314-622-2500). Sure, the games don't count, but it's still hockey, and the novelty of seeing teammates who know each other's moves and tendencies trying to outsmart and outplay each other is more than worth the price of admission, which happens to be free. Take the afternoon off, go to lunch and never come back, or simply tell your boss you have the Blue Flu. -- Paul Friswold
Night of the Punter
No tests at Football U.
When we're watching Kurt Warner stand in the pocket for 30 seconds deciding what to do, we like to turn down the TV broadcasters and turn up Jack Snow and Steve "Shoulders" Savard on KLOU 103.3-FM. Local TV sports-anchor Savard is an able play-by-play man, and former Rams wideout Snow gets really excited by the big hits and touchdowns. (Snow also can't stop laughing sometimes, which is fun.) They'll be teaching the basics at "Football University," a charity event that educates folks who never learned about downs, extra points, zebras and clotheslining. The St. Louis Rams offer the fundraiser for the ALIVE domestic-abuse shelter, with appearances by current Rams, eats and prizes. Head to the Pageant (6161 Delmar Boulevard) from 7-10 p.m.; admission is $60 (www.stlouisrams.com, 314-993-7080). -- Byron Kerman
Stubbed My Doe
Sure, Bambi and Thumper are cute and all, but when they eat Mama's prized lilacs, it's time to make deer salami and rabbit stew. Missouri Botanical Garden master gardener Patrick McNulty presents "Oh, Deer!" (oh, please!) at 7 p.m. at the St. Louis County-Grand Glaize Branch, way out west where the deer roam at 1010 Meramec Station Road. McNulty will discuss why deer do what they do, the plants they do and don't care for, and some garden designs that confuse them (like, a big hole in the ground with branches and leaves on top, maybe?). Call 636-225-6454 for more on the free program. -- Byron Kerman