ST. LOUIS - On July 1, Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong added Tyler Bozak, David Perron and Chad Johnson in free agency. Before the day was over, he made a blockbuster trade, acquiring center Ryan O'Reilly from the Buffalo Sabres. And within a week, St. Louis native Pat Maroon had signed a one-year deal to join the hometown Blues.
July seems like ages ago, probably because the anticipation for the 2018-19 season has been off the charts ever since.
The wait is almost over.
Opening Night is here.
BLUES VS. JETS - 7 P.M.
The St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets will meet for the first time in history to start a season. The teams met four times in 2017-18, splitting the season series with two wins each.
The puck drops on the season opener on Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Enterprise Center. John Kelly and Darren Pang call the action on FOX Sports Midwest and the FOX Sports app, while Chris Kerber and Joey Vitale have the call on KMOX 1120 AM. Fans can also listen live at stlouisblues.com or by using the NHL App.
Video: Blues meet Jets in season opener
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
on making his regular-season debut with the hometown Blues
"I'm excited to get going with this group of guys in this locker room. We had a really good training camp… It's easy to get along with these guys in this room, and that makes it more special for me going out and putting on the Blue Note jersey and skating out there for the home opener. I'm excited, I know everyone around me - my family, my son - everyone is excited for me. It's going to be a really special night for me."
on beginning the regular season at home
"It's great, especially that we start at home. It's been a really, really long summer with a lot of practices and a lot of stuff going on. Now we can settle in and have time to finally play some real games, so that's exciting, especially (since it's) at home."
on opening the season with games against division rivals Winnipeg and Chicago
"I don't know that any coach in the Central Division is going to get too excited about playing other teams in the Central Divison. It's a very difficult division and it's loaded from top to bottom with very strong competition… We know our crowd is going to be really excited and real vocal, so we're excited to get going."
Video: Yeo on reaching goals in 2018-19
Sammy Blais led the Blues with four goals in the preseason and ranked fifth overall in the NHL… Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou are expected to make their NHL debuts Thursday… Joel Edmundson is questionable with a groin injury… Since the start of the 2013-14 season, the Blues are 59-25-14 against teams in Canada and are 12-7-4 against the Jets in that span... O'Reilly, who will make his Blues regular-season debut, has scored seven points in his last six games against the Jets (two goals, five assists)... Tarasenko has seven points in his last eight games vs. Winnipeg (four goals, three assists).
ABOUT THE JETS
Winnipeg is hoping to build on last season's effort, where they made an appearance in the Western Conference Final after dispatching the Minnesota Wild and the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Jets boast plenty of firepower up front with names like Blake Wheeler, Patrik Laine, Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers. Wheeler led the club with 91 points (23 goals, 68 assists) last season. Dustin Byfuglien, Jacob Trouba and Tyler Myers return on defense, and goaltender Connor Hellebuyck is looking to build on a career year that saw him post a career-high 44 wins, besting his previous mark of 26.
Video: Vitale and Pang preview home opener
WHAT ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW
Fans should be in their seats by 6:45 p.m. for the Opening Night pregame show. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with happy hour food and beverage specials at the Anheuser-Busch Biergarten (located at the 14th street entrance) and the Bud Light Sports Pub (located on the club level and open to full season ticket holders and club seat ticket holders). Both locations will have food and beverage specials for up to two hours after the game. Watch for our Gameday Guide at stlouisblues.com on Thursday to learn more about what's happening on gamedays at Enterprise Center.