Continuing the Q & A series that was unveiled Wednesday, another of hockey bloggings assetss chimes in on life in covering not one but two teams in her blogging career. Laura Astorian, who has been a void of both the St. Louis Blues and the Atlanta Thrashers. It’s one thing to cover multiple teams in one town, but to stand up and show love by way over coverage for two teams in the same sport at one time is a hell of an accomplishment.
Laura currently runs St. Louis Game Time on SB Nation (which is also a game-day publication for Blues games; that is done by Brad Lee). She’s a great follow on Twitter too for take on the sport, the entertainment industry and what not.
What does Laura think about the NHL’s plan to forgo the 2018 winter Olympics? What tips does she have for those who want to get into blogging? Read below.
What drew you to hockey blogging?
Waaaay back in 2008 I was a member of the Atlanta Thrashers message boards (the Thrashers were my number two team since I live in Atlanta and had been going to games since their first one). The Thrashers were, unsurprisingly, going through a rough patch the season after their playoff appearance and the situation was generally doom and gloom. The more that I wrote on the boards, the more I became confident enough to start a Thrashers and Blues blog. I began commenting on St. Louis Game Time in 2008 as well and Brad Lee, the manager and current editor of the paper, asked me to contribute to the site. In 2013, during the lockout, he handed the reigns off to me so he could focus on the print publication.
Is there a memory that stands out from your experience in writing; one that ells you that you’d accomplished or rose to a higher level?
There’ve been quite a few posts on Game Time that have received a pretty good audience and I’ve been lucky enough to cover the 2016 All Star Game in Nashville and the 2017 Winter Classic in person But to be honest the thing that tells me that I’ve accomplished something is that people in real life actually know who I am. That’s pretty darn cool.
How about your favorite article that you’ve written up to this point? What’s the aspect / detail that makes you proudest of it?
That’s a difficult question. I wrote a post ages ago regarding David Backes and his propensity to do stupid things in the heat of the moment that got a lot of push-back and praise. Try as I might, I can’t seem to find the article in question, but it called him out for reckless head-shotting and scrumming after the whistle when the Blues were down.I think I’m proud of that piece because there tends to be a habit among sports bloggers of not calling out one of your own players for doing something stupid. His tendency to show grit at the worst possible moments eventually became something that some fans had minimal patience for, and I think my post was one of the first that called him out for it. [Author note: I tried to find the piece myself, no luck. If you’re a blues fan who knows of the article, a little help would be appreciated. Thanks. –JF]
The hockey blogosphere is a much larger world than just your site. Name another blog that impresses you and a specific blog author.
I hate naming a blog that I worked for (and one that no longer exists) but Birdwatchers Anonymous always blew me away with their coverage of the Thrashers, especially Matt and Tim with their statistical analysis of team trends. I’m not a stats-head and the graphs, charts, and so forth that they put together were always spot on and professional-level work.
Any tips that /you would give to up-and-coming bloggers or writers? Something that they should keep in mind with sports coverage or habits?
Just keep writing, but make sure that your writing is proofread and is easy to follow clearly. Trust me, people judge you when you have typing errors or your point doesn’t come across in the first paragraph or two. Don’t be afraid of contrary opinions, either. That means people are reading your work.
Are you content with the leadership of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman? Why or why not?
I’m kind of numb to it. After 24 years of seeing his pressers, getting booed at the draft and the presentation of the Cup, and lockouts, I’m numb to the fact that he exists. Occasionally he pulls off some good stuff (the expansion of the game has been fun to watch) and occasionally he makes me want to throw things (how the league handled the Thrashers relocation; his lawyer non-answers during press conferences). He’s hit the level of death and taxes for me, to be honest.
Do you, as a fan, take issue with the NHL not allowing player participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics?
As a fan I’m unhappy, because hockey’s the only Olympic sport that I watch and I love getting a chance to see national teams. I’m bummed that they won’t be there, but I suppose from the standpoint of the league I get it.
The NHL will expand once again by a single team to even the franchise total to 32. Name a market where the league should take interest with expansion BESIDES Quebec City, Quebec or Seattle, Washington.
I’d love a team in Kansas City so Blues fans could just hop on I-70 for a road trip like they do when the Cardinals play the Royals. Interstate rivalries are fun!
We’re a ways before training camp ever begins, but with the state of your team’s roster as it stands and with how things went in the 2016-17 season, what do you think is the biggest issue facing the Blues going into 2017-18?
I think the biggest issue is consistent scoring yet again, because while the Blues have Tarasenko, Schwartz, Fabbri, Steen, and Berglund (!), keeping them all healthy at once seems to be a struggle. Berglund’s already out with a bum shoulder. It always feel like one of those guys going down throws the entire team for a loop to the point where they collectively forget how to score. Schwartz going down has traditionally been the catalyst for long stretches of less than quality play.
At the before-it-begins point where we stand now, who do you believe will be a top contender in the season ahead?
I think the Penguins are always a top contender, and I do think that the Predators will be a team that other squads need to keep an eye on. I’ve learned to never count the Blackhawks out, and I think that the continued growth and development of the Oilers and Leafs make them tough to beat as well.