49 Episodes into their St. Louis Blues based Podcast, Two Guys No Cup is worth listening to. One of the things we take pride in here at Blues Rants is promoting those within the local hockey community. These guys have been at it for roughly one year. I want to make sure that our readers are aware of the show.
For those that haven’t tuned in yet, I’ll be asking Ian Peters and Stephen Ground a few questions to give you insight on their work, what plans they have for the future, and we’ll talk a little Blues Hockey while we’re at it. If you haven’t been listening, you’re missing out. Podcasts are a great source of information and entertainment.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll eat it up. Let’s get started.
Ray: “I want to start by asking you to simply introduce yourselves to our readers. Tell us about the very beginning. What brought this great podcast about? How long have you all had the passion for Blues Hockey, and how has the journey been so far?”
Ian: “My father grew up in Minnesota as a huge North Stars fan. When my parents moved down to St. Louis in ‘84 he slowly but surely became a Blues fan, and the North Stars moving to Dallas solidified it. My earliest Blues memory was attending one of the 4 games in which the Blues beat the Dallas Stars in the 2001 sweep of the 2nd round. I followed the team loosely through middle school and high school and then in 08-09 I jumped on the playoff push bandwagon and never jumped off. Going to game 4 and watching that team try to claw one win out against Vancouver was about as close to a religious experience as I’ve ever had. I followed the Blues closely while away at college and over the last couple years I started listening to the Steve Dangle podcast along with Marek and Wyshynski, when it was still around. I loved learning even more about other teams, the NHL, and hockey as a whole. I talked to Stephen quite a bit about Steve Dangle and his cohost’s antics and fandom and Stephen figured the two of us talk and laugh about hockey all the time. Why not record it as a fun hobby?”
Stephen: “Yeah, I think I caught the bug from Ian! We met in high school (Parkway South, represent!), and I think we bonded by being in the same classes a lot and loving sports. I grew up in St. Louis but my family was a very “baseball first” household. But the Blues finally started to sort of get good again while we were in high school, and I hopped on the bandwagon, just like Ian said. We kept in touch throughout college, while the Blues made the major moves of the Backes era (the Erik Johnson trade, getting Bouwmeester, Miller, etc.). Then when we found ourselves back in St. Louis, it was only natural to get together and watch the games. We talked about hockey all the time, and I don’t know exactly where the podcast idea started (I trust Ian that Steve Dangle had a lot to do with it). But I know over time it became “why COULDN’T we do this?” Then someone, I think it was Elliotte Friedman on 31 Thoughts, talked about how last summer was the right time to start a hockey podcast with all the craziness that was expected around the expansion draft. So we decided it was time to put up or shut up. We never expected anything from it, really. We just loved talking hockey and figured we’d put our thoughts out into the world. The first year has been amazing. It’s been so rewarding to get feedback from listeners, but much more importantly, to become part of this big, awesome, sometimes dysfunctional family of Blues fans. It’s made hockey even more enjoyable for us, I think.”
Ray: “I’m glad you guys took action, and it makes sense that you guys are close buddies because there is a great flow to your show. No hesitations. Just pure conversation, and that’s really great. Stephen brought up the “baseball first” mentality, and that’s something I notice among so many in the community. One of our main goals at Blues Rants is to push everything we can out to the community in hopes to bring more hockey fans in, help them understand the game and get to know the team. I feel your show is one that has a positive impact on the hockey community because we simply do not have enough people involved. This is a great Hockey city. Don’t get me wrong, but we can do better and I appreciate what you guys are doing over there. With that being said, let me ask you this; What is it about this sport, this team, this city, and these fans that gives you both fulfillment in what you do? There’s obvious passion.”
Stephen: “I think it’s perfect that you bring up the relationship between the baseball and hockey communities, because I think that’s one of the things that makes this hockey team so great: in a lot of ways, the Blues are the perfect counterpart to the Cardinals. In the Cardinals you have this huge franchise with decades of success and tradition. Because of KMOX, you have Cardinals fans from Nebraska to Alabama, and even further. And there’s such a tradition of winning and success, there’s so much focus on them, that they’re truly the emblematic franchise of our city. Then the Blues are, I hesitate to say the “lovable loser,’ but they’re certainly the little brother. And as a younger brother myself, I know how that works! But seriously, I think the Blues get forgotten and overlooked, and it’s tragic. One of the things that I really notice about Blues fans is their knowledge level. The Cardinals have tons of passive or “fair weather” fans, but with the Blues, for the most part, if you talk to someone who calls themselves a Blues fan, they usually really know their stuff. So cheering for the Blues is like being part of a family. Yeah, there’s bickering, and arguing. We may disagree over who to start in goal or what song to play when the team scores. But we’re all ultimately pulling for the same thing. And when that day comes and a Blues’ Captain finally lifts the Stanley Cup, there will be so much pure joy that I think it will surpass even what the Cardinals accomplished in, say, 2011.”
Ray: “Ian, what a great hobby to have, because while the two of you are passing the time, spitballing hockey, the fans benefit from you sharing your passion for the game. Like you said, touching base on the league, and hockey as a whole is what I believe brings so much impact to the community here in St. Louis. The fact that both of you are knowledgeable of specifics regarding players of all teams brings that much more value to your show, as you’re able to compare and contrast to give folks an idea of how the Blues might match up with competitors. With that being said, let me ask you for three Blues players that play important roles and simply can not be replaced. Then, who would you compare these players to, and why?”
Ian: “Totally agreed. Stephen and I love covering the Blues, but having some background with the other teams in the league and keeping up with league news helps paint a backdrop for us. It lets us set the scene for any Blues related topics we touch on. Like you said, we can see exactly where the Blues sit in the puzzle that is the NHL. As for the players that I think are the most important to this team it’s not too hard. Alex Pietrangelo, Jaden Schwartz, and Vladimir Tarasenko. I think each of them plays a pivotal role on this team that cannot be easily replaced. Pietrangelo is a top 10 defenseman in this league that calms the backend. Schwartz is the engine that makes this team go. We saw last year what happens when he’s out for an extended period. Tarasenko is the flare, the threat that cannot be left unchecked. Even if he’s not scoring he’s drawing attention towards himself and away from teammates. Comparisons: I’d say Pietrangelo is in the same mold play-style wise as Drew Doughty. Schwartz reminds me an awful lot of a young Zach Parise, maybe a little less scrappy. Tarasenko is the Russian Phil Kessel. They both have extremely deceptive wrist shots and can create scoring opportunities for themselves without needing a #1 center, in my opinion.”
Ray: “Right on the money, Ian… and now that the Blues have stacked up some very respectable center-men, I expect more balance among the top-six (obviously), which should in turn create a much more comfortable environment all around for both Schwartz and Tarasenko. I’ve got a question for Stephen. I want to make sure our readers are aware the he covers the Blues for TheHockeyWriters.com. How long have you been involved with THW? Is there anything you’d like our readers to know about the website, and your work in particular?”
Stephen: “Thanks for asking! Yes, I have been writing for the Hockey Writers for the past month or so. I’m pleased to say that I’m the first THW team writer for the Blues (though I do hope that changes in time!) I love the site for a lot of reasons, but most importantly because they take hockey seriously. They want to write deep and unique stories covering every aspect of the hockey world. As for my work specifically, I think I’m just eager to flesh out a lot of stories in the St. Louis hockey world. One piece I’m really proud of right now is an extended look I took at Robby Fabbri‘s recovery. I got to dive deep into the medical prognoses for injuries like Fabbri’s and cover it from a wider angle than maybe we’re able to see when we’re mired in the day to day. Doug Armstrong has blessed the Blues community by giving us a lot to talk about this summer, but I’m always open to suggestions for topics anyone would like to see covered!”
Ray: “I really appreciate both of you taking the time to answer my questions. I hope we can do this again, maybe during the 2018-19 season to get even more people on board with you. Ultimately the result we’re looking for is better educated hockey fans here in St. Louis. As I’ve stated, I think you both bring a lot to the table in that regard. I’d like to ask one last question to finish up, and that’s pertaining to your future. Do you two have any plans to progress in the coming months that you’d like fans to know about?”
Stephen: “We’re always trying to come up with new ideas for our podcast. Specifically, we’re hoping to get a website designed before the start of the season. That should hopefully free us to deliver a lot more content more often than just our episodes. We’re also going to be starting to have more guests on the podcast, especially this summer, as we move through previews for each division. Generally, we’re always looking for more ways to interface directly with our listeners, and we hope to do that more, and in more unique ways, as the season unfolds.”
There you have it, folks. This podcast is bursting upon the scene. I just look very forward to watching these guys grow. The show is already excellent, and the sky is the limit for these two. I and the rest of the contributors here at Blues Rants will be doing our best to bring you updates on the show throughout the season. We’re excited for what is in store for Ian and Stephen. I personally can’t wait to follow the show all season long, and I’m hoping everyone that took the time to read this article considers doing the same. Be sure to follow Two Guys No Cup on Twitter, and don’t forget to bookmark their SoundCloud Address. You can also find them on iTunes and Google Play.
Thank you for reading, Blues fans.