NHL

The Stanley Cup is Finally Blue

By: Jonathan Goad

It’s been over a week since the St. Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup. After a week of celebrating that was topped off with a parade and rally that seemed to last all weekend, it still hasn’t really sunk in.

The St. Louis Blues are Stanley Cup champions.

Saying it (or in this case typing it), doesn’t make it seem any more real. For 52 years, this has only been something Blues fans have dreamt of achieving.

Now that the Note has brought home the Cup, it still feels like a dream. One of these days, we’ll all wake up ready to face the Winnipeg Jets in the first round of the playoffs, right?

Wrong. The St. Louis Blues are Stanley Cup champions.

I keep pinching myself and I’m covered in bruises, so I can’t be sleeping.

We now live in a world that will be free of “no cup” jokes from opposing fan bases. That’s a world I’m happy to be a part of.

Since the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup a year ago, the Blues have provided a roller coaster of a year.

Expectations were through the roof after a very eventful offseason. After a stellar year with the Vegas Golden Knights, David Perron returned to the Blues for his third stint with the team that drafted him. Tyler Bozak and now hometown hero, Pat Maroon joined the team in free agency.

Then, General Manager Doug Armstrong pulled off the heist of the century. Selke Trophy winner, Lady Byng Trophy finalist, and now Conn Smythe winner, Ryan O’Reilly was stolen away from the Buffalo Sabres for Vladimir Sobotka, Patrik Berglund, Tage Thompson, and a couple draft picks. Armstrong should be in a jail cell for that robbery.

Bozak and O’Reilly’s early comments on coming to the Blues mentioned winning a Stanley Cup.

Foreshadowing much?

With the off-season acquisitions and the growth of younger players, on paper, the Blues had the appearance of a championship contender. However, after the first few months of the season, the Blues looked like anything but a championship team. Mike Yeo was relieved of his head coaching duties in mid-November. “Chief” Craig Berube took over for Yeo, but nothing changed right away. Winter depression was a real thing for Blues fans, and it only got worse.

In early January, the St. Louis Blues were the worst team in the entire NHL. Rumors started swirling of who the Blues would trade away to gather assets and start the rebuild process. For fans, rebuild is a word you never want to hear.

The saying goes, “the night is darkest just before the dawn.” That couldn’t be more true.

Enter Jordan Binnington.

The Blues didn’t have much to lose by giving the 25-year-old rookie a chance to see some NHL action. He got his first start on January 7th and shut out the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0. That was quite the debut, but could he continue that type of play?

The fact that many in St. Louis would like the net-minder to legally change his name to “Winnington” answers that question.

The Blues went on a run unlike any seen in history. That included a franchise record eleven game win streak.

A glimmer of hope, perhaps.

Led by the emotionless Binnington, the Blues made a push and finished third in the Central Division and secured a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Simply making the playoffs turned the season into a success. Although, the team wasn’t content by just qualifying for post-season play.

You know the rest of the story. The Blues defeated the Jets, Stars, Sharks, and Bruins to complete the Cinderella story.

The St. Louis Blues are Stanley Cup champions.

Ryan O’Reilly won the Conn Smythe trophy (playoff MVP). Arguments could have been made for Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Tarasenko, or Jordan Winning…oops…Binnington to take home that honor. All were deserving, but ROR played unbelievable in the Stanley Cup Final and broke a franchise record for points in a single post-season. Obviously, the Blues won that trade.

Then, the celebration began. Blues legends Bobby Plager and Brett Hull finally got their parade that eluded them during their playing careers.

The Blues improbable run united a city, jamming to classic hits like “Gloria” and “Country Roads,” both of which became just as known in St. Louis as toasted ravioli and the Gateway Arch.

An estimated 1.5 million people gathered to celebrate with the boys in blue for a parade and rally.

Instead of simply riding in trucks or cars during the parade, most Blues players hopped out and ran along the parade route giving high fives and signing autographs or chugging beers with fans, Stanley Cup in tow. This caused the players to show up nearly two hours late for the rally under the Arch, but it was well worth the wait.

The recently retired Blues National Anthem singer, Charles Glenn and his band entertained fans at the rally.

Brett Hull drunkenly professed his love for St. Louis and sang his rendition of “Gloria” while fans waited on the Stanley Cup to arrive.

There’s a reason Brett Hull wasn’t given a mic. He found one anyway. The Golden Brett was already a legend in St. Louis. He is now an immortal.

(Hull actually said “We went Blues!”)

Then the players arrived with the Cup. A few f-bombs later and an appearance from local inspiration, Laila Anderson, St. Louis showed why it’s not just a baseball town.

It was truly unforgettable to be a part of something that has been 52 years in the making.

So whether you were at Enterprise Center, watched in the rain at Busch Stadium, made the trip to Boston, or just gathered at your favorite pizza joint (shout out to Missouri Pizza Company for throwing an awesome game seven watch party), history was witnessed by millions. This Blues team will be forever bonded as champions.

St. Louis has now witnessed a championship in every major sport. Everyone knows the Cardinals win fairly consistently. St. Louis has even seen an NBA championship. And of course the Rams had their moment before some a-hole took them away.

Seriously, this sparked a “Kroenke sucks” chant.

This Blues win feels completely different. Blues fans have been passionate about hockey for half a century. The weight of never winning a Cup has been lifted off our shoulders. We can all relax a little knowing that the St. Louis Blues will be engraved on that 35-pound piece of silver. We’ve won a Stanley Cup. Now we can all die happy.

The St. Louis Blues are Stanley Cup champions.

Play Gloria!

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