By: Sammy Stava
“The Stanley Cup. I want to win a Cup. So damn bad. That’s why I signed in St. Louis. There’s your headline, print it,” – Tyler Bozak in a Player’s Tribune article back on July 3rd (For Toronto | By Tyler Bozak).
Well, you can go ahead and print it, because for the first time in franchise history, the St. Louis Blues are your Stanley Cup Champions, ending the 52-year drought. It all happened with a heroic Game 7 performance in Boston Wednesday night with a 4-1 victory.
Ryan O’Reilly was awarded the Conn Smythe, because his 23 playoff points set the franchise record for most in a single postseason. He’s the first player to score a goal in four straight Stanley Cup Final games since WAYNE GRETZKY. Jordan Binnington set the NHL rookie goaltender record with 16 wins in a single postseason. “Interim” Craig Berube became the seventh head coach in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup after taking over midseason. Jaden Schwartz scored two hat tricks in the same postseason, the first to do it since Johan Franzen in 2008.
The best trophy in sports is also the hardest championship to win, and the St. Louis Blues absolutely proved that was the case with the best in-season turnaround in professional sports history. What a roller coaster ride it has been.
With the offseason acquisitions of Tyler Bozak, Patrick Maroon, Ryan O’Reilly, and David Perron, this had to be one of the most anticipated Blues’ seasons ever. And boy, did they make the most of it with so many high expectations.
From firing Mike Yeo on after a 7-9-3 start, to Robert Bortuzzo and Zach Sanford fighting in practice, to being in last place in the NHL on January 3rd, to the franchise record 11-game winning streak, and then to 16 playoff wins en route to a Stanley Cup Championship.
Gloria was the team’s rally song, Barclay was the team’s pet dog, and Laila was the team’s inspirational leader. Vladimir Tarasenko is a new dad and a Stanley Cup Champion in the same week. This team had it ALL.
This playoff run had it all. The miracle third period comeback in Game 5 against Winnipeg, the double-overtime winner in Game 7 by Patrick Maroon against Dallas, the hand-pass response against San Jose, and now a thrilling seven-game series to finally dethrone Boston’s championship success. Every round had a signature moment from this remarkable championship run.
This team had the heart of a champion and it took a true team effort to get it done. With Zach Sanford’s goal in Game 7 (the final Blues playoff goal), the only player who didn’t score in the postseason was Jay Bouwmeester, who was handed the Stanley Cup right after Alex Pietrangelo lifted it.
Speaking of Pietrangelo, the Captain ended up scoring the game-winning goal in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. That’s the way it should be.
After all of that, the St. Louis Blues are your 2019 Stanley Cup Champions. This city deserves it. This fan-base deserves it. This TEAM deserves it.
St. Louis is now officially a hockey town, as if it wasn’t already. Hosting a Winter Classic in 2017, to winning their first Stanley Cup this season, and now being awarded an NHL All-Star Game next season is quite an impressive run for this franchise.
And the celebration is nowhere near over yet. The moment St. Louis has been waiting for is coming tomorrow afternoon – a Stanley Cup Championship parade on Market Street. It will be a sight to see.