Sports

Dream come true for St. Louis — Blues reign as Stanley Cup champions

The scene was surreal, almost beyond comprehension. Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo hoisted the Stanley Cup on Wednesday night in Boston. It happened. It really happened. The star-crossed franchise won the Cup. That this thrilling title run came when it was least expected — after the Blues sank to the NHL cellar midway into this season — was so appropriate. The Blues did not win it all with Brett Hull and Adam Oates working their magic. They did not win it after hiring Mike Keenan and trading for Wayne Gretzky. They did not win the Cup after winning the Presidents’ Trophy with Al MacInnis and Chris Pronger dominating the blue line. They did not win with Ken Hitchcock cracking his whip on his hard-hitting, veteran-driven team. They won when their interim coach rallied the troops and their No. 4 goaltender became a local sports legend. They won on the road 4-1 in Game 7 against an excellent Bruins team in Boston. Perfect! This unlikeliest of runs triggered so many memories. I came to the Post-Dispatch in 1986, just missing the “Monday Night Miracle” season and catching the tail end of the ever-colorful Harry Ornest Era. I quickly learned this franchise had really bad luck but incredible heart. I learned that from Barclay Plager, who was battling on as an assistant coach while fighting brain tumors. In layman’s terms, doctors inserted wires into his tumors and fried them. The tumors kept coming back and the doctors kept frying them. This took a heavy toll on his body but not his spirit. When he was able, Barclay assisted new Blues coach Jacques Martin, who came from junior hockey, and assistant coach Doug MacLean, who came from the Canadian university scene. Barclay pushed and pushed and pushed forward until his stamina finally gave out. He took a scary fall at the Buffalo airport while he was still traveling with the team. He refused to concede to his illness. Even by hockey player standards, that was insane, I sat with Bob Plager at the Affton Ice Rink during Barclay’s final days, discussing their life story, their early runs at the Cup, their pride in wearing the Blue Note and the old-school values they passed on to the next generation. For these men, playing for the Blues and their fans was a privilege. That’s their legacy and Bob remained around the organization to remind us of that. So many heart-and-soul players followed the Plagers, guys like Bernie Federko, Brian Sutter, Kelly Chase, David Backes and Barret Jackman. So much happened to this franchise before my time, such as Bob Gassoff’s fatal motorcycle accident, the near-move to Saskatoon and the franchise shutting down when the NHL blocked that sale. So many things happened during my time, such as losing broadcaster Dan Kelly to cancer and losing nice guy Doug Wickenheiser to his prolonged cancer battle. Two No. 38s who played here, Pavol Demitra and Igor Korolev, died in a Russian plane crash. More recently there was Todd Ewen’s suicide, a tragic reminder of the high price hockey’s tough guys paid for the barbaric (Chuck) Norris Division days. There was the craziness of Mike Shahanan and Jack Quinn taking on the league as outlaw operators. There was Quinn and Keenan taking the insanity to the next level. There was Bill and Nancy Laurie throwing crazy money at the Blues while also trying to land a NBA team. There were the various work stoppages, a strike and lockouts, half-seasons and a lost season. There was the Laurie Fire Sale (Pronger for Eric Brewer!) and more questions about the franchise’s future. There was the phone call that came out of the blue. Broadcaster John Davidson tracked me down on the road in rural Ohio during my eldest daughter’s visit to a prospective college. Could the NHL still succeed in St. Louis? Davidson played for the Blues back in the day and felt the love of the fans, but he wanted a market update. He was calling around to get opinions on the state of the team. He heard the same things again and again: The Blues have an unfailingly loyal fan base. It wasn’t huge, but it was resilient. Make an effort and those Bluesiers will turn out to back the team. Dave Checketts and Co. banked on that support and saved the franchise. Davidson left his successful broadcasting career for the bigger challenge of rebuilding the Blues and rewarding fans for their patience. Davidson started the Blues down the road to overdue glory. Tom Stillman’s ownership group took over and finished the job. And so here we are. St. Louis is going crazy. This long-overdue party will carry well into Thursday which will be a low-productivity day in this region. There will be a parade, too, and more partying. Some folks who hung high above the goal in the cheap seats at The Arena will be there. So will fans who lined up before dawn to gain admission into Brentwood Ice Rink for training camp. Sadly, so many great Bluesiers have passed on, superfans like my friend John Mohan. He lived for Blues hockey to the moment he died. This Cup is for all of John Mohans who kept the franchise going through the lean years. This Cup is for all those diehards who never quit believing that this day could come. It did. Believe it or not, it did. Party on St. Louis, party on.

What a game!  What a series!  As someone originally from St. Louis, boy I wish I was back home.  On a personal note to that story above..  John Mohan was the older brother of my older brother’s friend.  St. Louis is a big city, with a small-town feel.  Thanks to local St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports write Jeff Gordon for giving us that feel.  For videos and such from the local media regarding this historic victory for the Blues, and it’s loyal fans, click on the text above.  GO BLUES!!!     🙂

Stanley Cup Game 7 Ratings Slapshot For NBC & NHL As St. Louis Blues Win 1st Trophy

The 2019 Stanley Cup Final went right to down the Zamboni, but last night’s Game 7 of the NHL series belonged to the St. Louis Blues. Scoring a 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins in Beantown, the Missouri team won the first Stanley Cup in their 52-year old franchise history. For some, this year was a long-overdue rematch of the 1970 Stanley Cup. For others, like the Blues’ Ryan O’Reilly, the adrenaline of victory was clearly surging – as were the ratings. In a series that has seen a number of double-digit upticks over previous years and more than a few records for NBC and the NHL, Wednesday’s Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final snared a 6.2/12 in metered markets. No surprise that’s the best any game has done this year in the early metrics and up 33% from Game 6 on June 9. Up 8% over the last time the Stanley Cup went to a Game 7, the 2019 Game 7 is also the best overnight result for any NHL game going back to 1994.

That’s 25 years folks!  For more, click on the text above.  GO BLUES!!!!!   🙂

St. Louis Blues advance to Stanley Cup Final with Game 6 win against Sharks

The St. Louis Blues advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1970 with a 5-1 win against the San Jose Sharks in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final at Enterprise Center on Tuesday. St. Louis, which won the final three games of the best-of-7 series, will play the Boston Bruins in the Cup Final. Game 1 is at Boston on Monday. ladimir Tarasenko and Brayden Schenn each scored a power-play goal, Ryan O’Reilly had three assists, and Jordan Binnington made 25 saves for the Blues. “The final minutes, counting down there and how loud the rink was and the atmospehere was awesome,” Binnington said. “We’re excited and looking forward to the next round.” Dylan Gambrell scored, and Martin Jones made 14 saves for the Sharks, who were without defenseman Erik Karlsson and forwards Tomas Hertl and Joe Pavelski because of injury. “I was proud of our group tonight,” San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said. “I don’t think the score reflected the work that we put in. I know what the scoreboard said at the end of the night, but I felt we made them earn it tonight. I thought we showed up under tough circumstances. … That’s all you can ask.” Perron gave the Blues a 1-0 lead 1:32 into the first period when he tipped a shot from Sammy Blais. Tarasenko made it 2-0 with a wrist shot from the left face-off circle at 16:16 of the first. He had at least one point in each game of the series (three goals, five assists). “Nobody wants to fly four more hours back to San Jose,” Tarasenko said. “We had a chance like this [to clinch in Game 6 of the first round against the Winnipeg Jets]. Everybody was preparing and ready to end it tonight.”

GO BLUES!!!!!!       🙂

NFL Legend Jim Brown: We Should Not Kneel Instead of ‘Standing Up for Our Flag’

Former NFL player Jim Brown blasted those who decide to kneel instead of stand for the national anthem at a Thursday afternoon press conference outside the White House. “First of all, I’m an American. That flag is my flag,” Brown told the reporters crowded outside the White House. “I don’t think that we should take knees in protest instead of be standing up for our flag.” The NFL legend, along with rapper Kanye West, met with President Trump inside the White House Thursday to discuss issues of importance to the black community. “I gave him my opinion of the overall community of this country,” Brown said. “I expressed my desire to bring a plan, along with his plan, on how to help people. People need jobs, people need education, people need to be attended to, so that’s what I’m talking about.” Brown had publicly endorsed Trump’s 2020 re-election in August, admitting that left-wing black activists would criticize him over his endorsement. The NFL great also met with West shortly after giving Trump his endorsement. Brown has also spoken out against the national anthem protests in the NFL before, saying he would “never kneel” during our national anthem and would “always respect the flag.”

Kudos to Jim for calling the self-righteous, entitlement-minded punks in the NFL who continue to take a knee during the playing of the national anthem.  Jim gets it.  Excellent!    🙂

Week 3: More Empty Seats Plague NFL Stadiums Across the Nation

As the NFL kicks off Week Three, photos of empty stadiums continue making their way across the Internet showing that the league is still struggling to put fans in the seats. Vikings and Jaguars fans have clearly had it, despite the fact that both teams made deep playoff runs last year. According to photos, the Vikings also found fewer fans than they may have hoped at U.S. Bank Stadium. The game did not go their way, either, as they were handled by the Buffalo Bills 27-6. Things looked just as bad for the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium as they lost a close game to the Giants, 27-22. Photos also seem to show a dearth of fans for the Broncos-Ravens game at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore where the Ravens took the day 27-1. it’s apparent the Falcons were not able to fill seats at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Hometown fans that did attend suffered as their team lost to the visiting Saints 43-37. At press time, the Los Angeles Chargers were struggling as they battled the L.A. Rams at home at L. A. Memorial Coliseum. But photos also noted that fans were less interested in the game.

To see photos from these games, click on the text above…and you be the judge.

Another pennant race, another squirrel on the field that sparks a Cardinals rally

For six innings, the Cardinals-Tigers matchup on Sunday was a pitchers’ duel. And then an old friend stopped by: A squirrel scurrying around the field and apparently casting a hex on the opposing team during a close game in the midst of a pennant race? Yes, that’s right: The Rally Squirrel has returned. Of course St. Louis took the lead in the top of the seventh, and of course it did it on a ball that didn’t even leave the infield: Adjust your postseason predictions accordingly.

YEAH!!! If you’re not aware of the infamous “Rally Squirrel,” then Google:  “St. Louis Cardinals Rally Squirrel.”  In the 2011 MLB season, it made several appearances at very key moments.  And, when the Cardinals won the Word Series that year, the guys even had a little pic of a squirrel on their rings to pay homage to the little critter that brought them good luck.  No joke!  You can even get a stuffed rally squirrel…  Yes, your humble blogger here has one.  GO CARDINALS!!   RALLY SQUIRREL!!     🙂

NFL Anthem Protests: 10 Players from 6 Teams Protest on Week One

Ten National Football League (NFL) players from six teams protested, in one way or another, during the playing of the National Anthem in the first week of NFL regular season games. While ESPN reports that only two players knelt during the Anthem, three others raised a fist in protest, one sat on the bench and four more boycotted the Anthem in protest by hiding out in their stadium’s tunnels as it played. ESPN has announced it will not broadcast the National Anthem for any of the Monday Night Football games, including this week’s matchup between the New York Jets and Detroit Lions.

Click on the text above to see a list of who all elected to protest in some fashion this past weekend.  Losers..