Page 1

STA N LEY CU P FI NA L EDIT ION

ThURSDAY • 06.13.2019 • $2.50

4

GAME 7

1

WE DID IT! BLUES WIN SERIES 4-3

Long-suffering Blues finally hoist the Stanley Cup

LAURIE SKRIVAN • lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

Blues center and playoff MVP Ryan O’Reilly raises the Stanley Cup after helping beat the Boston Bruins 4-1 in Game 7 on Wednesday night at TD Garden in Boston.

GAME 1

5/27 at Boston Bos 0 2 2 — 4 Stl 1 10 — 2 GWG: Kuraly

GAME 2

5/29 at Boston Stl 2 0 0 1 — 3 Bos 2 0 0 0 — 2 GWG: Gunnarsson

GAME 3

6/1 at Blues Bos 3 2 2 — 7 Stl 0 1 1 — 2 GWG: Kuraly

GAME 4

6/3 at Blues Stl 20 2 — 4 Bos 1 10 — 2 GWG: O’Reilly

GAME 5

6/6 at Boston Stl 0 1 1 — 2 Bos 0 0 1 — 1 GWG: Perron

GAME 6

Sun. at Blues Bos 104 — 5 Stl 00 1 — 1 GWG: Carlo

GAME 7

Wed. at Boston Stl 20 2 — 4 Bos 0 0 1 — 1 GWG: Pietrangelo

Subscribe for every cold, icy detail at STLtoday.com/subscribenow TODAY’S COMPLETE NEWSPAPER INSIDE STANLEY CUP FINAL EDITION Vol. 141, No. 164 ©2019

1 M


STA N LEY CU P FI NA L EDIT ION

ThURSDAY • 06.13.2019 • $2.50

4

GAME 7

1

WE DID IT! BLUES WIN SERIES 4-3

Long-suffering Blues finally hoist the Stanley Cup

LAURIE SKRIVAN • lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

Blues center and playoff MVP Ryan O’Reilly raises the Stanley Cup after helping beat the Boston Bruins 4-1 in Game 7 on Wednesday night at TD Garden in Boston.

GAME 1

5/27 at Boston Bos 0 2 2 — 4 Stl 1 10 — 2 GWG: Kuraly

GAME 2

5/29 at Boston Stl 2 0 0 1 — 3 Bos 2 0 0 0 — 2 GWG: Gunnarsson

GAME 3

6/1 at Blues Bos 3 2 2 — 7 Stl 0 1 1 — 2 GWG: Kuraly

GAME 4

6/3 at Blues Stl 20 2 — 4 Bos 1 10 — 2 GWG: O’Reilly

GAME 5

6/6 at Boston Stl 0 1 1 — 2 Bos 0 0 1 — 1 GWG: Perron

GAME 6

6/9 at Blues Bos 104 — 5 Stl 00 1 — 1 GWG: Carlo

GAME 7

6/12 at Boston Stl 20 2 — 4 Bos 0 0 1 — 1 GWG: Pietrangelo

Subscribe for every cold, icy detail at STLtoday.com/subscribenow TODAY’S COMPLETE NEWSPAPER INSIDE STANLEY CUP FINAL EDITION Vol. 141, No. 164 ©2019

2 M


STANLEY CUP FINAL

S2 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

4

GAME 7

BLUES WIN SERIES 4-3

M 2 • THUrSDAy • 06.13.2019

1

PHOTOS BY J.B. FORBES • jforbes@post-dispatch.com

Blues goalie Jordan Binnington stops a shot by the Bruins’ Marcus Johansson with Blues defenseman Vince Dunn helping out during the first period of Game 7.

BLUES HOIST THEIR FIRST CUP O’Reilly is MVP after 4-1 win in Game 7 vs. Bruins

BLUES 4, BRUINS 1

BY JIM THOMAS St. Louis Post-Dispatch

S

Blues Boston

BOSTON

tanley met Gloria on Wednesday night in TD Garden, and for Blues fans everywhere it’s a match made in hockey heaven. The wait is over, the curse lifted. After 51 seasons, the Blues are Stanley Cup champions by virtue of their 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins in Game 7. Rookie goalie Jordan Binnington kept the game from slipping away in the first period, when the Blues went more than 16 minutes without a shot on goal and the Bruins pelted him with 12 shots. Conn Smythe Trophy winner Ryan O’Reilly gave the Blues a lead they’d never lose with a tip-in goal late in the first period. Captain Alex Pietrangelo, Brayden Schenn and finally Zach Sanford followed with goals to make it a 4-0 game in the third period. The defense held firm in front of Binnington, and it was all over but the shouting. There was plenty of shouting, cheering, hugging, tears on the ice afterwards. It was mayhem, the happiest type of mayhem imaginable. There was Pat Maroon, the pride of Oakville, with son Anthony. Colton Parayko, handing the Stanley Cup to young Laila Anderson who’s battling a rare disease. The “Sasky Boys” — Saskatchewan natives Brayden Schenn and Jaden Schwartz — posing with the Cup in front of several hundred Blues fans who somehow found their way into the Garden. And Pietrangelo, pausing as he spoke to reporters on the ice to listen to chants of “Let’s Go Blues! Let’s Go Blues!” He goes down in history as the first Blues player to lift the Cup. “Heavier than I thought,” Pietrangelo joked. “My first thought was make sure Bouw (Jay Bouwmeester) gets an opportunity because that’s what you work for. You work for your teammates.” Bouwmeester, a 16-year vet who went his first 10 years in the league without playing in a single playoff game, was the first to get the Cup from Pietrangelo. And then Alexander Steen, Chris Thorburn, David Perron. ... and on it went. The Blues have the Cup. “It means the world to me,” Maroon said. “To bring it back home to St. Louis, it can’t be more better. And being from St. Louis and being with those fans when I was young. And even when I played in the National Hockey League for other teams, I still watched those Blues and how they suffered — and how those fans suffered. “Not anymore. We did it!” Yes they did. It actually happened. You can say it, shout it. The Blues are

2 0

0 0

2 1

— —

4 1

First Period Blues: O’Reilly 28 (Pietrangelo, Bouwmeester), 16:47. Blues: Pietrangelo 13 (Schwartz), 19:52. Penalties: Parayko, STL, (delay of game), 7:57. Second Period None. Penalties: None. Third Period Blues: Schenn 17 (Schwartz, Tarasenko), 11:25. Blues: Sanford 8 (Perron, O’Reilly), 15:22. Bos: Grzelcyk 3 (Krejci), 17:50. Penalties: None. Shots on Goal 4 Blues Boston 12

6 11

10 10

— —

20 33

Power plays St. Louis 0 of 0; Boston 0 of 1. Goaltenders St. Louis, Binnington 24-5-1 (33 shots-32 saves). Boston, Rask 27-13-5 (20-16). A: 17,565 (17,565). T: 2:26.

Blues players celebrate during the first period after Ryan O’Reilly (second from left) tips in a Jay Bouwmeester shot for the first goal of the game.

Stanley Cup champions, going from worst to first in one season. No team in the four major North American team sports (NHL, NBA, NFL, MLB) had ever been in last place overall even one-quarter into a season and gone on to make the league championship series (or in the case of the NFL, the Super Bowl). The Blues, last in points on the morning of Jan. 3, have gone one better. They’ve won the whole thing. It probably doesn’t happen without O’Reilly, who has been playing with a rib injury for much of these playoffs. That’s the reason why his faceoff wins dropped dramatically and his shot seemed to lack its usual zip. “He was the guy that kind of kept us afloat a little bit at the start of the year,” Bouwmeester said. “He was probably the one consistent guy that was playing at a high level. ... right from the start he was lights out.” There’s no doubt O’Reilly helped get them across the finish line. His firstperiod goal gave him eight points in the series (five goals, three assists), a Blues record for a Stanley Cup Final. His 22 points in the playoffs on eight goals and

14 assists set another Blues record. What a journey it’s been for O’Reilly with the Blues. As he sat at the podium with the Conn Smythe Trophy at his side, O’Reilly hearkened back to July 1 when he spoke to Blues general manager Doug Armstrong on the phone after being traded to St. Louis from Buffalo. “I’m looking at the roster, I was so amped up,” O’Reilly said. “I just said, ‘Let’s go win a Cup.’” And here they are. With just 3:13 left in the first period, he tipped in a Bouwmeester shot from near the blueline for the game’s first goal. As such he became only the third player in Stanley Cup Final history to score his team’s opening goal in four consecutive games, joining Sid Smith in 1951 and Norm Ullman in 1966. With just 7.9 seconds left in the period, the Blues struck again. Jaden Schwartz carried the puck out of the neutral zone past the blueline, eluding a would-be check to keep the play alive. Near the goal line, Schwartz passed to back to Pietrangelo, who skated in patiently on Tuukka Rask and beat the Boston goaltender with a backhand for a 2-0 lead.

Referees: Gord Dwyer, Chris Rooney. Linesmen: Derek Amell, Scott Cherrey.

It was Pietrangelo’s third goal of the postseason; he also had a secondary assist on the O’Reilly goal. So he extended his totals to 16 assists and 19 points — both Blues records for a single postseason. “Great play by Schwartzy; Schenner backs their D off and lets me drive the lane,” Pietrangelo said. “It was a big goal at the time, but those last two really pushed us over the edge.” That would the third-period goals by Schenn and Sanford to spoil the Garden party. Binnington did the rest, keeping the Blues in the game in the first period, and keeping the Bruins off the scoreboard until just 2 minutes 10 seconds remained to play. He entered the game 7-2 this postseason following a loss, with a 1.86 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage. Make that 8-2 after Wednesday. “We know he’s going to be ready,” Pietrangelo had told reporters before Game 7. “You guys have seen the way he goes about his business. I’m not too worried about him.” As things turned out there was no reason to worry. Not at all. Jim Thomas @jthom1 on Twitter jthomas@post-dispatch.com


STANLEY CUP FINAL

S2 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

4

GAME 7

BLUES WIN SERIES 4-3

M 2 • THUrSDAy • 06.13.2019

1

PHOTOS BY J.B. FORBES • jforbes@post-dispatch.com

Blues goalie Jordan Binnington stops a shot by the Bruins’ Marcus Johansson with Blues defenseman Vince Dunn helping out during the first period of Game 7.

BLUES HOIST THEIR FIRST CUP O’Reilly is MVP after 4-1 win in Game 7 vs. Bruins

BLUES 4, BRUINS 1

BY JIM THOMAS St. Louis Post-Dispatch

S

Blues Boston

BOSTON

tanley met Gloria on Wednesday night in TD Garden, and for Blues fans everywhere it’s a match made in hockey heaven. The wait is over, the curse lifted. After 51 seasons, the Blues are Stanley Cup champions by virtue of their 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins in Game 7. Rookie goalie Jordan Binnington kept the game from slipping away in the first period, when the Blues went more than 16 minutes without a shot on goal and the Bruins pelted him with 12 shots. Conn Smythe Trophy winner Ryan O’Reilly gave the Blues a lead they’d never lose with a tip-in goal late in the first period. Captain Alex Pietrangelo, Brayden Schenn and finally Zach Sanford followed with goals to make it a 4-0 game in the third period. The defense held firm in front of Binnington, and it was all over but the shouting. There was plenty of shouting, cheering, hugging, tears on the ice afterwards. It was mayhem, the happiest type of mayhem imaginable. There was Pat Maroon, the pride of Oakville, with son Anthony. Colton Parayko, handing the Stanley Cup to young Laila Anderson who’s battling a rare disease. The “Sasky Boys” — Saskatchewan natives Brayden Schenn and Jaden Schwartz — posing with the Cup in front of several hundred Blues fans who somehow found their way into the Garden. And Pietrangelo, pausing as he spoke to reporters on the ice to listen to chants of “Let’s Go Blues! Let’s Go Blues!” He goes down in history as the first Blues player to lift the Cup. “Heavier than I thought,” Pietrangelo joked. “My first thought was make sure Bouw (Jay Bouwmeester) gets an opportunity because that’s what you work for. You work for your teammates.” Bouwmeester, a 16-year vet who went his first 10 years in the league without playing in a single playoff game, was the first to get the Cup from Pietrangelo. And then Alexander Steen, Chris Thorburn, David Perron. ... and on it went. The Blues have the Cup. “It means the world to me,” Maroon said. “To bring it back home to St. Louis, it can’t be more better. And being from St. Louis and being with those fans when I was young. And even when I played in the National Hockey League for other teams, I still watched those Blues and how they suffered — and how those fans suffered. “Not anymore. We did it!” Yes they did. It actually happened. You can say it, shout it. The Blues are

2 0

0 0

2 1

— —

4 1

First Period Blues: O’Reilly 28 (Pietrangelo, Bouwmeester), 16:47. Blues: Pietrangelo 13 (Schwartz), 19:52. Penalties: Parayko, STL, (delay of game), 7:57. Second Period None. Penalties: None. Third Period Blues: Schenn 17 (Schwartz, Tarasenko), 11:25. Blues: Sanford 8 (Perron, O’Reilly), 15:22. Bos: Grzelcyk 3 (Krejci), 17:50. Penalties: None. Shots on Goal 4 Blues Boston 12

6 11

10 10

— —

20 33

Power plays St. Louis 0 of 0; Boston 0 of 1. Goaltenders St. Louis, Binnington 24-5-1 (33 shots-32 saves). Boston, Rask 27-13-5 (20-16). A: 17,565 (17,565). T: 2:26.

Blues players celebrate during the first period after Ryan O’Reilly (second from left) tips in a Jay Bouwmeester shot for the first goal of the game.

Stanley Cup champions, going from worst to first in one season. No team in the four major North American team sports (NHL, NBA, NFL, MLB) had ever been in last place overall even one-quarter into a season and gone on to make the league championship series (or in the case of the NFL, the Super Bowl). The Blues, last in points on the morning of Jan. 3, have gone one better. They’ve won the whole thing. It probably doesn’t happen without O’Reilly, who has been playing with a rib injury for much of these playoffs. That’s the reason why his faceoff wins dropped dramatically and his shot seemed to lack its usual zip. “He was the guy that kind of kept us afloat a little bit at the start of the year,” Bouwmeester said. “He was probably the one consistent guy that was playing at a high level. ... right from the start he was lights out.” There’s no doubt O’Reilly helped get them across the finish line. His firstperiod goal gave him eight points in the series (five goals, three assists), a Blues record for a Stanley Cup Final. His 22 points in the playoffs on eight goals and

14 assists set another Blues record. What a journey it’s been for O’Reilly with the Blues. As he sat at the podium with the Conn Smythe Trophy at his side, O’Reilly hearkened back to July 1 when he spoke to Blues general manager Doug Armstrong on the phone after being traded to St. Louis from Buffalo. “I’m looking at the roster, I was so amped up,” O’Reilly said. “I just said, ‘Let’s go win a Cup.’” And here they are. With just 3:13 left in the first period, he tipped in a Bouwmeester shot from near the blueline for the game’s first goal. As such he became only the third player in Stanley Cup Final history to score his team’s opening goal in four consecutive games, joining Sid Smith in 1951 and Norm Ullman in 1966. With just 7.9 seconds left in the period, the Blues struck again. Jaden Schwartz carried the puck out of the neutral zone past the blueline, eluding a would-be check to keep the play alive. Near the goal line, Schwartz passed to back to Pietrangelo, who skated in patiently on Tuukka Rask and beat the Boston goaltender with a backhand for a 2-0 lead.

Referees: Gord Dwyer, Chris Rooney. Linesmen: Derek Amell, Scott Cherrey.

It was Pietrangelo’s third goal of the postseason; he also had a secondary assist on the O’Reilly goal. So he extended his totals to 16 assists and 19 points — both Blues records for a single postseason. “Great play by Schwartzy; Schenner backs their D off and lets me drive the lane,” Pietrangelo said. “It was a big goal at the time, but those last two really pushed us over the edge.” That would the third-period goals by Schenn and Sanford to spoil the Garden party. Binnington did the rest, keeping the Blues in the game in the first period, and keeping the Bruins off the scoreboard until just 2 minutes 10 seconds remained to play. He entered the game 7-2 this postseason following a loss, with a 1.86 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage. Make that 8-2 after Wednesday. “We know he’s going to be ready,” Pietrangelo had told reporters before Game 7. “You guys have seen the way he goes about his business. I’m not too worried about him.” As things turned out there was no reason to worry. Not at all. Jim Thomas @jthom1 on Twitter jthomas@post-dispatch.com


06.13.2019 • Thursday • M 1

STANLEY CUP FINAL

sT. LOuIs POsT-dIsPaTCh • S3


STANLEY CUP FINAL

S4 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

M 1 • THURSDAY • 06.13.2019

FAIRY-TALE FINISH

Resilient Blues prove that dreams really can come true BEN FREDERICKSON St. Louis Post-Dispatch

T

BOSTON

hey needed one more moment. Five arrived. First came the kiss of O’Reilly. Then the Captain beat The Rat. Brayden Schenn grabbed the win. Zach Sanford, the Blue who grew up cheering the Bruins, delivered the dagger. And the never-nervous kid watched it all, blinking just once, a wink. Four to one. From worst, to first, to forever. Your St. Louis Blues are champions. Their names will be engraved into the Stanley Cup, assigned to newborns they will never know, cemented into St. Louis sports lore. Maroon no longer is a color. Kansas City can’t touch our Chief. The team that once punched one another at a practice dog-piled after throwing their sticks and gloves into the air. Their faces will be framed above bars and on basement walls. Their uniform numbers will be inked into skin. They never will be farther away than one note of Gloria, one mention of little Laila Anderson, one thought of the calendar year 2019. They will be found in the garage doors dented from pucks shot by the street hockey players they inspired, in the oral histories those kids pass down to their own children, in the countless lessons they taught all of us not just about hockey, but life. What is Jordan Binnington, a hero who emerged from thin air, if not a reminder that others only define you if you let them? What is Ryan O’Reilly, your Conn Smythe Trophy winner, if not a testament to hard work rewarded? What is Jay Bouwmeester, a champion for the first time in 16 seasons, if not an example of good things coming to those who wait? What is Pat Maroon, the pride of Oakville, if not a lesson that you really can come home? Weave them together, and the tapestry of your Stanley Cup champion Blues tells an even more powerful tale. The team with the fewest points in the NHL on the morning of Jan. 3 became the first team in any of the four major sports leagues to rise from last place in the league standings after more than a quarter of the season, then still qualify for the league championship. And on Wednesday night at TD Garden, the Blues did what their predecessors could not: Finish. For the first time since their chase began in the 196768 season, the Blues stand alone, unrivaled in their relentlessness and inspiration. They taught us that sometimes heroes are just waiting to hear their names called. That a true team can achieve the impossible. That the past only holds you back if you let it. They woke up Wednesday morning as members of a cursed team, one of just six major sports franchises to reach 50-plus years of existence with zero championships to show for it. No NHL team had suffered like the Blues, who had played more games in the NHL without a championship than any other team. Their Stanley Cup curse was planted deep, with three sweeps in three trips to the Stanley Cup Final in the first three years of this organization’s existence. It grew annually, like rings on a tree, during 41 unsuccessful appearances in the postseason. Now the ring goes on the finger. At last. For the fans who waited 51 years, eight months and one day since the Blues played their first regular-season game, rejoice. You cursed and cried and died waiting to witness this, some wearing Blues sweaters to the grave. You stretched budgets to buy season tickets, rooted from bar stools and military bases, and when the Blues ascended, so did you. The Enterprise Center filled to the brim for road-game watch parties. So many people wanted to watch Game 7 together, Busch Stadium opened its doors. Someone tell Kroenke. The players fed off your yard signs, your bumper stickers, your honks and hollers offered when you spotted them on the highway and in the grocery store. They heard you. They felt you. They hated making you wait. They made it up to you, didn’t they?

J.B. FORBES • jforbes@post-dispatch.com

Teammates Jaden Schwartz and Brayden Schenn hug goalie Jordan Binnington after the Blues beat the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup.

They went 10-3 on the road in the postseason, becoming the first team to lift the Cup despite a losing postseason record at home (6-7). Amazing. The scar tissue from countless close calls and so many self-inflicted wounds can begin to heal now, thanks to the investment of owner Tom Stillman and his partners, thanks to Doug Armstrong’s dedication. Bobby Orr’s leap, the failed sale to Saskatoon, the cruel hand of Judge Edward Houston, the lost years of Laurie, Bob Gassoff’s motorcycle accident, Chris Pronger’s trade, they can finally be bound in a history book and placed on a shelf. While we’re at it, put the congratulatory advertisements accidentally released early by the PostDispatch on the shelf too, will you? Let them gather dust. The seemingly lost bunch that stumbled into a 7-9-3 start went 54-29-6 after Armstrong made the decision to fire coach Mike Yeo and promote Craig Berube as interim. We doubted Chief. We called for Coach Q instead. Forgive us, Chief. Berube’s Blues stacked more regular and postseason wins than any other team between his first game and Wednesday’s Game 7. “I have a good feeling,” Berube said Wednesday morning. Good call, Chief. Great game, Binnington. Hours before Wednesday’s win, the 25-year-old rookie goalie described watching Marc-André Fleury define a Game 7.Then he put on his pads and did an impressive impression. Spinning, sliding, screaming behind his mask, Binnington turned away Bruin after Bruin in Boston’s first-period flurry and stopped 32 of 33 shots in the game. He made saves in splits, swallowed pucks with his stomach and snapped them shut with his glove. The Blues went 4419-5 between the 25-year-old rookie’s first win and his last, the biggest win in the history of St. Louis sports. The Blues won a franchise-best 16 postseason games, played a franchisehigh 26 and refused to lose back-to-back games in their final 15. They snapped a 2-2 series tie against the Jets in the first round. They overcame a 3-2 deficit against the Stars in the second. They turned a 1-2 disadvantage and one of the worst missed calls in the history of playoff hockey into a pivot point against the Sharks in the third. And then they finished the Bruins in seven, snapping St. Louis’ four-game losing streak to Boston in title games. We will remember their lessons forever. Their biggest? Deliver on promises made. It was O’Reilly, the Blues’ most consistent player from start to finish, who told beloved Blues legend Bob Plager that he would get him his long-awaited parade. Market Street, get ready. Ben Frederickson @Ben_Fred on Twitter bfrederickson@post-dispatch.com

LET’S GO

BLUES

TEAM PHYSICIANS for the ST. LOUIS BLUES and YOU


S4 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

STANLEY CUP FINAL

M 2 • THURSDAY • 06.13.2019

FAIRY-TALE FINISH

Resilient Blues prove that dreams really can come true BEN FREDERICKSON St. Louis Post-Dispatch

T

BOSTON

hey needed one more moment. Instead they made a million. First came the kiss of O’Reilly. Then the Captain beat The Rat. Brayden Schenn got the big one. Zach Sanford, the Blue who grew up cheering the Bruins, delivered the dagger. And the never-nervous kid watched it all, blinking just once, a wink. And then, the flood. Snow angels on the blue line. Blues fans begging ushers to stay a little longer. Cold Bud Lights and hot TV mics picking up celebratory curse words. Euphoria, on ice. Four to one. From worst, to first, to forever. Your St. Louis Blues are champions. Their names will be engraved into the Stanley Cup, assigned to newborns they will never know, cemented into St. Louis sports lore. Maroon no longer is a color. Kansas City can’t touch our Chief. The team that once punched one another at a practice now dog-piled after throwing their sticks and gloves into the air. Their faces will be framed above bars and on basement walls. Their uniform numbers will be inked into skin. They never will be farther away than one note of “Gloria,” one mention of little Laila Anderson, one thought of the calendar year 2019. Their history will be passed down for generations. They didn’t teach us hockey. They showed us how to live. What is Jordan Binnington, a hero who emerged from thin air, if not a reminder that others only define you if you let them? “Pretty incredible, man,” he said. What is Ryan O’Reilly, your Conn Smythe Trophy winner whose subtle flip of the stick scored goal one, if not a testament to hard work rewarded? “Quality, consistently,” said O’Reilly’s father, Brian, who shared his son played through cracked ribs. What is Pat Maroon, the pride of Oakville, if not a lesson that you really can come home? “St. Louis, we freaking did it,” he said. Weave them together, and the tapestry of your Stanley Cup champions tell an even more powerful tale. “Character,” owner Tom Stillman said, tears in his eyes. “That’s how they will be remembered.” The team with the fewest points in the NHL on the morning of Jan. 3 became the first team in any of the four major sports leagues to rise from last place in the league standings after more than a quarter of the season, then still qualify for the league championship. And on Wednesday night at TD Garden, the Blues did what their predecessors could not: Finish. For the first time since their chase began in the 196768 season, the Blues stand alone, unrivaled in their relentlessness and inspiration. “It’s a hell of a story to tell” said captain Alex Pietrangelo, who hustled past an exhausted Brad Marchand to score the second goal.“It’s (frankly) unbelievable.” The Blues taught us that sometimes heroes are just waiting to hear their names called. That a true team can achieve the impossible. That the past only holds you back if you let it. They woke up Wednesday morning cursed, one of just six major sports franchises to reach 50-plus years of existence with zero championships to show for it. No NHL team had suffered like theirs, the leader in games played without a parade. Their Stanley Cup curse was planted deep, with three sweeps in three trips to the Stanley Cup Final in the first three years of this organization’s existence. It grew annually, like rings on a tree, during 41 unsuccessful appearances in the postseason. Now the ring goes on the finger. For the fans who waited 51 years, eight months and one day since the Blues played their first regular-season game, rejoice. You cursed and cried and died waiting to witness this, some wearing Blues sweaters to the grave. You stretched budgets to buy tickets, rooted from bar stools and military bases, and when the Blues ascended, so did you.Enterprise Center filled to the brim for road-game watch parties. So many people wanted to watch Game 7 together, Busch Stadium opened its doors. “Gloria” was played at a Phish concert in St.Louis and at a Cardinals game in Miami. Someone tell Kroenke. “Thanks for sticking with us,” Stillman said when asked for his message to the

J.B. FORBES • jforbes@post-dispatch.com

Teammates Jaden Schwartz and Brayden Schenn hug goaltender Jordan Binnington after the Blues beat the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup.

fans. “Thanks for believing we would get this done one day. This is for you.” They heard you. They felt you. They hated making you wait. They made it up to you, didn’t they? They went 10-3 on the road in the postseason, becoming the first team to lift the Cup despite a losing postseason record at home (6-7). Amazing. The scar tissue from countless close calls and so many self-inflicted wounds can begin to heal now. Bobby Orr’s leap, the failed sale to Saskatoon, the cruel hand of Judge Edward Houston, the lost years of Laurie, Bob Gassoff’s motorcycle accident, Chris Pronger’s trade, they finally can be bound in a history book and placed on a shelf. (While we’re at it, put the congratulatory advertisements accidentally released early by the Post-Dispatch on the shelf too, will you?) Let them gather dust. Better yet, drown them in beer. A seemingly lost bunch that stumbled to a 7-9-3 start went 54-29-6 after GM Doug Armstrong made the decision to fire coach Mike Yeo and promote Craig Berube as interim boss. We doubted Chief. We called for “Coach Q” instead. Forgive us, Chief. Berube’s Blues stacked more regular and postseason wins than any other team between his first game and Wednesday’s Game 7. He’s just the seventh coach to take over midseason and win it all. “I have a good feeling,” Berube said Wednesday morning. Good call, Chief, and congrats on the incoming contract extension. Great game, Binnington. Spinning, sliding, screaming behind his mask, the Blues’ goalie turned away Bruin after Bruin, stopping 32 of 33 shots. Schenn’s finish on a Vladimir Tarasenko pass added insurance. Sanford’s tap-in of a David Perron pass, a goal he dreamed of scoring for the Bruins in street hockey games as a kid, added more. But Binnington didn’t need more. The Blues went 4419-5 from the 25-year-old rookie’s first win through his last, the biggest win in the history of St. Louis sports. The Blues won a franchise-best 16 postseason games, played a franchisehigh 26 and refused to lose back-to-back games in their final 15. They snapped a 2-2 series tie against the Jets in the first round. They overcame a 3-2 deficit against the Stars in the second. They turned a 1-2 disadvantage and one of the worst missed calls in the history of playoff hockey into a pivot point against the Sharks in the third. And then they finished the Bruins in seven, ending St. Louis’ four-game losing streak to Boston in title games. “Battled hard all year,” Berube said. “Now you finally get to hoist the Cup, and it’s an unbelievable feeling.” We will remember their lessons forever. The biggest? Deliver on promises made. It was O’Reilly, the Blues’ most consistent player from start to finish, who told beloved Blues legend Bob Plager that he would get him his long-awaited parade. Market Street, get ready.

LET’S GO

BLUES

TEAM PHYSICIANS for the ST. LOUIS BLUES and YOU


STANLEY CUP FINAL

06.13.2019 • THURSDAY • M 1

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH • S5

THIS IS FOR ... ALL OF YOU The Cup belongs to a town that waited and waited and never gave up

BENJAMIN HOCHMAN St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Y

BOSTON

ou. This is for you. This is for St. Louis, the city whose team won the Stanley Cup, a sentence that seemed unfathomable as 2019 began — and now 2019 will be forever remembered as the year of the first championship. This is for, of course, the players and coaches and executives and everyone who contributed to this season’s Blues. But we know darn well it’s for more folks than just that. This is for whoever taught you to love the Blues. This is for whoever you taught to love the Blues. This is for Bobby Plager. This is for the original Blues, those strangers who skated into our lives and established a culture. This is for Tom Stillman ... and every other St. Louisan who feels as if he or she owns a piece of the team. This is for living statues who walk our streets — Federko, MacInnis and Hull. And Oates. And Chris Pronger and Brendan Shanahan. And Mike Shanahan and Ron Caron. And Twister and Chaser. This is for all the men who wore the“C.” This is even for, in a weird way, David Backes. This is for Garry Unger and Joey Mullen and Wayne Babych and even Wayne Gretzky. And Red and Walt and CuJo and Liuuuuuuuut. This is for the fans who flew from St. Louis to Boston, to cheer here and witness this. And feel this. This is for the fans who allow the Blues to determine their moods, to sway their emotions, to make them full. This is for the fans who root for the St. Louis part more than the Blues part. This is for the fan who couldn’t tell you the difference between a forecheck and a poke check, but just enjoys the speed and the spirit of the games. This is for every worker who has spent part of his or her paycheck on a ticket to see the Blues. This is for Bob Gassoff and Pavol Demitra. This is for Dan Kelly, the broadcaster who taught us the intricacies of this sport with his golden voice.

LAURIE SKRIVAN • lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

Jaden Schwartz, left, and Jay Bouwmeester, right, celebrate a first-period Blues goal by Alex Pietrangelo, center, Wednesday night.

This is for Norm Kramer, the first Blues organist who wore those shiny jackets, and for Jeremy Boyer, the current Blues organist who can play “Hallelujah” at churches — and now can at Enterprise Center. This is for the fan who had a crew cut and then shaggy long hair and then a shorter combed-across cut and then a mullet and then thinning hair and now no hair — and never saw the Blues win the Cup until now. This is for the Sutters and the Plagers and the Cavallinis and all the St. Louis brothers who dreamed, while playing in local rinks or driveways or streets, that they someday could be like the Sutters or the Plagers or the Cavallinis. This is for those Blues who gave us the greatest of goals, be it Ron Schock and Mike Crombeen or Doug Wickenheiser and Troy Brouwer. This is for the memories of The Arena that waft in our minds like the smoke used to waft in the rafters there, on Oakland Avenue, where so many of you all grew up. This is for the Towel Man up in Section 314. This is for Ken Wilson of “Oh baby!”

And for Charles Glenn of “O’er the ramparts.” This is for everyone who knew Pat Maroon growing up and every kid growing up who now wants to be Pat Maroon. This is for Laila. And Ari. This is for the Blues alumni who came and never left. From Mike Zuke and Perry Turnbull of previous generations to Jeff Brown and the fellows today, these men have passed their hockey knowledge down to the St. Louis sons and daughters — theirs and their neighbors — making this Midwest town the heartland of hockey, which continues to grow with each winter. As newly minted champion Jay Bouwmeester said, “Hockey is more ingrained in the community, because a lot of people who played here stayed here.” This is for my friend who just turned 40 and is married with a daughter and is the most “grown-up” of all my friends — and he once shared that if the Blues ever won the Stanley Cup, he’d be “the drunkest guy at the parade,” which makes you wonder about how everyone else would behave. This is for the bars and Barcaloungers and barbecues where Blues fans gather and unite and scream and dream.

This is for the community that’s laced together like hockey skates. There’s something intimate about all of this. This is not to knock Boston or other hubs that win a championship and go big-city berserk. From the outside, it just looks very large, sweeping, mass-produced or, really, “Mass” produced. We’re St. Louis, and we so often fight to be known and respected as big, but in this instance of the Stanley Cup Final, being a “smaller big city” makes it feel more of a shared experience. This is for the babies just born — such as MacKenzie Gloria Marie Kovarik, with her middle name inspired by the song. Babies who have no idea what they were born into — a world where the Blues are champions, where the Blues are the envy of the National Hockey League. They’re born into a world that their parents or grandparents could not relate to, because the St. Louis Blues, for generations, have often been a good team but never the best team. And now, St. Louis’ Blues are the Stanley Cup champions. Benjamin Hochman @hochman on Twitter bhochman@post-dispatch.com

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STANLEY CUP FINAL

06.13.2019 • THURSDAY • M 2

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH • S5

A TRIP TO FANTASY LAND ‘Unreal ... unfathomable ... unbelievable ... never in a million years’

BENJAMIN HOCHMAN St. Louis Post-Dispatch

I

BOSTON

t’s like a fantasy land down here on the ice — a dizzying and delirious and delightful feeling as you wander around the whirring and wooooooooing Blues. Everywhere you look, every turn, there’s just joy. There’s goalie Jordan Binnington, an instant icon back in St. Louis, hollering for his dad to come over and lift the Stanley Cup. There’s coach Craig Berube with this great grin. There’s the inspirational Laila Anderson, the 11-year-old Blues fan battling a rare disease, posing with the Blues players who requested selfies with her. And there’s Patrick Maroon, the everyman Superman, the kid from St. Louis who became a Blue and helped his hometown win the Stanley Cup for the first time ever. Game 7. Wednesday night. Blues 4, Bruins 1. “We did it!” Maroon said as tears filled his eyes and his voice cracked. “We did it. There’s nothing else. We put everything on the line from January 3 on, and we deserve this. And what a way to finish it, on the road where we play great. ... Me and my son will take this to our graves. We’ll have memories for life.” The 2018-19 St. Louis Blues are the greatest story in St. Louis sports history. If the resilience of the 2011 Cardinals was legendary, consider these Blues, last in the league in points on January 3. And look over there — the Pietrangelo family is hoisting the Stanley Cup as cameras flash and eyes flitter. Blues fans slap the glass here at Boston’s TD Garden and, man, you can only imagine just what is going on in St. Louis bars and living rooms and anywhere the fans scream and dream. “I can’t even fathom what this is going to be like these next few days with these fans,” Maroon said. “These fans deserve it more than anything.” There’s something intimate about all of this. This is not to knock Boston or other hubs that win a championship and go bigcity berserk. From the outside,it just looks very large, sweeping, mass-produced (or, in this state, “Mass” produced). We’re St. Louis, and we so often fight to be known and respected as big, but in this instance of the Stanley Cup Final, being a “smaller big city” makes it feel even more of a shared experience.

J.B. FORBES • jforbes@post-dispatch.com

Blues coach Craig Berube hugs Blues legend Bob Plager after the team secured the franchise’s first Stanley Cup on Wednesday night in Boston.

“It’s a nice ending to a story, for sure — it had to be this way, man,” said Binnington, the fourth-string goalie who became the starter and now a star. “I can’t believe where we’re at. It’s awesome.” Binnington’s girlfriend, Canadian actress Cristine Prosperi, was asked if it’s sunk in to him what it means to the people

of St. Louis? Jordan, of course, isn’t very open to reporters. “Yeah, we talk about it all the time, just how important this is for the city, and how he doesn’t want to let the city down,” Prosperi shared. “That he just wants to make them proud. The community has been so amazing — they’ve been behind

him and supporting him, and we’re just so happy to bring the Cup back for them. ... “I mean, it’s crazy. Just to put it in the magnitude that we were in San Antonio at the beginning of the year. And now we’re in the Stanley Cup Final and we won the Stanley Cup. I’m just so proud of him, he has worked at this his entire life, he has dreamed of this.” Bobby Plager, the septuagenarian former defenseman,is a Blues lifer.The Blues talked about winning this for him — and for all the alumni who bled red on their blue sweaters but never won it all. “It’s unreal, it’s unbelievable,” Plager said from the ice. “Bobby Plager didn’t win it, there are a bunch of guys out there who won it, and they won it for me. “They called me over to lift the Stanley Cup. It hasn’t sunk in yet. It’s unreal for the players, our fans back in St. Louis — we’re coming home for a parade. It’s a little heavier than I thought. You know, I’ve got two bad shoulders, I needed help to lift it up, just to hold it above my head and give it a little kiss. It’s what you dream about. Never did it as a player, but this is just as good.” For Phil Maroon, Patrick’s dad, he felt the fantasy land, too. “Never in a million years,” he said, trying to comprehend what just happened.“I remember all those days in the basement. They had the trophy down there, they’d be playing for the Stanley Cup,and now — this is real. And it’s something that I can’t believe. “The fans of St. Louis, I’m so happy for them. ... My dad was a season-ticket holder from the inception. From 1967 until the day he passed away in 2004. I remember going to all those games with my boys. My dad had two tickets and I’d buy two obstructed view tickets for like $10, go down to his seats, put two boys in one seat and put Patrick on my lap in the other. To see this now? Unbelievable. And all the near misses in the past. And now we’re here.” The St. Louis Blues are Stanley Cup champions. It stinks that we have to go back to the real world now. This has been some sort of magical vacation for Blues fans,into uncharted territory.This run has introduced us to new heroes, established others as St. Louis stalwarts. It’s put Berube,in just half a season,into rare air of St. Louis coaches and managers. Along the way, we met Laila and Gloria and showed the sports world just how much St. Louis cares about its hockey team. Benjamin Hochman @hochman on Twitter bhochman@post-dispatch.com

LGB

HEAR like you did in 1970... the last time we made it to the finals.

ONLY

$998

*$2,021

LIMITED TIME ONLY

original

*FOR ONE HEARING AID Origin II Hearing Aid

*Not valid on previous purchases. Fully refundable deposit may be required.

GET STARTED WITH A

FREE

HEARING SCREENING + DEMONSTRATION

Schedule a FREE hearing screening with our Beltone Factory trained specialists. Get a 30 Day Trial when you stop into Beltone and try a new pair of hearing aids.

Schedule Your Appointment TODAY! MidwestBeltone.com

1-888-879-4250

ALTON | BELLEVILLE | EDWARDSVILLE | GRANITE CITY | GREENVILLE | JERSEYVILLE | O'FALLON | STAUNTON | WATERLOO BRENTWOOD | CAPE GIRARDEAU | CHIPPEWA | CREVE COEUR | FESTUS | FLORISSANT | LEMAY FERRY MANCHESTER | O'FALLON | ST CHARLES | TESSON FERRY | TROY | WARSON WOODS | WASHINGTON


STANLEY CUP FINAL

S6 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

M 1 • THUrSDAy • 06.13.2019

SCENES FROM GAME 7

COLTER PETERSON • cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

Zach Lowe cheers following the Blues’ first goal during the Stanley Cup Final Game 7 watch party on Wednesday night at Enterprise Center.

DAVID CARSON • dcarson@post-dispatch.com

Karen Minnihan, center, from Lake St. Louis, and other fans cheer at a watch party at Busch Stadium after the Blues scored their first goal Wednesday night.

LAURIE SKRIVAN • lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

Blues center Oskar Sundqvist flattens Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo in the second period of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden in Boston.

CHRISTIAN GOODEN • cgooden@post-dispatch.com

Emily Kirisits, left, of Des Peres, high-fives Maura Duggan as they celebrate with Hunter Rohlf at Bar Louie after the Blues’ second goal Wednesday night.

BRIAN MUNOZ • bmunoz@post-dispatch.com

Tim Hamilton, of St. Charles, reacts to a play on Wednesday during the second period of Game 7 in a watch party at Ballpark Village.

ROBERT COHEN • rcohen@post-dispatch.com.

Hannah Rowland, right, cheers on the Blues with her inflatable Stanley Cup alongside her father John Rowland and sister Libby Rowland at a watch party for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at Enterprise Center on Wednesday night.

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STANLEY CUP FINAL

S6 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

M 2 • THUrSDAy • 06.13.2019

SCENES FROM GAME 7

COLTER PETERSON • cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

Zach Lowe cheers following the Blues’ first goal during the Stanley Cup Final Game 7 watch party on Wednesday night at Enterprise Center.

ROBERT COHEN • rcohen@post-dispatch.com.

Dan Stewart, center, of St. Louis, celebrates a second first-period goal by the Blues during the Enterprise Center watch party.

CHRISTIAN GOODEN • cgooden@post-dispatch.com

Emily Kirisits, left, of Des Peres, high-fives Maura Duggan as they celebrate with Hunter Rohlf at Bar Louie after the Blues’ second goal Wednesday night.

LAURIE SKRIVAN • lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

Blues center Oskar Sundqvist flattens Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo in the second period of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden in Boston.

BRIAN MUNOZ • bmunoz@post-dispatch.com

Tim Hamilton, of St. Charles, reacts to a play on Wednesday during the second period of Game 7 in a watch party at Ballpark Village.

COLTER PETERSON • cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

Ron Baechle, aka Towel Man, stands in the spotlight after the Blues score their third goal of the night during the Enterprise Center watch party.

J.B. FORBES • jforbes@post-dispatch.com

Blues players celebrate Zach Sanford’s goal during the third period of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday at TD Garden in Boston.

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STANLEY CUP FINAL

06.13.2019 • Thursday • M 1

sT. LOuIs POsT-dIsPaTCh • S7

NOTEBOOK

THOMAS SITS FOR GAME 7

Rookie missed most of series because of lingering wrist injury BY TOM TIMMERMANN st. Louis Post-dispatch

BOSTON • After being inserted back

in the lineup for Game 6, Blues forward Robert Thomas was left out of the lineup for Game 7 on Wednesday night. Coach Craig Berube termed it a “coach’s decision.” Thomas had missed four games with a wrist injury that he had been nursing for several weeks, skipping practice but still playing in games. Thomas did not have the best of nights in his return in Game 6, playing 9:21 with no shot attempts and looking like a player still bothered by a wrist injury. With Thomas out, Sammy Blais moved into his spot on the third line as he continued to move up and down the lineup. In the Stanley Cup Final alone, Blais has played on the second line with Ryan O’Reilly and David Perron, on the fourth line with Oskar Sundqvist and Alexander Steen and, on Wednesday, on the third line.

EDMUNDSON RETURNS

In an unconventional case of balancing out the numbers on the defensive end, Berube put defenseman Joel Edmundson back in the lineup after two healthy scratches, sitting Robert Bortuzzo. The move meant the Blues dressed two right-handed defensemen and four lefties, rather than the three and three they would have had with Bortuzzo in the lineup. But with Alex Pietrangelo and Colton Parayko logging so much time in Game 6, more than 52 minutes between them, Bortuzzo wasn’t getting much ice time. By using four lefties, defensive coach Mike Van Ryn had the option to rotate the four alongside Pietrangelo and Parayko, while occasionally sending out two lefties. Bortuzzo played just under 11 minutes in Game 6. “They’re just eating so many minutes up; there’s not a lot of minutes over there,” Berube said. “So we decided to go with the four lefties, and what (Edmundson) can bring, he can bring a lot. I mean, he’s got some real good upside, shoots the puck well, big guy, big body, physical player, but he does do some things well in the offensive zone, so I like his shot.” It’s been a curious season for Edmundson, who at times has played alongside Pietrangelo on the top pairing and has occasionally been a healthy scratch. Edmundson played just 7:24 in Game 4 and then was a healthy scratch

J.B. FORBES • jforbes@post-dispatch.com

Boston’s Torey Krug and the Blues’ Ryan O’Reilly fight for the puck in the second period of Game 7 Wednesday night.

in Games 5 and 6. He was also a healthy scratch in Games 3 and 4 of the Dallas series. “It was tough, but I knew I wasn’t playing my best hockey my first four games,” Edmundson said. “I had a feeling it was coming. We’ve got seven, eight healthy d-men. I thought (Bortuzzo) did a good job when he got in there. It happened in the Dallas series, and I wasn’t really surprised it happened in this series.”

BRUINS’ GRZELCYK RETURNS

Boston defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, who missed Games 3 through 6 with a concussion after a hit by Sundqvist (for which Sundqvist got a one-game suspension), was back in the lineup for Game 7. Grzelcyk had been skating in a no-contact jersey but was cleared from the concussion protocol and, despite some concern about putting him in the lineup for Game 7 after being out two weeks, coach Bruce Cassidy decided to

do it, sitting Connor Clifton. “I think your adrenaline will carry you through,” Cassidy said Wednesday morning. “At this time of the year, you’re not into a lot of contact in practice anyway, so he’s just going to have to understand, because he did obviously live the first whatever it was, game and a half with St. Louis, he knows they’re physical. He’s been there. He’s been watching. He knows he’s got to get back in a hurry, make good decisions with it, take a hit to make a play if that’s what is required, which it usually is against this team.” As expected, former Blues captain David Backes was a healthy scratch again.

NHL CONSIDERS CHANGES

The NHL competition committee met Tuesday in Toronto, and two of their recommendations for rules changes hit close to home for the Blues. One was to make changes to replay review procedures, specifically expanding review to include “a Referee’s ability

to review some of his own calls on the ice.” That change, of course, was recommended with an eye for plays like the hand pass that cost the Blues against San Jose. What exactly that will entail is still to be determined. Another is for a rule that would require a player to leave the ice if his helmet comes off during play (or replace it, though with gloves on, and that’s difficult during the course of play). If that rule had been on the books in the NHL, as it is in the AHL and international hockey, Torey Krug’s helmetless lengthof-the-ice dash to hit Robert Thomas would have drawn a two-minute penalty. The one other change with an obvious impact would be changing the end-ofseason tiebreaking procedure from the first tiebreaker being regular and overtime wins to being just regulation wins. The committee’s recommendations still have to be approved by the NHL Player Association’s executive board and the NHL Board of Governors.

Here’s to

bleeding blue

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S8 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

STANLEY CUP FINAL

M 1 • THUrSDAy • 06.13.2019

IN ST. LOUI S, WE ALL BLEED BLUE Maryville University is proud to sponsor organizations and events that enlighten, enrich or entertain the members of our St. Louis community. Ranging from the St. Louis Speakers Series to Boys and Girls Club of Greater St. Louis to the Cardinals and the Blues — we take seriously the investment we make in supporting winning organizations. To learn more, go to maryville.edu .

LET’ S GO BLUES!

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