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St. Louis Blues Ain’t Blue No Mo’!

 By   Shlomo Maital  

    I grew up in Canada, dreamed of being a hockey goalie — and then went to live in Israel, where ice is what we put into our cups of water. But I still have a deep love for hockey – and so, celebrate the incredible Stanley Cup championship won yesterday (Wednesday) by the St. Louis Blues. This, despite my years of summers teaching in Boston, rooting for Boston’s exceptional sports teams, the Patriots (football), Red Sox (baseball) and Bruins (hockey), all of whom have won championships repeatedly and recently.

   Why was this win incredible?

     As late as early January, the St. Louis Blues were at the bottom of the league – not a great place for a championship bid.   The Blues won 30 of their last 49 games, made the playoffs – and beat Boston in the seventh game of a best-of-seven championship series.

     And they did it in Boston Garden, away from home, in an arena known for its incredibly loud partisan fans. They won the final game 4-1, scoring two goals in the first period, to zero for Boston. They did it despite being outshot 12 shots (Boston) to two (St. Louis) in the first period. Yes – those two shots were both goals. Credit St. Louis’ amazing goalie.   Jordan Binnington starred, stopping 32 shots in all. Nearly all Stanley Cup champions have a hot goalie like Binnington.

     St. Louis Blues have never won a Stanley Cup, in their 52-year history. This is their first.   Who would have believed it?

      Certainly the sports bettors didn’t!   One fan reportedly won $100,000 from a $250 bet at the start of the season, that St. Louis would win the Cup.   By my calculation that puts the initial odds at 400 to 1!

   How did St. Louis do it? They are a strong physical team, that won games by grinding out faith, forechecking and hard blue-collar work. Credit their coach for gluing this team together.  

   And as usual, there was a human interest story too. According to the BBC, “the Blues celebrated with Laila Anderson, an 11-year-old diagnosed with a life-threatening immune disease. A video of Laila bursting into tears after being told she had been cleared by her doctor to attend the most important fixture in her team’s history went viral on Wednesday.  Forward Alexander Steen had told Laila she was the team’s “lucky charm”, while defenseman Colton Parayko has been wearing a bracelet sporting the words “Laila strong”. “

   Blues were last in a Stanley Cup final in 1970 – 49 years ago. Do their faithful fans deserve it? You bet.






Blog entries written by Prof. Shlomo Maital

Shlomo Maital