Trust me, this isn’t a dream.
Moments after the St. Louis Blues shot the final harpoon into the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night at an absolutely raucous Enterprise Center, a moderate portion of the fanbase were doing one of two things: crying or sitting still in utter disbelief.
You’ve heard the tired story almost as much as you’ve heard the NBC Sports broadcast tell you Pat Maroon is from St. Louis. The Blues went from last to first, traveling from the worst record on New Year’s Day to the best record for the final portion of the season. After engaging in Top Gun action with the Winnipeg Jets, using their own Millennium Falcon to shoot a Star out of the sky, and finally plunging a dagger into the eyes of the Sharks, the Blues have arrived back at the Stanley Cup Finals.
It’s simply fucking surreal to be sitting here and typing this article out. This time of the year, I’m halfway watching two other teams prep for the final round. Like a nerdy high school kid eyeing the babe at the mall behind a disguise of Panda Express, fountain soda cups, and over-sized glasses from across the atrium. Now, I am standing next to the hottest girl in town, and her name is Stanley. Pardon me as I resist levitating into the South City skyline.
When the game concluded, I thought about a little kid going with his big brother and dad to the Old Barn on Oakland to watch the Golden Brett and company kick ass. I was 7 years old and couldn’t get enough of this brutally violent and entertaining game called hockey. I It was innocent and fresh, like a liquor cabinet with child locks on it. Before long, I pummeled my dad with questions about the team. He answered as many as a man who only casually liked the sport could. Player names, stories, and historical references. What I took away from those chats was a sad fact that I carry today: no Stanley Cups.
It’s something that every Blues fan has carried with them since they got into the game. It’s something that casual Blues fans know fairly well of whenever the conversation about hockey is broached. It’s a sign buried into the grass so deep in front of the house that no one can pull it out of the ground. A chip on the shoulder of the fan base that may be lifted during the next few weeks.
It won’t be easy. Take a brief gander at the Boston Bruins stats and website after you gaze over David Backes. They allowed the third lowest goals-per-game in the NHL during the regular season. Their power play is excellent. Brad Marchand may be a human shit stain, but that shit stain finished with 100 points this season. Tuukka Rask is legit. They won it in 2011. The Bruins have won seven straight playoff games, eliminating the Columbus Blue Jackets and basically deleting the Carolina Hurricanes from playoff hockey’s memory in a four game sweep. Boston outscored Carolina 17-5 in that series. People cried. Boston Baked Beans were poured over graves. Ouch is the word.