The Blues defeated the Bruins 4-1 Wednesday in Game 7 to win the Stanley Cup for the first time in the franchise’s history.
After 51 years – only in nine of which the Blues did not make the playoffs – St. Louis is finally on top of the hockey world.
Needless to say, Blues fans packed into the team’s watch parties at Enterprise Center and Busch Stadium and celebrated appropriately.
— St. Louis Blues 🏆 (@StLouisBlues) June 13, 2019
Final scene here in Busch Stadium. pic.twitter.com/n8htyEC4Fz
— DJ Miller (@SmokeyWaves) June 13, 2019
Here is how St. Louis media members are reacting to the Blues’ first championship win:
Jim Thomas, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “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).”
Thomas repeats the now-familiar origin story of the 2018-19 Blues before chronicling the moments that will remain in the minds of St. Louis’ players and fans forever: Patrick Maroon, a St. Louis native, celebrating with his son on the ice; Colton Parayko handing the Cup to Blues superfan Laila Anderson, who the team flew to Boston for Game 7; team captain Alex Pietrangelo making sure Jay Bouwmeester, the 35-year-old defenseman who stands a champion for the first time after 16 NHL seasons, lifted the Cup after him.
Thomas praises the play of playoff MVP Ryan O’Reilly, who led the Cup Final series with nine points and scored the first goal of Game 7. He notes O’Reilly’s words at his postgame press conference, in which he recounted his first conversation with general manager Doug Armstrong after he joined the Blues last summer.
“’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.”
Jeremy Rutherford, The Athletic: “For years, people in St. Louis have been saying that whichever team won the city’s first Stanley Cup, the players would never have to buy a beer in this town again. Well, the next time you see Conn Smythe winner Ryan O’Reilly and his teammates out in public, get out your wallet.”
Rutherford’s postgame article asserts that had the Blues lost the Stanley Cup, it would have been confirmation that the hockey gods do not exist. How could they break St. Louis’ hearts again at the end of this season?
The hockey gods could not deny Blues fans this championship and they did not on Wednesday. The Blues’ miraculous ascension from the bottom of the league makes each and every player on this roster legends, from career Blues Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Pietrangelo to newcomer O’Reilly.
“Get your Stanley Cup hats,” Rutherford writes. “Get those Blue Note tattoos you’ve been telling friends for years you would get when they won and, most importantly, get yourself a box of Kleenex because that curse, it’s over.”
Frank Cusumano, KSDK: “This is the best sports story that I have ever covered.”
Cusumano, a sports anchor at St. Louis’ NBC affiliate cable station, took to TD Garden’s ice after Game 7 to offer his final thoughts on the Blues’ win.
“I love the Cardinals and they will never be replaced,” Cusumano says. “But I’ve been alive for five Cardinal world championships, and you know, when you get used to something, it’s not quite as special each time. And then you saw the Rams come in, and granted, we were all swept up in that in 1999. But they left us. So it will always leave kind of a sour taste in my mouth, even though ’99 was special. This is 52 years.”
Cusumano says it’s especially sweet to see the Blues win because he admires the high quality of the Blues’ players and executives’ characters, writing on KSDK’s website that NHL players, humble and dignified, are his favorite to interview.
“I hope our general manager doesn’t read this,” Cusumano writes. “You see, even though I stayed awake about 16 hours a day for two straight weeks, I would have done it for free.”
Ben Frederickson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “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.”
Frederickson’s theme is history: St. Louis has plenty of it as one of the NHL’s first expansion teams in 1967. That history has brought a lot of pain with it – the Blues were swept three times in the Cup Final in the franchise’s first three years – but the pain is gone now, and all past wrongs are forgiven.
“Their history will be passed down for generations,” Frederickson writes. “They didn’t teach us hockey. They showed us how to live.”