I am not superstitious. At least, not as long as I don’t discover I was a Knight Templar long ago in a past life. Especially not a Templar in France on Friday 13th of October, 1307. It is not a good idea to poke old demons and wake them up when they have been sleeping for centuries. But I don’t believe in demons either.
The St. Louis Blues hockey team won their playoff series this week, ending the series with three straight wins in a best-of-seven series against the Minnesota Wild. So, bad luck didn’t affect my favorite NHL team in their quest for a second Stanley Cup. Of course, they didn’t play on Friday the 13th.
The future still looks bleak. Those of you who were depending on Elon Musk to solve the climate crisis by moving us all to Mars or something need to be aware that he is buying controlling interest in Twitter. And he is truly terrible at Twitter. He’s not thinking about saving the world on Friday the 13th, rather, he’s planning to put Trump back on Twitter We are probably doomed. Jeff Bezos probably can’t save us either. He is evil enough to have a self-publishing program on his Amazon world-wide mercantile monopoly that allows Mickey to publish his own books. And then Bezos does nothing else to help sell the product and keeps a majority of the money from all sales. This Friday brings to mind the fact that I have not sold a single book all month. Take that, Jeff Bezos! You can’t get any money from me this month. Of course, I can’t either. And the world is doomed on this Friday the 13th because Bezos can’t get money from Mickey this month, and so, refuses to save the world.
And so, there is a theory of bad luck on Friday the 13th that says once you make it through a Friday the 13th with no bad luck, then Friday the 13th will always be lucky for you ever-after. Of course, the omens are not favorable. And the Reaper has a chicken for some reason. So, things could go very, very bad later today. But I am not superstitious. And yet, I can’t stop thinking about 1307 and burning at the stake for some reason.
I got hooked by hockey in 1969 and 1970, winter of my eighth grade year in school. It was the year we first started getting NBC on the old black-and-white Motorola TV. WHO in DesMoines had finally boosted their signal to the point where our TV antenna in Rowan, Iowa could pull a signal in.
The NHL was on every Sunday morning during football season and my friend Mark had one of those hockey game boards where you twirl players on metal rods to score goals in a plastic net defended by a metal or plastic goalie. We were 13 and deeply in love with a game we could only watch on TV and never play (No hockey rinks are generally available in rural Iowa).
Mark liked Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito and their Boston Bruins hockey team who battled through the division of six old teams that had been around forever and had all the good players.
I, like the fool I have always been, pledged undying loyalty to the underdog St. Louis Blues. The expansion division consisted of teams that had only played for three years, filled with young guys and old veterans nearing the end of great careers. Hall-of-Famer goalies Jaques Plante and Glenn Hall both played for the Blues. So did the Battling B-Brothers, Bill Plaeger, Barclay Plaeger, and Bob Plaeger. Along with Red Berensen, Frank St. Marseille, and Doug Harvey. I idolized those guys. In the 1970 Stanley Cup final, they lost every game except the last one, which they lost in spectacular fashion in sudden-death overtime.
I was a Blues Fan for life. I was disappointed every single year as they lost somewhere in the playoffs or in the regular season, never making it back to the Stanley Cup Series. Until 2019.
Young boys’ dreams can come true, even if it takes a lifetime to get there.
They won in 6 games by taking the last three in row.
Now they go back to the Stanley Cup finals, best of seven, for the first time since 1970. And, ironically, they face the same opponent they faced then. In 1970 the Blues lost four in a row to Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, and the Boston Bruins. In the fourth game I nearly died when, in the sudden-death overtime, Bobby Orr flew through the air like a bird and put the puck into the net to kill any hope of the Blues winning a single series game.’
They have never won the championship of hockey. They have never drunk wine from Lord Stanley’s Cup. Now they have the chance again for the first time since I was 13 and utterly disappointed.
Yesterday the St. Louis Blues hockey team beat the San Jose Sharks 5 to 0 in game 5 of their best-of-seven playoff series. They are one win away from the Stanley Cup finals again for the first time since the 1960’s.
Once again Jaden Schwartz scored a 3-goal hat trick to lead the scoring. The reliable Vladimir Teresenko scored as well, while goalie Binnington scored a shut-out on the Sharks.
As the Stanley Cup playoffs proceeded, my team, the St. Louis Blues, took on the Dallas Stars, my hometown team. Of course, I couldn’t really lose in this playoff best-of-seven, because I love both teams. But the way it turned out was a super-win for the good guys.
The Stars won their first-round playoff based on the magnificent play of Goalie Ben Bishop. His play recalled for me the days when the Great Glenn Hall won the playoff MVP award for the Blues in the Stanley Cup final that the Blues lost to the Montreal Canadiens in 1968.
The Blues, led by leading scorer Vladimir Teresenko, have been the hottest team in the second half of the NHL season. They came from far back in the pack and out of the playoff picture into the playoffs, winning against the favored Winnepeg Jets in the first round.
And the series itself could not have been more amazing. The Blues finally won the deciding seventh game in the second overtime on a goal by Left Wing Patrick Maroon. It could not have been more exciting. Especially after the Blues had playoff hopes dashed in the first round so many times in recent years. Now, if the Blues can only beat the hated San Jose Sharks, they will be in the Stanley Cup final again for the first time since 1970.
I am, of course, not a sports reporter. I am a loony Blues fan who never gives up even though his beloved hockey team has never won the big prize.
Game one of the second round playoff with the Dallas Stars went to the St. Louis Blues. Tarasenko was a hero again. This is already a good year with the Blues fighting back from so far down in the standings, making the playoffs in an incredible hot streak that hasn’t cooled off yet. We won one series already, and surging towards a second. I am happy.
I have watched the Blues play the Dallas Stars numerous times at the American Airlines Center (or whatever corporate name the Dallas arena has at the moment). But with my current state of health and finance, there’s no way to see a game live now. Still, I am happy. The Blues are winning again.
It has always been a hopeful sign for me when my favorite sports teams do well in the playoffs. The St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series in 2011 and the blossoming of my novel-writing career began right after in 2012. The Arizona Cardinals made it to the Super Bowl in 2008, and though they lost, they came extremely close to winning, losing only in the final minutes, presaged my successful shift to the ESL teacher position at Naaman Forest High School in Garland, Texas. And now the St. Louis Blues hockey team won a first round playoff series for the first time in a while, against a top-ranked team that was supposed to beat them, and set themselves up for a deep playoff run that might turn into their first ever Stanley Cup championship of the NHL.
Jaden Schwartz, a Blues scoring star, got three goals in one game, called a hat trick in hockey, in the final game against the Winnepeg Jets this last weekend. They are on the road to more victories, and even if they lose going forward, it is still a positive sign for me at a time when I desperately need something positive to happen.
Yes, it happened again. My favorite hockey team, having advanced in the playoffs by beating a team they weren’t supposed to be able to beat, have lost in the next round. No more nonsense about this being our year. The St. Louis Blues have the playoff blues again this year. No Chicago Cubs’ end-of-the-world theatrics for us.
Our resident superstar, Vladimir Tarasenko, failed to bring us the elusive Stanley Cup again this year. I mean, I have only been rooting for them to win it all since the team was founded in the 1960’s. We were able to be in three consecutive Stanley Cup finals. The Great Glenn Hall cemented his standing as a Hall of Fame player by being the first and only goalie of a losing team to win the MVP of the playoffs award in the twilight of his career. The team was the winningest team in all of hockey for several straight years in the 90’s, and were led by legendary Brett Hull (who only managed to win the Cup after moving to the Dallas Stars) and still no Cup win. 50-plus years without a championship. I guess we have to wait another 50 to play by Cubs’ rules.
I will be 110 years old when we celebrate that Stanley Cup.
Since the 1970 St. Louis Blues’ Stanley Cup Final where they lost to the Boston Bruins in 4 straight games, I have waited for the chance to return and have one more shot at rooting for my team to win their first hockey championship, their first Stanley Cup. We were in the finals and we had beaten the two best teams in hockey to get there. But hockey playoffs are more grueling than any other sports playoffs. We lost in 6 games. I am a dedicated fan. And I will be one for life. And I will root for them again next year. And they will very likely lose again this time of year next year. But that’s not the point. They will always be my team.
It went to seven games just like the Chicago Blackhawk series. I was fully prepared to see the Blues lose and be out of the playoffs… again. But it didn’t go quite that way this time. Hope has returned to roost in the heart of this Blues fan.
The Blues are going to the Conference Championship series for the first time since 2001. It will be a chance to return to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1970. The Blues have never won the Cup. Now that the string of first round playoff exits is ended, I have reason to hope that some of the endless frustrations are coming to an end. The next round will either be against the Nashville Predators or the San Jose Sharks. The Blues have already defeated much tougher foes in the first two rounds, the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks and the division champion Dallas Stars. But I am, of course, aware that either team is capable of upsetting the Blues. I am mentally prepared for a loss. However, there is reason to hope.
St. Louis Blues goaltender Brian Elliott stretches just before the start of the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on January 14, 2016. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
The reason to hope is goalie Brian Elliot. He stood up to more than 30 shots on goal in last night’s game. Only one got past him. The other side was not nearly so lucky… or so skilled. Combined with the scoring abilities of Vladimir Tarasenko and Paul Stastny they should be unstoppable. I know I am rattling on with my own self-absorbed fascinations and ephemeral joy at last night’s victory. And I know it may not be any more than a moment’s flicker of light and hope and happiness… but that’s what being a sports fan is all about.