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.
Senator Tedhkruzh, the lizard-man from the doomed planet Galtorr Prime.
The orange-haired bloviator known as Donald Trump.
John Kasich flipping the byrd at teachers.
Last night brought second-hand victories to Mickeyworld. I am definitely NOT a Republican, but the Indiana Primary results put a smile on my face. Not, of course, because the Orangutan Man with a pocket-full of wall plans won and will probably be the GOP nominee. Rather, because the evil space lizard who wants to put an end to everything good that comes from government finally dropped out of the race for President. Yes, Ted Cruz has put his world domination ambitions on hold until some future election or military or political coup. And Trump against any candidate the Democrats put forward will probably lose… unless Americans all have lobotomies before November.
The NHL playoff game last night also yielded good news. The St. Louis Blues, after having beaten last year’s Stanley Cup champion, beat the Dallas Stars 6 goals to 1 in the third game of round two. They totally dominated the division champions and took the lead in the series in a way that makes it seem that going to roll over them.
I am certainly not fool enough to imagine the good times will last. Good things happen one day, only to evaporate into nothingness the next. But I tend to believe that I have every right to enjoy the good things while they happen. Boo-hoos for tomorrow. Yippee-kai-yays for today.
My all-time favorite hockey team beat the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks, in the seventh and final game of their first round playoff series. They will now take on the hometown Dallas Stars in round two. I can’t afford to see them play here in town, or even on TV, which we don’t have at the moment. But I can root on the Blues to defeat the hometown Stars, and maybe… just maybe… it is finally our year!
Tarasenko is the scoring star of this year’s Blues team.
I have been a Blues hockey fan since the team was founded in the 60’s. Their first three years saw them in the Stanley Cup finals against the Montreal Canadiens in ’68 and ’69 and the Boston Bruins in ’70. They represented the six expansion teams from the six-team expansion division, and they didn’t stand a chance. They lost all four games in all three series. But I was hooked. I was a hockey fan and Blues fan for life after that. And they haven’t been back to the Stanley Cup Finals since. They have had great teams capable of it. They have had stars like Brett Hull, Al MacInnis, Curtis Joseph, and Brenden Shanahan. Hall of Famers like Glen Hall and Jaques Plante gave them their previous chances at the championship. This year, it will be up to team captain David Backes, goalie Brian Elliot, and Vladimir Tarasenko to lead the team to the wins they have never managed before.
It is premature for me to celebrate already. The Blues play the Dallas Stars in the next round, a resurgent team led by Jamie Benn, an emerging superstar. But the Blues have lost in the first round of the playoffs for three years in row, even when they were the favorite to win the Cup. And it was the Blackhawks who did it to them last year. This year is big even if they don’t win another game. But I think it is significant that they have taken out the biggest roadblock to victory already. There is hope.