ST. LOUIS — In what's been the most unlikely road to the Stanley Cup in NHL history, you're lying if you said you didn't question this year's Blues team at some point during the season.
Was it in November when the Blues fired head coach Mike Yeo and the team had a losing record (7-9-3)?
Was it on January 3 when the Blues were officially in last place, the worst team in the league?
Was it just a few days later when rumors circulated that Blues GM Doug Armstrong was open to trading anyone on the team? Anyone?
Was it even this post-season, when the Blues found themselves on the cusp of elimination in the second round, down three games to two against the Dallas Stars?
Thankfully, the Blues believed in themselves all along.
At least that's what we'll always remember.
We'll also remember Jordan "Winnington" Binnington, the rookie goaltender who re-wrote the record books this post-season en route to a Cup. Just build the kid a statue on 14th and Clark right now.
We'll remember Ryan O'Reilly putting up Gretzky-like numbers in the Stanley Cup Finals after only wearing a Blue Note for 11 months.
We'll remember Alex Pietrangelo, the team captain, coming through with a goal, setting the tone early in a historic Game 7.
We'll remember Craig Berube keeping calm, leading by example, despite the most controversial of calls.
We'll remember, after 16 years and more than 1,200 games, Jay Bouwmeester finally hoisting his first ever Cup.
We'll remember the hometown kid, Pat Maroon, making his childhood dreams come true.
We'll always remember Tarasenko, Schwartz, Schenn, Bozak, Sundqvist, Barbashev, Perron, and Steen. Congratulations, all of your names will also be enshrined in Blues folklore forever.
We'll remember Laila Anderson, who, with the help of the kindness of the front office and Colton Parayko, became the team's true spirit throughout the team's entire playoff run.
We'll remember this Blues team as a team that overcame tremendous adversity. A team that never "got nervous." A team that won despite the "hand pass." And a team that was dominant on the road, finishing the playoffs with a 10-3 record, winning three of four at TD Garden in the Stanley Cup Final, and tying the NHL record for most postseason wins on the road.
We'll remember how this Blues team was the first in the expansion era (since 1967-68) to be in last place in the standings at any point after the 30th game of the season, only to go on to win the Stanley Cup.
And, finally, we'll remember how thousands of fans packed Enterprise Center, Ballpark Village, Busch Stadium, and the countless bars across the city to witness St. Louis' first Cup.
Thank you, Blues, for not buying into the "curse." Thank you for giving St. Louis their first Stanely Cup after a 52-year wait.
No longer do the Blues hold the distinction of having played the most games in NHL history without winning the Stanley Cup. No longer can Chicago ask us "how do we drink without a cup?"
"The city of St. Louis is so deserving of this." said Alexander Steen on the ice following the win. "We can't wait to get home to celebrate this with them."
And we all know St. Louis is going to celebrate. Expect the party of the century, there is no question.
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