By: Ben Browne
2019 had no shortage of spectacular sporting storylines – Tiger Woods’ Masters victory, the Washington Nationals first World Series, the Raptors first NBA title, and many others.
The St. Louis Blues were one of those “other” storylines, as, on June 12, St. Louis captured its first ever Stanley Cup with a dominant 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins at the ever-hostile TD Garden in Boston.
What made their Cup run fall into the category of improbable? For that answer, you have to go all the way back to November of 2018 when the club fired Head Coach Mike Yeo, and replaced him, initially on an interim basis, with then-Associate Coach Craig Berube.
The change of the guard didn’t immediately pay off for the Blues, who continued to scuffle along in the first month with their new headman. In fact, the Blues sat 31st (otherwise known as last) in the NHL standings into the New Year (January 2 to be exact).
It was the next day that they recalled former Team Canada World Jr. goaltender, and their goalie of the future, Jordan Binnington, from the American Hockey League’s San Antonio Rampage. The Blues were 15-18-4 on January 2, good enough for 34 points. From then onwards, they went on a 30-10-5 run to finish the season at 45-28-9 and earn 3rd in a crowded Central division.
They carried that strong regular-season finish over to the playoffs, going 16-10 in the postseason en route to the franchise’s first taste of Lord Stanley’s Mug. And while their run on the ice was spectacular, and the proverbial poster-child for improbable, the hearts they won off the ice – specifically that of super-fan Laila Anderson – transcended the game, and made the Blues jaunt to the final all the more remarkable.
Tweet: As one of pro sports’ three first-time champions in 2019, the St. Louis Blues title may have been the unlikeliest of all.