Dearest 2014-15 St. Louis Blues,
I hope this letter finds you in decent spirits heading into a must-win Game Six between yourselves and the Minnesota Wild(s) in St. Paul. I say that because if you’re doing well, the feeling is not particularly mutual at the moment.
See, I’ve been a fan of this franchise for longer than I can remember, stretching back at least to the Monday Night Miracle—perhaps longer (I was five). My parents watched your predecessors in many a game not just at the Scottrade/Savvis/Kiel/Whateverthefuck Center, but as newlyweds in the upper bowl of the old Saint Louis Arena (or "The Checkerdome" to some) back in the 70’s, before most of you were born.
I Bleed Blue, as the old slogan suggests, and Goddamnit if I don’t pick myself off the ground when you guys kick me down.
You look like you’ve done your best to do so again after that less-than-stellar, rage-inducing Game Five performance Friday. You have more than your fair share of detractors among those that you count on as fans. Many of them write for this very website and the publication it spawned from. I find myself trying to believe this is different, that one of these days something is going to change.
I keep myself believing the Blues will, one of these fucking days, write a new book. I keep myself believing the Blues will not go by the usual script of fucking up in the playoffs, as has happened so many times in the past.
But yet, here we are again . . . in the same fucking situation we’ve been in the last three fucking years . . . and let’s face it, you’ve put yourselves in this spot. Blame it on coaching, if you want to . . . you wouldn’t be the only ones to do so. Blame it on the team makeup . . . again, you wouldn’t be the only ones to do that. Blame it on voodoo, wizardry and bullshit . . . this franchise has had its’ fair share of that. But you put yourselves here, and here you are now.
Did you happen to see what the New York Islanders did yesterday, when their backs were against the wall? They came out scratching and clawing, and earned themselves a Game Seven date with the Washington Capitals, who had been taking the battle to them. Did you happen to hear what the Ottawa Senators did when they got down 3-0 in their series with arguably the best team in the east, the Montreal Canadiens? They get to play one more playoff home game thanks to their resilience. Did you see what the (Fuck) Detroit Red Wings did to the Tampa Bay Lightning(s) last night—in Tampa’s barn, no less—when everyone doubted they could make it a series? They’re still battling, and now they have a series lead.
I want you to be like those guys. These teams took their swords out of their scabbards, pointed them right at their opponents and dared them to come after them. They were not afraid of losing . . . they were ready to fight. They were prepared to do—and here comes another old slogan—"Whatever It Takes" to live and battle another day. As such, they were rewarded by continuing to be given fighting chances to win their series.
Talent has gotten you a division title and a cushy bracket slot. But balls will get you to advance. With the chips down, as they are again, you guys have to have the nutsack to pull this off and prove all the doubters of this franchise wrong.
You guys may not know this or even fucking care, but the last time this franchise won a game in which they were facing elimination from the postseason was in 2000. To put this in perspective, I was a freshman in college at that time, and now I’m older than all but a few of you. To sober you even more . . . they did it twice in that series—and still didn’t even win that fucking series. If you do it twice? You DO win your series.
My support of the franchise has never waned. Not when I watched the 2005-06 season in abject horror at how fucking awful Bill Laurie had made the franchise before selling it. Not when I watched overtime at the Scottrade Center in Game Four of a sweep at the hands of the Canucks in 2009. Not when the Los Angeles Kings mopped the floor with you twice in consecutive seasons. Not when Dave Checketts acted like he had all the money in the world when he really had none. Not last year, after the Blackhawks roared back and shot you with a fucking bazooka (as they did last night to the Nashville Predators, in fact).
Now, chances are I’m not going to give up on you guys no matter what happens today. But for fuck’s sake . . . give me a reason to believe the story is going to be different this time.
And give us that series you, we and everyone wants between you and the Blackhawks.
Remember those parents of mine I told you about earlier, the ones who were with you from the very beginning? They’re both deceased now. They both would have loved to see you raise Lord Stanley’s chalice at least once before they died, but they are now deprived of that opportunity. Each postseason fuck-up since then has put me one year closer to joining them with the same fate. I don’t want that. You don’t want that.
There are many Blues fans out there that are longer suffering than I am, which—considering my age—is pretty amazing. Together, we have all been patiently waiting for the day the team will get its’ collective shit together and reward that patience we’ve all exhibited. You can be that team. Many "experts" believe you can be that team. I know you can be that team. But you have to WANT to be that team.
Some folks outside our mutual inner circle like to refer to the franchise as "The Cubs of Hockey". While I find that comparison to be complete and utter bullshit (the Toronto Maple Leafs hold that title and will continue to do so for a little while now), up to this point, the franchise has exhibited a comparison that isn’t as unflattering, but not by much.
Yes, you are the Houston Astros of hockey.
See, the Houston Astros have shown flashes of brilliance at times, but never at one point have they been great enough to be called elite. The Blues? Same fucking thing.
Don’t continue to be the Houston Astros of hockey. It breaks our fucking hearts for you to be that way.
It’s time you put whatever differences you have internally—if there really are any—aside, and play as one collective, toward one goal.
It’s time you put up or shut up. For all intents and purposes, you shouldn’t have let these piss-ants in green and red put you in this position in the first place. Yet, here we sit. Get yourself out of this position, and into a Game Seven winner-take-all in front of your home crowd. Wouldn’t that be fun?
Write that new book, for all of us that still hold out a glimmer of hope that things will be different this time.
Or get ready to pack your bags and head elsewhere, because for a good chunk of you, if you don’t succeed now, you’re going to have to figure it out somewhere OTHER than whatever comfort zone you feel like you have in St. Louis.
Thank you for reading. Get the job done.