Whenever a new member of the St. Louis Blues says how much they think that the team can win the Stanley Cup, there’s always an impulse for fans to think some variation of “aww, that’s nice.” It’s kind of like the reaction people have when they see a cat walking on its hind legs: “aw, he thinks he’s people!”
After Ryan O’Reilly’s post-season press conference tour of misery (he said that he lost his love of the sport of hockey thanks to being on the Sabres - which is not a thing that you want anyone to say), maybe it’s time to temper that knee-jerk reaction that we have to the new guys being optimistic. O’Reilly, in speaking with Ken Campbell of The Hockey News, sounded like a player reborn. He’s left a place of employment that had beaten him down over the seasons he spent there; now, he’s given an environment where success is encouraged and hope manages to spring eternal regardless of history.
“A Stanley Cup is possible,” O’Reilly said earlier this week at the BioSteel Pro Hockey Camp in Toronto. “It’s not going to be easy, but it’s definitely possible.”
That’s not fawning optimism, but you know what? He’s right. It’s possible at the start of every season, and we as fans have thought “this year is the year” probably more times than we can count. Years of disappoint may make that thought come after much more deliberation, but it’s still not out of the question that this could be the season. It may not be, but there’s still that glimmer of hope.
You want players to say what O’Reilly said here. You want them to have something to work for - and he didn’t have that in Buffalo. He didn’t have anything to work for in Buffalo and still put up 24 goals and 37 assists. Imagine what he may be able to do with a little hope in the mix.
Hope springs eternal in St. Louis. Some teams, like the Cardinals, reward it. Other teams, like the Blues, find fun and exciting ways to temper expectations on an annual basis - but that still doesn’t mean that the players and fans can’t share in a little bit of enthusiasm for the new season.
After all, why not the St. Louis Blues?