This piece comes to us from Tyson Plumlee, who submitted it for today’s special game seven edition of Game Time (buy a copy, tip your vendor). The issue was full, so here it is for your reading pleasure. —Hildy
We’re on the day of game seven of the Stanley Cup Final. I never imagined I would see this happen in my lifetime. I’ll spare all of my personal memories of all of the turmoil I experienced and all of the great moments I have been part of as a fan. This city has rallied around a team that has spent decades pouring their hearts into so many games.
When this season began, this was a playoff bound team. The challenges this team faced early on took us through a coaching change and even more adversity. As a fan, I distinctly remember in November texting a close friend of mine asking him why I continue to watch this team even when the results continue to be so deplorable. He replied, “We’re Blues fans…and even as the season deteriorates we always watch until the end.”
At that point in November I felt like each game was the equivalent of driving slowly by a terrible car crash. Players were feuding, and not finding a rhythm on the ice, and I was ready to give in. I wasn’t going to stop watching but as a fan I could see the writing on the wall. I figured I would ride it out as usual and see what next year brings.
Of course, the narrative changed and this group of athletes have not only put together a beautiful run which will go the distance tomorrow night for the 17th game seven in the history of Stanley Cup Finals; they will forever be responsible for creating the best season any Blues fan has ever witnessed.
When the playoffs started the expert analysts did their diligence to write us off to the Cup contending Jets. The Blues dispatched that worthy prediction in fine fashion with a courageous display of athleticism by Jaden Schwartz in Winnipeg on the road so that the team could secure the series back home in front of fans.
The second round proved to the analysts that while the Blues carried a good showing since January, they were not ready to face a Stars team wrought with such talent, speed and immaculate goaltending. After losing Game 5 in front our home crowd on a Friday night the stakes were higher and the towel was out of the proverbial bag and ready to be thrown in, as there was no way we could win in Dallas and force a game seven. I remember sitting in a QT parking lot the Saturday morning following that Friday loss talking with this same friend about the remainder of the series. “I don’t know, I think we’re done. We can’t beat this team.” I replied, “I’m not so sure, I think we can steal one in Dallas so we’ll see.” Suffice to say, we won game six and Pat Maroon carried us through to win game seven against one of the greatest performances by an opposing goaltender that I have ever seen.
Round three was on the horizon and this was the critical part where Blues fans start to wander off in their own heads with thoughts of, “We’ve been here before, but we can’t beat this team. San Jose is too good.” As Blues fans we mentally beat ourselves into thinking that we are always waiting for the other shoe to drop and why not... we’re relying on all of the previous experiences. After a tough loss in game three this team showed they weren’t ready to pack it in and showed the NHL and the analysts how outscoring the Sharks 12-2 in games four, five & six set the stage for their 1st Stanley Cup appearance in 49 years.
Six games into this Stanley Cup Final I am still confident this team can finish what it started. The chemistry with this team began with a 3-0 shutout victory in Philadelphia and only became stronger up to this point. As any Blues fan will tell you, watching each game is the equivalent of watching the most dramatic soap opera. Every game in this series has left Blues fans feeling excited and proud and then those games when we lost left us with dread and concerns. It’s fitting that this team started their culmination of getting to the playoffs on the road with a victory. Why not end it on the road and close this unforgettable season in the same fashion?
All of the storytellers and NBC analysts say everything changed on January 7th with their 3-0 shutout in Philly. Others say it started with Chief Berube being promoted in November. While that may very well be true, I believe…
I believe it started when the players started playing for each other, and when THAT chemistry occurred nobody but those players will ever know. All of the peripheral things that have come through since January, whether it be the story of turning the year around, coaching change, “Gloria’s” impact on that night in Philadelphia, John Hamm and Jenna Fischer or Young Pageviews and Boris the dancing Chinchilla. While those have all been fantastic side bar stories, the fact remains this team has kept its identity and tomorrow night they will have one last chance to put on a show not only for their fans and all of the country but for each other.
Win or lose this has been the best hockey season I have experienced in my short 39 years on this earth. As a fan since 1987, I can say that this season will always hold a multitude of memories. While I ultimately want the Cup here in St. Louis, there is no doubt that what we as fans have witnessed this year is not something that will be easy to replicate. I fully expect to be in my normal pacing fashion with high blood pressure and anxiety for the last time this season. St. Louis fans, we have all bled Blue and today is our chance to do it one last time and get behind our boys in blue. Best of luck gentlemen, and thank you for a tremendous season.
P.S. Brad Marchand still sucks.
Bleeding Blue since 87’,