Can I be honest with you? Sometimes I see something and inside my head, a bomb goes off and I have to write. Call it a need to impose my will or a general need to nag people, but here I go off on my latest rant.
Topic: Does the Stanley Cup winner this year require an asterisk?
My Quick Answer: Fuck no!
Thank you for reading.
Haha, I only kid. I indeed have more to say about this. The thing or tweet that got me all fired up came from Mr. Blues Hat, who offered this on the subject:
For those claiming "sour grapes", the same will apply to the World Series Champ.— Mr. Blues Hat (@MrBluesHat) September 29, 2020
You can't just drop part of the season and change the playoff format and not expect an asterisk.
Doesn't mean the players didn't play hard to get it, it means the season was an anomaly. https://t.co/dQ1DxfPpRy
You can read his original tweet as well, where he referred to the win as “tainted.” I found myself wondering what he would offer if the Blues had pulled it off and repeated as champs. I think the tune would be different, but what do I know?
I don’t think it’s tainted or needs an asterisk. I disagree with Hat, pure and simple, which thankfully brought me here. There isn’t a need for me to roast a guy for having an idea, but rather see where I land on the matter.
Here’s where I’m at. The Blues played 71 of their scheduled 82 games. The Tampa Bay Lightning played 70. That’s a very moderate portion of the season. One could even say a majority of the 2019-20 regular season was played. It all stopped on March 13, when the league-as well as the world-hit pause on activities.
And then the bubble requirements separated players from their families for several weeks. Basically, if daddy was on a good team going deep into the postseason, he was going to be gone for awhile. I think there’s unexpected courage in that action. The players were doing their job, one they are paid handsomely for, but it was still a tough period of their life. I can only imagine Pat Maroon coming home to give Anthony a big hug this week after such a long journey.
Add that into the majority of the season being played and I think it all counts more, as my colleague Laura stated this afternoon. It’s not your ordinary season and that makes it count easily in the books. The team who found a way to keep it together in front of zero fans and away from their families. I think there’s memorable courage there.
The last thing I’ll do is diminish it. If the Blues had made it, downtown would be-against all safety guidelines-painted completely blue. St. Louis would come to life suddenly. like the Undertaker rising up off the mat. It would be beautiful, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a naysaying soul inside the 314.
That’s how it goes with sports and reacting. You can call it different all day long, but it’ll feel right as rain if it hits your town. One would have a case with calling the MLB season a little odd and perplex, but not the NHL season. The Round Robin action didn’t deter from the postseason structure, and I want to be sure it won’t return next spring/summer.
All in all, this NHL postseason looked and sounded different, but it still mattered and weighed the same at the end of the line. Congratulations to Maroon and fellow former Ex-Blue Kevin Shattenkirk on a helluva win. It’s a grand accomplishment, one that any player would say was worth the bubble pitstop and then some.
Give these boys some masks, but keep the asterisks away.
Thanks for reading, for real this time.