Going into this off-season, there was speculation about Carl Gunnarsson’s career. That his time with the Blues was done was a foregone conclusion - he spent most of this season on the LTIR and he is a pending UFA - but many were curious as to if Gunnarsson would try one more go with another team.
We have our answer.
Gunnarsson has made the difficult decision to hang up his skates and retire. The 34 year old defenseman made his decision public today in an eloquent personal essay reflecting on his career and his time in St. Louis.
It was a long road getting back and when I eventually did, I found myself battling yet another injury. I found a way to push through and so did our team that year, going on our unforgettable Cup run. To end a year like that - by winning what we all dream of - was beyond my wildest imagination. Crying tears of joy with my wife and with my brother on the ice after Game 7 is something that will never be erased from my memory. And to personally have had an impact with a game-winning goal in Game 2 of the Final will always make me pinch my arm in disbelief.
To have that kind of personal success has never been important to me. I’ve always been taught to put the team first and to me that is the best thing about hockey - the team. The bonds created between teammates is something you can’t find anywhere else and is the thing I’m gonna miss the most now that I’ve decided to retire.
As I hang up my skates for the last time I’m not sure what the future holds for me. But I know I’ll love the game of hockey, no matter how hard she makes it.
Gunnarsson played only 12 games with the Blues this season before suffering a knee injury in a February game against the Los Angeles Kings. His absence this season was felt whenever the Blues had to dig into their defensive depth due to injury, and it was also sorely missed in the locker room.
Gunnarsson’s biggest claim to Blues fame was his game two overtime winner against the Boston Bruins in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. The goal gave the Blues their first SCF game win, and was instrumental in their run to the championship.
To add to the legend of Boom-Boom Gunnarsson, there was the infamous urinal conversation that happened in the intermission before overtime:
“Craig (Berube) said that he met him at the (urinal) after the third period,” Sundqvist said. “And Gunny said all I need is one more chance. So it worked out.”
Gunnarsson, by the way, confirmed the “restroom” conversation with Berube.
“I can’t deny that,” Gunnarsson said. “That’s where it happened. That makes it even more fun I guess. It’s a good story.
“I was close in the third with the post and I had a little talk in the locker room between periods there — before the OT — and I just told him I needed one more,” Gunnarsson said.
There are certainly worse ways to be immortalized in Blues playoff history.
Gunnarsson played 629 games over his 12 year career, split between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Blues. He tallied 30 goals and 108 assists, but it’s his goal two years ago in Boston that he’ll be remembered for in St. Louis.