The narrative was too perfect. The St. Louis Blues had an opportunity to win their very first Stanley Cup on home ice in front of a packed Enterprise Center. Over 18,800 fans filled the seats inside while over 40,000 (and that estimate is egregiously low) watched outside. The city was ready to erupt.
The Blues just needed to tie a neat little bow on their insane run through the NHL playoffs. It’d cap a tremendous year, provide a great ending for the longtime anthem singer Charles Glenn and give fans who have witnessed countless disappointments a taste of redemption.
Painting the scene requires a bit of backstory.
Driving to Game 6, we witnessed fans tailgating on bridges over the highway almost 10 miles away from the Enterprise Center. We saw flags on cars, signs in windows and Blues shirts and apparel just about everywhere you looked. This felt like something completely new to St. Louis. While the St. Louis Cardinals have had their World Series moments, they have also enjoyed a rich history as one of the winningest teams in baseball. It’s not new territory. That’s basically the complete opposite of the Blues.
So, when we made it down to Market Street and saw seas of fans flooding into the watch party, it really drove the point home how much this means to all of us. This isn’t something to be taken lightly. That thought carried into the Enterprise Center where a very tangible energy, sort of like a buzzing feeling you could feel in your chest, built all the way up to the opening faceoff.
And then the Blues rained on their own parade.
Sure, it’s easy to blame the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for their incredibly stupid blunder of publishing content online celebrating the Blues winning something they haven’t won. It’s the perfect jinx. More realistically, it’s easy to blame the Blues who miraculously failed to show up in the biggest game in their history.
If you follow me on Twitter over at @FrozenNotes, you may have heard some of this already. I can accept losing a game of this magnitude. It happens. But I can’t stomach watching players standing – not even gliding, but standing – and watching the puck in their own zone. It was enough to make even the most reserved spectator completely lose their cool. How can the Blues look so uninterested, so unorganized and so indifferent to something so important?
Game 6 was a hockey / sports memory that will be burned into the minds’ of St. Louis fans. It won’t go away. The opportunity to see an actual Stanley Cup series win at home doesn’t happen too often. Actually, it almost never happens. It’s absolutely brutal that the Blues didn’t even show up for the opportunity.
The Blues are already looking ahead to Game 7, which is exactly what you’d expect them to do. As fans we don’t have to quite yet. The story has already transitioned to the “if we would have told you we’d be in a Game 7 back in January, wouldn’t that be something?” narrative and that’s honestly a bit insulting. The Blues had a chance to do something incredible and choked as hard as they have ever choked in their entire existence.
As soon as the Blues moved to 3-2 in the series, the “We’re just happy to be here” thought should have flown out the window. It’s time to step on the throat and end this damn thing. A performance in Game 7 like the one in Game 6 will shatter much of the goodwill that has exploded over the past few months. That’s not to say it’s a bandwagon, though every team certainly has one, but it is to say that you can’t get stomped in the biggest moment and expect everyone to remain cheerful.
The Blues have to win this. They can’t come this close and walk away empty-handed. The pressure is on. Let’s hope the Blues just needed to buck common sense one final time before bringing it all together.