The 2018-19 St. Louis Blues might not be the best or most talented team in franchise history. This might be the best shot they have had to win that elusive championship though.
The St. Louis Blues do not have the lengthy history of some other teams like Chicago or New York or Boston. They don’t have the pedigree of Montreal as a franchise. However, they do have some good history in their franchise.
Despite the goose egg for number of championships won, the Blues have had some great teams. St. Louis went to the Stanley Cup Final in their first three seasons in existence.
They had the best record in the conference in 1980-81. They went to the conference finals in 1985-86.
St. Louis had a fantastic team built for a long run in 1990-91 until Ron Caron gutted it trying to bolster the blue line.
They won the Presidents Trophy in 1999-00 and made it to the conference finals the following season. They finally made it back to the Western Conference Finals in 2015-16.
For all those teams, no matter how good they were, the main problem was there always seemed to be a gigantic roadblock in the way. There was always some Goliath that made the Blues look like David, but the Blues never found their sling shot.
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In those days of infancy, it was juggernauts like Montreal and Boston. The Canadiens and Bruins were so loaded that it feels like 90% of their roster made the Hall of Fame.
From the mid 1990’s through the early 2000’s, the Blues had to face some of the best teams the NHL has ever seen with the roster the Detroit Red Wings kept constructing. In 2001, they faced a Colorado Avalanche team with Hall of Fame players like Patrick Roy, Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg as well as all-league types like Adam Foote.
After some lean years, the Blues started bouncing back. Of course, they were a few steps behind the borderline-dynasty the Chicago Blackhawks had set up and also ran into the buzzsaw that was the Los Angeles Kings in the early 2010’s.
None of this is said to bring back painful memories, though it surely will. It is merely shining a light on some examples. No matter how good the Blues were, there always seemed to be a team just better that would take them out.
So, to fully bury the lead, the Blues need to win the Stanley Cup in 2018-19. There are no roadblocks in their way now.
That is not to say there are no tough teams. There are plenty.
The Blues got dominated by the Dallas Stars this season. They went 1-3 against against my own personal nemesis, Jamie Benn.
Vegas is strong. San Jose always gives the Blues fits.
The road to a championship would be difficult, but there is a clear vision of the Blues doing it. All of their opponents are good, but none are great.
That’s what should give the Blues and their fans hope. In recent memory, there may not have been a more wide open field.
There is literally not a team left in the playoffs right now that you could not imagine winning it all somehow. No team has a clear advantage.
The top seeds in both conferences are gone. Former champions like Pittsburgh are out. The defending champion Washington Capitals have been pushed to seven games in the first round.
Anyone could take it. That is why the Blues have to be the one to do it.
They might have young players and a solid core to build around, but you may never have a road this clear. The road to the Stanley Cup is like a freeway right now. There’s a bunch of cars, but they are all flowing at or above the speed limit.
There are no giants to worry about. There is no Goliath this year. This needs to be our year for once.