As the St. Louis Blues progress further in the playoffs, all the odd stories start to pop out as writers look for different things to cover. You almost wonder how there can be so many interesting things pop up at once.
The St. Louis Blues run through the Western Conference has been a good story in and of itself. That said, every playoff run seems to pick up some of the oddest stories you ever might hear.
What is so fantastic about these tales is the fact that we might never have heard them if the team you follow was not making a long run. When a team, any team really but the Blues in this instance, makes a long run, reporters run out of ways they can talk about the team and how it is playing. So, they dig deeper and come up with all sorts of angles to cover the behind the scenes actions or things that don’t even have to do with hockey.
With that, here’s a little roundup of the oddities and feel good stories that pop up during the playoffs.
When the St. Louis Blues finished off the San Jose Sharks in Game 2 in the Shark Tank, the game was ended by the most unusual of suspects. While not a game ender, Robert Bortuzzo scored what would eventually become the game-winning goal.
Anyone that had money on Bortuzzo scoring at all, let alone the game winner, would have won a lot of money. Based on his confidence, Beau Bennett might be a richer man than he was before if he had the sense to put money where his mouth was.
After the game, Bennett shared a text chain between he and his buddy, Bortuzzo. Bennett told Bortz he had a feeling that Bortuzzo would get into one of the next few games and score a massive goal.
This was a bold prediction, if for no other reason than Bortuzzo had been sitting in the press box for most of the playoffs. In the very next game, Bortuzzo was inserted into the lineup and he scored a beautiful backhand goal.
Maybe Bennett can see into the future and predict something shiny and silver in the Blues future? Maybe? Please?
Your Father Has Turned To The Dark Side
Like most fathers and sons, Ryan O’Reilly and his father have a rather close relationship. Some might consider it odd, given they don’t really talk about Ryan’s game specifically, but they have their own unique way of discussing things.
Ryan and his father, Brian, talk regularly after most games, but it rarely has to do with Ryan’s actual performance. As reported by the Post-Dispatch, Brian is a sports performance coach who specializes in the mental side of the game.
So, they usually discuss how Ryan is feeling or what thought process went into a certain play as opposed to x’s and o’s.
“He’s trained so many athletes over the years and kind of works on the mental side of it,” Ryan said as reported by Jim Thomas. “Deals with how I’m processing things, and adjustments I’m making. He’s really good at it. I wouldn’t be playing in this league if it wasn’t for him.”
Perhaps it is a good thing they do not talk strategy though. The senior O’Reilly does work with the San Jose Sharks at times throughout the year.
The Sharks are not his only client and it is unlikely a father would betray anything to do with his son. However, as we have seen in the NFL, teams are not above using any kind of insider information they can get.
Turnabout Fair Play
Speaking of fraternizing with the enemy, the Blues might be doing a little of that with a certain Hall of Famer. When Craig Berube took over for Mike Yeo, his ascension created a little extra space on the Blues bench.
Berube filled that slot, even if briefly, with one of the NHL’s best defenders ever, Larry Robinson. Robinson only stuck around a little while as the team made the transition and then he moved back to more of a consultant role.
But, since Robinson is still within the fold, maybe they picked his brain a little about their current opponent. Robinson worked with the Sharks organization for five years, two on the bench and three in a front office consultant role.
Some might say what could he know about this current team. He was still with the organization when they beat the Blues in 2016.
Sure, some of their roster has been turned over, but many of those guys are still around. Maybe it did not happen, but it could never hurt to ask a guy that was good at shutting down opponents what would be effective against players he observed day in and out.
Laila goes to Game 3 and more
The Blues have made quite the habit of taking care of some of their biggest little fans in the area. Of course, one of the best stories was a few seasons ago when Vladimir Tarasenko and the Blues fell in love with Arianna Dougan during her battle with cancer.
While Dougan would eventually succumb to that dreadful disease, her memory lived on with the players. Now, in 2019, another little girl entered the public eye.
Suffering from a rare disease called HLM disease, Laila Anderson knew little about hockey before September. The 11-year old got a visit from Kelly Chase and Alexander Steen and that cemented her fandom with the St. Louis Blues.
The team, and her mother, rewarded that support with heartwarming news that she was to attend Game 3 of the Western Conference Final. Unfortunately, the team lost in heartbreaking fashion as we all know.
Instead of letting the story end there, the team invited her back the next game. St. Louis might have only won by the skin of their teeth, but they won.
For Laila, it was enough just to go. She had not been out of the house other than hospital visits for four months. Suddenly, she got to go to two Blues games.
It is an inspiring story. It’s always fantastic to see how these kids can motivate pro athletes and vice versa.
One Final Run
Another member of the Blues family is also dealing with a terrible disease. As most know by know, pregame and national anthem singer Charles Glenn announced his retirement due to battling MS.
What most did not know was the Glenn had been dealing with the disease for eight years. When you consider he has been with the team for 19 seasons, that’s incredible that he has shown so little effect, at least to the public.
Glenn always roots for the team, but you have to think he wants them to go as far as possible. Glenn might know the end is soon for his singing career with the hockey team, but nobody ever really wants to quit.
So, the longer the team keeps going, the longer he gets to keep belting out those long notes during the anthem. Maybe the team can make the final and Glenn can become St. Louis’ version of Rene Rancourt.
To Blues fans, he already is. It would be neat to see him get the national attention too.
Vegas Gets Revenge
Ok, that headline is a little misleading. However, in one of the more interesting tidbits coming out of the Western Conference Finals, gamblers got a rare refund after Game 3.
With the Sharks winning due to an illegal play, there was uproar in many places. Vegas and Colorado knew the pain Blues fans went through, going through their own controversial officiating incidents in each of their series with the Sharks.
Due to the rarity and controversial ending to Game 3, online betting site FanDuel decided to make whole those who lost money potentially unfairly. Thus, people who had money on the Blues, were refunded their initial bet after that game.
Sharks players and fans don’t want to hear about them being lucky, but this might actually prove it more than anything. Bookies, legitimate or otherwise, are not in the business of giving money back. If they think the situation was egregious enough to warrant a refund, perhaps those outside of St. Louis should stop chirping about it or other officiating incidents.