The St. Louis Blues that won the Stanley Cup should be remembered forever. However, any talk about statues out front is extremely premature.
St. Louis Blues fans, like St. Louis Cardinals fans and even Rams fans when they were here, are some of the best in the country. They are pretty knowledgeable about their team and what is going on in their sport.
However, like fans of any team in any sport, they tend to get a little too far ahead of themselves. As a society of sports lovers, we have a tendency to discuss present-day events in the sports we watch as though nothing greater could ever have existed.
This is slightly understandable for a franchise that took longer than any other in NHL history to win its first championship. There are other teams that may soon eclipse that, such as Vancouver, but I digress.
Regardless of winning the Stanley Cup in one of the most exciting runs this city will ever see, we need to pump the breaks on the historical markers of it all. The team that won might not even be the best team the Blues have ever fielded.
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Even with that in mind, there are fans already wondering if statues will be erected outside Enterprise Center (or whatever it might be called by that point). If you think I’m making this up, it was a literal question sent in to Athletic writer Jeremy Rutherford for one of his mailbag articles.
Now, it should be noted that the question does specifically say could anyone from that Cup team get a statue. Rutherford is basically answering the who could, not would they.
His answers are pretty on the nose. You would have Alex Pietrangelo, not likely if he leaves, as the team captain; Vladimir Tarasenko, the leading goal scorer and maybe leading goal scorer in franchise history when done (emphasis on maybe) or Jordan Binnington, the hero of that run and someone with the skills to stay in net a long time.
Rutherford goes on to say Ryan O’Reilly is another possibility. I would venture to say O’Reilly would need to finish his career here and have more good playoff runs to get something bronze like a statue.
If Colton Parayko has a Pietrangelo-like career and stayed in the Note his whole career, he is another name in that hat. An outside darkhorse would be Brayden Schenn, but again, he would need to retire a member of the Blues and put up some good numbers outside of just that one championship run.
With that in mind, however, I suggest we not even contemplate this sort of thing. Yes, it goes against the whole mantra of sports talk and editorials to suggest not discussing a topic that will have multiple angles, but c’mon.
Statues are meant to be one of the highest levels of honor for playing a sport. In my own viewpoint, it should be jersey retirement, Hall of Fame and then a statue, with ascending levels of importance.
We all love just about every member of the 2018-19 team that finally ended all our heartache. But, even the most veteran member of that team is too young to be considered for a statue.
I really love the fact that the Blues gave statues to Al MacInnis, Bernie Federko and Brett Hull while they were still around to enjoy it. Even then, they were all well past their playing days when that happened.
Time is a good indicator of what is truly great. Maybe Binnington or Tarasenko or whoever would deserve a statue at the end of his career, but it would be odd to have three statues of some truly great players in the game and then have to tell your kids that the other one was just good for a couple years and we pulled the trigger on a statue too quickly, just to honor a Cup winner.
I’m not saying that’s what the Blues would do, but the conversation makes that pop into my head. We see it in other sports, so the idea is not too crazy.
For fans of soccer, they might know David Beckham has a statue near the LA Galaxy’s home stadium. As a fan of MLS, I will be forever grateful to Beckham for breaking that barrier of European players coming to America while they still have plenty in the tank.
That said, even though he was a very good player and won championships, I don’t feel he achieved statue status. His boots were still warm by the time they put that thing up too.
I would not want that for the Blues. Statues should have meaning and a history beyond just a special season or two. Maybe I’m undervaluing Beckham or maybe I’m undervaluing members of a team that won a Stanley Cup when little was expected of them.
I just think that discussion is better left when they’re all done playing and we have truly soaked it all in. We are barely a year out from actually lifting the Cup and still hope there might be more to come.
Statues can wait.