The 2019 St. Louis Blues are the epitome of why sports are great.
Even beyond the excitement of the first Stanley Cup in team history, the Blues are a great story. They were in last place on Jan. 3. They switched to an unknown goalie. They don’t have a traditional superstar or dominating line.
It’s a narrative that only sports can believably bring to life. It’s too corny for a movie. It’s too unlikely to predict. It would have been laughable to think this was a realistic outcome five months ago.
Sports can make the most implausible scenarios into reality.
Tiger Woods is going to storm back and win another Masters? No way. The Patriots are going to come back from a 28-3 deficit in the Super Bowl? Doubtful. LeBron James is going to find a way to will the Cavaliers to an NBA championship against Golden State? I don’t think so. The Blues are going ride an unknown goalie to one of the most unlikely Stanley Cup championships of all time? Yeah, right.
Those are just recent examples of players and teams overcoming astronomical odds. The Miracle on Ice. The Immaculate Reception. The Amazin’ Mets. These don’t require further explanation. They’re iconic in that they represent unlikely moments of triumph.
Then there are players who do that special something. For some, it’s the start of a great career. For others, it’s the end. For others, it’s that single moment for which they are forever revered.
Whether it’s a Hall of Famer like Willis Reed limping onto the court for the Knicks and making a couple early shots or a relative nobody like Buster Douglas stunning Mike Tyson, those guys are known more for those singular moments.
St. Louis has Kurt Warner going from the grocery store to the Super Bowl, and David Freese going from nearly benched to Game 6 heroics. Now, St. Louis has Jordan Binnington going from fourth-stringer to hoisting the Stanley Cup.
Binnington wasn’t perfect, but he was good, and at times, he was great. In Game 7, he was at his best when the Blues needed it the most. For the first 15 minutes, the Blues could hardly get the puck out of their defensive zone, and Binnington saved the day time and time again. Somehow the period ended with the Blues up 2-0.
Those crucial minutes have made him a St. Louis icon. He’ll never have to pay for a Budweiser or an Imo’s pizza again. That’s how quickly it can happen.
Binnington and the rest of the 2019 Blues will live in St. Louis sports lore. They’ll forever be revered as conquering heroes. They did what no one before them could. What happens from here is just details.
It was an amazing moment to be a Blues fan, or as I consider myself, a Blues fan adjacent. They didn’t just win the Stanley Cup, they planted themselves into the landscape of sports history, and that’s a rare feat.