I need to stipulate that I am not a hockey fan. I don’t watch hockey matches often. I don’t know most of the teams in the National Hockey League, nor am I even aware of most of the NHL’s top players.
But … I know a little about league history, which brings me to this point: The St. Louis Blues lead the Boston Bruins three games to two in the Stanley Cup finals series and are poised to win the Cup. If they win, they will make history in a most unusual fashion. I now will explain.
The Blues came into the NHL in 1967 when the league expanded from six teams to 12. The NHL then had the horrible sense to put all the new teams into one division and all the original hockey teams into the other.
The newbies then would play their season, along with the oldies. The newbies all had losing regular-season records. The Blues were the best of a bad bunch of teams in that initial 1967-68 season.
They qualified for the Stanley Cup finals in 1968, 1969 and 1970.
The Montreal Canadiens swept the Blues in four straight games in the first two Cup finals; the Bruins scored a 4-0 sweep in 1970, which the latest time the Blues made the finals. That was 49 years ago, man! Three Cup finals and the Blues were zero-for-12 in all of ’em.
The NHL finally woke up to the travesty it created with its goofy alignment after expansion, moving the Chicago Black Hawks into the newbie division for the 1970-71 season. Well, over time the new franchises got up to speed and have been quite competitive.
However, if the Blues win the Stanley Cup over the Bruins they will have erased a 49-year blot on the franchise’s record.
For that reason alone, I am pulling for the Blues to bring home the Stanley Cup and swill the beer that will fill it.