It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness. It was the age of, depending on your age, you’re thoroughly confused?
There has always been a love affair between St. Louis and Chicago. And depending on who you are, it can be tough to take. I for one, love the city of Chicago and I find St. Louis endearing. St. Louisans seem to struggle with Chicago’s larger market, the overhyping of the Cubs, and things we are likely to never have like the NFL, NBA and MLS. Some would call this jealousy and it very well may be. The rivalry between the two cities is and always has been baseball and hockey.
A dominant regular season Blackhawks team entered the NHL Playoffs as strong possibles to win it all… They quickly stepped out after a prey hungry Nashville team stepped in and treated them as such.
Now, I don’t want any of us to get ahead of ourselves, but if the St. Louis Blues can accomplish what they’ve never done before, what the Chicago Cubs accomplished last year, what the city has been waiting on… Man, wouldn’t that be something?
It’s possible, and in that moment, pending it exist, could be a changing of the guard, a shift in power, a more powerful championship than any Show on Turf or World Series Championship we’ve seen.
The word ‘futility’ is a delicate one, and here’s why. The Chicago Cubs were not exempt from contention prior to 2016. They were not dead-last, every year. They were rarely the worst team in baseball. Yes, these things have happened, but it was not the norm. The St. Louis Blues at one point held the second longest active playoff streak in major sports, were very competitive in the regular season but were rarely considered a favorite to compete for Stanley’s Cup. So much so, at one point were referred to as the “Cubs of hockey.” That distinction has only escaped them because the 2016 “Cubs of hockey” would make them Champions; which they are not.
The Blues have a chance to turn this tide, to turn this Tale of Two Cities. I fully understand the length of a playoff season, the grueling and rigorous road any Champion must endure to crown themselves Kings. And though it is but one round in a round-by-round tourney, a first-round win against Minnesota would be massive.
The best team and favorite in the Western conference has been defeated, and not only defeated but humiliated. The Hawks were dominated and they were the first #1 seed to be swept by a #8 seed in NHL history. This is a big deal. A win Saturday removes pressure from the Blues, provides some rest while lifting the city on a first-round win.
The bitter STL fans currently dragging Chicago through mud means nothing if the Blues can’t escape round 1, and beyond. It may mean nothing if they do win this round and that’s where it ends, but we’ll start small and work from there.
The Tale of Two Cities tells us, “We had everything before us, we had nothing before us.” And for many St. Louis fans this is a very real thing. The often NL Central-dominant Cardinals are no more. Not that they’ve ceased to be in the Central or the Cardinals, but dominant. The rival Cubs hold more young talent than the Nickelodeon Awards and they do not appear to be getting worse. While I maintain Dexter Fowler will end up a far better deal than the Jason Heyward contract the Cubs don’t need Heyward to play well to win; hence 2016. We must face facts, when healthy the Cubs are a better team. But this hockey thing has legs. I promise.
Could there be a changing of the guard? Does the lack of expectation for a seemingly mediocre Blues team catapult them to remarkable things? Does the exit of Hitchcock and the insertion of more fourth line physicality hold the key to hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup? These are things no one knows, yet…
One thing is clear, the Cardinals have dominated success among the two cities in MLB play, and the Blackhawks the same in the NHL for some time… Them losing in our building and us winning in theirs has always been fun, but winners win big games, progress through the playoffs, and from time to time win it all.
Chicago fans are reeling after that first-round exit to Luke Bryan, no matter what they tell you… But they are finding comfort in Kris Bryant’s handsome bat and an early lead for the Bulls in the NBA playoffs.
A Blues win in wake of their funeral would be a real doozy and only further this Tale of Two Cities, but may lead to a great celebration amongst this great divide.