Tom Greene | June 13th, 2019
On April 23rd, 1988, the dream of hoisting a Stanley Cup in St. Louis became closer to reality, but nobody knew it. This was the day Pat Maroon was born. In the time before Maroon could play hockey, the Blues were met with success as well as failure. Let’s break down how Pat Maroon and his St. Louis Blues brought the cup home, looking from the Blues and then Maroon’s perspective.
The St. Louis Blues made their appearance in the NHL in 1967, along with the Minnesota North Stars (Dallas Stars), LA Kings, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and California Seals (Cleveland Barons- no longer in NHL). Of these expansion teams, the Blues had the most success early. Scotty Bowman coached this team in the early going (after Lynn Patrick led the Blues to a 4-13-2 record very early) and led them to three Stanley Cup Final appearances. Sadly, none of those appearances were successful. After 1970, the Blues brought in players like Al Arbour, Bob Plager, Barclay Plager, Phil Goyette, and Red Berenson. Unfortunately, none of these players were successful. The Chicago Blackhawks moved into the same division as the Blues in the 70s and the Blues began to sing the blues.
In the 70s and 80s, the Blues had a successful year every once in a blue moon, but in 1987, a trade was made that helped the franchise turn the tides. Brett Hull came to town and left his mark on the franchise, the city, and even kids like Maroon that aspired to become him.
In the 90s, the Blues along with Hull were the only team to make the playoffs in each and every year, but again, Lord Stanley’s Cup was seemingly out of reach. Each year, the Blues had a chance, and each year, they came up short of the Cup being in the building. Then, the lockout and 2000s came.
The 2000s saw a rebuild happen in St. Louis that brought big prospects to the gateway to the West. Players like T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller were drafted, but not Maroon. However, a major player was drafted that helped lead this team- Alex Pietrangelo. He, eventually, got to lift the Cup first this year, but not without knowing the heartbreak that’s lived on in St. Louis for 49 years. Now, enter Pat Maroon
The hometown man was passed over a few times by the Blues and was eventually drafted by the Flyers in 2007, 161st overall. Before then, Maroon played with the Blues’ minor league hockey team in 2002. After the draft, Maroon may have thought, “OK, if I can’t bring the cup home, I’ll bring it with me from another team!”
Unfortunately for him, his debut for the Flyers never came. In 2010, he was dismissed from the AHL’s Adirondack Phantoms for an undisclosed incident. He was then traded to the Anaheim Ducks.
After a few years with the Syracuse Crunch, Maroon finally made his NHL Debut with the Ducks. His stat line, the Ducks felt, was good enough for the Fourth Line in 2015, even after an offensive breakout in the 2015 playoffs. He was then traded to the Edmonton Oilers, another Stanley-Cup droughted franchise. After two seasons there and a two-game suspension, he was traded to the New Jersey Devils. In 2018, after his season with the Devils, he became a free agent.
That’s when he made the decision to come home. He signed a one-year, $1.75 Million contract with the Blues. Then, familiar disappointment came about again. On January 3rd, the Blues stood as the worst team in hockey. They had no place to go but up. Maroon knew this feeling, watching the Blues as a kid, and even into his career. But, he and the team never gave up. They simply played Gloria and moved on.
The Blues are now your 2019 Stanley Cup Champions, and Maroon played a big part in it. He may not have scored in the Stanley Cup Final, but he scored the game-winning goal in OT against Dallas to send the Blues to the Western Conference Final. He also helped the team in defensive roles, and in other ways than on the stat sheet. And for this, he brought the cup home, something he (and other residents of St. Louis) had always dreamed of.
Summing it up
His stat line is similar to Jason Heyward‘s in 2016 when he helped bring the Cubs to a World Series title. I know, it’s awful of me to compare a St. Louis team to a Chicago team, but one thing is very similar. Both teams had long droughts to bring home a title, and it was a member of the team that you might not have seen in the box score. For the Cubs, the greatest game ever was played on a Wednesday night in Cleveland. And now for the Blues, the greatest game ever was played on a Wednesday night in Boston. Play Gloria!
Questions and comments?
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images