The 2018-19 NHL season ended Wednesday night and the only thing of importance to mention is how the St. Louis Blues winning the Stanley Cup affects the Leafs.
The city of St. Louis can enjoy their first championship since the Cardinals won the World Series in 2011, but the metropolis of Toronto is where this win truly matters. Maybe now the Blues won’t be the last NHL team that comes to mind when you’re going through the teams for trivia, but we all know what team will be named first.
This Game 7 finale demonstrates a couple major factors that all Leafs fans can either enjoy or wallow in their stream of tears forming a puddle on top of a 1967 Stanley Cup Champions team photo.
It might not feel like it, but Toronto can take immense joy in the Blues lifting the Cup.
The initial reaction can be more about how good to feels to see every player from the Boston Bruins in complete despair — seeing a rival lose in a hilarious way is great.
Brad Marchand w/tears in his eyes and says it’s worst loss of his career. Says he’ll never get over it. Charlie McAvoy was speechless for a number of questions. Jake DeBrusk just sat w/a towel on his head, dejected. Most stunned locker room I’ve covered since 2010 loss to Flyers
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) June 13, 2019
The Leafs’ season ending by their hands and now it was all for nothing. Gloating about final appearances is essentially saying that they are the greatest loser of them all. Going all the way to the end just to lose by a significant lead in your own building.
There’s no pleasure in knowing that your own team was just a couple goals away from making their season a true success. The Bruins were the team that let the Blues win their first championship — a franchise that has been clouded in curses and misery now gets to feel joy because of them and it’s perfect.
Not even the fact that the Bruins were the team to take the series over the Leafs is that much of an impact. Losing in seven games and suffering another first-round exit is more of an internal battle this season. The Leafs were the better team for the majority of the season but they shot themselves in the foot, the Bruins had nothing to really do with it. Just like they had nothing to do in Wednesday’s game, the pathetic performance was beautiful.
The Bruins saw consistent success in the meaningless regular season, but the Blues had a rapid surge from the very bottom to winning the whole damn thing.
A most-traditional underdog story, the Blues’ championship demonstrates that truly anyone can win. 16 teams just need 16 wins over the span of 28 games and four rounds — anyone can really do it.
Of course it goes beyond that, a team needs to be actually good, but a team like the Blues can just have a solid defensive effort and score some goals and win their first trophy.
No matter what off-season changes the Leafs make, they will be in the playoff picture barring disaster. Meaning that they will be one of the 16 teams that can be possibly celebrating in a year’s time.
Especially the fact that they are now in complete ownership of the longest championship drought, the Leafs can look at this Blues team and know that the parity within the playoffs is true.
It might hurt looking at this team and seeing some recognizable faces among the smiles, but all fans can feel some sort of minuscule happiness for the former Leafs on the Blues.
Some cut deeper than others — Tyler Bozak is experiencing his first year in St. Louis, while others like Carl Gunnarsson and Alex Steen have been on the Blues for multiple years but have always carried their times in Toronto with ease.
Misused and never fully appreciated, Gunnarsson and Steen have over 500 games spread between them on the Leafs but the two Swedes never experienced any sense of true success in Toronto. Now they are champions and every single long-suffering Leafs fan can take enjoyment in their blossoming since leaving this city due to poor management.
Bozak on the other hand was able to be a part of the two first real playoff appearances with the new core of hopefully long-time Leafs. Resulting in the same amount of games as the Leafs played in the playoffs without him, it might be just some coincidence that he’s now celebrating with his new team.
A college free agent signing was able to earn millions and is now part of a championship-winning franchise.
There really is no negative the Leafs and their fans can take from the Blues winning, from who they beat to all the former members of this team, it’s all positives.