We’ve seen a lot of Cinderella stories this NHL Playoffs. Whether it’s the Columbus Blue Jackets sweeping the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Carolina Hurricanes charging to the East Final, or the Avs getting by the #1 seed Flames, there have certainly been a lot of feel-good narratives.
Maybe none more than the St. Louis Blues, though!
The Blues were in the league cellars approaching the midpoint of the season, and the team was considered all but down-and-out. They fired their coach Mike Yeo, and assigned the position to Craig Berube on an interim basis.
Well, that placeholder lasted a little longer than expected. All the way into the Western Conference Final in fact.
The Blues fought and clawed their way up the standings, and on the back of goaltender Jordan Binnington and a revived offence under Berube, they made playoffs. They closed the season so well, they weren’t even put into Wild Card duties.
Nobody saw this coming, or at least… close to nobody.
At the time, betting on a Blues Cup win would have been considered ill-advised. Berry seemed to be making a bet out of blind fandom rather than actual analysis, but as he told ESPN, it was a bet from the heart.
“I bet with the heart on this one,” Berry told ESPN. “Before I hit my flight I decided that had I been here gambling I probably would’ve lost around $500, so I pulled that out of the bank account. My max withdrawal was $500, so that was all I could take out. I put $100 on the Cardinals at 15-1 and dumped the rest on the Blues.”
That is quite a bet to put into a team that wasn’t even in a playoff spot, let alone in a position to make an actual run for the Cup. Even if they squeezed a Wild Card spot, could they actually run the table to a championship?
One moment that stands out to Berry as particularly stressful was Game 7 against the Dallas Stars. He summarized the way he felt to ESPN:
“People were trying to talk to me during the game, but I wasn’t really responding. My face was as white as a ghost. After Pat Maroon, the St. Louis native, buried that goal, I was in tears there for a hot minute. It was pretty emotional.”
We’ll see if the Blues are able to close out the West and get by the Big Bad Bruins, we now a few people that will be hoping they can.
(H/T Ben Fawkes, ESPN)