NHL - CENTRAL
Arena: Enterprise Center
Coach: Craig Berube
2021-2022 TEAM LEADERS
St. Louis Blues
The St. Louis Blues are an NHL team currently playing in the Central Division based out of St. Louis, Missouri. The Blues were one of the first expansion teams in the NHL, joining the league in 1967. The Blues originally held the record for the longest Stanley Cup drought as the only 1967 expansion team to go without a title but snapped the losing streak with their first-ever cup win coming during the 2019 season in a historic run.
The Blues are named after musician W.C. Handy’s song, titled “Saint Louis Blues” written in 1914. The team identity has been built around the song, with the team color predictably being blue and the logo being a music note since its inception in 1967. The Blues are sometimes colloquially referred to as the “blue notes.”
St. Louis has been quite successful for the majority of its existence despite only having one cup win, only missing the playoffs eight times since 1967.
The Blues joined the league as one of the six expansion teams of 1967. At the time of the expansion, the Original Six teams and the expansion teams were grouped in their own separate divisions, meaning one expansion team and one older team would meet in the Stanley Cup Finals. Nearly all the professional talent was already on the Original Six teams, making the expansion teams significantly worse.
However, the Blues managed to emerge as the best of the new teams, making it to the finals in all three of their first seasons. While the team proved it was the best of the ‘67 teams, the disparity in skill against the Original Six teams reared its ugly head as the Blues were swept in all three Stanley Cup Finals from 1968-1970.
The Blues wouldn’t make it to the finals again until 2019, and wouldn’t even appear in the Conference Finals again until 2016. Despite this, the team has only missed the playoffs in eight seasons- 974, 1978, and 1979 were the first years without the Blues in the postseason, followed by a stretch from 2006-2011 (with the exception of 2009) and 2018. Outside of these years, the playoffs have always seen the blue note on the ice.
The 2019 season was the breakthrough year for the Blues, overcoming all odds with a huge push at the end of the year to finish third in the Central Division and make the playoffs. In a close run, the Blues finished a seven-game series against the Boston Bruins to hoist the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history- the last time they had been in the finals? 1970, defeated by Boston!
2022 Key Stats
The Blues have had a solid season so far with a record of 26-13-5, currently sitting at fourth in the Central Division. St. Louis has an exceptionally deep team, able to find scoring regardless of the line currently on the ice in addition to a solid defensive core. St. Louis made an appearance in this year’s Winter Classic, hosted by the Minnesota Wild on a historically cold night. The Blues walked away with a 6-4 win over their hosts, securing their second Winter Classic win in franchise history.
Jordan Kyrou is having an explosive breakout season this year, leading the team in scoring with 42 points in 40 games and leading in goals scored at 17. Kyrou has been playing on the Blues’ second line, providing a refreshing year for Vladimir Tarasenko with 40 points in 40 games played. The Russian winger’s bounce-back season couldn’t have come at a better time after an offseason of rumors stating he may have wanted to request a trade.
Pavel Buchnevich has clearly found his game in St. Louis after being traded from the New York Rangers in the offseason with 15 goals and 19 assists in 38 games. Team captain Ryan O’Reilly has been solid this year, continuing his dominant two-way play and on pace for around 60 points.
Jordan Binnington hasn’t been the best this year, with a record of 11-9-3 and an SV% of .901. However, Ville Husso has recently stepped up in a big way to prove he’s capable of taking the number one starting spot after going 9-3-1 with a staggering SV% of .941.
Championships Won by the Team
The Blues have only won one Stanley Cup in franchise history, winning their first title in the 2019 season. With six out of the seven previous seasons seeing playoff appearances but early exits, it was clear the franchise needed an extra piece to put them over the edge and finally make it to the cup.
The team had seen a major overhaul in the offseason, most notably with the addition of Ryan O’Reilly after trading veteran players Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Sobotka, prospect Tage Thompson, and a first and second-round draft pick. The move proved to be a huge improvement for the team, adding a dynamic two-way center that could dominate faceoff draws while only giving up depth pieces and keeping the majority of the core intact.
The Blues also found a stable, reliable goaltender in Jordan Binnington, a netminder that had only played one NHL game back in 2016. Binnington absolutely dominated the latter half of the 2019 season, going 24-5-1 and finishing with a .927 SV%.
The Blues won the first round against the Winnipeg Jets in a 4-2 series win, moving on to their longtime rival in the Stars. The second round was much more intense, going into double overtime of game seven before PatMaroon found the back of the net, sending the team to a rematch of the 2016 Western Conference Finals against the San Jose Sharks. After flipping the script on San Jose and winning 4-2, the team finally finished off the Bruins in a well-fought seven-game series.
Important Team Events
It’s hard to emphasize just how miraculous the St. Louis’ 2019 Stanley Cup win was- not just because of the many years of playoff futility, but because of how dysfunctional the team seemed to be at the beginning of the season. The year started with a lackluster 7-9-3 start under head coach Mike Yeo, making the O’Reilly trade look like it had potentially ruined the future of the franchise for years. Things became even worse after a video emerged of a brawl between teammates in December of 2018- the team was at the bottom of the standings, looked completely flat on the ice, and clearly wasn’t getting along in the locker room.
Yeo was fired in November, replaced by Craig Berube early in the season. With the team in dead last to start the new year in January, Jordan Binnington joined the team to close out the rest of 2019. The team slowly began to claw their way back up through the standings thanks to Binnington’s excellent play- and Laura Branigan’s 1982 hit song “Gloria.”
Apparently, the team had been singing the song since hearing it in a bar during a road trip, uniting behind the song and unanimously deciding that the song should be played at home as a victory song. The trend immediately caught on, played throughout the entire season and playoffs until the team finally won it all. Don’t expect to hear it again any time soon, though- the team has since retired the song to keep its legendary legacy unique.
Bernie Federko is one of the top players to ever wear the blue note, playing with the franchise for the majority of his career from 1976 through 1989, setting the franchise record for games played at 927 in the process. Federko was an excellent playmaker during his time with the Blues, amassing 721 assists and 1073 points in his career.
Federko is also second in franchise scoring for goals at 352, though Brett Hull holds the record for most goals at 527. Hull was an electric player in his own right, playing with the team from 1988-1999. Hull’s presence on the team was significant, as his father Bobby Hull was considered one of the greatest players to ever play the game and was a staple of St.Louis’ biggest rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks. Brett Hull was notably involved with the Blues’ 2019 Stanley Cup Finals run, giving a drunken speech at the victory parade in which he now famously said “We went Blues.”
The Blues have had a total of 26 coaches throughout franchise history, currently led by Craig Berube. As mentioned before, Berube took over for Mike Yeo after the disastrous start to the 2018-2019 season, currently, the only coach to win a championship for the team and bringing the Blues to the postseason for three consecutive seasons. Unfortunately, the team has seen two straight first round exits since their cup win.
Joel Quinneville and Ken Hitchcock are the longest tenured coaches in franchise history, with Quinneville leading in 593 games from 1997-2004 and Hitchcock 413 games between 2011 and 2017. Both coaches won the Jack Adams Award for a most impactful coach in the league, with Quinnville winning in 2000 and Hitchcock in 2012. Quenneville would also bring the team a Presidents’ Trophy win as the top-ranked team in the regular season in 2000 but was ultimately defeated by San Jose in the first round in seven games.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Blues were one of the first new teams to join the NHL in the 1967 expansion.
Both Bernie Federko and Brett Hull have been significant players for the Blues, both holding franchise records for scoring.
St. Louis has one cup win, taking the championship in 2019.
Gloria became the anthem of the Blues in 2019, playing the song after every home win until they won the Stanley Cup. The song has since been retired by the team.
The Blues have had a storied rivalry with the Chicago Blackhawks since the teams’ inception, and have played the Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars in more playoff matchups than any other team in the league.