It seems like ages ago that, as Blues fans, we had hope for the postseason. Regardless we have made it here to Monday, June 28 in the year of our COVID Overlords 2021 and the Stanley Cup Final is upon us. On one side, we have the defending Cup Champions (well, Bubble Cup Champs) in the Tampa Bay Lightning, and representing the great nation of Canada is the Montreal Canadiens. There's plenty of connection to the Blues that could persuade a fan to have a rooting interest one way or another. Let's break them down.
Why Should You Root for the Tampa Bay Lightning?
Pat Maroon, Of Course- Going for his third straight Stanley Cup Championship, is a native son of Oakville, Pat Maroon. Maroon won his first Cup as a member of the 2019 Blues team that captured the only title in the Franchise history (scoring several big goals in the process). He then joined Tampa Bay, where he won the Bubble Cup last season. If you love Pat Maroon, you're from Oakville, or like to root for St. Louisans, Go Bolts!
All Hail The Lightning, King of the Asterisk Seasons- Last season, the Stanley Cup Playoffs took place in a literal bubble after the season was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. This season the NHL took unprecedented precautions by having realigned divisions and for those teams to play the entirety of their seasons until the semi-finals against the same teams. Did this create some intense rivalries? Did the Blues get sick of having to play the Coyotes seven games in a row? Sure. So, with a hopeful return to normalcy slated for the 2021-22 season, why not just let the Lightning keep the titles and be on top both years?
They're based in the US?- I mean, hey, they aren't Canadian or even Canadien.
Why Should You Root for the Montreal Canadiens?
Jake Allen and Joel Edmundson Play For Them- Hey, remember these two guys who were sort of a part of the 2019 Blues Cup run? Allen backed up Jordan Binnington while Edmundson split time with Robert Bortuzzo and others throughout the run. So you have two Blues Cup winners on Montreal as opposed to one on Tampa. Two is greater than one. Go Habs.
A Canadian Based Team hasn't won a Stanley Cup Since 1993- Montreal won their record 24th Stanley Cup in 1993. That was the last time a team-based north of the border won the coveted trophy. For a nation that undoubtedly embraces the sport and has it as a larger part of their daily lives, they deserve this one.
They're the Underdog Story of the Playoffs- We always like to root for the underdog, and entering the Finals, the Canadiens have a record (if you count OT losses as just losses) of 36-37. THEY ARE BELOW .500. If the Canadiens win the series in 7 games, we could literally have a.500 Stanley Cup Champion. In a regular-season where under normal circumstances they wouldn't have gotten in most likely, let's further embrace the chaos.
Ultimately, you can choose to root for whichever team you choose. Heck, if you don't want to root for a team and watch, you can do that too. If you don't care and don't watch to watch, again, this is okay. If you have no desire to watch the NHL Stanley Cup Final, here's a small list of things you can do instead:
Watch Baseball (unless you're a Cardinals fan, then I suggest the next option)
Watch the NBA Playoffs
Watch a continuous loop of Bluey and Puppy Dog Pals on Disney Junior (most likely what will happen in my house)
Have an actual conversation with someone
Start a podcast
Cook something you've never cooked before.
The possibilities are endless. Anyway, here's to hoping we have an entertaining and unifying end to the most isolated hockey season to date. Take care y'all.