OPINION St. Louis Blues are stepping out of the St. Louis Cardinals shadow

Ryan Martin

The St. Louis Blues play a game at the Scottrade Cener. (file photo)

The St. Louis Blues play a game at the Scottrade Cener. (file photo)

The Blues are halfway to the World Championship, collecting their 8th win of the playoffs on Wednesday night, and eliminating the Central Division champion Dallas Stars in a seven game series filled with ups and downs. Before that, they vanquished the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks in seven games. And with each series victory, they are gaining support from hometown fans.

Taking a step back for a second, when people think of St. Louis sports, most people immediately think of Cardinals baseball. And rightfully so. The team that has reached the postseason in five consecutive years and in four of those, advancing to the championship series. They even reached the World Series twice, winning it all in 2011 (lost in 2013). However, the Blues have not had the same level of success.

The Blues, who reached the playoffs in four consecutive years, only advanced past the first round once and even then, they were swept by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Kings. After living in the shadow of baseball for years, many were wondering if the Blues would ever step out baseball’s shadow in St. Louis to find their own identity. This year they may have done it.

Going into Game 7 against the Blackhawks, every Blues fan had the fear that it was the same story on repeat: The Blues take a commanding lead into a series, then blow it in a way only the Blues could do. But not this time. They conquered their years of demons by defeating the Blackhawks and got a Chicago-sized weight lifted off their back in the process.

Next came Dallas, who earned home ice advantage in the series by winning the Central Division. However the Blues ignored that and won 3 of 4 games at American Airlines Arena, including a blowout game 7.

The Blues, who now carry home ice advantage throughout the playoffs, look ahead to the Western Conference Final where they will face a tough task in besting the San Jose Sharks. The Blues will play in their first final since 2001 where they were defeated by the Colorado Avalanche.

With all of the success that the Blues have been through this past month, St. Louis has taken notice. Walk through a public place with a Blues jersey on, and you’ll hear a few echoes of “Let’s go Blues.” Maybe look at how St. Louis embraced TonyX on Twitter after he live-tweeted Game 7 against the Blackhawks. Also, Vladimir Tarasenko is in the final round of the  NHL 17 cover vote.

For those here at Pattonville on Thursday, remember how Mr. Bob Hebrank ended the Top 10 Assembly on Thursday. It was with an emphatic “Let’s go Blues.”

With Game 1 of the Conference Finals on Sunday night, St. Louis fans are eagerly waiting on the edge of their seat to see how far this year’s team can go. And it seems for now at least, the Blues have stepped out of the Cardinals shadow.