first_imgIt wasn’t the way the reigning Stanley Cup champs would have preferred to begin the season, but it wasn’t the end of the world, either.”I went in the room after the game,” Berube told reporters. “I normally don’t, but it’s a day off tomorrow and I thought, it was a big day today. It was a big day for everybody in that locker room. I thought it was good to go in and talk to the guys about our game and what went on. It’s not an easy day. Lot of emotions. I thought we started off well in the game, but it certainly died off.”But if any team knows about finishing strong, it’s the reigning Stanley Cup champions, eh? NHL 2019-20 STORYLINES: Can the Blues repeat?The crowd had gathered for the 2019-20 season opener several hours before the puck would be dropped, a contest against the 2018 Stanley Cup champion Capitals. The music was playing, the Bud Light was flowing and good times were being had all around the Enterprise Center, by those who had tickets to the game and by those who just came down to be part of the happening. MORE: Blues give superfan Laila Anderson a Stanley Cup ringAnd even though this was the first game of a new season, the evening started very much as a celebration of the old season. A giant picture of the Stanley Cup was plastered all over the front of the arena.The calm before the storm. 🏒 pic.twitter.com/gRhO4Z3OIE— Sporting News NHL (@sn_nhl) October 2, 2019The players lined up on the ice during pregame introductions, and then captain Alex Pietrangelo carried the Cup itself onto the ice. The players posed for one more picture with it, and they lined up arm in arm as the Stanley Cup Champions 2019 banner was raised to the rafters. Heck, they even played “Gloria” — the official theme song for the stunning run to the championship — one more time. Play Gloria (one more time). #stlblues #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/Mi4nyCFJPW— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) October 3, 2019“It was pretty special,” goalie Jordan Binnington said. “Good job all around. I think the boys were ready for the puck drop, and we had a great start. It was a great show.”It was all very stirring, a welcome back to hockey after a summer that was dreadfully hot throughout most of the NHL’s footprint. Temperatures soared into the 90s on Wednesday in St. Louis, though a break from the heat was set to roll through on Thursday. “It was unbelievable, it really was,” coach Craig Berube said. “It’s a huge thing, a great thing. It’s great for the city and the fans and the organization.”It’s not like Blues fans haven’t had a chance to revel in the franchise’s first Stanley Cup title; the Cup itself has been a regular presence in St. Louis in recent weeks, with Facebook feeds from all over eastern Missouri populated with big grins and silly smiles of awestruck fans posing next to hockey’s hallowed trophy. But at some point, it’s time to move on, right? Blais’ tally was the perfect transition. It happened early enough in the game that the cheers from the Cup and the banner had never really died down. But the goal was also a fresh start, a reminder of the work the team has in front of it, if another championship is to be won. After a summer of celebrating, actual hockey was very, very welcome for the players.”Oh, gosh, yeah,” Ryan O’Reilly said. “It’s been a short summer, and that’s obviously very good, but the best part’s playing the games. It’s nice to be back doing it. It’s just frustrating, because we wanted to win. Winning’s what feels good, and we’re disappointed. We wanted to get back and win.”The Blues lost the game 3-2 in overtime, though after a playoff run of unending pressure and importance, one of 82 regular-season games seemed, well, not quite as important. St. Louis went ahead 2-0, but the Capitals scored once in the first period and once in the second, and after a scoreless third period the game went to OT. Washington’s Jakub Vrana ended it with a goal at 2:51 of the extra period. ST. LOUIS — Fifty-three seconds into the 53rd year of franchise history, the Blues did something they’d never done before: score a goal as reigning Stanley Cup champions. And even thought Sammy Blais’ goal — off a brilliant setup from David Perron — happened in the first minute of the game, it felt very much like a final moment, an end to a celebration that started almost four months ago and continued through a summer of merchandise purchasing — if a Blues shirt doesn’t say “2019 Stanley Cup Champions,” is it really even a Blues shirt? — and marathon sessions of “Gloria” blaring on Bluetooth speakers during backyard summer barbecues.last_img read more