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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Hockey

Penguins get better end of Olli Maatta trade

Olli Maatta

The Pittsburgh Penguins are shaking things up after a disappointing end to the 2019 season. The team from the Steel City traded defenseman Olli Maatta to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday for right wing Dominik Kahun and a fifth-round pick in the upcoming draft. While some Pittsburgh fans may be upset with the team for trading the talented defenseman, who contributed to the Penguins’ championship runs in 2016 and 2017, they won’t hold on to their disappointment long. The Penguins improved tremendously and won this trade.

First off, there was no room for Maatta in Pittsburgh. He was one of eight defenseman on the team under contract for next year, so his playing time would have been limited. The 24-year-old was also a healthy scratch in the last three games of the season for the Penguins, which ended in a first-round playoff sweep.

The scratches were deserved as Maatta suffered through a poor 2018-2019 campaign. He scored just 14 points all year and missed two months due to injury. Not exactly the strong seasonal performance that inspires faith in a coach.

In exchange for the underperforming defenseman, the Penguins received 23-year-old Dominik Kahun, who scored 37 points during the season, his first year in the NHL. Combined with the talents of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, Kahun is poised for another big year in his sophomore season.

Besides the on-ice positives, the deal benefits the Penguins financially as well. Maatta is owed just over $4 million next year while Kahun’s salary sits at a slim $925,000. The Penguins opened up some salary cap room, which may come in handy during free agency.

The Penguins traded up in every way. They received a younger, more consistent player at a position that is not already overcrowded while also somehow shedding salary cap. Matta may have been an important part of two championships, but the past is the past, and the Penguins are ready to get back to their winning ways.

Drunk Brett Hull tries to start hilarious chant at Blues’ parade

Brett Hull Blues

The St. Louis Blues’ run to the Stanley Cup has been memorable for all the team’s fans, but it’s safe to say no one is enjoying it more than Brett Hull.

The franchise legend spoke at the team’s victory parade in St. Louis on Saturday. With beer in hand, he decided that the traditional “let’s go Blues” chant no longer applied since the team successfully won the title, and urged the crowd to join him in chanting “we went Blues” instead.

The crowd didn’t really seem to pick up the chant, but everyone was having a grand time, and isn’t that what really counts?

Hull, of course, is a Blues franchise icon. He won two Stanley Cups as a player, though never while playing for St. Louis, so this is a sweet moment for him. It’s also one he may not remember clearly tomorrow, but who cares? He’s been having the time of his life all week.

Phish played ‘Gloria’ and ‘Loving Cup’ during concert in St. Louis

Pat Maroon Blues

The city of St. Louis had Stanley Cup fever on Wednesday night when the Blues won their first championship in franchise history, and even the band Phish got in on the fun during their concert.

Phish was playing a show in St. Louis when the Blues defeated the Boston Bruins 4-1 in Game 7, and they opened their second set with “Gloria.”

The band followed that up by playing “Loving Cup” by The Rolling Stones, which was another reference to the Stanley Cup victory.

Those who followed the Blues’ playoff run know that “Gloria” is their celebratory song of choice, though they had another great song selection after punching their ticket to the Stanley Cup Final. Phish was clearly aware of their surroundings on Wednesday night.

Blues superfan Laila Anderson hoists Stanley Cup

Laila Anderson Stanley Cup

One of the coolest parts about the St. Louis Blues win their first ever Stanley Cup was seeing superfan Laila Anderson get her much-deserved moment to celebrate.

Anderson was cleared to travel to Boston for Game 7 of the series. The dedicated 11-year-old fan got to watch her favorite team win it all in person, and she even had an opportunity to hoist the Stanley Cup on the ice at TD Garden after the game.

Anderson formed a friendship with Colton Parayko, who helped her hoist the trophy, during a visit he made to St. Louis Children’s Hospital on Halloween. The two kept in touch and provided mutual motivation as the team tried to win the Cup and Anderson battled HLH, a systemic inflammatory syndrome. Anderson went viral for a video that showed her reaction to being cleared by a doctor to leave the house for the first time in four months to attend one of the team’s conference final games against San Jose. Since then she has been a figure of inspiration for the team and its fans.

Here are some other videos showing her reactions after the team won it all.

NBC apologizes for all the F-bombs during Blues’ celebration

Pat Maroon Blues

NBC issued an apology on Wednesday night for all the F-bombs that went out over air during the St. Louis Blues’ celebration of winning the Stanley Cup.

The Blues beat the Boston Bruins 4-1 in Game 7 of the Final on Wednesday to win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. The players were elated to win the championship and often celebrated by dropping foul language to fully show their emotions. Player after player was heard celebrating with an F-bomb, with NBC airing it all.

The network went to commercial and went they returned, play-by-play announcer Mike Emrick apologized.

“We do apologize that there is some exultation language that got on. We have taken measures that that microphone is not turned on now,” Emrick said.

Blues players couldn’t help themselves. During a postgame interview on Sportsnet, series MVP Ryan O’Reilly dropped an F-bomb as well.

Sometimes no words can capture a moment or feeling quite like profanity. That was the case for many Blues players. NBC should have been better prepared to block them out.

Watch: Blues send Bruins fans to exits early in Game 7

The St. Louis Blues put together such a convincing win in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday that they sent Boston Bruins fans to the exits at TD Garden with plenty of time left on the clock.

After the Blues scored with just under five minutes left to make it 4-0, several Bruins fans decided they’d seen enough and headed for the exits.

Boston did finally get on the board with a Matt Grzelcyk goal with just over two minutes remaining to make it 4-1, but that was all Boston would score.

The Blues won 4-1 to capture the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Boston fans, which just experienced a World Series and Super Bowl win, will not get to enjoy a Stanley Cup this year.

Blues fan Scott Berry turned $400 Stanley Cup bet into $100K

The happiest non-member of the St. Louis Blues over the team’s first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history might very well be Scott Berry.

Berry is a Blues fan who wagered $400 on the Blues to win the Stanley Cup back in January when the team had 250:1 odds to win it all. Thanks to the long odds, that $400 turned into $100,000 when the Blues beat the Boston Bruins in Game 7.

Berry could have guaranteed himself a profit by selling his betting ticket and hedging by also wagering on the Bruins to win it all. Instead, he refused to hedge because he was more concerned with sticking behind his Blues.

“I feel like I’m in this with the team, and I don’t want to lay any of it off,” Berry told ESPN this week. “I put the bet down in January for $400 to win $100,000. That was the bet. … I’m very superstitious and don’t want to ruin any juju.”

Berry’s faith in his team paid off. They took a 3-2 series lead, lost at home in Game 6, and then won on the road in Game 7.

Here’s how his celebration looked.