Red Wings fans: You must be rooting for the Blues in this final

No other choice

May 17, 1998: Sergei Fedorov and Chris Pronger battle for the puck in the Western Conference Semifinals (Elsa Hasch /A)
May 17, 1998: Sergei Fedorov and Chris Pronger battle for the puck in the Western Conference Semifinals (Elsa Hasch /A)

Honestly, I never thought there would be a day when I would root for the St. Louis Blues.

The Blues were arguably the Red Wings' biggest "rival" in the 1990s before the Colorado Avalanche were born. I put "rival" in quotes because let's face it: The Red Wings routinely owned the Blues.

They knocked the Blues out of the playoffs in 1988, 1996 (the famous Yzerman Game 7 double OT goal), 1997, 1998, and again in 2002. The only times the Wings lost to the Blues in the playoffs were in 1984 (a bit before my time) and in 1991, which was an epic seven-game series featuring a goal in Game 7 by none other than Brett Hull.

The teams have not met in the playoffs since 2002, are no longer in the same conference, of course, and that "rivalry" seems so far in the past that it's difficult to recall how much the blue music note was really detested in Detroit. But I remember.

Blues had the worst best players

I believe the hate for the Blues among Red Wings fans was more focused on the players who were on those teams, at least that's how it was for me. St. Louis had some of the most feared and downright infamous players in the league including Chris Pronger, Shayne Corson, Al MacInnis, Tony Twist, Pierre Turgeon, Geoff Courtnall, Kelly Chase, Stephane Matteau, Peter Zezel, Pavol Demitra (RIP)  , and of course Hull and Brendan Shanahan before they turned to the good side.   

--Tony Twist about to punch someone in the face, his natural form. I kind of miss those red-laced uniforms with the trumpet shoulder patch. Classic 90s.

That list goes on and on, really -- check this out. The rosters will take you back to the brutal days of 90s NHL when power forwards scored 20 goals and posted 100 penalty minutes. What a weird time for hockey for so many reasons ... but I digress.       

Red Wings ruined everything for Blues

Those Blues teams in the mid-to-late 90s always looked so great on paper and enjoyed success in the regular season ... then the Red Wings would knock them out in the playoffs. It was routine. At one point I remember seeing an interview with a musician from St. Louis who was asked why he didn't support the Blues so much anymore and why he wasn't a fan of hockey -- "You ever hear of the Detroit Red Wings?" he said.

We can cheer for them now

Here we are decades later, watching the Blues finally get their shot at Lord Stanley's Cup. They must do it against the Boston Bruins, a team Red Wings fans might be able to hate even more these days. I mean, who doesn't hate the Bruins? If you aren't from the greater Boston area and you don't hate the Bruins, seriously take a good hard look at how you are living your life.

The Blues have somehow retained that tough-as-nails persona on the current roster, but they also are way more talented than we've ever seen them. They can punish you with players like Patrick Maroon, then dazzle you with snipes from Vladimir Tarasenko. Meanwhile, there are not many more complete players than Ryan O'Reilly -- that beard is legit, too.

They're just a fun team to watch, and it would be a giant shame to see them blow this opportunity after waiting 49 years to get back to the final, only to lose to the very same franchise that beat them in 1970 (the Bobby Orr flying goal that we never stop seeing or hearing about -- puke).

So here's to the St. Louis Blues and their fans. I am declaring that Red Wings nation supports you and is pulling for you.

Sign up for Red Wings newsletter

If you have not signed up for my Red Wings newsletter and you like to follow the team, please sign up now.

I will provide coverage including:

  • Constant updates about Steve Yzerman and his moves as the new Red Wings GM
  • What to watch in this summer's draft
  • Fun -- really, for me it's all about having fun as a fan of hockey

Sign up for the newsletter here.

About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.