The Blues Are Now 1-13 in Stanley Cup Final Games

On Wednesday night, the St. Louis Blues, who are appearing in their fourth Stanley Cup Final, did something they’ve never done before: they won a game in the Final.

When the NHL expanded from six to 12 teams in 1967, St. Louis, along with the five other new teams, played in their own division (the West), while Boston and the other members of the Original Six, were in another (the East). This was done to balance competition…at least for the regular season and first few rounds of the playoffs.

The first Stanley Cup Playoff format used after expansion in 1967. Four teams from the Original Six (East Division) and four of the expansion teams (West Division) would qualify, with the West and East champions playing in the Final.

The Blues made the playoffs in their first three years, but got swept by the Montreal Canadians in the first two trips and then the Bruins in 1970.

This is how it ended…

Yep. Bobby Orr’s Cup-clinching goal in overtime, a classic moment in both the Bruins and the NHL’s history.

The moment began a 49-year drought for the Blues.

Carl Gunnarsson’s goal in overtime to win Game 2 Wednesday night was more than just one that evens the series with it shifting to St. Louis for Game 3 Saturday night. For Blues fan old enough to remember those first three Stanley Cup Final appearances, it’s just as big for them as it is for fans born well after 1970.

The way the league was set-up the first couple of years after expansion DID favor the Original Six, but that mood changed when the Flyers won the Stanley Cup in 1974 and 1975.

Somebody had to win the old West Division and play Montreal and Boston, and St. Louis was that team that was ultimately sacrificed.

In 2019, the power of balance is much better and the Blues finally have a fighting chance to not just win a game, which they’ve done, but actually win the Stanley Cup.

The city of St. Louis should be rocking on Saturday night. I’m pretty sure they’ll play “Gloria” once or twice before puck drop.

30 Thoughts Before 30: #20-#15

Woops. Thought I’d be further ahead with this series. My 30th is just over two weeks away so I’m picking up the pace…

#20: Does anyone really enjoy lifting?

I mainly lifted due to high school football, but once that stopped, so did the lifting. I mainly just did cardio and the occasional ab workout. I’ve started lifting again lately and while it’s not my favorite thing to do, it does have its benefits. I just don’t know if anyone really likes to do it or feels obligated to do it. Some appear to love it, but for me, it’s something that’s on my to-do list.

#19: Is CrossFit a cult?

I mean, is it? Also, they suspended their Facebook and Instagram accounts recently. Where will I see people flip tires and jump up on boxes. How will ever know they’re into CrossFit?!

#18: I can’t go out in a hoodie and sweatpants

This is a look most women and very few men can pull off. I would look like a complete slob. I’m still ashamed a wore Crocs to a night class in college one time.

#17: I’m surprised we’re still buying physical books

I have a tablet, so most of the books I have purchased over the years have been digital copies. It’s easier to just carry them all around on it instead of actual books. I guess if I want people to see I’m reading a book, I buy the actual book since nobody can tell what you’re doing on a tablet.

#16: Why does cold coffee cost more than warm coffee?

It’s late spring, so warmer days means a need for iced coffee. I don’t get why that costs $1 to $3 more than a cup of hot coffee? Is that a refrigeration and ice cube charge I’m missing here?

#15: It’s near impossible to have a one-page resume

I’m proud to say my resume now consists of jobs that weren’t summer gigs and that job I had for a couple months after college before getting my first radio job. Those could be moved off the resume. This is my third radio job since late 2012, so listing all the details of my positions, on top of listing skills and other information makes it hard to type “References available upon request” before the Word document goes to page two without using a font smaller than 10.

I’LL HAVE 6 MORE COMING UP SOON!

“Booksmart” Reminds Me How Long It’s Been Since “Superbad” Became my “Coming-of-Age” Movie

If you were lucky enough to be a senior in high school when a film like The Breakfast Club or American Pie came out, it’s a special moment. Each speaks to that specific era of high schoolers. It’s the one everyone quotes or talks about and if you haven’t seen it, it’s almost like you’re missing out on a great thing.

Booksmart is coming out this week and just going by reviews, it will be a must-see for young adults, especially those currently in high school and college.

Some are quick to compare it to Superbad, but critics say its not just a female version of the 2007 film, but its own, unique take on two smart high school seniors, one who is a lesbian, who got into good schools and attempt to have one wild night of fun before graduating.

Speaking of Superbad, that’s my “coming-of-age” film. That’s a film I can still quote 12 years later. Really? 12 years?! I was about to turn 18 when that came out. Do the math.

WARNING: Spoilers if you haven’t seen it. Also, why haven’t you? Also, I’m discussing an R-rated film. Some language.

Where do I start with this movie?

First, the idea that writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg starting writing the screenplay while in high school gives the film its own originality.

Second, the cast. Jonah Hill, who had smaller roles in prior films, got to be the star along with Michael Cera, who most, if not all of us, were introduced to in this film. Christopher Mintz-Plasse? “Who is this dorky guy?” we all thought when he appeared as Fogell. Who knew he’d become a legend of teen films. Emma Stone can win more Oscars than Meryl Streep in her career, but she’ll always have “Superbad” as her first feature film credit.

The plot seems simple. Two friends, Seth (Hill) and Evan (Cera), set out to lose their virginity before graduation. Seth is a little more aggressive in this quest, while Evan has his eyes on Becca, who actually likes him back and doesn’t know it until later.

Foggel (Mintz Plasse) is their dorky friend who gets a fake I.D. with just one name: McLovin. At that point of the film, you forget his real name. He’s McLovin for life.

Jules (Stone) is the girl Seth is eyeing and says he can get liquor for a party she’s having that night.

Superbad goes beyond the plot when it comes to the comedy in it.

The writing, for one, felt real. 17-18 year-olds swear. Your kid isn’t an angel, parents.

I said “shit” and “fuck” in conversations. I (casually) still do it today. I have some unique filter in my brain and have never done it accidentally on radio. I’m wired weird.

But anyway, high school kids swear, because it seems cool. Superbad didn’t shy away from it.

Hill’s Seth character paints a portrait of obscenities throughout, while Cera’s Evan does it in an awkward, but hilarious way.

Second, some of the parts that got the biggest laughs are just so random, but that’s where the comedy is at its finest.

Seth’s rant on the soccer field with Evan is one (several great quotes to pick from). Also, his fascination with the male anatomy as a kid is a montage of its own that is so gross but so hilarious at the same time. We all doodled in school, but that was, um, quite something Rogen and Goldberg came up with. Also, the scene where Seth and Evan realize Fogell has a fake I.D. from Hawaii that says he’s 25 and just named “McLovin” is just as quotable.

I can’t leave out Rogen and Bill Hader’s roles as cops who never act like ones, as they play along with Fogell claiming to be a Hawaiian resident of legal age.

Also, the scene where Hader is double-fisting drinks after he and Rogen bust a house party is 10 great seconds you may forget the first time you watch it. If I remember, they didn’t arrest anyone and just yelled random, stereotypical police cliches to mess with them.

When the kid opens the door, Hader says “Oh, no! It’s the cops!”

Later, as they walk around with their flashlights, Rogen says “I assume you all have guns and crack.”

In the end, Seth and Evan’s friendship gets tested, knowing both aren’t going to college together, with Evan venting his frustration about Seth’s behavior but in the end, they both realize how much they care about one another. We all have a friend we’d carry out of a party while they’re passed out when the cops show up, right? That’s where it goes beyond the over-used plot of teen movies previously discussed.

Superbad also has a very unique soundtrack.

The opening credits look like something out of a 1970s film (the old Columbia Pictures logo is in there, too) as silhouettes of Hill and Cera dance to Bar-Kay’s 1976 song “Too Hot to Stop”. You watch this the first time and say, “hmm, this will be different”.

Jean Knight, The Four Tops, Rick James and other artists, mainly in the soul and R&B genre, are featured in transition scenes, montages and other moments. We get “Big Poppa” from Notorious B.I.G. and Evan singing a rendition of The Guess Who’s “These Eyes” and the band’s original recording later on.

It would be so easy to include songs from the last five to ten years in this film, but music the target audience doesn’t know worked so well in this film and more modern tracks would have felt out of place. “Too Hot to Stop” has been on my iTunes playlist since 2007. I knew The Guess Who because my dad had their best of album in his car years before.

The film also sucked me into the Seth Rogen vortex. I didn’t like Knocked Up, he was great in the supporting cast of The 40 Year-Old Virgin, but I paid more attention to movies like Pineapple Express and Zack and Miri Make a Porno after Superbad.

In the end, Superbad did everything right in a “coming-of-age” film.

It helps that its writers started punching up a script when they were in high school, so it feels realistic and they’re not normal stereotypes being written by 40-something writers. The dialogue is realistic (again, your kid swears), the comedy is well thought-out and timely. Also, music you’ve never heard before ends up fitting like a glove.

Hopefully, the kids in high school and college today who see Booksmart remember why it was their “coming-of-age” film when 2031 rolls around.

Oh, Good. More Boston Teams in Championships

2018-19 continues to be the season of Boston sports teams in championship games or series.

The Red Sox won the World Series this past fall, the Patriots won a boring Super Bowl in February and now the Bruins, as I said last week, were probably the best team left in the Stanley Cup playoffs, will be in the Final for the third time since 2011, the year they won it all.

It feels like ages ago when most of the country had a little empathy for the city that went through a title drought before the Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2001. Now it seems like there’s a parade of Duck Boats going down Boylston Street.

The Red Sox and Patriots have been responsible for most of the titles since then, while the Bruins and Celtics have collected one each.

The Bruins come off as a basic, Original Six team in this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs. They swept the Carolina Hurricanes, who swept the Islanders, who swept the Penguins. If there was ever such a thing as “Sweep-ception”, that’s it.

The National Hockey League is going to love that the Bruins won the East. Television ratings should be better than if Carolina made it. NBC loses its Saturday night game following The Preakness, but no Country House and Maximum Security in the race means a ratings nosedive for the network.

If I were to crawl into the mind of someone from the NHL’s front office, I’d say they’re conflicted over who’s better for TV ratings out West. San Jose or St. Louis? It is kind of a toss-up with maybe the Blues having the edge? I don’t know.

Regardless, I’ll watch the Final but might be pulling for the Western Conference team to win the Stanley Cup for the first time since 2015.

If the officials keep screwing up, we’ll see Sharks-Bruins. Ugh.

Puns and All, This Story Was So Pittsburgh (And So Dumb)

I’m from Pittsburgh. I went to Kennywood Park as a kid (and also as an intern at a radio station) and I enjoy watching Rick Sebak’s “Kennywood Memories” and all the recent specials that have come out from the extra footage in that special from the late 1980s. But this story is just…dumb.

To understand the context of this story, Kennywood, the amusement park outside of Pittsburgh and where people who can’t afford Disney World go, has fries that are served at a stand called the “Potato Patch”. Still following along?

They changed the cheese sauce and someone complained on Facebook and everyone was rational, sorry, I mean irrational about it, so Kennywood Park finally announced they would go back to its original cheese sauce.

Hallelujah! The summer is saved! And Oh, God! #YINZvestigation?! As someone in news and can identify as a “Yinzer”, this is facepalm worthy.

Come on guys! There are still people who still think Pittsburgh is covered in a cloud of smoke. Don’t make it harder on us!

Local TV will report on anything to fill time between weather and who was in a car crash, but the final line of the article above says it all.

KDKA has reached out to Kennywood for details about the controversy, but so far hasn’t heard back.

Props to Kennywood for just changing it back and not having a spokesperson, who probably subs as Kenny Kangaroo (or whatever this face-painted nightmare was) when everyone is out sick, call back and explain the situation.

Go to the park, eat your Potato Patch fries, ride the Thunderbolt and complain about a ride you used to like that they replaced a few years ago.

30 Thoughts Before 30: #21: “Why Do I Even Still Have a Facebook?”

I made a Facebook account in 2008 and other than my first Gmail account, it’s one I have had the longest.

Remember the days when you were forced to post a response after “is”? Surely, you’re parents don’t know, because they’re the latest to join the site and have kind of ruined it for those it was originally intended for: college-age students.

Since the site opened to everyone, it’s become a data-mining site with bad memes and older people sharing fake news stories posted by Russian bots.

That should be enough to say “screw this, I’m getting rid of my profile”.

11 years since I made it, I’ve never had the will to do it.

It’s a nice way to keep in touch with friends from high school and college, but in 2019, I mainly go on the site if I get a notification from one of the dozen alumni or other groups I was added to by another user but it is still in a line of tabs when my browser is open.

As much as I gripe about the number of parents that have joined over the last decade, people in my generation are slowly becoming parents. We used to find baby pictures annoying, now some of my friends, that’s all they post.

I have several friend requests from people I’ve never met and older relatives that I will probably never respond to. I don’t need to see a meme that was funny in 2013 today.

I don’t know why I can’t bring myself to delete my profile. Maybe its F.O.M.O.

Have fun figuring out what that means, Facebook users over 40.

30 Thoughts Before 30: #22: “What Kind of Uncle Should I Be?”

Back in March, my sister gave birth to her first child. With that, I became Uncle Sean and my sisters became aunts.

That’s a weird thought at first because most of our parents had brothers and sisters, which made them uncles and aunts to us.

They all remain a part of my life, but it makes me think back to when I was a kid.

I’m happy that I’m only a 4.5 hour car drive away from home now compared to a flight switching planes in Dallas, Chicago or Charlotte before that. It helped, especially when I got to meet her a few days after her birth. Look how little she is and you can’t tell, but I was nervous making sure I held her correctly.

While my sister and brother-in-law take on the tougher role as parents, I’m left to figure out how I want to be as an uncle to Adelyn.

The biggest thing is to be a supportive family member and be a positive presence in their lives. I can’t make it home as much as my sisters to see her, but there will be chances in the future.

Also, how do I want her to see me?

Well, I hope she sees me as a nice uncle that would do anything for her and we all have that phase where we can’t stand our parents, so hopefully I’m seen as somewhat cooler than them at some point or maybe I’ll be as lame as them in her eyes (please the former!).

Only two months old, I’ve enjoyed watching her slowly grow and the photos sent to the group texts range from adorable to hilarious (especially the “mommy, I need a diaper change” looks in some of them).

It will be a while before she can form an opinion of me, but I hope she thinks I’m cool even as I get older.

30 Thoughts Before 30: #23: “Should I Get Those 10,000 Steps In Daily?”

I stay active. I go to the gym five to six times a week and do cardio and some light lifting.

Lately, I’ve heard about people who try to do 10,000 steps a day, which seems like a lot, but I found out it doesn’t have to be.

Now that it’s getting warmer, I’m leaving the car in the parking lot and walking to those nearby places in town. It’s actually been pretty nice, especially since there’s a lot of sidewalks where I live.

I’m not in the Fit Bit cult. I just go by what my iPhone’s Health app tells me. I can take 10,000-plus steps, but it won’t be impressed that I only climbed three floors of stairs that day. I guess it only counts if you go up a hill.

My off days are the most productive. It’s also hard to get an accurate reading when I’m on a cardio machine, but I think I’m close on most days.

The more walking I’ve been doing lately has its benefits. Not only for my health but also, you miss some things when you’re in a car.

I’ve discovered new restaurants, shops and other places walking around the neighborhoods around me. Also, it saves me money on parking or I’m not limited to an hour before they threaten to “tow you” in the free lot.

If the weather is right and it’s no 100 degrees, I’ll venture out on foot.

Stanley Cup: Sorry, But…Anyone but Boston

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are now into the conference finals and after a first round in which all four wild cards won which means all four division champions lost, whatever final four we got was fine with me.

But I do have one, tiny request: Please! No Boston!

I know it’s been eight years since they last won the title and last appeared in 2015, but is anyone else tired of Boston winnings sports titles yet? The Patriots might be to blame for most of my animosity directed at Beantown, but for a city that was title-less for a while entering the 2000s, everyone felt bad for the Red Sox for not winning a World Series since 1918, but after winning in 2004, that wore off. They’ve won three more since, so I’m over feeling bad for them. The Celtics in 2008 won for the first time in 21 years and we saw Kevin Garnett’s “Anything is possible” scream live on television. Then the Bruins, who had not won since 1972, won in 2011 and then downtown Vancouver burned.

Remember how people would say “Those poor kids in Boston. They’ve never seen a championship parade.”

If you were born in 2001, you’ve seen 12 of them now. And for the kids born in 2010, their childhoods will be ruined if they don’t get a third parade in seven months. The Celtics got bounced by the Bucks, so don’t let the kiddies down, Bruins!

I’m a day late writing this before the Conference Finals started (leave it to the NHL to start it on Thursday and leave Friday open), but here are some general thoughts on both matchups.

Pretend Game 1 of this series didn’t happen yet…

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL

Boston (2nd in Atlantic) vs. Carolina (1st Wild Card)

BOSTON BRUINS

How Did They Get Here?

Round 1: Beat Toronto in 7 Games

Round 2: Beat Columbus in 6 Games

As much as I don’t want to see Boston move on, they are the best team left in the tournament. Brad Marchand’s a best, but he’s a productive one, leading the team with 15 points as of May 10. David Pastrnak and David Krejci are not too far behind and with Burgeron, Chara and Rask, this team is built to make a run.

In Round 2, the Blue Jackets did not make it easy, but after going down 2-1, Boston won the next three.

Also, why was Mike Milbury in the booth for that series? The Brighton, Massachusetts native, former Bruin player and coach gave his evaluation of a high hit Charlie McAvoy but on Josh Anderson, and only got two minutes. It appears he’s trying to make an excuse for McAvoy going in high at the start of the video and then goes to the “that’s called differently in the playoffs” argument.

Boston is physical and there’s nothing wrong with that, but they can be boderline dirty. That’s what Milbury likes. After all, this is the same guy that as a player, went into the stands and beat a man with his own shoe. Somehow, the goon that whined about Ulf Samuelsson’s play against Cam Neely in the 1991 Wales Conference Final (oh, the irony!) and ruined the Islanders as head coach and general manager, is with NBC’s lead announcer Doc Emrick? If the network wants to mix-and-match its commentators with other announcers, cool. But your A-Team is Emrick, Ed Olczyk and while some will hate this, Pierre McGuire. Stick with it.

CAROLINA HURRICANES

How Did They Get Here?

Round 1: Beat Washington in 7 Games

Round 2: Swept the New York Islanders

The “Bunch of Jerks” are contenders, whether Canada’s Mike Milbury, Don Cherry, likes it or not.

What was more shocking about their sweep was that the Islanders, who did away with the Pittsburgh Penguins in a four-game sweep in first round, folded like cheap outdoor furniture on a Roslyn porch after losing Game 1 in overtime.

Was it the fact they were playing in the basketball arena pretending to be a hockey arena that is the Barclays Center and not the Coliseum, although smaller and less obstructed views, is more beloved by fans that don’t live in Williamsburg and follow the team ironically? We may never know.

For Carolina, nobody outside Raleigh knew these guys. If you’re an avid follower of the game, you knew Jordan Staal was on the team. You may have said Cam Ward, but we’ll give you a pass.

The Hurricanes have nothing to lose in these playoffs. They weren’t even expected to make it when the season started. They got down early in Game 2, lost their starting goalie and found a way to win. In Game 4, the Islanders scored first on a power play, but then steamrolled them the rest of the way. The Hurricanes got the offensive production, but part of that was thanks to the defense, which Pittsburgh forgot to play against New York.

WHAT HAPPENS?

Game 1 has already happened (thanks again, NHL), but the Hurricanes’ resilience keeps them in this series, but the Bruins win in 7 games. Might get some help from the pedestrian officiating we’ve seen this spring, but Boston probably goes on to the Final.

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL

San Jose (2nd in Pacific) vs. St. Louis (3rd in Central)

SAN JOSE SHARKS

How Did They Get Here?

Round 1: Beat Vegas in 7 Games

Round 2: Beat Colorado in 7 Games

Some have been waiting since April to say “same old Sharks”, but they just won’t go down.

In the first round, down 3-1 to Vegas, they overcame the deficit to win Game 7 in overtime after a crazy series of events in the third period. Then, the young, pesky Avalanche wouldn’t go down without a fight. Optimists will tell you that you can lose three games in a series and still win. The Sharks have been using up all their lives so far.

Logan Couture, Tomas Hurtl and no surprise, Brent Burns, are leading the charge. Getting Joe Pavelski back for Game 7 against the Avalanche was big, too. Martin Jones went to the Final with the Sharks in 2016, so they have that veteran goalie. Going all seven games in their first two series, can San Jose withstand another tough series that goes the distance?

ST. LOUIS BLUES

How Did They Get Here?

Round 1: Beat Nashville in 6 Games

Round 2: Beat Dallas in 7 Games

“Gloria! Gloria!” What a weird victory song. But when you’ve had a season like the Blues have had, weird is embraced.

Even with the Blues second-half resurgence, it appears more people were rooting for the Dallas Stars, the second wild card. Hats off to Dallas for their performance in the playoffs and losing Game 7 in double overtime on what some would call a “fluky” goal is a tough way to see your season end.

Most of the teams left share one trait: they’re grinders. It’s one of the reasons why the Blues got through division champion Nashville and overcame the Stars, who had a chance to close the series at home in Game 6 this past Sunday. Jaden Schwartz and Alex Pietrangelo have led the charge, but how cool was it to see the hometown guy, Pat Maroon, get the double-OT winner? Getting to the NHL is hard enough. To play on the team you grew up watching and score the biggest goal of the season so far in front of its fan is rare. It’s his third goal of these playoffs, but it’s the one he’ll remember if they lift the Cup in June.

EXTRA NOTE: Give Blues organist Jeremy Boyer credit for learning that cheesy victory song. Whatever helps you win. Remember the Anaheim (or is it Los Angeles) rally monkey?

WHAT HAPPENS?

Unlike the East, both the Sharks and Blues have both gone deep in their first two playoff series. The Sharks have already played 14 games, the Blues 13.

St. Louis’ “grind it out” mentality will be needed to move on. The Sharks play another seven-game series, but going out on a limb, they don’t move on.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

The Western Conference Final features teams that have never won the Stanley Cup. The Sharks have been to the Final once (2016) while the Blues were the most successful of the 1967 expansion teams, going to the Final in their first three years of existence. Mind you, it was under the old East-West division in which the Original Six were in the East and the new teams were in the West.

Glad to see Patrick Sharp back at the NBC Sports desk. He brings a younger player’s perspective to the pregame, intermission and postgame reports. Kendall Coyne Schofield has been a nice addition to the booth and getting Mike Tirico involved? Yes, please!

I don’t know what goes into scheduling these games, but why would the NHL leave Friday night open? The Bruins and Hurricanes are off until Sunday for Game 2 and I get the Blue have to fly to San Jose, but why not play Game 1 of the East Final Friday instead of Thursday?

I’m not really watching the NBA Playoffs. I think I should because it’s a guarantee that Cleveland won’t be in the NBA Finals and maybe someone finally knocks off Golden State. And if I’m wrong, congrats Golden State on your eventual championship.

30 Thoughts Before 30: #24: “I Don’t Mind ‘Friends’ Now”

Growing up, I was far too young to get into “Friends” during its original run on NBC. I was also reluctant to give it a chance during reruns on cable.

But I must admit, I have found myself watching the show on-and-off again with my weird work hours and having days off on weekdays. Also, it feels like TBS airs ten episodes an afternoon.

I loved “How I Met Your Mother” and that is said to be the “Friends” of my generation. Both share their similar quirks, like how do they all afford apartments in Manhattan when some of them aren’t even working at times? And, the characters dating one another throughout the series.

I relate more to Ted Mosby and Marshall Eriksen than a Chandler Bing or Ross Geller, but I find that “Friends” has its moments, even with it being wrapped up in the 90s sitcom era, but it does hold up for the most part.

Both shows present a world most of us in our late 20s and early 30s would love to have. Again, how are not worried about making rent?!

Maybe that’s why I don’t mind watching a few episodes.

I’m now at that age the characters were when “Friends” began. Maybe that was the problem. You think you have it all together in your late teens and early 20s, but you don’t.

“Friends” is just something I didn’t give a chance when I was younger. The same goes for broccoli, tomatoes and almond milk. Now those are a staple of my diet.

No one told me life was gonna be this way (clap, clap, clap, clap).