Head shots, embellishment, whining: Blues are now officially hatable

By WEEI 93.7

They go head-hunting and then their head coach complains about getting penalized; they smack the Bruins around and then have the gall to embellish; they think athletes from Kansas City qualify as suitable celebrity fans. 

Four games into the Stanley Cup Final, the Blues have officially reached hatable territory. 

St. Louis crossed the threshold late in the second period of its 4-2 Game 4 victory, when Vladimir Tarasenko grossly embellished a nudge from Bruins defenseman Connor Clifton, who successfully fought off the Blues for 3:06 in Boston’s end during a herculean shift. 

The Bruins should’ve expected the Blues would try to assuage the officials in Game 4, following head coach Craig Berube’s recent whining about the number of penalties called against his team. Still, that doesn't make it any less maddening. 

“We were the least-penalized team in the league in the first three rounds, and now all of a sudden we’ve taken 14 penalties in the one series, so I don’t know, I don’t buy in to all that to be honest with you,” Berube told reporters Sunday.

After taking five penalties in their 7-2 loss in Game 3, the Blues were only whistled for three infractions Monday. They were physical from the get-go, smashing David Pastrnak into the boards and bullying the Bruins’ top two lines. Even ex-captain David Backes wasn’t spared from the carnage, adding onto the punishment he’s already received and dished out this series.

Physical play is part of hockey, but it does come across as whiney to complain about officials making legitimate calls on slashes, high-sticks and head shots. And even worse, following Berube’s diatribe, the Blues tried to goad the officials into making flimsy calls against the Bruins. Jaden Schwartz and goalie Jordan Binnington –– who threw an elbow in Backes’ face earlier in the series –– flopped at different points in the third period. 

is jordan binnington ok pic.twitter.com/3MvHX9XU7e

— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) June 4, 2019

It’s hard to imagine “Blues legend” Wayne Gretzky, who played 31 games for St. Louis, nodding approvingly to those blatant acting jobs. Maybe Kansas City Chiefs players Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce liked the theatrics, though they weren’t in the house for Game 4. They only decided to make the 248-mile trek to St. Louis for Game 3. 

The fan tradition in Columbus and Carolina pales in comparison to Boston, too, but at least they didn’t bring in athletes from other cities for emotional support.

Boston has disposed St. Louis clubs in championship series three times over this miraculous 20-year run of dominance. There is now lots of eager anticipation to add the Blues to that list.