Our readers decided that the Blues’ playoff victory over the Chicago Blackhawks was the best sports moment of 2016.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been handing out our Arch Awards in honor of the greatest athletes and moments in St. Louis sports during 2016. We’ve already handed out our Best Under-the-Radar Performer Award to Jedd Gyorko, our Rising Star Award to Aledmys Díaz, and our MVP Award to Vladimir Tarasenko. Today we’ll hand out the last of our awards for 2016 with our Best Moment Award.
The four moments nominated for this honor were Matt Holliday’s farewell weekend at Busch Stadium, Tom Stillman and Bill Dewitt III’s commemorative puck drop at Scottrade Center after the Rams left St. Louis, Donavin Newsom’s decision to honor injured Mizzou teammate Michael Scherer by wearing his No. 30 jersey on Senior Day, and the Blues’ victory in their postseason series with the Chicago Blackhawks.
In an unbelievably close vote among our readers, the Blues’ win over the Blackhawks emerged as the victor. Holliday’s emotional farewell weekend at Busch was an extremely close second, earning 40 percent of the vote as compared to the 41 that the Blues’ playoff victory earned. Stillman and Dewitt’s puck drop earned 19 percent of the vote, while Newsom’s friendly gesture toward Scherer was completely shut out of the vote.
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The Blues’ postseason victory over the archrival Blackhawks, who had won 16 playoff series and three Stanley Cups over the past seven seasons coming into the 2016 playoffs, was extremely momentous. First of all, it was a huge confidence builder for the fan base–and probably some players, too–as it signified that defeating the dynastic Blackhawks really was possible. The Blues hadn’t won a playoff series since 2012 coming into the series with the Hawks, so there wasn’t a whole lot of confidence that a first-round series victory–much less one over the Blackhawks–was feasible.
That was particularly true after the Blues blew a 3-1 lead and were forced to settle things in a Game 7 at Scottrade Center. After they failed to maintain a 2-0 lead, things got extremely stressful until Troy Brouwer put the Blues ahead for good with a goal on a rebound of his own shot at 8:31 in the third period.
The victory in that series was the most memorable one during a deep Blues playoff run that lasted into the Western Conference Finals, and it’ll be interesting to see if it creates a different type of atmosphere if the Blues end up facing the Blackhawks in the postseason again this year.