Hochman: for the first time since 1968, the year in which Schock was startled, the Blues game for the Stanley Cup final docked | Benjamin Hochman


He watches hockey most nights, but the man who scored "The Midnight Goal" does not always stay up until midnight.

"I like games if they do not put me to sleep," he said. "And until the new year, St. Louis was one of the teams that made me sleep."

Ron Schock is 75 years old. Lives in Rochester, New York. And the man who once surprised hockey with his goal in the doubles series in overtime, will see who the new Ron Schock will be.

If the Blues win Game 6 on Tuesday against the Sharks, they will advance to the Stanley Cup finals. The last time St. Louis organized a game in which that could happen? May 3, 1968 – the night of Schock's winning goal.

Yes, it has not happened since the first season of the Blues game.

"I see them now, and they will not resign," Schock said Monday. "It's really something, most players only play on a couple of teams like this in life."

It is really something. This team is about to play for the Cup. And after the dismantling of the Sharks in Game 5 in San Jose, California, there was a sensation in San Luis on Monday, there is no way for San Jose to come back from that. And that is probably correct. But for the Blues to win Game 6, it's going to have a similar focus and dedication to Game 5, and that was hockey at the highest level.

Not for a second the Blues can badume that the Sharks feel finished. Rest on your laurels and rest on a long flight back to San Jose for Game 7. Body control, back check, post verification. Relentless. Relentless. Relentless.

The blues must not only arm the sharks hard, but also the "Armstrong" of the sharks. That's the most famous quote from general manager Doug Armstrong of 2014 (the quote is graphic, so feel free to move on to the next paragraph): "You need to take the knife and put it in your brain and kill it. "

The first team of Blues (and the second and third) reached the final of the Stanley Cup. Of course, the Blues were in a division of six expansion teams, and the winner played the champion of the "Original Six" team division for the Cup. Just three times since 1986, 2001 and 2016, the Blues even came to the end of the conference.

As for the original Blues, "it was similar to this year's St. Louis team," Schock said, "because we were pretty late at Christmas." And things started to cheer, and we started to win more than we lost. It was exciting, I was lucky to play for one of the smartest hockey coaches (at Scotty Bowman), and no matter what kind of movement Scotty did, it worked in his favor. "

Sounds familiar. The current interim coach of the Blues, Craig Berube, does not get enough credit from the major national and international sites for his brilliant pressing of buttons. Everything from making healthy scratches to veterans in the winter to the transfer of Alexander Steen this spring to the fourth line: such a successful move, some wonder if we can still call the line a "fourth line?" In the postseason , Berube inserted Robby Fabbri and Sammy Blais At key moments and I obtained instant production. And, in the last series, he shook the lines once with movements that were strategic and not desperate.

"I think San Luis came together as a team," said Schock, who played in the National Hockey League from 1963 to 1978. "They are the best for each other, they play as a team." When they lose, they lose as a team, and when they win, it does not matter who is scoring goals. "

The mentality of the Blues' first team reflects the first team of the Blues. That squad entered the postseason with consecutive wins against Minnesota. . . and, indeed, I met the North Stars in the series to play in the Stanley Cup finals. That confrontation against Minnesota was wild. The Blues lost the series 2-1 before winning Game 4 in overtime. And game 5 in overtime. Minnesota beat the Blues in Game 6, setting the decisive game at The Arena.

May 3, 1968. A record then crowd filled the barn. In San Francisco, Curt Flood hit a home run twice, but the Cardinals still lost to the Giants. And presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy campaigned in Indiana.

Deep in the third period, Minnesota scored the first goal of the game. But 43 seconds later, Dickie Moore scored for San Luis. Bob Plager, of the Blues, told this newspaper that night: "I knew Dickie was going to score … He was holding his cane so hard that the veins stood out in his arms, and he had that special look in his eyes" .

It would take double the overtime of a Game 7, just as it did for the Blues this year against the Stars franchise. And on that night in 1968, a helmetless Schock broke free and scored against the goalkeeper, Cesare Maniago.

"It was stimulating for hockey in St. Louis," said Schock. "And with a good start with that franchise."

Schock's goal, scored as the night approached midnight, was an essential part of the early growth of the franchise. His name is still known in the city. And the septuagenarian is one of the many old Blues who hope that the new Blues can finally finally win the Stanley Cup.

"This organization, we have approached before, there have been many people who have been around this organization for a long time," said Captain Alex Pietrangelo on Monday. "These are the people who have invested a lot of time and energy in the organization, the fans who have been fans for countless years and the guys you're playing with right now, like (Jay) Bouwmeester and Steen, guys who have been around A lot of time waiting for this opportunity If you want to move forward, do your best to give those guys that opportunity.

"For someone like me, the more you play, the older you get, you realize that these opportunities may not come all the time. And you want to make sure you take advantage of them. "

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