NBC Sports’ exclusive coverage of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final culminated tonight in historic fashion on NBC, as the St. Louis Blues won the first Stanley Cup in the franchise’s 52-year history by defeating the Boston Bruins, 4-1, in Game 7 at TD Garden in Boston, Mass.
Seven-time Emmy Award-winning play-by-play commentator Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member and analyst Eddie Olczyk, and Emmy Award-winning ‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst Pierre McGuire had the call from Boston. This marked the 13th consecutive year that Emrick, Olczyk and McGuire have combined to call the Stanley Cup Final for NBC Sports.
Pre-game coverage began on NBCSN at 6 p.m. ET with a two-hour edition of NHL Live, featuring outdoor sets in Boston to capture the scene amongst the fans. Mike Tirico hosted Game 7 coverage outside of TD Garden. Liam McHugh anchored pre-game, intermission and post-game coverage on-site, alongside analysts and former players Mike Milbury and Keith Jones. In addition, Kathryn Tappen hosted pre-game and post-game coverage from outside sets in St. Louis alongside analysts and former players Jeremy Roenick, Patrick Sharp, Brian Boucher, and Anson Carter.
During the first intermission, McHugh, Milbury and Jones spoke with NBA Hall-of-Famer and analyst Charles Barkley.
NHL Live included:
A feature on the career of Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask;
A feature on Blues center and offseason acquisition Ryan O’Reilly, who was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs following the game;
A feature on Bruins forward Brad Marchand;
A segment on the city of Boston’s history of sports world championships;
A pre-game interview with Bravo TV host Andy Cohen;
And a look at the tradition of the Stanley Cup.
Coverage shifted inside TD Garden at 7:30 p.m. ET with McHugh, Milbury, Jones and Tirico.
Olczyk: “This was a hell of a Stanley Cup Final.”
Emrick: “It is the last chapter in an incomparable storybook finish for the St. Louis Blues, and an incredibly disappointing finish for the Boston Bruins.”
Olczyk: “Just an amazing accomplishment for the St. Louis Blues. Where they were at the start of the new year and where they are right now.”
Olczyk on Blues head coach Craig Berube: “There’s no in-between with that guy. It’s either black or white, or blue or white for the St. Louis Blues.”
Olczyk on Conn Smythe winner and Blues forward Ryan O’Reilly: “Flat out awesome in the Cup Final.”
Milbury: “This team deserved to win this trophy. They did it with forechecking, physicality and determination…All night long I saw more Blues on the puck than Boston, and that was a telltale sign.”
Jones on Berube: “He has a great honest way with his players.”
Alex Pietrangelo: “What an unbelievable year. I don’t even know what to say. Where we were to where we are now… I’ve never been more proud to wear this jersey with this group of guys. It’s unbelievable.”
Emrick: “The longest wait for a first-time winning team that this league has had. For the first time in their history the St. Louis Blues are Stanley Cup champions.”
Emrick: “Craig Berube had taken over in November and lost the first game 4-1 to Nashville, got routed by the Jets, 8-4, Arizona hammered them in December, 6-1, and then came that New Year. Shortly after the New Year, the goalie came in, started his first NHL game, they had a defense that would wind up in double-digits in shot blocking all the time. They wound up with an 11-game win streak, and things sort of started to become remarkable as they rose in the standings.”
Olczyk upon seeing video of the crowd erupting at Busch Stadium in St. Louis: “It’s raining a blue note at Busch Stadium right now.”
Emrick on Binnington’s journey: “(To get to this opportunity,) you start playing junior hockey in Owen Sound for four years, then Kalamazoo, then with the Chicago Wolves where a guy named Craig Berube’s your coach for a year. Then they can’t find a place for you so you go and play in Providence, Rhode Island, with a bunch of guys you’re playing against tonight. Then San Antonio and you can’t get a start early in the year, and then your old coach Craig Berube becomes interim coach of the St. Louis Blues, and they give you a chance. And there’s the rest.”
Olczyk on Binnington in Game 7: “He’s had a little bit of puck luck and he’s made some incredible saves.”
Jones on Alex Pietrangelo: “There’s one player on the back end for St. Louis that has been an absolute machine in this series, that’s Alex Pietrangelo. Through two periods of this game, scored the most important goal of the game, that second goal. He’s done a fabulous job defensively. He’s leading the way.”
Milbury on what Bruins need to do in third period: “Look to your legs, get the pucks in deep. Right now, St. Louis is out-numbering Boston all these scrambles in the offensive zone for Boston, and Boston has to employ their defense in the forecheck. They have to outnumber St. Louis, they have to get possession, and never, never pass up a shot.”
Milbury on the Bruins: “The frustration that sets in is immense. It feels like a giant animal stuck on your back and you can’t seem to shake it. They need a break, they need somehow to find a way to get through what has been a smothering St. Louis defense.”
McGuire: “The St. Louis Blues identity – they’re playing it to a T, especially on the road. Winnipeg found it out, and you look at all the other teams – Dallas found it out, San Jose found it out, and Boston’s finding out. They are tough on the road.”
Olczyk on near-goal by Blues’ Brayden Schenn: “Watch the stick of (Zdeno) Chara after it goes off of Rask, off the post, looks like it’s going in, and Chara somehow prevents that puck from crossing the line completely. It’s just amazing how Rask doesn’t knock this puck back into the net when he’s falling back towards the goal line.”
Charles Barkley on why he’s rooting for the Blues: “I always root for the team that hasn’t won a championship because I’m on that list.”
Tirico: “What a period. Jordan Binnington, terrific in net…St. Louis stunning Boston here, 2-0.”
Olczyk after Pietrangelo goal: “What a move. Here’s Marchand – his man goes here, and what does Marchand do, he goes for the change, that leaves Pietrangelo absolutely wide open.”
McGuire on Jordan Binnington: “He’s been en fuego here. This really is shades of Game 5 – 17 saves he made in the first period in Game 5, he’s well on that again.”
Emrick after Blues kill Bruins first power play: “The penalty has been killed, but not without a lot of activity.”
NHL Live on NBCSN (6 – 8 p.m. ET)
Olczyk: “This is why you play. This is what it’s all about, and to have this opportunity when the rest of the hockey world is watching – what an opportunity for either one of these teams.”
Milbury: “The story (tonight) for me is that Craig Berube has just gone all in on physicality. He said, ‘We don’t have to worry about suspensions anymore’ – that’s a pretty blatant message that he’s going to bring people into the lineup like (Ivan) Barbashev to make hits, and it’s gone both ways.”
Milbury: “And isn’t it ironic here that around town – not from the players from the Boston side, but from the media, from the fans, to some form of players – they’ve been complaining about the physicality of the Blues, that they’re trying to bully the Boston Bruins. This is an organization that spawned the big, bad Bruins, which led way to the Broad Street bullies and Don Sherry’s lunch pail gang. C’mon, give me a break here. Worried about physicality – that’s the way hockey is supposed to be played. Neither team, not one fighting penalty on either side of the ledger. It’s just been good, tough hockey.”
Jones on Tuukka Rask: “You’re feeling great confidence if you’re the Boston Bruins because Tuukka Rask just led you on the ice. He’s going to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, whether the Bruins win this game or not. That’s how good he has been throughout the playoffs. You’re feeling real good about your chances here at home and you want to ignite this crowd early.”
Jones on Zdeno Chara: “Chara’s return to the lineup has been more than inspirational for the Boston Bruins. His leadership has been outstanding, and his play on the ice has been remarkable as well.”
Milbury: “You’ve got to make sure, knowing that Craig Berube wants to throw the kitchen sink at the Boston Bruins, that the really aggressive guys have to be identified and settled down. This can’t be determined by a stupid penalty… You don’t want to be that guy. Some of these guys over chomping at the bit here need to be told to settle it down.”
Cohen: “I’ve got to tell you something, you should have seen the walk over here. I am wearing a Blues jersey, I am proudly from St. Louis – I think I’m going to get ripped apart limb from limb. You know what? I’m glad I did it. Do you hear what’s happening behind it? I’m not nervous about the game tonight, I’m nervous I’m going to get beaten up…But you know what, they’ll be battle scars.”
Olczyk on Game 7 atmosphere: “It is absolutely amazing. It’s a mass of humanity on Canal Street, it really is. These people are all jacked up, we know the Cup is going to be in the building again tonight. Nothing better than a Game 7… It’s a great scene out here, and it’s great for the game.”
Sharp on Zdeno Chara: “Zdeno Chara, to me, has all the characteristics of a great leader. We started to have one in Chicago with Jonathan Toews, but Chara for the Boston Bruins is as good as it gets. Remember, this guy is 42 years old. He’s found a way to connect with his younger teammates, teenagers, kids in their early 20s. He’s unified that locker room, and it’s been a rough series for him in the Stanley Cup Final, taking shots off the wrist, one off the face. I didn’t really like his game in Game 5, but don’t hold that against me. He’s playing with a broken face out there. I think it took him awhile to feel comfortable with that cage. He was much better in Game 6 and was a big reason why they went to St. Louis and won and are playing in a Game 7. He had my respect a long time ago, but playing with the injury that he has right now, how could you not respect that?”
Carter: “Nothing’s come easy to these St. Louis Blues all season long, so it’s only fitting that if they were to win the Stanley Cup this year, they clinch it on the road. It’s important for the Blue to get to their game quickly, and by doing that, you’ve got Ivan Barbashev in the lineup – the human battering ram. He still leads his team in hits with 27, the second-highest guy’s got 24. He’s missed one game.”
Tappen: “The greatest two words in all of sports: Game 7.”