PLAYER OF THE DAY

Laila Anderson is a an 11-year-old St. Louis Blues superfan. Laila frequents Blues games and would stand next to the tunnel to fist-bump players before the start of many games.

Two years ago, she was diagnosed with Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocystosis (HLH), a rare immune disorder that required her to undergo chemo and a bone marrow transplant in January. When she was in the hospital fighting her battle, her mom noticed that the Blues were fighting their own battle as well. The team was in last place in the league but were determined to do better. Laila followed them throughout their quest from worst to first, and was finally able to see them live in Game 3 of the conference finals. When the Blues advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals, Laila was allowed to hang out with the players. Laila went from a recognizable fan to an inspiration for the players. As it turns out, she was their good luck charm. The team needed Laila to be there for Game 7, and doctors gave her the OK.

Laila and her mom were at TD Garden for the 4-1 win against the Boston Bruins and witnessed the Blues bring home their first Stanley Cup. After the game, she got to hoist the cup with her favorite player, Colton Parayko, and even kissed it. Twice. Laila is the ultimate fighter, and the Blues gave her the ultimate gift – a chance to witness, and be a part of, a Stanley Cup championship. 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Gloria, Meet Stanley
The Blues Win the Cup
(NHL) 
With Laila’s help, the St. Louis Blues went from worst to first, literally. In 2018, their front office knew they needed a morale boost, so they adopted a puppy. On January 2nd, the Blues were still at the bottom of league standings. Their defense was horrible and their offense was irrelevant. After hitting rock bottom, they hit the reset button and heated up during the last few months of the regular season, only losing five games during through the start of the postseason. Once they clinched the playoffs, the rest was history.

Last night, the Blues beat the Boston Bruins4-1 in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. They won the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history. Pretty much everyone doubted this would happen. The media, opponents, fans. After the ‘St. Louis Media Incident of 2019’ and a Game 6 loss, the haters and the doubters were back. None of the skepticism deterred the Blues though. In the first 10 minutes of Game 7, the Bruins were on fire. But Blues’ rookie goalie Jordan Binnington was even hotter. Actually, maybe he was cooler. He stayed strong after the Bruins had chance after chance to score. Binnington let nothing past him. Then, there was a spark in the Blues’ offense. Ryan O’Reilly put one behind Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask to go up 1-0. You know how they say what goes around, comes around? Well the Blues center was at a guitar store in Boston before Game 7, and a Bruins fan started to chat him up about music. Despite the Bruins fandom, O’Reilly ended up buying him a guitar. Later that night he scores the first goal and then wins the Conn Smythe trophy for the most valuable player during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Looks like the gesture awarded some good karma. The Blues went up 2-0 at the end of the first period.

They held their lead throughout the remaining 60 minutes of play and when the buzzer sounded, the Blues celebrated their first Cup. Sorry to crash your party, Boston…

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What to Watch
Keeping things at Bay by the Bay
(NBA) 
After an emotional, one-point win in Game 5 at Toronto, which came on the heels (no pun intended) of losing superstar forward Kevin Durant to a devastating ruptured Achilles tendon injury that occurred early in the second quarter of Game 5, the Golden State return home to Oracle Arena tonight to face the Toronto Raptors for Game 6.

In addition to the overall significance of this game as it pertains to the outcome of this year’s NBA Finals, it also holds historical significance as well. After spending the last 47 years hosting games in Oakland, the Golden State Warriors will move into a new arena, the Chase Center, across the bay to San Francisco next season, meaning that tonight’s game, regardless its outcome, will go down as the last game ever played at Oracle Arena.

The Warriors, who trail 3-2 in the series, must win in order to force a winner-take-all Game 7 in Toronto. A win for Toronto tonight would clinch the franchise’s first NBA Championship in their 24-year existence.

The Warriors have played all but 11 minutes of this year’s finals without Kevin Durant, and they’ll need to persevere without him if they’re to become the second team to come back from a 3-1 series deficit in NBA Finals history (ironically they were also the only team to lose a series after leading 3-1 when LeBron and the Cavs marched back to victory in 2016).

Tune in and witness history, tonight on ABC at 9pm EST.

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ON THIS DAY

In 1994, Ryne Sandberg, Hall of Fame second baseman for the Chicago Cubs since joining the team in 1982, announced his retirement midway through the season. Sandberg, who was hit by a pitch on the wrist during a spring Training Game in 1993 missed more than a quarter of the 1993 season.

After just 57 games into the 1994 season, Sandberg hung up his cleats and announced his retirement in abrupt and shocking fashion. In doing so, Sandberg sacrificed $15.7 Million of the $25 Million contract he’d signed in years prior. He said “I am [also] certainly not the type of person who can ask the Cubs organization and Chicago Cubs fan to pay my salary when I am not happy with my mental approach and performance.” I guess when you know you know…


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