Big Rig Looking to be first in the Expansion Era.
In the summer of 2018, after signing with his hometown team, Pat Maroon and Cam Janssen did a drive-by interview. The two St. Louis natives talked about how great it would be if Maroon, The Big Rig, brought a Stanley Cup to the Blues. How would the city known as the Gateway to the West react? It would be crazy!
The way the 2018-19 season started for the St. Louis Blues, no one would have ever thought Maroon, of all people, would be on the verge of history. Here we are though, just three short years later. The Big Rig could become just the fourth NHLer to win three straight Stanley Cups with two different teams. In a hundred and four years, only three men have accomplished this feat. Could the Big Rig be next?
Eddie Gerard (HOF),
The first was Eddie Gerard with the original Ottawa Senators and the Toronto St. Pats from 1919 to 1920 through 1922-1923. Gerard won his first two with the Senators, this third with the St. Pats in 1921-1922. He picked up a fourth again with the Ottawa. There is an asterisk attached with the Hall of Famer. In 1921-1922 he was a full-time player with the Senators.
The St. Pats invited Gerard to play in game four of the Stanley Cup Finals. Harry Cameron, a St. Patrick’s defenceman, was injured in the previous game, and the Vancouver Millionaires’ manager Lester Patrick allowed Toronto to use Gerard as a replacement. (Teams could bring in replacements for injured players so long as their opponents consented during this time period.)
Gerard did not play in game five, but they listed him on the winning roster. Thus giving him his third straight ring and the distinction of being the first player to complete the feat with two different teams. Gerard also has ties to St. Louis, as he was the first-ever NHL coach in our city. He coached the St. Louis Eagles for the one and only year they play in the Lou, before folding.
Ab McDonald was the first to accomplish this feat as a full member of both winning teams. McDonald won four cups also, starting in 1957-1958 with the Canadians and ending in 1960-61 with the Chicago Blackhawks. Mac’s rookie year was 1958-1959, and he finished third in the Calder voting. In 1958 Ab played in two playoff games during the Habs championship run. He appeared in five All-Star games and in 1968 the Penguins traded him to St. Louis.
McDonald played in 152 games for the Blues amassing 102 points (46G, 56A). During his third season, the Blues traded him to the Red Wings. he played in 20 games managing on 5 assists before the trade.
Ed Litzenberger started his streak when McDonald ended his. Litzenberger won four straight cups while playing for 3 teams. His first ring was awarded along with Mac’s last one in 1960-61. Litzenberger got his three rings while playing with three teams. The Blackhawks traded him to the Detroit Red Wings at the end of the 1961 season. The Hawks then traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs in December 1961. The Leafs and Lit won the next three Stanley Cups.
Litzenberger won the Calder in 1956, playing for both the Blackhawks and the Canadians. The Habs traded him to the Hawks for cash on December 10, 1955. He played in 6 all-star games, was in the top five in goals 3 times, and led the league in even-strength goals in 1956-57.
In the Book, Glenn Hall: The Man They Call Mr. Goalie, by Tom Adrahtas, Hall said “He helped instill a winning attitude as a member of the Black Hawks after having been traded from a first-place to a last-place team after noting a defeatist attitude among the players. Some of his teammates were satisfied with a tie. He reminded them that a tie was not a win and not worth celebrating.”
The First American?
Maroon, whose physique is not what you would consider athletic, his nickname is “Fatty Patty.” He is not a goal scorer, he has 23 goals in 193 games since 2018. He has averaged less than 14 minutes a game in his career and is only playing 11:36 this season. So how is “Chubby but effective” here? His third Stanley Cup Finals in three years.
The Man who “bet on himself” in 2018, continues to do so. After the Blues won the Stanley cup in 2019, they decided not to bring Maroon back. The Big Rig remained a free agent until the Tampa Bay Lightning signed him on 24 August 2019. His one-year deal was for the league’s veteran minimum of $900,000. The Big Rigs’ gamble did not seem to pay off. His new salary was $850,000 less than when he was with the Blues.
Tampa Bay’s 2019-2020 season started out the same as the Blues 2018-19 season did. Full of expectation, devoid of results. Maroon had been through this before. His leadership and passion were invaluable to the Lighting. The Lighting just like the Blues turned things around and on March 11, 2020, when the sports world stopped spinning, they were second in their division, second in the conference, and fourth in the league.
After a four and a half month, hiatus hockey was back and when the game 6 game clock struck 0:00 the Big Rig was a back-to-back champion. He was in elite company even then. Only 8 players, including the three players from above. Cory Stillman is the only other play to complete this feat in the expansion era. Stillman’s came on 2003-2004 and 2005-2006. The 2004-2005 season was locked out and they held no season. Again an asterisk is placed on the distinction.
Even the Big Rig will have an asterisk next to his accomplishment, as both this season and last were short seasons because of the global COVID pandemic. Marron, the pride of Oakville, Mo, is the type of guy you know will be a leader both on and off the ice. He will throw his body around and he will be a pest in every sense of the word.
The Big Rig’s work ethic, his passion, and his mouth (“You guys are F@cked”) are the reasons he has this opportunity. The only thing standing in his way is the Montreal Canadiens and their 24 Stanley Cup rings. Along with the fact that every time the Canadians and the Toronto Maple Leafs face each other in the playoffs, the winner walked away the eventual Cup Champs.
I got the Big Rig in 5
Till Next time Hockey fans