Before COVID, the popular dad trip was a fairly regular tradition during Blues season, with players’ dads accompanying the team for a few games on the road.
They flew on the team charter, hung out with the players before and after games or practices, and of course attended the games. Well, the tradition has been revived this year with a twist.
The Blues host a mom trip. That’s right, most blues players’ moms travel with the team. The team departed for Vegas, Colorado and Chicago on Friday. The moms will join the squad in Colorado — maybe the sons don’t trust their moms at the slots in Vegas — and be on hand in Chicago, too.
Vladimir Tarasenko, Pavel Buchnevich, Thomas Griess and Nikita Alexandrov are the only players whose mother will not be on the trip. Rumor has it that Ivan Barbashev’s mother, Marina, needed four connections to reach St. Louis from Russia.
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“It was three connections,” Barbashev corrected. “It’s nice. The last time she was here was a few years ago. It’s nice to see them, to be honest, because I didn’t have the opportunity to go back to Russia this summer. But they’re only here a few days ago arrived so it was nice.
“It’s difficult. It’s tough when you don’t see them often. But they’re here, pretty excited.”
The mother’s trip covers only a small part of the stay of Barbashev’s mother, who along with other family members will spend a few weeks in St. Louis and then head to Canada, where Ivan’s younger brother Maxim plays junior hockey with the Moncton Wildcats.
“When she’s here, she helps babysit,” Barbashev said. “She hasn’t seen my son in almost two years.”
Of course, these visits also feature some of Mama’s home cooking. Barbashev’s favorite dish from his mother? You guessed it, borscht.
Most Excited Mom?
After talking to Ryan O’Reilly about his mom, Bonnie, you’ll be hard pressed to find a mom more excited about this mom’s journey.
“She’s so excited and says she won the award,” O’Reilly said. “She takes the games more seriously than anyone in the family, even me. If I lose, I think she’s more upset than me.”
Well, that’s hard to imagine.
“She might show up with her gear. She might be willing to play if she can. But she’s the best, obviously a huge supporter and so passionate about it. Watches every game, every shift, and she’s as much a part of it as I am.
“It’s nice to be able to share it with her and give her such an insight into what’s going on day to day, what some of the meetings are, what a practice looks like at the moment.”
A few NHL teams have mom’s trips, but this is the first for the Blues. Among a handful of blues players interviewed Friday before the team left for Las Vegas, none had ever been part of a mother’s journey before.
“I’ve never done a mom trip, but dads like to have fun,” said Robert Thomas. “The mothers are always the ones who take care of the cubs when they are younger, so spending that time with them will be exciting.”
Dads have been known to have late night extracurricular fun on their dad’s previous trips. Could this also apply to the mothers?
“I’m sure they can,” Thomas said. “I’m going to sleep, so. …”
It was hard to miss Robert Thomas during Friday’s practice at the Centene Community Ice Center. He was the guy on the ice wearing bright yellow socks with white and blue stripes.
“Our equipment manager was a bit tired this morning and gave me the wrong socks so we’re going to blame him,” said Thomas. “I thought everyone was wearing them, and then I went out on the ice and nobody was wearing them. So I think they are playing a little prank on me.”
When asked what he thought of the fashion of the socks, Thomas replied: “They are yellow. So you are different.”
So it’s not something he would recommend?
“No,” Thomas said. “Not at all.”
Which is unfortunate for Thomas, as the socks are for the reversed-retro uniforms of the Blues, who are set to debut Nov. 17 against the Washington Capitals.