CHICAGO -- As it turned out, Vladimir Tarasenko's infant son, Artem, touched the Stanley Cup before the St. Louis Blues forward did.
Artem was a day old when he was photographed sitting in the Cup's bowl on June 8 - four days before Tarasenko and the Blues defeated the Boston Bruins 4-1 in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden. When the photo circulated on social media after the Blues' victory, most assumed it was from after they returned to St. Louis.
"The baby in the Cup was the day before Game 6," Tarasenko said Thursday at the 2019 NHL Player Media Tour.
St. Louis led the best-of-7 series 3-2 and was one win away from its first championship when Tarasenko's wife, Yana, gave birth to Artem, the couple's third child (all sons), on June 7. The following day the Cup visited the maternity ward of the hospital where Yana and Artem were recovering.
With the Blues having a chance to win the Cup in Game 6 at Enterprise Center on June 9, Yana wasn't sure what to do when she was offered a chance to have a photo taken of Artem in the bowl. The last thing she wanted to do was spoil the Blues' chances of winning.
"They were going into the rooms visiting newborns and she asked me, 'Should I take a picture or no?'" Tarasenko said. "I was like, 'We were last in the League four or five months ago and we either win or lose not because you take the picture.' So, she took the picture before Game 6 of the baby in the Cup. We were just hoping we were going to win, and we win."
The Blues lost 5-1 in Game 6, but Tarasenko said he wasn't worried after that about the photo being a jinx.
"In Game 7, I was not nervous," Tarasenko said. "You know Game 7 there's two options; you either lose or win. In Game 6, if you lose, you go (back to Boston), if you win, it's all nice. But just Game 7 it was just kind of a business mindset. So (coach Craig Berube) said right away, 'You have one game to win. That's it.' So, it was easier."
After the Blues won, Tarasenko shared the moment with Yana and Artem via Facetime from the TD Garden Ice.
"For me, my wife was my MVP in this case," he said. "She was always supporting me. … The older I get, the more I understand whatever family you have, whatever happens in your life, you can always share this with the ones you love. If I quit playing hockey, she will be the one, if something happens with me, to take care of me. She deserved this, and I was really excited to share it with her."