Ryan O'Reilly will not be a very popular player in the city of Boston on Wednesday night when the puck drops for Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final (8 p.m. ET, NBC; Live Stream).
He has been the Blues’ best all-around player in the playoffs, might be their Conn Smythe Trophy favorite if they win, and has made a massive impact in trying to stop the Bruins from winning their first championship since 2011.
He did, however, make one friend in the city of Boston on Tuesday night.
It was then that O’Reilly stopped into a Guitar Center in downtown Boston on the eve of the biggest game of the season. While he was there, he was recognized by a Bruins fan, John Corrado, who eventually struck up a conversation with the Blues’ forward. It ended with O’Reilly buying Corrado any guitar he wanted in the store.
Corrado explained the entire sequence of events to Pat Pickens of NHL.com.
An excerpt (check out the entire story here):
Corrado approached O’Reilly after he exited the room and they struck up a conversation about music. O’Reilly then offered to buy Corrado any guitar he wanted. Corrado let O’Reilly choose for him and went home with a Seagull-brand acoustic guitar.
“I refused right away, but he assured me it wasn’t about the money,” Corrado said. “He just really loves music and wants others to enjoy what he has found special in his time playing guitar.”
Corrado will still be rooting for the Bruins in Game 7, but O’Reilly’s gesture has made him a fan.
“I told him I would’ve said ‘good luck,’ but he understood that I really couldn’t,” Corrado said. “I hope one day I could thank him. It’s really inspiring. Maybe one day we can play together.”
Earlier this season the Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford wrote about O’Reilly’s love of music and guitar and how he grew up around it.
When O’Reilly was a member of the Buffalo Sabres he wrote and recorded a song of his own.
The Blues acquired O’Reilly before the start of the 2018-19 season in a trade that sent Vladimir Sobotka, Patrik Berglund, Tage Thompson, and a first-round draft pick to the Sabres. It has been, to this point, an extremely one-sided trade in the Blues’ favor, not only because Buffalo has not really received any meaningful production from the players it received (jury is obviously still out on Thompson and the draft pick) but because O’Reilly has been everything the Blues needed. He has filled the role of No. 1 center, played shutdown minutes defensively, and been the team’s leading scorer throughout the regular season and postseason. It was one of the many significant moves made by general manager Doug Armstrong over the past year.
He is a big reason the Blues are in a position to win their first ever championship.
If they do they are going to have to win one more game on the road and disappoint the city of Boston. All of New England will will be against him on Wednesday night when he steps on the ice, but no matter what happens on the scoreboard he made at least one person in town happy this week.
More Blues-Bruins Game 7
• Blues vs. Bruins: Three keys for Game 7
• The Wraparound: It is all on line for Blues-Bruins
• Which Blues, Bruins player will get Stanley Cup handoff?
• Conn Smythe watch
• Stanley Cup roundtable discussion
• Lineup changes for both teams
• Game 7 by the numbers
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.