Laila Anderson

Laila Anderson on Couch2Cure event, importance of ‘Be the Match’ registry

Laila Anderson continues to make an impact in the lives of others one year after she became part of the Blues’ run to the 2019 Stanley Cup title.

On Tuesday, Anderson, who has battled HLH, a disease that causes the body to make too many immune cells, took part in an all-day livestream event called “Couch2Cure” to benefit Be the Match. It served as not only a fundraiser, but also a call for people to become donors for patients seeking blood stem cell matches. She was joined by FOX play-by-play man Joe Buck and Blues PA announcer Tom Calhoun.

The event was a success, raising $1.45 million and resulting in 36,000 registries to the Be the Match program.

Laila spoke with NBC Sports’ Kathryn Tappen on Wednesday to talk about the “Couch2Cure” event, the importance of the Be the Match registry, and how she’s doing  one year after the Blues’ triumph.

MORE LAILA ANDERSON:
Laila introduces Blues All-Stars — with gusto
Blues superfan enjoying life one year after bone marrow transplant
Laila meets bone marrow donor
Laila gets moment with Stanley Cup

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Best moments from 2020 NHL All-Star Game

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After a fun skills competition on Friday, the Pacific Division beat the Atlantic 5-4 to win the 2020 NHL All-Star Game on Saturday. David Pastrnak won the MVP, while the Pacific split that $1 million. Those results don’t capture all of the best moments of the 2020 NHL All-Star Game, however.

Let’s consider some of the funny,  entertaining, and things that we’re more likely to remember than Pastrnak winning MVP (no offense, Pasta).

Laila Anderson introduces the Blues

Having Anderson introduce the Blues’ All-Star representatives was a delight. The Blues kind of owe her after Anderson was their “good luck charm,” right?

Blues fans … cheer for Patrick Kane?

Naturally, the St. Louis crowd was pulling for a Central Division team heavy on Blues. Of course, that meant they also occasionally felt the urge not to boo Patrick Kane of the rival Blackhawks. It made for a funny moment after a Kane goal:

Kane is no stranger to hearing boos at All-Star games, as Nashville fans let him have it (to John Scott’s delight) in 2016. After Saturday’s festivities, Kane explained why the boos don’t bother him that much.

“It’s all in good fun,” Kane said. “To be honest with you, sometimes you get booed, you kind of like it a little bit. It’s St. Louis and Chicago, it’s a huge rivalry. Not only in hockey, but pretty much every other sport they play against each other. I guess that’s only baseball, but… You know what? Had a lot of fun this weekend and I thought that was a pretty cool moment …”

Tkachuk to Draisaitl

“The Battle of Alberta” was put on hold (kind of?) being that Flames star-pest Matthew Tkachuk teamed up with Leon Draisaitl on the winning Pacific team.

The two engaged in an awkward exchange. Tkachuk sent a nice pass to Draisaitl in the opening game, leading to a goal. Draisaitl high-tailed it out of there, possibly while muttering a profanity at his frenemy. Afterward, Draisaitl claimed that he was just joking.

Regardless, nothing from All-Star weekend detracts from the billboard-worthy hype for the next “Battle of Alberta.” To refresh your memory, the Flames and Oilers will meet in what should be fascinating Jan. 29 and Feb. 1 games. Buckle up (and fasten your chinstrap/actually keep your mouthpiece in, Matthew).

Big weekend for Tomas Hertl

Casual hockey fans might know a lot more about Hertl. He brought laughs (and frightened chills) by wearing a Justin Bieber mask during the skills event.

Hertl followed up that style with substance. The Sharks forward scored four (often beautiful) goals in the first round, then managed the All-Star Game final’s clinching goal.

Overall, the 2020 NHL All-Star weekend provided plenty of fun, memorable moments, Tkachuk vs. Tkachuk, and a Mascot Showdown. Chalk that up as a success. If you want more information regarding the events, check the sections below.

Read up on the two first-round games:

Atlantic 9 – Metropolitan 5
Pacific 10 – Central 5

Celebrities, Skills, and more

Recent All-Star Game winners, MVPs

Winners:
2019: Metropolitan 10 – Central 5
2018: Pacific 5 – Atlantic 2
2017: Metropolitan 4 – Pacific 3
2016: Pacific 1 – Atlantic 0
2015: Team Toews 17 – Team Foligno 12
2012: Team Chara 12 – Team Alfredsson 9
2011: Team Lidstrom 11 – Team Staal 10
2009: East 12 – West 11 (OT)
2008: East 8 – West 7
2007: West 12 – East 9

MVPs:
2019: Sidney Crosby
2018: Brock Boeser (quite memorably)
2017: Wayne Simmonds
2016: John Scott (also very memorably)
2015: Ryan Johansen
2012: Marian Gaborik
2011: Patrick Sharp
2009: Alex Kovalev
2008: Eric Staal
2007: Daniel Briere

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Laila Anderson introduces Blues All-Stars — with gusto

No doubt, the best parts of All-Star introductions come in seeing who gets the biggest cheers (and loudest boos). Usually, we’re talking about players, coaches, and maybe a celebrity like Jon Hamm. The 2020 NHL All-Star Game provided a unique moment, though: Laila Anderson received a big cheer, and then introduced the hometown Blues’ All-Star representatives.

Let me say this: Anderson did a great job. The “good luck charm” showed potential as an announcer.

Laila Anderson introduces Blues at All-Star Game

Anderson introduced Jordan Binnington, David Perron, Alex Pietrangelo, and Ryan O'Reilly. Anderson announced each Blues All-Star with gusto, too:

Good stuff.

Quite a year for Anderson (and the Blues)

This continued another great stretch for the Blues’ “good luck charm.” If getting the bobblehead treatment wasn’t enough, Anderson was also immortalized in trading card form:

Let’s recall the year Anderson experienced:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Blues superfan Laila Anderson enjoying life one year after bone marrow transplant

If you want to feel inspired (and, yeah, probably cry), then the video above can do the trick. It does a fantastic job of summarizing — and updating — the story of St. Louis Blues fan Laila Anderson as she battles the rare immune disease HLH.

Truly, it’s been a remarkable year since Anderson received a bone marrow transplant from Kenton Felmlee, whom she would eventually meet.

One moment that stood out because it’s another nice recent development: Anderson holding a sign indicating that All-Star week will represent a milestone: one year since that “golden ticket” transplant. Please excuse the quality, as it is a screen that just begs to be shared.

Laila Anderson one year

Pretty great.

Anderson experienced quite a year:

During that clip, Anderson’s organ donor pointed out his own family struggles with disease, which inspired him to become a donor. As touching as Anderson’s personal story is, it could be an even greater good if it helps raise awareness, and thus save lives.

The National Marrow Program set up a specific spot to promote awareness: beamatch.org/laila. Anderson designed a shirt, with all proceeds benefiting Be the Match:

Laila Anderson be the match

Maybe even more good can come from an already heartwarming story?

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Laila Anderson, bone marrow donor attend Blues game

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If it got a “little dusty” at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis on Saturday, that’s understandable, because the continued story of Laila Anderson meeting Kenton Felmlee, her bone marrow donor, is sure to make most get a case of heightened allergies.

(Is that a leak from the ceiling? /Sobs)

Anyway, Felmlee was Anderson’s guest during Saturday’s Toronto Maple Leafs – St. Louis Blues game, giving the two another chance to bond, and beyond that, for Anderson to thank Felmlee for helping her in her battle with the rare immune disease HLH.

It’s great stuff, even if the actual Blues game isn’t going so great for St. Louis.

This longer clip from their first meeting earlier this week is worth watching, unless you don’t want people to see you openly weeping’n’stuff:

(Personally, I’d say it’s worth it.)

MORE ON LAILA ANDERSON AND THE BLUES:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.