This is Garry Unger. The Blues stole him from a broken down Detroit Red Wings organization for the last 200 miles of Red Berenson. Unger represented the franchise for most of the 1970s, an ironman who routinely scored 30 goals each season.
The Blues first owners (insurance tycoon Sid Salomon Jr., his son, Sid Salomon III, and Robert L. Wolfson) fixed up a crappy arena and hired the best management people available (a lot of quality men were hired in the 1960s by St. Louis, among them Scotty Bowman, Cliff Fletcher, Jimmy Devallano and Al Arbour) and were easily the class of the expansion division. They were not smart business men and at some point in the 1970s the club (under the younger Salomon) was close to bankruptcy. Emile Francis has often talked about having three employees to run the team but they made the playoffs quite a few times during this era and you still can’t find a former player who’ll bitch about the way he was treated by the club while there.
The Purina era was awful, with the team losing millions and the final straw for the league came when St. Louis didn’t send a representative to the draft in 1983. That’s when Bill Hunter (and Saskatoon) got involved but Harry Ornest stepped in and ran them for a few years. The Blues at that time ran very close to the bone but the players loved playing for the Blues. Seriously. At one point they had a 19-owner group running the joint. St. Louis Blues players love playing for the St. Louis Blues. It’s a tradition that began with the Salomon’s and continues to this day.
Tonight marks the halfway point in the season for the Edmonton Oilers. This has not been a happy season so far, it has in fact been same old, same old and that my friends is causing some commotion in the fanbase. The Oilers are a team that moves slowly during the season and (apparently) it is very hard to trade in the cap era.
I think we should give this thing until the All-Star break. That’s 6 more games. They’ll play the Blues, Capitals, Wild, Avalanche, Coyotes and Blue Jackets in those games and knowing this team as we do there will be little change in the standings.
There will however be a change to the blog. If the Oilers aren’t in 8th (and a clear 8th, no ties allowed) I will devote all of January, February, March and April to:
- the upcoming draft
- the HHOF pieces I do from time to time
- some math stuff
- prospect updates
I think I’ll have a good long look at the Blue Jackets after the All-Star break should the Oilers run in place. Columbus seems to have a sense of urgency, there are asses on the line. I know this isn’t news but the Edmonton Oilers aren’t terribly interesting this season. We’ve seen it before. Tickets are getting much easier to get and honestly I’ve passed on a few chances to see games this season. It’ll become the norm by fall unless this mess gets fixed.
Did you hear about Filatov?