That’s Red Berenson wearing the “C” for St. Louis. Long before he became a legend as a college coach, Berenson was the only really good hockey player in the Western Division. The 6 expansion teams had a few good goalies, some tough dmen with crooked noses, and more than their share of 6′s and 7′s up front who checked like hell and manned their wings.
But Berenson could do things with the puck and because of it he stood out. When the NHL expanded in 1967, the 6 new clubs didn’t have access to the best young amateurs who had already been gobbled up by the original 6. Bobby Orr would have been eligible for the 1968 draft under the rules of the time, but of course he was already an NHL star. Brad Park was already in New York, and Guy Lapointe had been protected by Montreal under the old “sponsorship” program. Adding to the problem was that teams like St. Louis and Minnesota traded all of their high draft picks 1969+ so that when sponsorship ended the original 6 (Montreal especially) could grab the cream of the crop long before the expansion teams hit the podium.
So Red Berenson was it. And he was very, very good.
The current Blues aren’t very interesting. They seem to be moving in the right direction, but it’s hard to tell and it is certainly not a straight line build ala the New York Islanders of the early 1970s. St. Louis takes one step forward and another one back and this season has been very frustrating because some of their very best kids are injured.
Having said that, there’s a lot of young talent. This Oshie fellow looks like he’s got it going on and Berglund and Backes are solid. It’ll be interesting to see how the former Leafs are doing in the town that gave us Chuck Berry. Brad Boyes is also fun to watch.
The opponents for St. Louis tonight are the Edmonton Oilers, a team in the NHL.