The Canadiens are in St. Louis tonight to play the Blues in a rare Sunday night game. Often when the Canadiens and Blues meet, I think back to all the players who have shared both jerseys over the years.
The Blues were once the Canadiens Annex, thanks in no small part to Scotty Bowman, who coached the team in their first three seasons starting in 1967.
When the NHL expanded by six teams that year, the Blues, on Bowman's advice, picked apart the Canadiens minor league teams and built a fairly solid roster very quickly. Bowman knew his stuff, and the Blues made three straight trips to the Stanley Cup final.
With a team loaded with former Habs, the Blues lost to the Canadiens in 1968 and 1969. The following year, St. Louis fell to the heavily favoured Bruins in four games. In fact, when Bobby Orr scored the Cup winner flying through the air, it was a former Hab - Noel Picard - who tripped him!
Early Blues history has the Canadiens written all over them. The Plager brothers, Barclay and Bill, who became legends in St. Louis, were once coached by Bowman in junior when they played for the Canadiens sponsored Peterborough (T.P.T.'s) Petes. Bowman lured some great names from the Canadiens past to play for the Blues during those years, including Jacques Plante, Doug Harvey, Ted Harris, Jean Guy Talbot, and Dickie Moore.
Small wonder the Blues contended so quickly!
Since 1967, sixty-six players, including many former Canadiens, have worn both the bluenote and the CH. Here's an alphabetical listing.
Don Awrey, Murray Baron, Normand Baron, Red Berenson, Bob Berry, Christian Bordeleau, Andre Boudrias, Valeri Bure, Jim Campbell, Guy Carbonneau, Shayne Corson, Bill Collins, Wayne Connelly, J.J. Daigneault, Gilbert Delorme, Rory Fitzpatrick, Ron Flockhart, Dave Gardner, Doug Gilmour, Gaston Gingras, Phil Goyette, Ted Harris, Doug Harvey, Sean Hill, Fran Huck, Pat Hughes, Mark Hunter, Mike Keane, Christian Laflamme, Mike Lalor, Guy Lapointe, Michel Larocque, Claude Larose, Gary Leeman, Chuck Lefley, Jocelyn Lemieux, Bill McCreary, Rick Meagher, Sergio Momesso, Dickie Moore, Phil Myre, Ric Natress, Greg Paslawski, Noel Picard, Jacques Plante, Michel Plasse, Stephane Quintal, Rob Ramage, Stephane Richer, Vincent Riendeau, Phil Roberto, Jimmy Roberts, Bill Root, Martin Rucinski, Glen Sather, Brian Savage, Bill Sutherland, Jean Guy Talbot, Larry Trader, Pierre Turgeon, Perry Turnbull, Ernie Wakely, Rick Wamsley, Eric Weinrich, Doug Wickenheiser, and Rick Wilson.
Additionally, several Habs prospects, such as goalie Ted Ouimet, and prospect Andre " Moose" Dupont, also got their NHL careers rolling in St. Louis, after toilling in the Habs system for years.
In 41 years of games between the Blues and Canadiens, the Habs have owned them big time. The teams have met 118 times, with the Canadiens holding a record of 70-25-22, with one overtime loss.
Here's hoping the dominations continues tonight. The Blues owe us!