12.10.2009 4:51 pm
Blues Top 10 of Decade
By Reid Laymance
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
As the decade draws to a close, the Post-Dispatch will look at 10 memorable moments for many of the area’s teams and events. As with any lists, they are purely subjective and a fun point of discussion. Feel free to add your own in the comments section of the blog.
Here are the Blues top 10 of the Decade, by Dan O’Neill.
You can’t compare a regular season win to winning an overtime playoff game. After tying the score in the final three minutes of regulation, the Blues beat the San Jose Sharks 3-2 in overtime on a goal by unsung Bryce Salvador. More than 19,800 were at Scottrade on April 19, 2001, to see the Blues go ahead 3-2 n the conference quarterfinals, and they clinched the series two nights later in San Jose. For Salvador, it was his first career playoff goal.
The Blues had two of the best defensemen in NHL history for parts of the decade, Al MacInnis and Chris Pronger. But forward Keith Tkachuk has been the constant. Before this season, No. 7 had scored 224 goals and 242 assists this decade for the Blues, and he’s still adding to the numbers.
Towel Man. Ron Baechle, 50, a commercial artist, has been the legendary linen peddler since 1990. He sits in the rafters and springs into action after every Blues goal, hanging over a railing, waving his towel and counting down the goals with fist pumps. You can’t teach that. God’s speed, Towel Man.
For the first and only time in their history, the Blues were the best regular season team in the NHL in 1999-2000, amassing 51 wins and 114 points. But after beating the Sharks 6-2 in Game 6 at San Jose, the President’s Cup winners lost Game 7 at home 3-1. A stunned crowd of more than 20,400 watched as the highly-anticipated playoff season ended, one and out.
Best Hidden Gem
Having traded stars like Chris Pronger, having alienated even the hardest of their hardcore fans, the Blues were on life support when Dave Checketts’ SCP group acquired the team 2006. Checketts hired broadcaster John Davidson, a former goaltender with no executive experience, to bring the franchise out of darkness. The Blues still have ground to cover, but Davidson has led a remarkable resurgence and reconnect with the community.
Black goaltender Fred Brathwaite, whose nickname was “Shady B.” Second choice would be Al MacInnis’ moniker, “Chopper.”
A gritty and promising young Blues center, Mike Danton pleaded guilty to hiring a hitman to murder his agent, David Frost, in July, 2004. The hitman turned out to be a police dispatcher and Danton eventually was sent to jail for conspiracy to commit murder. Danton was released on parole last September.
Jochen Hecht’s goal 18 seconds into overtime capped off one of the most incredible rallies in NHL history on Nov. 30, 2000. The Blues scored six unanswered goals to stun the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-5 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto. The Leafs led 5-0 with 15:09 remaining in the third period.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 NHL draft, defenseman Erik Johnson tore the ACL and MCL in his right knee during a freak accident at a golf outing in September, 2008. After he showed signs of blossoming as a rookie, the injury forced Johnson to miss the entire 2008-09 season.
Best Individual Performance
Ty Conklin knows this one. Current a Blues netminder, he was in goal for Detroit when David Backes scored four times, including a game-winner with 4:07 to play, to lead the Note to a crucial 5-4 win over the Red Wings on April 4 at Detroit. With four games left on the schedule, the improbable victory over the Wings - who had beaten the Blues five previous times in the season - boosted the playoff surge. The performance was Backes’ first career hat trick.
Louie is pissed about this I'm sure. Towel Man should watch his back.