St. Louis Blues, today’s Knights were built in similar ways

By now, you’ve probably seen the asterisk.

Or the parentheses, which is how one TV graphic listed the 1967-68 St. Louis Blues in context with the Golden Knights and making it to the Stanley Cup Final as an expansion team.

At first blush, mentioning those Blues with these Knights might seem like heresy, or at least more audacious than Stu “The Grim Reaper” Grimson becoming a practicing attorney after serving his last game misconduct.

There were only 12 teams then, and six — St. Louis, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Pittsburgh and California/Oakland were new. They played amongst themselves in a separate division. So one was assured of going to the Stanley Cup Final.

Not the same as emerging from a field of 31 teams, as the expansion Knights have done.

Having to beat only two of the other underlings in playoff interludes before skating for the Cup guaranteed one of the new teams would be successful, or at least an interesting story, much in the same manner a preferential expansion draft was designed to give the Knights a chance to succeed.

In 1967, the six existing teams protected a goalie and 11 skaters from being selected by one of the upstarts.

Fifty years later, established teams were allowed to protect seven forwards, three defenseman and a goalie, or a goalie and eight skaters regardless of position, from master hockey craftsman George McPhee.

So good players were available in both expansion drafts.

Singing the Blues

The Blues struggled in their first season, finishing 27-31-16 and in third place in the newly minted West Division. Lynn Patrick stepped down as coach in November and was replaced by the legendary Scotty Bowman, a transaction foretelling of St. Louis’ early success and invoking comparisons of the Blues of 50 years ago and the Knights of today.

Both featured Hall of Fame goaltending.

The Knights have Marc-Andre Fleury, who at 32 was thought to be too long in the missing tooth to be protected by the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Blues had Glenn Hall, who at 35 was left off the Chicago Blackhawks’ safe list for the same reason.

Vegas’ leading scorer is Lars William Karlsson, aka “Wild Bill,” who had totaled just 50 points in 183 previous NHL games. His St. Louis counterpart was Gordon Arthur “Red” Berenson, aka “The Red Baron,” who had accumulated only 46 points in 185 games before expansion.

The Knights have Jonathan Marchessault on left wing; the Blues had Frank St. Marseille on right wing.

The Knights have shifty Nate Schmidt and rugged Deryk Engelland on the blue line; the Blues had Jimmy Roberts and the Plager brothers, Barclay and Bob.

Up in the T-Mobile Arena luxury boxes, Knights principal owner Bill Foley paid a record $500 million NHL membership fee. Sid Salomon Jr., son Sid Salomon III, and Robert Wolfson paid $2 million for the Blues, $4 million to Chicago’s Bill Wirtz to own St. Louis Arena and $2.5 million to renovate it.

St. Louis Arena did not have luxury boxes. It barely had indoor plumbing when the Blues came into existence.

So that is where the similarities end.

Closer than recalled

There also is a notion among current hockey fans that the Blues, unlike the Knights, had no business in the Stanley Cup final, and that is why they were swept in four games by the vaunted Montreal Canadiens.

SHORT DESCRIPTION (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

The record book suggests the opposite.

All four games were decided by one goal, including two in overtime.

Glenn Hall limited the Canadiens to 11 goals. The inventor of the butterfly style of playing goal, he was named winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs in a losing effort.

You could see the same thing happening with Fleury if the Knights don’t write the final chapter to “Miracle on Ice II” before shipping it off to the Hollywood screenwriters.

Should the Knights win it all, TV hockey guru Barry Melrose — who was 11 when St. Louis lost to Montreal in 1968 — said it would be the greatest story in NHL history.

Humble Glenn Hall, 86 and still living on his farm in Alberta at last report, most likely would agree. He also might say that if he had to do it over, he’d probably try to protect the five hole a little better against Bobby Orr and the Bruins two years later.

More Golden Knights: Follow all of our Golden Knights coverage online at reviewjournal.com/GoldenKnights and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Edge: Knights Win Third Preseason Game
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen go over the Knights 7-2 win over the L.A. Kings.
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Golden Edge: Vegas Fans Show their Love at Fan Fest
Bryan Salmond is on the red carpet at the downtown Las Vegas Events Center as the 2018-2019 Golden Knights show up for Fan Fest.
Golden Edge: Knights Back From Colorado
Golden Knights reporters Adam Hill and Ben Gotz talk about Knights preseason training camp and how Max Pacioretty is fitting in with the Knights.
Golden Edge: Mailbag — September 17, 2018
Ben Gotz answers questions submitted from Golden Knights fans.
Golden Edge: Knights Win First Preseason Game
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond, David Schoen, Ben Gotz and Adam hill recap the Golden Knights first preseason game win against the Arizona Coyotes.
Golden Edge: First Practice
Adam Hill and David Schoen discuss the first day of practice for the Golden Knights.
Golden Knights Presser Max Pacioretty
Max Pacioretty speaks about his first impressions coming to the Vegas Golden Knights.
Golden Edge: Mailbag
Ben Gotz answers questions submitted from Golden Knights' fans about recent roster changes.
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Rookies Faceoff Against The Sharks Good
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond breaks down the 5-4 loss the Golden Knights rookies had against the San Jose Sharks.
Lucas Elvenes is ranked as one of the Golden Knights' top prospects
Lucas Elvenes is ranked as one of the Golden Knights' top prospects after a breakout season in Sweden. He slid to the fifth round in the 2017 draft after being projected to be selected much higher. “I wasn’t happy about being a fifth-rounder. But it was good for me, too, because I didn’t have so much pressure when I came here," Elvenes said. Elvenes posted five goals and 16 points in 28 games while playing in the top league in Sweden. The Knights signed Elvenes to a three-year, entry-level contract in June.
Golden Knights rookie camp - Day 2
The Golden Knights held their second day of rookie camp at City Arena in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Golden Edge: Deryk Engelland Rides With Kurt Busch
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond heads to city national arena and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to see Kurt Busch attempt to learn how to play hockey, and Deryk Engelland hop in a race car.
William Karlsson and the Golden Knights are headed to arbitration
Of all the salary arbitration cases in the NHL this summer, none is more compelling than the one involving William Karlsson and the Golden Knights. Karlsson is seeking $6.5 million annually in arbitration. The Knights countered with an offer of $3.5 million annually. Karlsson's arbitration hearing is scheduled for Saturday in Toronto. During the hearing, the player and team present evidence. The arbitrator then has 48 hours to render a decision, and the team decides on a one- or two-year contract. Karlsson’s agent and the Knights can continue to negotiate a new contract prior to the hearing.
William Karlsson and the Golden Knights are headed to arbitration
Of all the salary arbitration cases in the NHL this summer, none is more compelling than the one involving William Karlsson and the Golden Knights. Karlsson is seeking $6.5 million annually in arbitration. The Knights countered with an offer of $3.5 million annually. Karlsson's arbitration hearing is scheduled for Saturday in Toronto. During the hearing, the player and team present evidence. The arbitrator then has 48 hours to render a decision, and the team decides on a one- or two-year contract. Karlsson’s agent and the Knights can continue to negotiate a new contract prior to the hearing.
Golden Edge: Floor Hockey Clinic
Bryan Salmond travels to the Paradise Recreational Center for the Las Vegas Golden Knights floor hockey clinic with special guest Golden Knights defenseman and Mark Messier Leadership Award winner Deryk Engelland.
Golden Edge: Off Season Update
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and sports columnist Ed Graney go over the Knights free angency and signing Marc-Andre Fleury.
Fleury on his three-year extension: To stay in Vegas a long time was big
Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said he's glad he'll be a part of the team for a long time. Fleury spoke about signing a three-year contract extension at a news conference at the City National Arena in Las Vegas on Friday.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Thursday, July 5
Las Vegas Morning Update - Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Golden Edge: Free Agency Update
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and Golden Knights beat writer David Schoen go over the latest free agency news from the Vegas Golden Knights.
Golden Edge: Knights Host Scrimmage
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the Knights second day of scrimmage at City National Arena.
Golden Edge: Prospects Prepare For Scrimmage
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the Knights getting ready to participate in a scrimmage for the next few days.
Golden Edge: Previous Prospects Fight For Spot
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over day two of the Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Edge: One-On-One With Reid Duke
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond interviews Golden Knights prospect Reid Duke.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Wednesday, June 27
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Development Camp
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the Golden Knights development camp and how the prospects are looking to improve their game.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Tuesday, June 26, 2018
David Perron, James Neal set to leave Golden Knights
David Perron, James Neal set to leave Golden Knights Perron and Neal were key contributors on the second line for the Knights, helping the expansion team to the Pacific Division and Western Conference championships. Perron’s agent, Allan Walsh, told the Review-Journal on Sunday that the Knights have not made a new contract offer since the season ended. Neal turned down a five-year, $25 million offer from the Knights at the trade deadline, according to the Calgary Sun.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like