We continue down the path of the Top 25 Most Influential Players in Blues History. This is not a list of the best players in team history but a combination of the best, most influential, and the most important to the team.
Defending the #7 spot: Barclay and Bobby Plager
The St. Louis Blues have had a long list of storied defensmen in their history but none have had as big of an impact on not only the team but the city then Barclay and Bobby Plager.
The Plagers arrived in St. Louis in two separate trades with the New York Rangers in 1967. Barclay was part of the Red Berenson deal while Bobby was part of a deal that sent defensemen Rod Seiling back to New York after the Blues claimed him on waivers.
The Plagers would team up with Doug Harvey, Al Arbour and Noel Picard to make up one of the stingiest defensive cores the league has ever seen. The Blues would rank in the top three of fewest goals allowed in 1969, 1970 and 1971.
Barclay Plager was named the Blues second team captain and would have the second longest tenure as captain in Blues history behind only Brain Sutter. Bobby would become a local legend with his team play and signature hip checks and the two would combine for almost 2,000 penalty minutes in their careers.
Barclay would finish his career as the player coach of the Blues Kansas City CHL team in 1977 and would lead his team to the finals. After retiring, Barclay was named the Blues head coach succeeding Leo Boivin but would endure the worst season in franchise history and would be relieved of his duties at the end of the season.
After stepping down as coach, it was discovered that Barclay had a brain tumor, which was causing him to have dizzy spells and had been attributed to an old head injury. In 1981 the Blues brought him back as an assistant coach and he held that position until his death in 1988.
On March 24th, 1981 the Blues retired Barclay’s #8 jersey against the Islanders and it is one of only six retired jersey’s for the Blues. Barclay would succumb to cancer on February 6th, 1988.
Bobby would play ten seasons in St. Louis but that was not the end of his time with the team. Bobby has been associated with the Blues for over 44 years and has performed almost every task a person can in an NHL organization.
Bobby is credited with developing the process of advance scouting, he has served as head coach of the Blues and its minor league affiliates, and currently holds the position of Vice President of Player Development.
Bobby was and is a fan favorite and can be heard on radio broadcasts, seen at practices or at his restaurant and is never shy about giving autographs and talking Blues hockey.
The Plagers were exactly what the blue collar city of St. Louis needed its defensemen to be in the early days and this town has never forgotten that.
While not prolific goal scorers, these two men helped form the identity of the early Blues teams and that tradition has held through out the years as players like Al MacInnis, Chris Pronger, Scott Stevens and Guy Lapointe have put on the Blue Note and wore it proudly because of players like the Plagers.