On Monday the US Hockey Hall of Fame added three players and two builders into their exclusive club. Among those selected are all world defenseman Chris Chelios, stellar forward Gary Suter, founder of the Philadelphia Flyers Ed Snider and play by play man Mike Emrick. For St. Louis Blues fans, though, one name trumps them all and that is legend Keith Tkachuk.
Though hardly far removed from participating in games, Keith Tkachuk is already a legend in Blues fans eyes, even with out leading them to a Cup. Tkachuk helped this team weather the post lock out storm after being one of the top performers on the team pre-lockout. Tkachuk was the guiding hand to the ascension of players like David Backes, who will take this team to the next level.
After spending 9 years with the Winnipeg Jets/Phoenix Coyotes and collecting 330 goals and 308 assists, Tkachuk was dealt to St. Louis for a multitude of players and picks. Phoenix thought they were getting rid of an aging star and the Blues got lucky that Keith had more to prove.
Over the next 8 years, Keith would do more than just screen the opposing goalie in hopes of a cheap rebound goal. Keith netted 208 goals while wearing the Blue Note and he would collect his 500th goal as a member of the Blues. Tkachuk would become the 4th American born player with 500 career goals.
With his hard nose blue collar style, Keith became a fan favorite in St. Louis and that knowledge is what brought Keith back after his deadline day move to Atlanta. With the Blues out of the playoff picture, Keith was dealt to Atlanta in the hopes that he would secure a Cup Championship before his career finished. Alas it was not to be and he returned to St. Louis to help mentor the youth in town as well as compete for a title.
The Blues never quite got there with Keith but his leadership and knowledge has given that edge to the new stars on the team and if this team wins a title in the next 5 years, you can expect a lot of that was due in part to Keith Tkachuk,
Tkachuk will join a few other members of the Blues family in the US Hockey Hall of Fame; Phil Housley, Joe Mullen, former GM Larry Pleau and Blues legend Brett Hull. Next step for Keith will be the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto and that should be a first ballot lock too.
Congrats Keith on the election to the US Hockey Hall of Fame and we all look forward to seeing you at the rink, with or without your front teeth.