If you’re looking for behind-the-scenes stories about the St. Louis Blues, Jeremy Rutherford might be a good place to start.
In nine seasons covering the team for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Rutherford has written more articles and Morning Skate blogs than he likely cares to count. But despite spending nearly a decade around the club, it wasn’t until he sat down to write a book that he realized just how much he didn’t know.
Like when Noel Picard accidentally sat on the opposing team’s bench because he was exhausted from killing a penalty. Or the stories surrounding Red Berenson’s six-goal performance against the Flyers in 1968. Or the details about Wayne Gretzky’s extremely brief tenure in St. Louis.
All of those topics, and many more, are covered in Rutherford’s upcoming book “100 Things Blues Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die.” The book will be available on Oct. 1 and can be preordered now on amazon.com.
The project is nearly two years in the making.
“I took a dozen people to lunch and asked them to give their best Blues stories. I kept hearing the same ones,” Rutherford said. “The Monday Night Miracle, the trade for Brett Hull, Al MacInnis’ slapshot, Scott Stevens’ unfortunate departure…all those stories kept coming up. So there are obvious stories that had to go in the book, and then there’s dozens of other stories that people might be less familiar with, but they’re fun stories to tell and I think people will get a kick out of them.”
In sharing several stories from the book, Rutherford recalled a 1994 incident between Keith Tkachuk, then with the Winnipeg Jets, and Brendan Shanahan, who was with the Blues.
It was the last game of the regular season, and the Blues were already locked into their playoff position. Early in the game, Tkachuk high-sticked Shanahan, who left the game with an injury. Shanahan had no intention of returning until he went to the locker room for stitches and was told he was several penalty minutes shy of becoming the second NHL player to record 50 goals, 100 points and 200 penalty minutes in a single season (the other was Kevin Stevens of the Pittsburgh Penguins). Shanahan returned to the game, scored two goals and then pummeled Tkachuk before the final buzzer to earn his penalty minutes.
"It was all because people were egging him on in the locker room," Rutherford said. "He (returned to the game) and his sole purpose was to go after Tkachuk and get the penalty minutes. Shanahan told me he knows for a fact that Tkachuk high-sticked him on accident, but it didn't matter at that point. Shanny was going after him. It’s ironic that he would become the disciplinarian for the NHL.”
The book, which also includes a foreword from Hall of Famer and Blues Executive Vice President Brett Hull, became a passion project for Rutherford.
“I never dreamed I’d write a book and I certainly never thought I'd be involved in a project with Brett Hull, who I grew up watching," Rutherford said. "When I got the offer (to write the book), I was very excited about being in a position to take life-long Blues fans back in time and help the younger ones learn more about a franchise that is so rich in tradition.
“You get a little nervous hoping that you were able to capture the stories the way they were meant to be told. But I can't wait for the book to come out so that all fans can have the most the memorable moments in Blues' history at their fingertips."
100 Things Blues Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die is available for preorder now on amazon.com. The book will be released on Oct. 1. Click here to learn more or preorder your copy today.