ST. LOUIS - The Blues will celebrate some of the greatest goaltenders in franchise history when the puck drops on a marquee matchup with the Montreal Canadiens tonight at 6 p.m. (FSMW, KMOX).
Glenn Hall, Jacques Plante, Mike Liut, Curtis Joseph, Grant Fuhr, Martin Brodeur… when you stop to think about it, some legendary netminders have donned the Blue Note over the years.
Tonight, those goaltenders will be honored in a pregame ceremony for Goalies Night, the second of three Blues Heritage Nights this season.
“As we look toward our 50th anniversary season, we’re honored to celebrate the rich heritage of the St. Louis Blues along with our fans,” said Chris Zimmerman, the Blues’ President and CEO of Business Operations. “Goalies Night will give the Blues and our fans a chance to appreciate some of the most popular and impactful players in our organization’s history.”
The pregame ceremony will feature appearances from Liut, the Blues’ all-time wins leader (151), Joseph, who ranks second in wins (137), Fuhr, a Hockey Hall of Famer, and Brodeur, the NHL’s all-time winningest goaltender.
Last night, the group got together to share stories and meet with fans during the Blues’ Heritage Night dinner at the Missouri Athletic Club.
“You try to put it out of your mind (that they’re here), because it’s hard to live up to those guys,” goalie Brian Elliott said of playing in front of the former goalies tonight. “It’s definitely cool to talk to them and ask them some questions and see their thoughts on certain situations. Last night we had the ability to do that. Here tonight we’re going to be honoring them, so you just want to play well and win the game.”
“(This is) a great event. I love coming back to St. Louis,” Fuhr said this morning. “Any chance you get an opportunity to come back, it’s fun… (The Blues) have had some great goalies. In one year, they had Glenn Hall and Jacques Plante. That’s a pretty good tandem. Curtis had some great years here, I had a lot of fun here - they’ve had decent goaltending for awhile.”
Although it might look like it, no, that’s not Cujo that will be manning the crease for the Blues tonight. It’s Elliott, who gets the start and will be donning a new mask and pads that resemble the look worn by Joseph during his early days with the Blues.
Elliott was inspired to create the new gear after finding an old hockey card featuring Joseph.
“He was in Heaton gear, which they don’t make anymore,” Elliott said recently. “The gear was all blue, and I thought it looked really cool. And his mask when he was first here, with the two trumpets on top and the Blue Notes on the chin on the music sheet, that always stuck out in my head as a kid. I wanted to pay tribute to him because I was such a fan and idolized him.”
Joseph, obviously, is a big fan of Elliott’s new look.
“It’s a humbling experience. I’m very honored that he’s doing it,” Joseph said. “He’s going to wear it (tonight) and I hope the game goes well so he can wear it for the rest of the year…But if he really wanted to be retro, he’d wear my old blue pads. I think they’re up in the lobby here (at Scottrade Center). Could you imagine? They’re 32-inch pads.”
Elliott intends to auction the mask for charity at a later date.
Blues forward Alexander Steen left Thursday’s game in the third period after being hit high with a stick. Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said Steen is out for tonight, but didn’t have any further update.
Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (upper-body), who was injured Jan. 8 in Anaheim, did skate with the team this morning but won’t play tonight.
Robby Fabbri - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko
Scottie Upshall - Paul Stastny - Troy Brouwer
Patrik Berglund - David Backes - Ty Rattie
Dmitrij Jaskin - Kyle Brodziak - Ryan Reaves
Joel Edmundson - Alex Pietrangelo
Colton Parayko - Kevin Shattenkirk
Chris Butler - Robert Bortuzzo
The first 15,000 fans in attendance at tonight’s game will receive a commemorative canvas featuring former goalies Glenn Hall, Liut, Fuhr and Joseph.
Fuhr, who holds the all-time record for the most games played by a goalie in one season, shared the story of how he played in 79 consecutive games in the 1995-96 season for then-coach Mike Keenan. “We had a little debate in training camp over fitness, so once we solved our issue over that, Mike came back and said play until you’re tired, then tell me you’re tired,” Fuhr said. “So I never said a word, he never asked and he just let me keep playing.”
The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Blues 3-0 in their first matchup this season on Oct. 20. Carey Price recorded the shutout, but he’s been out since November with a lower-body injury. Chris Condon will start tonight for Montreal, who rank fifth in the Atlantic Division with 49 points.
David Backes has six points (three goals, three assists) in his last seven games vs. Montreal.
The Blues have won two of their last three games at home against the Canadiens.