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Teammates, Acquaintances Talk About Oates

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

Former Blue Adam Oates will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto alongside Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin and Pavel Bure on Monday, Nov. 12.

Oates played in St. Louis for less than three seasons (195 games), but still posted 58 goals and 228 assists (286 points). Over the course of his 19-year NHL career, Oates scored 341 goals, 1,079 assists (good for sixth best in NHL history) and 1,420 points (13th all-time).

Below are some comments from former teammates and acquaintances who knew him best from his time in St. Louis.

  Brett Hull, former Blues teammate:
"To me, he is the most underrated player to ever play in the NHL, and it’s hard to be underrated when you get put in the Hall of Fame, isn’t it?”
  Jeff Brown, former Blues teammate:
“In my time in St. Louis, I was fortunate to play on a power play with the best pure goal scorer ever and one of the best playmakers of all time. Adam was the consummate set-up guy. His vision, unselfishness and ability to not only find the open guy, but know before everyone else where the open guy was going to be, makes him more than worthy of his induction into (the) Hall.”
  Paul MacLean, Ottawa Senators Head Coach and former Blues teammate:
“Adam was an elite passer in the game, his vision on the ice was such that he knew where everyone was. He was a great teammate. Adam’s induction into the Hall of Fame is very well deserved. He played the game with great respect for both the game and the people in it.”
Rod Brind'Amour, Carolina Hurricanes Assistant Coach and former Blues teammate:
"I know Wayne Gretzky is up there, but Adam Oates saw the ice as well as anyone that ever played, and that's one of the things that I learned from playing with him. He knew where everyone was on the ice, both your players and the other team's players. He did that better than anyone else. I played with him when I was 18, and so he was a veteran guy that treated me like I was an older player. He really looked out for me and my rookie year, I got to play with him all season. He made it easy for me to play in this League. He's a heck of a player and a heck of a person. It was a long time ago, but those were great memories for me."
Kelly Chase, Blues Radio Analyst and former Blues teammate:
"If you take Wayne Gretzky out of the mix, Adam Oates, in my opinion, is the best passer that ever played. (He) was unbelievable. His sense of awareness of where guys were was ridiculous, and the way he laid pucks into areas where they could get to them. He's responsible for Cam Neely being in the Hall of Fame. That's how good he was and how much better he made guys around him. He had the most assists in the 90s, and we're not talking about being in the Top 10, we're talking about the most. Nobody in (this year's) class, in my opinion, is more deserving that Oates.
Bruce Affleck, St. Louis Blues COO:
"He was the best pure passer I've ever seen."
Sergio Momesso, Canadiens Radio Analyst and former Blues teammate:
"Adam was a student of the game. He would look at the video of other defensemen and know what moves would work against them. Adam was a quiet person and reserved, but in his inner circle (Hull and myself), he was funny in his David Letterman-(way) of telling jokes. Just based on his numbers, he deserves to be in Hall of Fame. Playing on the same line with Hull and Oates was the most fun I had during the years I spent in St. Louis."
John Kelly, TV play-by-play broadcaster
"I think it's obviously very well deserved because he will go down in the history of the NHL as one of the greatest passers ever. We were so lucky in St. Louis to see arguably the greatest goal scorer and the greatest playmaker play together for almost three years. The magic they made, especially when Brett was hitting goal totals in the 70s and 80s, most of them set up by Adam, it really was treat for fans. I know Adam has been quoted as saying he thinks if (he and Hull) would have been able to stay together (in St. Louis) and perhaps keep Scott Stevens, they might have won a Stanley Cup. We'll never know the answer to that question, but Adam truly was one of the greatest Blues ever for the short time that he was here."
Dan O'Neill, St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
"Adam Oates was the the last of his kind in the NHL - the last of the true playmaking centers. From 1989-90 through 1991-92, Brett Hull had seasons of 72, 86 and 70 goals. Over the remainder of his 18-plus seasons in the NHL, Hull never scored as many as 60 goals in a season. The difference? For most of those three magical seasons Adam Oates was his teammate. I did not see Wayne Gretzky on a nightly basis, but I saw Oates and he was the most dynamic passer I ever watched. No one could impact a game more without putting the puck in the net than Adam Oates."
Gino Cavallini, former Blues teammate:
"I would describe Adam as an intelligent player. He thought the game through and the results are what carried him into the Hall of Fame. Nothing slipped by him while on the ice and his point totals over his career clearly illustrate what drove him. He had an uncanny ability to find the open man and those who played alongside him knew the kind of special player he was. His induction into the Hall of Fame now validates the type of player he was and the person he is. It was an honor to have played with him."
Terry Yake, Director of Blues Alumni and former Capitals teammate:
"Good players made a point of passing (the puck) on your stick. A guy like Oates made sure he put it on your stick and that the puck wasn't spinning when it got to you, making it even easier to receive. There were things I hadn't even seen in 12 years of playing that Adam Oates was doing on a daily basis. He clearly goes down as one of the greatest passers and intellects the game has ever known."

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