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Stanley Cup Final

Hall, former Blues goalie, tweets thoughts during Game 3 of Cup Final

Hall of Famer enjoys first experience with social media, not loss to Bruins

by Dave Stubbs @Dave_Stubbs / Columnist

STONY PLAIN, Alberta -- Glenn Hall was roughly 1,900 miles from St. Louis on Saturday, swallowed up by a sofa in the den of the sprawling farmhouse that sits on his 160-acre spread.

But the man known forever as Mr. Goalie was very much at Enterprise Center in spirit, a handful of Blues jerseys scattered around his home and memories washing back over him a half-century later.

Having "just learned my doorbell," as Hall joked, the Hockey Hall of Famer used my Twitter account (with some gentle direction) to share his observations of the Blues' 7-2 loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. If the result left him a bit deflated, he was delighted when fans asked him to share memories of his playing career and of the many people whose paths he crossed from the Detroit Red Wings to the Chicago Black Hawks to the Blues.

Hall will be in front of his TV, twitter once again just a sound made by the birds on his property, for Game 4 on Monday with the Bruins leading the best-of-7 series 2-1 (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).

Video: Glenn Hall reflects on being drafted by Blues, Bowman

"I'll be honest, I didn't understand a lot of it," he said with a laugh of his first and final, he declared, social media experience. "Technology has changed so much. I'm not 19 anymore, I don't know anything about this. But having so many fans reach out to me, that was wonderful."

The NHL had extended an invitation to Hall to come to St. Louis for Game 3. But at 87, with long connecting flights, travel was daunting and he politely declined. With our friendship going back many years, he invited me to come to his farm to watch the game. I accepted immediately, provided he agree to live-tweet the game from his sofa.

Hall has a magnificent pedigree. His NHL career from 1952-71 includes a 1961 Stanley Cup championship with Chicago, two Vezina Trophy wins with Chicago and one with the Blues, 13 All-Star Game appearances and a streak that will never be broken: 502 consecutive games played, 552 including playoffs -- all without a mask -- from 1955 with Detroit through 1963 with Chicago.

But it was Hall's St. Louis connection, playing four seasons with the Blues (1967-71), helping them to three straight appearances in the Stanley Cup Final, including 1970 against the Bruins, that was most timely as he sat to consider new media, his preferred "old media" of books and newspapers and magazines in every room of his ranch house. It goes without saying that there is no WiFi in his home.

With that in mind, the plan was simple: Hall would throw a thought at me and his son, Pat, and I'd distil it into a tweet he liked, his GH initials preceding each. He was edited only for style; this would be Mr. Goalie Unfiltered.

It was about 5:50 p.m., 10 minutes before the game telecast began, that he headed off what he surely knew was coming with a tweet about Bruins defenseman Bobby Orr's iconic Stanley Cup-winning goal of May 10, 1970:

Tweet from @Dave_Stubbs: GH: For those who think I���m losing sleep over Bobby Orr���s 1970 #StanleyCup winning goal? I���m not. I���ve got MANY copies of this autographed photo at home. And I still think it might have been Bobby���s only NHL goal 😊

Hall listened to a commentator speak about injuries being nursed by various players, which was a bit of a thigh slapper.

"They talk about players being hurt in the #StanleyCup playoffs? They're all hurt. They're ALL hurt. It's how you play through it," he tweeted.

A first question -- and it surprised him that anyone would much care to know about anything about him -- came a half-hour after he'd signed on:

Tweet from @Dave_Stubbs: GH: Kevin, I was relatively healthy and I just loved to play. I got hit in the face with the puck but I could still move my arms and legs. #StanleyCup

That was followed by a reader asking Hall whom he idolized growing up, and what fellow goalie Jacques Plante was like as a teammate.

"Charlie Rayner, Sugar Jim Henry and Turk Broda," he replied. "Plante was a real good goalkeeper, we didn't try to educate each other and we had good success."

Even fellow NHL executives and players dove into the pool. Craig Button, the former Calgary Flames general manager and current hockey analyst on television, was engaged with comments, while former NHL goalie Martin Biron asked Hall about his superstitions:

Tweet from @Dave_Stubbs: GH: Martin, I tried not to be superstitious. My left pad had to be put on first but that���s just because it was more comfortable. The odd time, I threw up but that just told me I was keyed up enough to play. For that reason, I tried to throw up before every game. #StanleyCup

One reader shared a photo of a Hall shrine he's built, and how he didn't want to bother the goalie the night of his Alberta Sports Hall of Fame induction for a handshake. Hall expects he'll speak with his son about getting an autograph to this fan.

With the second period ending and the Bruins headed toward their runaway win, we paused for a dinner plated by Pat's wife, Debbie, but not before Hall tweeted a photo of himself with Plante and their Vezina Trophy:

Tweet from @Dave_Stubbs: GH: I���m taking a break for dinner but I���ll be back. In the meantime, I love this photo with my late friend Jacques Plante after we won the 1968-69 Vezina Trophy with St. Louis #stlblues #StanleyCup

With the Blues slipping badly in the third period and Hall less than excited about seeing his team being defeated, he offered best wishes to St. Louis coach Craig Berube, the native of nearby Calahoo, and assistants Larry Robinson, Steve Ott, Mike Van Ryn and David Alexander. "It's only one game, Blues," he tweeted.

By game's end, the sofa had Hall locked in its soft jaws, the goalie taking a last look at the iPhone that was buzzing with likes and retweets and comments. If he looked somewhat overwhelmed by all of it, it's because he was. His total: 17 tweets, with hundreds of likes and retweets still coming as this story was filed after 2 a.m. ET on Sunday.

Tweet from @Dave_Stubbs: GH: It���s been a lot of fun on Twitter tonight, my first experience with it. Thanks to the @NHL for inviting me to St. Louis and thanks to all you fans for writing tonight and remembering me. All these years later, I���m humbled. Dave can have his account back now. #StanleyCup

"I'd like to shake hands with each of them," he finally said of the many who had reached out to him. "It's awfully special when they're calling you the best and their favorite all these years after I played my last game."

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