As I mentioned earlier, this game was one that many fans were looking more forward to than the Winter Classic itself. The rosters for both teams are a who’s who of childhood heroes and also Ben Eager and Dan Carcillo. In case you missed the line-ups for today’s game, here you go:
It’s easy to break this game down into an “old dude does this, guy who looks like he could still be playing does that” run-down, but where is the fun in any of that?
Mike Liut and Darren Pang were the starting goaltenders. Panger allowed one fairly quickly to Pierre Turgeon, but all in all he looked solid. Even in full gear, though, you could tell how diminutive of a figure he cuts when compared with his teammates. He later allowed one to Larry Patey who scored on a solid assist from Bruce Affleck and a pretty good dose of quality defense from the Blackhawks.
I feel comfortable in saying that if we could get Liut some gear he could be an ok replacement for Carter Hutton in a pinch. Sure, he’s nearly 61, but age ain’t nothing but a number. In fact, his goal allowed to Jim Cummins was in line with some of what we’ve seen out of the Blues’ goaltending this season. Ditto with his goal allowed to Kyle Calder. Ed Staniowski replaced Liut halfway through the first, and allowed Kyle Calder’s second goal with a little over three minutes to go in the period.
The first period was fun, but the second period was something special. Why? Because of Bernie Federko opening the scoring like this:
It takes a true Hall of Famer to score on a shot like that. From your ass.
Following Bernie came a Peter Stastny goal, and then this. By Kelly Chase.
To say Busch Stadium erupted would be an understatement. It’s always nice to see the grinders get one; it’s no exception for it to be nice to see in an alumni game.
Somewhere in there Reid Simpson scored a goal on Chris Mason because why not.
To break the 5-5 tie, it was... well, it was Barret Jackman, because why wouldn’t it be Sir Jax?
To wrap the game up, Martin Brodeur took over the third period. It was weird seeing him in net for the Blues when he was an active player. It’s still weird seeing him in net for the Blues as an alumni.
It’s also weird seeing him give up a goal to Daniel Carcillo.
Big Walt followed Carcillo’s goal with one of his own, tapping home a Federko rebound from his typical spot - right in the middle of the crease. No teeth were lost in the scoring of the goal.
Some dignity was lost immediately afterward, as Tkachuk channeled his inner Ryan Reaves and dabbed.
Big Walt scored 538 goals in his career. Pretty sure this is the first time he's dabbed after one of them. pic.twitter.com/a7vsUFE8uf— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) December 31, 2016
One seven wasn’t enough, as number 77, Pierre Turgeon, added his second of the afternoon shortly following Tkachuk’s goal.
Brodeur gave up his second goal to Kyle Calder, completing the Calder Trick. We have seen history in the making here folks.
The Blues hung on to win it. 8-7. Calls for the Blues to sign Pierre Turgeon began immediately after.
For a wrap-up of some of these guys’ careers on ice (because a) they’re getting up there and b) who knows when the Blues are going to be asked back to do an outdoor game), there couldn’t be anything better than a filled to the brim Busch Stadium. As Kelly Chase told NHL.com:
"To me it is such an honor to be asked to play in it, but I'm so happy for the people of St. Louis that can actually come and watch it.
"It's emotional for me, because more than anything I'm an emotional guy to begin with. I've been here 28 years, and to be a part of this now and to see what has gone on here is just awesome. To see all the guys back is great, but to know what it means to the people of St. Louis is awesome."
Judging by the turn-out and enthusiasm of Blues fans today, the opportunity to see these guys take the ice one last time meant a lot.