The St. Louis Blues lost a legend when Bobby Plager passed away on March 24. He died of a cardiac event during a car accident on Interstate 64 in St. Louis.
Bobby was more than just a hockey player who played alongside his brothers Bill and Barclay with the Blues from 1968 to 1972. He continued to work with the Blues in his post-retirement life, both in the front office as Vice-President of Player Development and for eleven games as coach. He loved St. Louis, and St. Louisans loved him. He was one of those former hockey players that you felt was a friend, even if you’ve never met him in person. Those who have lived long enough to have seen him play were fortunate, because they saw him in his glory days as a bruising defenseman with a destructive hip check. He was big, strong, and lovable.
This past Sunday, Bobby’s celebration of life was held at the Enterprise Center. His family, friends, and former teammates paid their respects to him.
In case you missed it, here’s the video below.
Can the Blues get themselves together after Bobby’s memorial? Maybe.
Right now, St. Louis is sitting in fifth place in the West Division with a two-game losing skid. The Blues are 19-18-6 with 44 points in 43 games.
The Blues have a shot at making the fourth seed for a playoff spot. According to HockeyViz, St. Louis has a 54% probability of making the playoffs, while Arizona has a 31% probability.
Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly told the Daily Journal Online: “Every game matters ... Every point matters. Some tough opponents coming up here. We have to take one game at a time. We can play with anyone in this league and we can beat anyone in this league. It’s gonna be the commitment to the details and throwing 60 minutes together. That’s our focus.”
The Blues have 12 games left to play in the regular season. Those 12 games include three versus Colorado, three at Minnesota, one versus Minnesota, two versus Anaheim, two at Vegas, and one at Los Angeles. Only three games are against non-playoff teams (Anaheim and Los Angeles). The Blues must shift their attention to the four games against Minnesota, a team that’s technically a lock in the playoffs. The Wild will likely stay motivated. Same goes for the Avalanche, who have won four consecutive games, one of which was against the Blues.
The Blues can afford five losses, as per HockeyViz. If the Blues win eight of their final 13 games, they’ll have an 87% chance of making the playoffs. But, of course, it’d be safer for the Blues to win 10 or more games. I know that’s easier said than done, but if the Blues pick up their offense, increase their sense of urgency, and play complete 60-minute games, they can unlock the door to the playoffs.
Anything is possible. Stay optimistic during difficult times. Believe in your team. Believe your team can do it for Bobby.