"Best of the Blues: The Greatest Players in Team History" Reviewed by Bill Schwab
The St. Louis Blues became one of the expansion teams of the National Hockey League in 1966. During the life of this franchise, a total of 696 different players have worn the 64th Note on the front of their jerseys.
St. Louis native and former “Post-Dispatch” sportswriter Dan O'Neill has selected 25 of these players and deemed them “The Best of the Best” to wear the “Note” on their uniforms in his book “Best of Blues.”
O’Neill He describes each of these standouts with three or more pages of narrative and historic photographs presenting their finely-honed skills, the seasons they played, the goals they scored, and other statistics proving how exceptional they were. Many of the 25 players have had their jerseys retired and hung high in the Enterprise Center in honor of their accomplishments.
Well-known players like Brett Hull, Bernie Federko, and Barclay Plager are obvious, indisputable members of the elite-25, but there are less familiar names on the list too including Pierre Turgeon, Pavol Demitra, and Ryan O'Reilly. The insider knowledge included in their biographical sketches is especially appealing.
The book also includes a section entitled “Best of the Rest” which consists of a dozen additional players O’Neill believes should be considered “The Best” and he encourages readers to make their own list. The final section, “Best of the Brief,” recalls memorable players such as Phil Goyette and Bill Guerin who spent only one season with the Blues but made major contributions to the team.
This large, colorful 160-page book is an exciting look at one of St. Louis' much-loved sports teams. Those who “bleed blue” will particularly enjoy this record of the Blues’ history, especially the 2019 season when the Blues won the NHL Championship and became holders of the prized Stanley Cup.
About the Author: O'Neill is the St. Louis Blues Media Relations Coordinator in charge of keeping, organizing, and interpreting statistical information about the Blues. He shares data with broadcasters each game day and serves as the liaison between the media and the players. Reedy Press is the publisher of this well-written and indexed coffee-table book.
The Friends of the Washington Public Library will host O’Neill on Thursday, Dec. 8th from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the library, 410 Lafayette Street. O’Neill will present on his book and sign copies. There is no charge to attend the event.