Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Blues' Plan for Insurance Working Well Tilley, Crossman Do Job in Place of Injured Stars

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Blues' Plan for Insurance Working Well Tilley, Crossman Do Job in Place of Injured Stars

Article excerpt

You buy insurance because you just never know. A satellite could fall from space and crush your Pinto. A frog shower could damage your roof. A strange fungus could force you off the job for four months.

Or your top two offensive defensemen could end up in the shop at the same time.

This is why the Blues brought defenseman Tom Tilley back from Italy and why they were storing veteran defender Doug Crossman at their Peoria farm team. You just never know.

As it turned out, the Blues needed both players, and they have provided excellent coverage. They helped the Blues win at Hartford and Winnipeg with Jeff Brown (sore foot) and Phil Housley (bulging disk) in the press box.

Brown and Housley also will sit out tonight's game at The Arena against the Edmonton Oilers, so Crossman will quarterback the power play and Tilley will play a regular shift, if his sore foot permits.

"When you lose two big guys like Phil and Brownie and somebody like Tom Tilley steps in and Doug Crossman comes up as a just-in-case guy and plays solid for us, it's really a credit to these guys," coach Bob Berry said.

"Especially Cross. He's in Peoria, with the numbers the way they are here. . . . I have a lot of respect for Dougie. He's a great professional to do what he did. He could have said, `To heck with you guys - now you need me?'

"But he didn't. That's professionalism. It's a business. Business is business, friendship is friendship."

Crossman, 33, has played 866 National Hockey League games and scored 456 points. He still has his offensive tools, but in recent seasons, he has fallen into the role of power-play specialist and fill-in defender.

The Blues acquired him from Tampa Bay last season to run their power play when Brown got hurt. Once Brown returned, Crossman gravitated to the press box and finished the season as a spectator.

He got a termination contract from the Blues, came to camp with little chance to make the team, and was encouraged to seek a deal elsewhere. Nothing materialized, so he contemplated retirement before going to Peoria to stay in circulation.

In his first two Blues games, Crossman picked up one assist and had a plus-minus rating of plus 2. …

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