Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Former Blues Grind It Out

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Former Blues Grind It Out

Article excerpt

After the mid-day skate Thursday at The Arena, old friends Garth Butcher, Bob Bassen and Ron Sutter stood in a walkway talking to long-time Blues teammate Basil McRae.

They laughed, talked a little business and then said goodbye. Looking a little odd in their sky-blue Quebec Nordiques jerseys, Butcher, Bassen and Sutter returned to the visitors' locker room and their new teammates.

Just 11 days after their trade to Quebec, the trio returned to St. Louis to face the Blues. Bassen delivered some big hits, and Sutter scored a power-play goal in the second period to help Quebec stun the Blues 4-3.

Facing old friends is a challenge.

"It's tough," Butcher said. "But it's part of the job. I've played against friends before. I guess you try to hit them hard and fair. You should hit them as hard as the rules say is OK. The only thing I try to do with friends is no cheap shots.

"Unless it's the playoffs."

As they skated on the ice for warm-ups, they got a nice cheer from the gathering crowd. A fan pressed "Party On Garth" and "Welcome Home Bobby Bassen" signs against the glass.

Another banner read: "No. 28 in Quebec, No. 1 in our Heart. Welcome Home Scuddo."

But Butcher, Bassen and Sutter all are antagonistic players, hard-working grinders who will stick their nose in the play and a glove in your face.

Their job Thursday night was to make life more difficult for the more skilled Blues - who happen to be their longtime buddies. From now on, they are the enemy.

"It's tough because of the way I play," Butcher said. "It's one thing if you're a great goal scorer or a stick handler. You can just go out and do your job. You don't have to hit anybody."

But Butcher, Bassen and Sutter hit people.

"You get on the ice and you've got a job to do," Bassen said. "We get paid a lot of money to do our jobs. I play them the way I always play. I've been traded enough times to get through it."

Sutter admitted having mixed feelings.

"Coming back to the rink itself is no big deal," he said. "It's the players you've gotten close to. I've got a lot of good friends across the way."

All three players were hit hard by the trade. …

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