Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bob Plager's No. 5 Rises Next to Barclay's No. 8

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bob Plager's No. 5 Rises Next to Barclay's No. 8

Article excerpt

For a man best known for making people laugh, Blues legend Bob Plager was fighting back tears Thursday night.

Plager had his number 5 retired by the Blues, joining six other numbers in the rafters of Scottrade Center, but the way the team did it spoke to one of the things most important to Plager. As his number was being raised up alongside the other numbers, it stopped halfway up. The number 8 of Plager's brother, Barclay, was lowered to meet it and the numbers then completed the journey to the top together.

As Plager stood on a mat at the blue line, with his family and Barclay's, he wiped away tears as the banners went skyward.

"Seeing the No. 8 coming down, I looked at my family," Plager said later. "I think we all had tears in our eyes."

It was the end of a 50-year journey for Plager, who has been with the franchise since the league's expansion draft and has served in almost every possible role with the franchise over the years. While Plager wasn't the greatest NHL player "I got to see all four of my goals again," he quipped after a video retrospective on his career (he actually had 20) he more than made up for it with his contributions to the franchise. Team owner Tom Stillman called him "the ultimate Blue," and Bernie Federko, whose number has also been retired, called him a "true Blue who personifies what the Note really means."

Most of the players who have had their numbers retired by the Blues were on hand or represented by relatives: Al MacInnis (No. 2), Brett Hull (No. 16) and Federko (No. 24) all of whom still work with the Blues, were present, along with the son of Bob Gassoff (No. 3, who died in an accident in 1977) and the family of Barclay (who died of cancer in 1988). The only one not represented was Brian Sutter (No. 11), who sent a recorded congratulations. Blues players watched from their bench, wearing jerseys with No. 5 and Plager on the back.

Plager spoke for 25 minutes and said that was far less emotional for him than listening to others talk about him. …

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