Former Blues Wayne Gretzky and Martin Brodeur, who played a combined 25 regular season games in St. Louis, will bring their star power to the Winter Classic alumni game on Dec. 31.
When the Blues and Blackhawks alumni teams face off on New Year’s Eve, the game will be highlighted by two of the greatest players in the history of the sport — Wayne Gretzky and Martin Brodeur — suiting up for St. Louis.
Gretzky, the league’s all-time leading scorer and almost inarguably the greatest player to ever grace the ice, will bring with him the fanfare of playing in what will likely be one of his final alumni games, while Brodeur, the winningest goaltender in league history and a surefire first ballot Hall of Famer, gives Blues fans another opportunity to see one of the game’s greatest netminders pull on a St. Louis jersey.
Hilariously, though, it will make for just one of the handful of times either player has actually represented the Blues.
Together, Gretzky and Brodeur played just 25 regular season games for the Blues, which puts them in the same category as players such as Wade Redden, Scott Gomez, Petr Nedved, Ray Ferraro, Olli Jokinen, Valeri Bure and… well, you get the picture. Gretzky and Brodeur played for what amounts to a hiccup of time in St. Louis compared to someone like Bernie Federko, also a member of the alumni team, who skated more than 900 games as a Blue and is the franchise’s all-time leading scorer.
Gretzky and Brodeur aren’t the only short-term Blues named to the club, though, as Peter Stastny found his way onto the roster. Peter played a mere 23 games in St. Louis, which is far less than his son, Paul, and even less than his older son, Yan, played for the Blues.
That said, and all jokes aside, the bulk of the Blues roster are veritable stars and fan favorites from their time in St. Louis.
For the die-hard Blues fans, the roster has a bit of everything. Brett Hull, who became a star in St. Louis and remains the franchise’s leading goal scorer, will be back in St. Louis for the contest and wear the Blue Note for the first time since 1998. That’s sure to bring back some memories. The same can be said for Al MacInnis’ return to the ice for the Blues, with whom he ended his career in 2003 and has since taken on a front-office role.
The alumni game will also signal the return of players such as Keith Tkachuk, Adam Oates, Chris Pronger and all-time winningest goaltender Mike Liut. (The full roster can be seen below, via the Blues.)
And while there’s a bit of humor in the inclusion of Gretzky, Brodeur and, to a lesser extent, Stastny, their appearance at the game is all about having some star power and fun with the games. In the grand scheme of things, these are meaningless contests played at half-speed by former players, and it’s more about putting butts in seats and giving the fans a show than anything, and, for that, it’s hard to beat having Gretzky and Brodeur suit up.
Now, if only longtime Blackhawks’ greats such as Bobby Orr, Paul Coffey, Wendel Clark, Doug Gilmour and Sergei Samsonov can be wrangled for the game, we’ll really have something to look forward to.
Forwards: Larry Patey (#6), Keith Tkachuk (#7), Dallas Drake (#10), Adam Oates (#12), Brett Hull (#16), Gino Cavallini (#17), Scott Mellanby (#19), Bernie Federko (#24), Peter Stastny (#26), Terry Yake (#27), Kelly Chase (#39), Scott Young (#48), Pierre Turgeon (#77) and Wayne Gretzky (#99).
Defense: Al MacInnis (#2), Bruce Affleck (#4), Barret Jackman (#5), Garth Butcher (#5), Jamie Rivers (#6), Paul Cavallini (#14), Jeff Brown (#21), Bryce Salvador (#27) and Chris Pronger (#44).
Goaltenders: Mike Liut (#1), Martin Brodeur (#30), Ed Staniowski (#31) and Chris Mason (#50).
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