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Robert Bryant Plager (born March 11, 1943 in Kirkland Lake, Ontario) is a retired professional ice hockey defenceman who played in the National Hockey League for fourteen seasons from 1964–65 until 1977–78. He had two brothers, Bill and Barclay, who also played in the NHL.

Bob Plager, along with his brother Barclay, had an impact on the birth of the St. Louis Blues. Rock solid on defence and among the fiercest competitors in all of hockey, Bob Plager became a local legend and a loyal ambassador of hockey in the community.

As a player, Bob lived for unity and team play. If someone tried to take advantage of a teammate, you could bet he’d have to answer to a Plager or two or three — brother Billy also played four seasons in St. Louis — before the game ended.

"Number 5 in your program, Number 1 in your hearts” was the self-proclaimed motto of Bob Plager. He came to the Blues from the New York Rangers in 1967 and spent 10 seasons on defence before turning to coaching and scouting. He started his 33rd season with the club in 2000, the longest continuous tenure of anyone in the organization.

"We’d hear the fans singing and the hair on the back of your neck would stand up," recalled brother Barclay of the early days.

The Plager brothers were key elements to the Blues’ three consecutive trips to the Stanley Cup finals between 1967 and 1970 — the first three years of the franchise. Along with Hall of Famer Doug Harvey, tough guy Noel Picard and steady Al Arbour, the Blues were talented and deep on defense. They took great pride in keeping opposing offensive players at bay.

"We did anything to protect the goaltender," recalled Bob Plager. "The greatest time for us was the year we won the Vezina Trophy (in 1969). Glenn Hall and Jacques Plante were in goal and we only allowed 157 goals. That record will probably never be broken. Winning the Vezina was the finest reward anyone could get."

Bob was plagued by injuries early in his career and was the master of the hip check. Al Arbour, a close friend of the Plager brothers through the years, praised Bob’s ability to block shots.

"But he was also one of the best body checkers. It’s a lost art, the way he used to hit guys," recalls Arbour of Plager’s patented hip checks. "He’d throw his hip into someone and they’d go flying."

In 615 games with the Blues, Bob had 20 goals and 146 points. But aside from Bobby Orr, defensemen weren’t employed for their offensive prowess.

Contents

Career statistics

Regular Season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1961–62 Kitchener-Waterloo EPHL 3 0 0 0 2 - - - - -
1962–63 Baltimore Clippers AHL 4 0 0 0 6 2 0 0 0 10
1963–64 St. Paul Rangers CPHL 61 13 35 48 158 8 3 6 9 21
1964–65 Vancouver Canucks WHL 31 5 12 17 103 - - - - -
Baltimore Clippers AHL 19 2 12 14 27 5 0 0 0 6
New York Rangers NHL 10 0 0 0 18 - - - - -
1965–66 Minnesota Rangers CPHL 44 7 12 19 145 - - - - -
New York Rangers NHL 18 0 5 5 22 - - - - -
1967–68 St. Louis Blues NHL 53 2 5 7 86 18 1 2 3 69
1968–69 Kansas City Blues CHL 5 1 3 4 16 - - - - -
St. Louis Blues NHL 32 0 7 7 43 9 0 4 4 47
1969–70 St. Louis Blues NHL 64 3 11 14 113 16 0 3 3 46
1970–71 St. Louis Blues NHL 70 1 19 20 114 6 0 2 2 4
1971–72 St. Louis Blues NHL 50 4 7 11 81 11 1 4 5 5
1972–73 St. Louis Blues NHL 77 2 31 33 107 5 0 2 2 2
1973–74 St. Louis Blues NHL 61 3 10 13 48 - - - - -
1974–75 St. Louis Blues NHL 73 1 14 15 53 2 0 0 0 20
1975–76 St. Louis Blues NHL 63 3 8 11 90 3 0 0 0 2
1976–77 Kansas City Blues CHL 4 0 2 2 15 - - - - -
St. Louis Blues NHL 54 1 9 10 23 4 0 0 0 0
1977–78 Salt Lake Golden Eagles CHL 11 0 3 3 52 6 0 3 3 6
St. Louis Blues NHL 18 0 0 0 4 - - - - -
NHL Totals 644 20 126 146 802 74 2 17 19 195

Transactions

Awards/achievements

  • Commissioners' Trophy (IHL Coach of the Year)- 1990–91

Retirement

Plager retired from on-ice action in 1978 to move into the ranks of the Blues management. Over the years since then, he has performed just about every task except to drive the Zamboni although he joked that that job may come soon.

He is credited with developing the process of advance scouting and he has coached the Blues as well as their minor-league affiliates. He is presently the Vice President of Player Development with the club.

Personal life

Plager is a convert to Judaism.[1]

References

External links

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