The first round West Division series between the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild is an interesting one. Some good players and two enthusiastic fan bases.
But we can’t help but look back fondly at early St. Louis-Minnesota match-ups. But at that time the Minnesota team was North Stars.
It was the late 1960’s,many years before the North Stars would flee a hockey hotbed for Texas, that these two new teams (the second six that also included Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, L.A. and Oakland) maintained an intense rivalry.
They also played twice – the Blues winning both times but just barely.
For example, in 1968, the North Stars had finished in fourth place in the West Division with a record of 27-32-15. Then in the playoffs, the North Stars defeated the Los Angeles Kings in seven games after losing the first two in the series. In the next round, the West finals, the North Stars faced the Blues, and the series went to a seventh and deciding game. In the deciding game, they lost 2-1 in double overtime.
For the North Stars, Wren Blair was the coach, and names on the team included the likes of Bill Goldsworthy, Parker MacDonald, Elmer (Moose) Vasko, Lou Nanne, Dave Balon and goaler Cesare Maniago.
For the Blues, the season that had started with Lynn Patrick behind the bench would end with a young Scotty Bowman as coach. The St. Louis roster was highlighted by the likes of Red Berenson, Frank St. Marseille, Dick Moore, Bob and Barclay Plager, Terry Crisp, Jimmy Roberts and Tim Ecclestone. The goaltender and eventual Conn Smythe Winner was Glenn Hall (though his team lost).
Radio voices were Al Shaver and Dan Kelly.
And it was quite a series. The teams battled in every way imaginable.
Those years the Blues would win against Minnesota but would come up short in the Finals three years in a row (against Montreal twice and then Boston). They still have not won a Stanley Cup.
The other team would win a cup (in disputed fashion as well) years later but their home by then would be Dallas (Dallas Stars)Share