|Nobody bleeds Blue like Bob Plager, considered one of the funniest men in hockey. Which means nobody else could have written Tales from the Blues Bench. This rollicking book, co-written with award-winning St. Louis Post-Dispatch sportswriter Tom Wheatley, details Plager's romance with the Bluenotes from day one in 1967 to the present day. He was an original Blues player, a rugged defenseman whose specialty was the hip check. He remains an original personality and a good-humored man whose specialty is now the quick quip. As a master storyteller, Plager packs Tales from the Blues Bench with insights from every level of the hockey rink.
He chronicles the puzzling mind games of a young Scotty Bowman, the quirky coach whose legend began with the original Blues. In those old-school days, Plager learned memorable lessons from veterans like Al Arbour, Doug Harvey, Glenn Hall, Dickie Moore, and Jacques Plante, all headed to the Hall of Fame. The early years also brought the three Plager brothers -- Bob, Barclay, and Billy -- together in St. Louis after they battled out of little Kirkland Lake, Ontario. Bob played long enough to help break in two Western Canadian kids, future captain Brian Sutter and future Hall of Famer Bernie Federko. Plager later coached a new generation of stars in St. Louis, players like Brett Hull, Brendan Shanahan, and Curtis Joseph. As head coach of the Peoria, Illinois, farm team, he led the Rivermen to a championship and a pro hockey- record 18-straight wins, developing future Blues like Kelly Chase and Nelson Emerson. The years unfortunately brought tragedy, as well, with the premature deaths of Bob Gassoff, Doug Wickenheiser, and Bob's beloved brother Barclay. The tears and the cheers, the fun and the frustration -- it is all found in Tales from the Blues Bench, as only Bob Plager could tell it.