The St. Louis Blues will see one of their own go into the Hockey Hall of Fame. While he was not known for his time in St. Louis, Blues fans should still be proud.
The St. Louis Blues have not had a member of their ranks go into the Hall of Fame in some time. Depending on your point of view, that might not change on the evening of November 13. For some it will.
Paul Kariya is going into the Hall of Fame. While he will not be widely remembered for his time with the Blues, he still donned the Note during his career.
Clearly, Kariya is most known for his time with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, as they were known then. He helped lead the team all the way to the Stanley Cup Final, where they lost to the New Jersey Devils.
Not coincidentally, that series was part of what ended his career. While Kariya played many more years after that, it was concussion issues that ended his playing days. One of the most notable ones came in that Devils series when Scott Stevens leveled Kariya at the blue line.
Still, he went on to a great career even if he never won that elusive championship. He scored 50 goals in a season in 1995-96 and crossed the 100 point barrier twice in his career.
Kariya set a team record for goals with 31 while in Nashville, in 2005-06. He also reinvented himself a little bit while in St. Louis.
He became much more of a playmaker with his goal totals in decline. In 2007-08, he had 49 assists and 65 points with the Blues.
He would finish his career in St. Louis scoring 18 goals and 43 points in that final year.
Sadly, he never saw the postseason with St. Louis. St. Louis did make the playoffs while he was with the team, but his injuries kept him out of action for all but 11 games that season.
Kariya was a professional. He has somewhat shied away from the game since his retirement, but when he was on the ice, there was something special about him.
Blues fans should be appreciative of the time they got to see him. In hindsight, I think they will.
Like many before him, Kariya’s time in St. Louis was viewed as a failure at the time. It was not so much that he was a failure, but any high profile arrival in St. Louis is burdened with expectation.
Fans thought he would be the missing piece and the team would return to glory. Kariya was a great player, but the days of leading a team in goals and points were behind him at that point.
Still, fans can now say they saw another Hall of Fame player suit up in the bluenote. He won’t go down in history as one of ours, but we can still lay claim to him.
Kariya might not have won the Cup here. He still gave his all every time he donned that sweater.
For that, we should be appreciative. For that, we should celebrate him as he goes into the Hall of Fame with all the other greats.
The Hall of Fame broadcast can be seen on November 13 at 6:30 on TSN or NHL Network.