An NHL defenseman for New York and St. Louis in the 1960's, Plager converted to Judaism. Plager, who racked up more than 100 penalty minutes three times in his career, had one of the most memorable quotes about hockey players: "You don't have to be crazy to play hockey, but it helps."
Birth and Death Dates:
b. March 11, 1943
Plager, a tough defenseman, began his NHL career with the New York Rangers in 1964-65, appearing in 10 games during the season. Over the next two years, Bob played mostly in the minors and appeared in only 19 more games for the Rangers. Before the 1967-68 season, he was traded to the St. Louis Blues, with whom he remained for the rest of his career. The trade was a turning point for Plager, who played regularly for the Blues and became an important member of the team.
The 1967-68 season was the first for the expansion Blues, yet they made it to the Stanley Cup Finals by defeating Los Angeles and Minnesota in seven game series. The team had a good blend of older veterans and talented young players and the Blues managed to reach the Stanley Cup Finalsin St. Louis's first three seasons. Unfortunately, they lost all three series -- to the Montreal Canadiens in 1967-68 and 1968-69, and to the Boston Bruins in 1969-70 -- but their instant success is still remarkable. Plager was a regular on these Blues teams and was a force during playoff time. In 1967-68, he had 68 penalty minutes in 18 playoff games compared to 86 penalty minutes in 53 regular season games. In 1972-73, Plager had his most productive statistical season. He registered career-highs with 33 points (2 goals and 31 assists) and 77 games played. He remained with the club until 1977-78 and then retired following the season, having appeared in 644 career NHL games. Plager also played in 74 career playoff games, with 2 goals, 17 assists, and 195 penalty minutes.
Following his retirement, Plager remained affiliated with the Blues. In 1992-93, he began the season as the Blues' head coach but after starting with a record of 4-6-1, he was replaced. He was also a scout for the Blues.
Plager played defense in the NHL for the New York Rangers from 1964-1967, and with the St. Louis Blues from 1967-1978.
5'11", 195 pounds
In the NHL:
Shooting percentage: 2.8
Penalty minutes: 802
Use links below to navigate through the hockey section of Jews In Sports.
Total Hockey: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Hockey League, edited by Dan Diamond, James Duplacey, Ralph Dinger, Igor Kuperman, and Eric Zweig (New York: Total Sports, 1998)
Jewish Sports Review, September/October 2000 issue (Vol. 2, No. 8, Issue 21)