To Catch A Predator
|The Blues signed Paul Kariya to a three-year contract when free agency opened on July 1 (Photo by Mark Buckner).
Quite literally, more than 30,000 feet in the air.
Because somewhere in the sky between Vancouver and Anaheim was Paul Kariya, debating whether to accept a multi-year contract from the St. Louis Blues or another team interested in giving its offense a bit more firepower.
He had been visiting relatives in
“I found out in the morning from the get-go that they thought highly of me as a player and were really interested in having me come (to
Meanwhile, Davidson and the rest of the Blues front office continued to anxiously wait for an answer. The Blues’ hunt for available free agents was completely put on hold.
“We decided right at that time, we’re committed,” Davidson said. “Whatever happens, happens here. We were going to close down shop and wait. We want Paul Kariya to be a Blue.”
Daniel Briere signed with
Davidson and the rest of the Blues front office were sitting on pins and needles.
“You’re agonizing,” Davidson said. “That aircraft was delayed. It was tough. To be honest, it was very gut-wrenching.”
To help ease the anxiety, the Blues tracked Kariya’s flight on a laptop in the conference room. Not long after the plane landed in
|Kariya has recorded 366 goals and 500 assists in 821 career NHL games.
Kariya’s decision to sign a three-year contract with the Blues meant that for at least three seasons, the Blues would have the rights to one of the league’s marquee players. Kariya brings to
Combined with the signing of Keith Tkachuk a day earlier, the Blues filled vacancies on its roster with two experienced and seasoned veterans, and nobody was more excited about it than Blues head coach Andy Murray.
“(Kariya) is scary,”
Kariya, who spent the last two seasons with the Nashville Predators, decided to test the free agent market after the ownership situation in
“As a free agent, you want to go to a place that wants you,” he said. “In
Although nerve-wrecking, Davidson recounts the events of July 1 with a smile.
“In the world of St. Louis Blues hockey, it was stressful,” he said. “We want to do things right here in
“Luckily, it worked out.”