Medical examiner: Cardiac event, not accident, killed Plager

FILE - In this Thursday, Feb 2, 2017 file photo, Former St. Louis Blues player Bob Plager waves to fans while speaking during a ceremony to retire his number before an NHL hockey game between the Blues and the Toronto Maple Leafs in St. Louis. Former St. Louis Blues defenseman Bob Plager was killed Wednesday, March 24, 2021 in a car crash in St. Louis. He was 78.(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File) (Jeff Roberson, Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

ST. LOUIS – Former St. Louis Blues defenseman Bob Plager likely died of a “cardiac event,” not injuries from a highway accident, the St. Louis medical examiner said Friday.

Plager, 78, an original member of the Blues whose long association with the team continued until his death, was alone in his car when the accident happened Wednesday afternoon on Interstate 64 near downtown St. Louis.

Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Graham performed an autopsy and said Plager didn’t sustain any injuries that would have been life-threatening. Graham is awaiting further tests and routine toxicology results.

A report from St. Louis police said Plager’s SUV veered to the left and struck a minivan before hitting a concrete wall on the right, then crossing back over and striking a concrete center median. Plager was pronounced dead at a hospital. The driver and passenger in the van were not hurt, police said.

Plager came to the Blues from the New York Rangers when the NHL expanded in 1967-68. He played 11 seasons for St. Louis -- teaming for a stretch with brothers Barclay and Bill -- and later worked for the organization in a variety of roles. He coached the Blues for 11 games in 1992.

The Ontario native scored 20 goals with 126 assists and 802 penalty minutes in 644 regular-season NHL games, and added two goals, 17 assists and 195 penalty minutes in 74 playoff games.