Tony Twist was a special player. Not known for his goal-scoring abilities or his great offensive plays but more for his fists and physical play. Tony Twist was the 177th pick in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft, and he would become a cult hero in St. Louis. But he had a rough start to his NHL career.
After just one season with the Blues, he signed with the Quebec Nordiques, where he spent the next four years. Twist then returned to the Blues and played there until his career ended. Twist was an old-school type of enforcer.
He had 1,110 PIMs in 445 NHL games, and together with Kelly Chase, he formed the St. Louis Brues Brothers, known for terrorizing opponents in the NHL.
Twist’s career is impressive, and even more so if you know how bad his career started. His former teammate Kelly Chase remembers what Twist did in his debut, a thing he’s never, ever seen before.
”They made him into a forward. You know, he was a defenseman,” Chase said on ESPN’s The Opening Drive.
”He got caught early in the first game, on the right side of the ice, and he had a left-handed shot. He got caught on the ice, and you know, the game goes so fast when you get called up, and you may realize you’re not ready to play yet. It’s tough to realize how fast the game is happening around you.
”So he got the puck, and he went to flip it into the zone and fore-check. I have only seen it happen once, and it was this time. Because he actually flipped it into the air, took off and put himself offside, which is really hard to do. You know, if you put the puck in the air, you skate underneath it, and you put yourself offside, you’ve put it pretty high.”
Brett Hull was sitting on the bench at that time, and he could barely believe what he saw.
”Brett Hull is on the bench, and he looks over to Bob Berry and says, ’Bob, who the hell gave this guy a jersey?’ And the whole bench is trying to hold their laugh back.
”The next period, Twist beat the hell out of an opponent, and Brett Hull, on the bench, goes, ’Bob, never mind!’
”He just saw big bombs coming from Twister, and went, ’Oh, now I get it.’ He was just non-stop.”