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Posted: Tuesday January 10, 2012 2:17PM ; Updated: Tuesday January 10, 2012 8:58PM

Ex-Blues GM Caron dead at 82

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As general manager of the Blues, Ron Caron worked wonders with a limited budget.
As general manager of the Blues, Ron Caron worked wonders with a limited budget.
Mary Butkus/AP
NHL Team Page

MONTREAL (AP) -- Former St. Louis Blues general manager Ron Caron has died. He was 82.

Nicknamed the "Old Professor," Caron was a longtime assistant GM for the Canadiens and helped build the Montreal teams that won Stanley Cups in 1971 and `73 and four straight titles from `76-'79.

Caron was hired as GM in St. Louis in 1983 and spent over a decade in the position. He died Monday night in Montreal, the Blues confirmed Tuesday.

"Mr. Caron was extremely passionate about the Blues and the city of St. Louis," president of hockey operations John Davidson said in a statement. "He will truly be missed."

The Canadiens extended their sympathy to his family in a Twitter post.

"He was just so intense when it came to hockey," longtime Montreal broadcaster Dick Irvin said Tuesday. "If you listened to him, you learned a lot."

Former Blues forward Bernie Federko is now a team broadcaster. St. Louis plays in Montreal on Tuesday night.

"He had a limited budget (under Blues owner Harry Ornest) and we were competitive," Federko said. "He put together a heck of a hockey team."

When the team wasn't playing well, Federko said, Caron would pound the walls and tear out telephones.

He recalled the day after the Blues fell behind 3-1 in a playoff series against Chicago in the 1980s, he sent coach Jacques Martin out of the room and gave the team a tongue-lashing.

"We didn't know what he said, but he showed with his emotion that he didn't like how the team was going," Federko said.

The Blues won the next game.

"He remembered when he met you, when you scored your first goal, and he could do that for everybody," Federko said. "It was just amazing."

Caron traded for pudgy winger Brett Hull in 1987, envisioning a player who developed into one of the NHL's best snipers. He led the Blues to a 438-405-127 record.

"Ron always wanted the best for his players, the best for his teams, the best for the game," commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "His passion for hockey was exceeded only by his passion for life. We send heartfelt condolences to all who were touched and inspired by his competitive spirit."

The Blues made the playoffs in each of Caron's 12 seasons as GM and reached the conference final in 1986, when they lost to the Calgary Flames.

Under Caron, St. Louis went 47-22-11 in 1990-91. The 105-point total was the third-best season in club history.

Caron was replaced by Mike Keenan in 1994 but returned as interim GM in December 1996. He held the post until current GM Larry Pleau was hired in June 1997.

There was no immediate word on the cause of death or funeral arrangements.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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