What a FANTASTIC All-Star break for the NHL, the fans, and in particular one John Scott . With all of the strife and conflict within the online hockey fan community, it was absolutely refreshing to see everyone celebrate at the same time. I haven't seen everyone pulling for the same thing since the lockout ended. Of course, it wasn't always going to be that way. The NHL had several opportunities to foul that up, but in the end they stood by their player and allowed him to be the centerpiece to the most popular All Star Game in recent memory.
You'll have bad times, and he'll have good times
Doin' things that you don't understand
But that's all over now. Now, it's back to work.
It started with a vigorous practice on Monday, skating the players for about an hour and a half. The most notable presences were Magnus Paajarvi returning from injury and Jaden Schwartz skating in his first practice with the other players. We know Steve Ott is going to be out a while yet, and Jake Allen is still a question mark (though not considered long-term), but the team is about to be as healthy as it's been all year. Once the team adjusts to this rare burst of health, the focus will then become on what to do at the trade deadline. Of course, the name that is out there (again/still) is Kevin Shattenkirk . Admittedly, he is the most movable defenseman with the best chance of high return value, but I really hope it doesn't come to that. Army, please please please stand by Shatty and keep him on the team.
And if you love him, oh be proud of him
The Nashville Predators come into tonight's game flush from a hugely successful All Star Game. As hosts, there have been plenty of kudos sent to the Nashville organization for what was accomplished there. They'll certainly want to harness that energy for this game and the rest of the season. They come into this match on a 4-game winning streak, which lifted them to a .500 record on the road. Now they come home, and they've been very good there: a 13-7-3 record at the Bridgestone Arena. A big part of that turnaround has been "All Star" goalie Pekka Rinne . Overall this season, he's posted a very mundane .906 Save Percentage, but that may be turning around. In this current winning streak, Rinne started 3 out of the 4 games and posted a .963 Sv%. If he's heating up, he's going to be awfully hard to beat tonight. Not impossible, though.
'Cause after all he's just a man.
Since our last meeting, the Preds have made a few moves. Most were for their AHL roster, but the big one was sending Seth Jones to Columbus in exchange for Ryan Johansen . Much like the Blues, the Preds had depth on D that they flipped for help up front (and it sounds like the Blues were in the mix for RyJo also). We'll see a different look from the Preds' forward corps tonight.
For the Blues, it will of course be Brian Elliott in net, but now with Pheonix Copley riding the pine behind him. He and Ty Rattie were just called up to join the team. Magnus should be in the lineup, but Schwartz is probably a few days off yet. But soon... very soon.
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Final Verse: The Blues begin the second half of the season at 7:00 PM tonight St Louis time. The GDT should drop shortly before the puck does. The TV broadcast is on FoxSportsMW, and the radio call will be on KMOX 1120 AM. NOTE: if you are a Gamecenter Live user, you might want to start a little sooner than usual. NHL.com has been redesigned, and you'll probably need a moment to adjust and make sure everything's working. Speaking of working, who would've thought that the Blues Brothers would be able to cover a country (or is it western) song so well?