The Detroit Red Wings have a low tolerance threshold for Blues rookie Tyson Nash.
The Blues and Red Wings' first-place showdown hadn't even started Tuesday when Detroit defenseman Chris Chelios literally fired the first shot at the Blues' pest. At the end of the pregame warm-ups, Chelios fired a puck at Nash, who had just sent a puck into the empty Detroit net as part of his usual pregame ritual.
Then, in the final moments of the Blues' 4-1 victory, Nash was the vocal point of a scuffle that started with Blues defenseman Marc Bergevin and Detroit's Pat Verbeek - aka "The Little Ball of Hate." As linesmen broke up the scuffle, Detroit captain Steve Yzerman cuffed Nash on the back of the head.
"I thought he threw a pillow at me," Nash said. "I wasn't sure what he threw at me. He must have hit me with a soft glove. Was it his bare hand? The ref must have had his arm."
Perhaps that was a good thing.
"He wanted a piece of me," Nash said, with a laugh. "I didn't get to play against him until the end of the game, but when he saw I was in that scrum, he came flying in. It was pretty funny. He and (Larry) Murphy. They were just chirping away."
As far as upsetting Yzerman, Nash said, "That's good. That's not like him. I love it."
Nash also got a kick out of Chelios blasting the puck at him at the end of the pregame warm-ups. As usual, Nash lingered on the ice and Chelios tried to outwait him to prevent him from completing his pregame ritual.
"I always try to be the last guy off the ice, but I had to get off the ice; time was running short, so I just shot (a puck) down into the empty net," Nash said. "It wasn't even close to (Chelios), but all of a sudden, he picked up a puck and just ripped it. It scared the heck out of me. When I saw him pick up the puck, I thought, 'No way.' But he just teed it up - a full-fledged slapper. I thought, 'Oh my gosh.'"
Nash and Chelios scuffled once in the game, with both being penalized for roughing at 3:22 of the final period, a little more than a minute after Scott Pellerin's goal had given the Blues a 4-1 lead.
"I think it was just frustration on his part at that time, but it was a dumb play on my part," Nash said. "You don't want to get them going. They have a great team four-on-four, and we don't want to play four-on-four against them, I got a talking to (from the Blues coaches), but I learned from it."
Bluenotes: In a minor-league transaction, the Blues acquired defenseman Dan Keczmer from Nashville on Wednesday for defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick. Keczmer, 32, will report to Worcester. ... The Blues also re-assigned defenseman Bryce Salvador to Worcester after he sat out as a healthy scratch Tuesday in his one-game recall.