© St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
December 21, 2003
Tyson Nash scored at least one major victory Saturday night in his first game back in St. Louis after being traded to the Coyotes in the offseason: He picked the right bench.
Nash said instinct nearly steered him to the wrong locker room after playing the past four seasons for the Blues, but he managed to find the visitors' side.
"It's definitely exciting," Nash said. "I know I'm pretty nervous. It's a weird feeling, with mixed emotions. It's great to see the old barn, and it'll be great. The crowd is great, it'll be fun."
Nash was a fan favorite in St. Louis but found himself in unfamiliar territory Saturday night.
One fan welcomed Nash back with a sign near the Coyotes bench, but Nash didn't get the start and the warm welcome that likely would have accompanied it.
"I've been through it with a couple of teams and it's always special, but the first night the pressure is a bigger deal, "Nash's former Blues teammate Scott Mellanby said. "And Tyson - he was pretty emotional leaving here. This was the first team he was traded from."
Mellanby said going back to a rink once called home can be disconcerting, especially on the first trip back.
"It's more coming to the rink, going down the elevator. It's a very unfamiliar feeling, even getting used to the bench," Mellanby said. "It's very different because you've sat there and now your visual perception is different (on the other bench). That may sound really weird, but it's true. Your visual perception, how you see everything.
"It's like playing in a different building, almost."
Nash said going to a new team has presented a number of challenges. Phoenix has one of younger teams in the NHL, so at 28 he's suddenly become a veteran player. Thus far, the left winger has two goals and five points. And - no surprise - 54 penalty minutes.
"I got to prove myself all over again," Nash said. "You go to a new team, you got to introduce yourself to new teammates, coaches and management. We got a young team and when we win everyone has to contribute. In St. Louis you could take a few nights off and know that your big boys were going to carry you. That doesn't happen on this team.
"I'm getting a lot more ice time in a bunch of different situations, and I'm really enjoying it."
Pollock is picked
Worcester IceCats defenseman Jame Pollock will represent Canada in the Spengler Cup, the world's oldest international tournament.
The fifth-year IceCat will join the Canadian team Sunday after playing Saturday night against Binghamton. Pollock was drafted by the Blues in the fourth round in 1997 and has played in 247 regular-season games for Worcester, compiling 150 points.
The Spengler Cup will be played Dec. 26-31 in Davos, Switzerland. Canada went undefeated in the tournament last year.