WORCESTER - It took Tyson Nash more than 250 pro games, over parts of four seasons, to realize a dream.
That happened when Nash made his NHL debut with St. Louis a bit more than a week ago. He's back in the American Hockey League, but the visit to The Show put a pronounced shine on what has been a tough season at times for Nash.
"Something like that makes up for anything," he said, "even back to when you were a kid. It makes up for all those times your parents got up at 5 a.m. to get you ice time."
Nash had wondered if his chance would ever come. Vancouver drafted him in the 10th round in 1994 and he spent three years with the Canucks organization but never got the call.
He signed with the Blues as a free agent during the summer of 1998.
"I'm just happy to have come to an organization that wants me," Nash said. "I know that Vancouver didn't want me at all."
He played in two games and didn't score, but showed well playing a strong physical game up and down left wing. Nash thought he gave a good effort in both games. At least that was his intent.
"God, I waited my whole life for this," he said. "I didn't want to look back at it and say woulda-coulda-shoulda to myself."
Nash scored his third shorthanded goal of the season in last night's game.
Roy Boe says the long-delayed agreements with the Worcester Centrum and with the Blues are very close to being finalized. It could be as early as this week, but Boe said that back in January.
Worcester's current lease with the Centrum expires at the end of this season, but the sides are so close to a new five-year deal that the team already has agreed on some dates for next season.
The affiliation agreement with St. Louis goes through next season, but the two sides want to extend that for five more years. With the Blues getting ready for the Stanley Cup playoffs, the proposed extension has not been at the top of the list of things to do.
Tyler Willis was assessed 14 minutes in penalties in the game. His PIM streak was extended to 19 games, highest in the league this season and a continuing Worcester record.
Willis has been in the box for 129 minutes during the streak, which started on Jan. 10.
The AHL All-Star teams included two former IceCats but no current Worcester players.
The first team consisted of Rochester goalie Martin Biron; Albany defenseman Ken Sutton, a former IceCat; New Haven rookie right wing Shane Willis; and three Providence Bruins - defenseman Brandon Smith, center Randy Robitaille and left wing Landon Wilson.
The second team included Hamilton goalie Steve Passmore; Providence defenseman Terry Virtue, a former IceCat; Kentucky rookie defenseman Dan Boyle; Albany left wing Jeff Williams; Kentucky center Steve Guolla; and Philadelphia right wing Richard Park.
Current Worcester defenseman Bryan Helmer was a first-team selection while playing for Albany last year.
ICECATS ESCAPADES: Two former AHL Coaches of the Year were at the game, Worcester's Greg Gilbert and St. Louis general manager Larry Pleau, who won the honor with Binghamton in 1986-87. ... Captain Geoff Smith, who has been battling a sore back, was a late scratch. That put both Rory Fitzpatrick and Jan Horacek in the lineup. Daniel Corso and Tyler Harlton were scratched. ... Worcester won the season series 5-4-1. ... Attendance was 9,193.