The smile never left Tyson Nash's face as he buzzed around the ice surface during the Blues' practice Friday morning at Northlands Coliseum.
As a youngster growing up in nearby Sherwood Park, he had been to the Coliseum many times, but until Friday he never had been there as a National Hockey League player.
"I grew up watching games in this building," said the Blues rookie, 24. "I grew up watching (Wayne) Gretzky, (Mark) Messier and all those guys. It's weird skating out there.
"You're thinking, 'Wow.' Skating over the Oilers logo at center ice is unreal.
"Gretzky and Messier played here, and here I am, Mr. Nobody, skating around. It's hard to believe."
Nash liked Gretzky and Messier, but his favorite player was left winger Adam Graves, a member of the Oilers' final Stanley Cup winner in 1990.
"I loved that kid line he played on - Graves, Joe Murphy, Martin Gelinas," he said. "That was a great line. They had a lot of fun out there. They had a lot of energy.
"It's the same kind of line we have here (with Nash and Jamal Mayers on the wings), except they're a lot more skilled."
When Nash was in his early teens his father, Gary, often brought him and his older brother Dallas to Oilers practices and games.
"We sat in Section Y, to the right of the Zamboni entrance in the lower bowl," Nash said. "My dad had company seats and spoiled me."
His grandmother spoiled him on Thursday night. Nash joined her and other family members for the traditional Canadian Thanksgiving feast. His parents will join them for the game tonight.
"We're going to have a big crew there," Nash said.
Goalie Jamie McLennan, who also grew up in Edmonton, played host to a dinner for his teammates on Thursday night at his new home in nearby St. Albert.
When jokingly asked how much damage they had done to the house, McLennan said, "I've got to go home to check it out."
Coach Joel Quenneville said he might make one lineup change on defense for tonight's game but named no names. When asked if he was leaning to v eteran Rudy Poeschek or former Oiler Todd Reirden, Quenneville said, "It could be one of them."
The game tonight begins at 9 p.m. St. Louis time. It's the late game of the traditional Hockey Night in Canada Saturday night doubleheader.