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Pre-game reading: On Shea Weber, and an emotional return to Nashville

The Blues became St. Louis' fourth sporting franchise when they joined the NHL in 1967 and though the city will always be a baseball town first, it's hard to deny the for the Blues.

-- Up top, St. Louis may be best known as a baseball town, but the Blues hold a special place in the city’s sports landscape.

-- A profile of Shea Weber, ahead of his return to Nashville tomorrow night. “I’m not going to lie — there’s probably going to be a lot of emotion. I’m human. I spent a lot of time there. I put a lot of hard work and effort into everything I did there. Obviously built a lot of friendships and relationships even outside of the game with people there.” (The Tennessean)

-- The gamesmanship continues. On one side, you’re got NHLPA chief Donald Fehr saying he’s “more optimistic now than I ever have been” that NHLers will go to the 2018 Olympics in South Korea. On the other, you’ve got NHL commissioner Gary Bettman saying owners are still reluctant and nothing has really changed on that front. Big ol’ sigh. (Canadian Press)

-- Speaking of the commish, did you know he was in a fraternity at Cornell? That must’ve been fun. Toga! Toga! Toga! “The fraternity system then was really a function of where you were going to live. In fact, we were a fraternity of people who were pretty focused on -- in addition to having a good time in college -- getting a good education.” Oh. (Sportsnet)

-- It sounds like the NHL is aiming for three outdoor games next season. One of them will almost certainly be played in Ottawa, but that won’t be the Winter Classic. West Point’s Michie Stadium, with a capacity of 38,000 for football, could reportedly be in the mix. (Ottawa Citizen)

-- For you history buffs, here’s a story about the 228th Battalion, a hockey team that competed a hundred years ago, made up of Canadian soldiers. “Taking the ice, the hockey-soldiers of the 228th Overseas Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force wore khaki-colored uniforms, just like their brothers-already-at-arms along the bloodied Somme River in France. Known as the Northern Fusiliers or just plain Soldiers, this was, briefly, one of hockey’s best teams.” (New York Times)

Enjoy the games!