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Pietrangelo plays in St. Louis minus a Blue note on his jersey

Pietrangelo plays in St. Louis minus a Blue note on his jersey

St. Louis Blues V Vegas Golden Knights

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (7) puts pressure on St. Louis Blues left wing Jaden Schwartz (17) during first period action in a game between the St. Louis Blues and the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday, April 5, 2021, at Enterprise Center. Photo by Laurie Skrivan,

John Mozeliak replaced Walt Jocketty as the Cardinals’ general manager.

Chris Long was a rookie defensive end for the St. Louis Rams.

Rick Majerus prepared for his second season as men’s basketball coach at St. Louis University.

Also in 2008, defensemen Alex Pietrangelo played his first NHL game, on October 10, against the Nashville Predators.

After 850 regular season and postseason games with the Blues — including one memorable Stanley Cup run — Pietrangelo left St. Louis for the Vegas Golden Knights via free agency.

On Monday, Pietrangelo returned to Enterprise Center for the first time as a Golden Knight. There was a tribute and video highlights for the former captain and first Blue to lift the Cup. But with only 4,100 fans in the building during these days of limited attendance, and with Blues fans preoccupied with their team’s freefall, his return wasn’t the event it should have been — would have been — in normal times.

He responded with an assist and was plus-2 in nearly 23 minutes of ice time in Vegas’ 6-1 romp Monday night.

Before he hit the ice, Pietrangelo dressed in the visitor’s locker room Monday, which had to be a strange experience.

“You’re not the first person to ask me that,” Pietrangelo said on a Zoom call earlier in the day. “Yeah, training camp, they used to shove me over there every once in a while. A little different, right? I didn’t really know where to go this morning, coming in the other way. But all good.

“Obviously an exciting game for me. I didn’t get to come last time but business as usual for us out there.”

Pietrangelo didn’t make the trip when Vegas played March 12-13 in St. Louis. He was sidelined, apparently because of a wrist injury. Between a bout with COVID-19 earlier in the season and the injury, Pietrangelo had played in only 21 of 36 games for Vegas — with two goals and eight assists — before Monday’s game.

“It’s a weird season for everybody,” Pietrangelo said. “I think the COVID thing just is what it is. I think there’s a large number of players that have missed time because of it. There’s not much you can do to control that.

“And then, I felt like I was playing good hockey and then I get the injury. And obviously, that’s not easy to miss a couple weeks. So not ideal. Not the way I drew it up but I think where we are as a team, we’ve put ourselves in a good spot in the standings. I feel like last couple games here as I’ve come back I’ve felt good. So continue to build.”

Missing the first two Vegas contests here last month against the Blues wasn’t that big of a deal for Pietrangelo, other than the fact that he missed games.

“I mean, I don’t really enjoy sitting out,” Pietrangelo said. “I haven’t missed many games in my career …, so it’s more frustrating just not playing in general.

“Eventually, you’re gonna have to get it out of the way whether it’s that (trip) or now. I’ve said it before, we’re gonna have to play ‘em eight times this year, so that doesn’t really affect me. I think once you get out there, everyone’s out there to accomplish the same goal.”

One of the toughest things about pandemic life in the NHL is the inability to mingle with players off the ice. So it’s not as if Pietrangelo could hook up with former Blues players and relive the glory days. Even worse because of NHL’s COVID protocol, he can’t see his in-laws during this stay in St. Louis.

“My wife’s from here, so we have family here, too, right?” Pietrangelo said. “That part’s a little bit disappointing. Just in general as the season’s gone on, I think you miss those opportunities on the road just to be able to go out to dinner with guys. And I know we’re eating (the Vegas team) at the hotel, but you’re missing those opportunities to do stuff as a group that maybe you would normally do.

“So that part’s been a little bit hard and challenging, but obviously coming here to see my family would be really important. I get to chitchat with some of the guys this morning and postgame, but it would’ve been nice to get back to see the family that’s for sure.”


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