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GAME PREVIEW: Big returns mark exciting matchup for Blues

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GAME PREVIEW: Big returns mark exciting matchup for Blues

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Blues welcome the return of Center Oskar Sundqvist and defender Torey Krug from injury on the same night exciting prospect Scott Perunovich will make his debut.

The Blues (8-4-2) will play host to the Arizona Coyotes (1-13-1) tonight, Nov. 16, at 7 p.m. at the Enterprise Center.

The past three games have not been kind to St. Louis, dropping their last three, including an overtime loss to the predators on Nov. 11. Since the Blues began the season on a five-game win streak, the team has stalled, going just 3-4-2 since.

What better time to bring in a spark?

OSKAR SUNDQVIST

“It’s been a long journey.”

Shortly before Tuesday morning’s practice, Blues Center Oskar Sundqvist was welcomed back to the ice to the tune of stick taps and a hug from teammate Vladimir Tarasenko.

Tonight, Sundqvist will hit the ice for the first time since undergoing surgery to repair an ACL injury back on April 6, 2021.

A knee coupled with a hip issue has kept “Sunny” off the ice and in rehabilitation for over six months.

The Blues have missed him.

From 2018-2020, Sundqvist appeared in 131 games, totaling 54 points, but Blues Head Coach Craig Berube says fans shouldn’t get caught up in his center’s stat production.

“He plays that north game. He drives the engine,” Berube explained. “When he was playing with us, he was one of those energy guys… He definitely plays the game the right way.”

Perhaps even more importantly, Sundqvist has missed the game.

“It’s been a while. I wouldn’t say I’m too nervous, yet,” Sundqvist said. “Obviously, you’re excited to be back. It’s been a long time. I just want it to be 7 o’clock so we can start playing.”

Sundqvist says his knee feels ready, but he needs to remind himself to trust it.

TOREY KRUG

“I’m just excited to be back and to be around the guys again.”

Tonight, Blues Defender Torey Krug makes his return to the ice following a short stint off the ice due to COVID 19.

Krug and teammate Brayden Schenn were placed on the non-roster COVID protocols list on Nov. 5 ahead of a matchup against the Anaheim Ducks. Since Krug and Schenn’s departure, the Blues have won just one game, amassing a record of 1-3-1. Krug has not enjoyed watching from afar.

“It’s tough when you have no control over it, when you can’t put in your two cents or hold your end of the rope,” Krug said. “Our guys have been right there the last two games. We just need to close out regulation so we can get some points.”

His desire to play was felt by many, including Coach Berube. When his availability was called into question, Krug made it clear he wanted to be back on the ice.

“We discussed playing tonight, but he pushed. He really wanted to play,” Coach Berube said. “Yesterday he skated, he did quite a bit and he felt good.”

Coach Berube, the team and, certainly, Blues fans will welcome back Krug’s puck movement and power play with open arms.

SCOTT PERUNOVICH

“We want to put him in the best spot to be successful.”

Well said as Coach Berube awaits his first opportunity to send a prized prospect out on the ice for the first time.

Following a Monday recall, Blues defender Scott Perunovich will make his NHL debut tonight.

The exciting prospect from Minnesota-Duluth has dazzled for years, winning two NCAA championships in college before starting his pro career in 2020. Despite missing most of last season due to a shoulder injury, Perunovich wasted no time shining in the AHL, amassing a league-high 20 points (2 goals, 18 assists) before getting the call from St. Louis.

Like any debut, nerves will be running high, but, fortunately, for the young defender, teammate and fellow defenseman Torey Krug has some words of advice for the debutant.

“Play simple. Play fast. Usually, your first read is the right one,” Krug said. “We’ll be in there helping him out, and I’m sure he’s going to do a great job.”

From teammate to coach, the tone may sound different, but the message is the same. Coach Berube expects his young player to perform, but he hopes to put him in the best position to do so.

“I think it’s going to be different for sure. Training camp is training camp. the regular season is different,” Coach Berube said. “He’s got great vision, obviously, and his puck play is high end, so I expect him to move the puck well and he has to defend.”

Fans attending the Enterprise Center will have plenty to watch when the St. Louis Blues host the Arizona Coyotes at 7 p.m. tonight.

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Missouri Attorney General starts filing lawsuits against schools with mask mandates

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Missouri Attorney General starts filing lawsuits against schools with mask mandates

ST. LOUIS–Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt followed through Friday on a pledge made earlier this week to file suit against school districts that he says are illegally issuing mask mandates, beginning with the Francis Howell School District in St. Charles County. By the end of the day, a total of thirty six districts across the state were taken to court.

“School districts have never been given the authority by the legislature to enact public health orders like mask mandates or quarantine orders – the recent Cole County judgment just further affirms that fact. The decision to mask children in school should rest solely with parents and families. Last month, I informed a number of school districts that their decision to continue to enforce mask mandates is illegal and must be stopped immediately. Some school districts dropped their mask mandates and quarantine orders, but others continue to defy the law,” Schmitt said in a news release earlier this week. “It’s far past time that the power to make health decisions concerning children be pried from the hands of bureaucrats and put back into the hands of parents and families, and I will take school district after school district to court to achieve that goal.”

The Francis Howell School district returned from the winter break without a mask mandate, but reinstated it five days later after soaring sick rates in district schools. The Board of Education extended it for another two weeks on Thursday.

In a statement, the district said:

As we’ve said all along, we have consulted with our legal counsel and are confident that our Board of Education has the authority to establish mask requirements and other mitigation measures. The Attorney General is not elected to make decisions for Francis Howell students and staff. That responsibility lies with our locally elected school board members, and the mitigation measures they have enacted helped keep our schools open for in-person learning, which we know is important for our students and families.

Our community and especially our elected officials should be celebrating and supporting schools during this challenging time, not suing them. The lawsuit filed by Schmitt is a waste of taxpayer money – on both sides. The claims are tenuous at best and this unnecessary lawsuit represents another attack on public education in Missouri. This latest action by AG Schmitt is disheartening, unfounded and frankly, shameful.

Before noon, lawsuits had also been filed against the Fort Zumwalt and city of St. Charles districts in St. Charles County, St. Louis Public Schools, the Rockwood and Brentwood school districts in St. Louis County the Columbia Public Schools and the Park Hills School district. In a tweet from his personal account, Schmitt, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, said the suits were among dozens being filed.

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Mikaela Shiffrin leads 17-member U.S. ski team nominated for Olympics

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Mikaela Shiffrin leads 17-member U.S. ski team nominated for Olympics

PARK CITY, Utah — Two-time Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin leads the 17-member list for the U.S. Alpine skiing team nominated Friday for the Beijing Winter Games.

There are nine first-time Olympians on the roster, which still awaits confirmation from the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

Shiffrin heads to her third Olympics. She already owns three medals, including a gold in slalom in 2014 and in giant slalom in 2018.

Other Americans who previously made Olympic teams and are back are Breezy Johnson, Tricia Mangan, Jackie Wiles, Bryce Bennett, Ryan Cochran-Siegle, Tommy Ford and Travis Ganong.

The first-timers are Keely Cashman, Katie Hensien, AJ Hurt, Mo Lebel, Paula Moltzan, Nina O’Brien, Bella Wright, River Radamus and Luke Winters.

The Alpine schedule in Beijing starts Feb. 6 with the men’s downhill, followed by the women’s giant slalom on Feb. 7.

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Ravens part ways with defensive coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale

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Ravens part ways with defensive coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale

The Ravens announced Friday night that they’ve parted ways with defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale.

Martindale, a beloved coach among players and one of the NFL’s most aggressive play-callers, had served under coach John Harbaugh in Baltimore since 2012. After coaching the team’s linebackers for six years, he took over as defensive coordinator for Dean Pees in 2018.

From 2018 to 2020, the Ravens had one of the NFL’s most successful defenses, ranking in the top 10 in efficiency each year under Martindale, according to Football Outsiders. This year, however, injuries and inconsistency in their well-regarded secondary led to a precipitous fall; they finished 28th overall in DVOA, their lowest ranking since the franchise’s first year in Baltimore.

“After several productive conversations, Don and I have agreed to move forward in separate directions,” Harbaugh said in a statement. “We have had a great run on defense, and I am very proud of what has been accomplished and the work he has done.

“Don has been a major contributor to the success of our defense since 2012, and especially since he became defensive coordinator four years ago. He has done a great job. Now it is time to pursue other opportunities. Sometimes the moment comes, and it’s the right time.”

This story will be updated.

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