Pre-game reading: Retirement has been an adjustment for Jackman

— Up top, the St. Louis Blues’ youth hockey program has been an unexpected gateway to the NHL, with five players selected in the first round of the 2015 draft — Matthew Tkachuk, Clayton Keller, Logan Brown, Luke Kunin, and Trent Frederic.

— Former Blues defenseman Barret Jackman is retired now, and it hasn’t been the easiest adjustment for the 35-year-old veteran of over 800 NHL games. “It’s tough to get motivation to do anything,” he says. “There’s days when all I want to do is just go home and sleep and have no motivation. I end up sitting there, surfing the internet and doing needless things around the house just to occupy my time and wait until 3:30 to pick up the kids. But there’s other days where I’m like, ‘OK, I’m going to get something accomplished today.'” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

— The Carolina Hurricanes were on a nice run for a while there. At one point in January, they even came close to moving into a playoff spot. But they’ve since fallen apart, with just three wins in their last 12 games. The News & Observer delves into what went wrong, and what comes next for a ‘Canes team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2009. (News & Observer)

— If the Toronto Maple Leafs make the playoffs, they’ll become the first team since the 2007-08 Flyers to make the cut one year after finishing dead last. That Philly team, featuring then-youngsters Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Final, where it lost to the Penguins in five games. (Toronto Star)

— According to the Tennessean’s Adam Vingan, the Nashville Predators may be in the market for a top-six winger. Vingan notes that the Preds have been “circling through left wings on captain Mike Fisher‘s line,” and that could be a hole they try to plug with a rental before March 1. (The Tennessean)

— Bob McKenzie would like to have a “rational” discussion about hits to the head. He’s not sure if that’s possible, but he’s going to try anyway. In the process, he illustrates why Jacob Trouba’s hit on Mark Stone was different that Evgeni Malkin’s on Blake Wheeler. (TSN)

Enjoy the games!

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