ST. LOUIS An ovation began before Vera Korolev completed her walk onto the ice. She knew the upcoming ceremony would be another opportunity to heal. But the moment made her cry.
A spotlight followed her approach from a tunnel, her eyes focused on the dark blue carpet ahead. Two months had passed since her husband, former St. Louis Blues center Igor Korolev, was one of 44 people killed when a Russian jet carrying members of a Kontinental Hockey League team crashed into a radar tower shortly after takeoff northeast of Moscow. He was 41. He was gone too soon.
Vera and her two daughters, Kristina and Anastasia, stepped to the side of a podium. Behind them, a line of former Blues players wearing white jerseys stood in support. Throughout the darkened Scottrade Center, Blues and Chicago Blackhawks fans rose in applause.
Vera held a bouquet of pink, purple and yellow flowers against a black leather jacket. She glanced toward a videoboard above that showed an image memorializing her ...