The St. Louis Blues drop the puck on the 2013-14 NHL regular season Thursday. Before the Nashville Predators visit Scottrade Center, let's examine five questions the Blues must answer during the quest for the Stanley Cup.
1) Halak is the guy. Can he hang?
Jaoslav Halak is clearly the starter despite playing in just 16 games last year. We've written plenty about Halak's return, how he spent the offseason in St. Louis building muscle and losing weight in order to limit the kind of groin injuries that sidelined him last season. All that's nice, but now it has to pay off.
Halak was less than stellar early in the preseason, but ended on a high note. The Tampa Bay Lightning scored four times on him Sept. 21, the first time Halak played in a live game since April 1. He then let a puck bounce over him and into the net during his one half of play in a Sept. 25 preseason loss to the Minnesota Wild.
"He's going to have to work at it," head coach Ken Hitchcock has said of Halak's return. "It's ...