MONTREAL (AP) – The Montreal Canadiens have hired former Expos mascot Youppi!

Youppi!, the Expos’ furry, orange mascot before the team relocated and became the Washington Nationals, is coming out of retirement to join one of the NHL’s most storied clubs.

Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey considered the mascot a good catch.

“With the Expos no longer in existence and him needing a home, I think the Montreal Canadians and Youppi! will fit nicely together,” Gainey said at a news conference as the mascot sported the team’s famous red jersey.

Youppi!’s last official event was Sept. 29, 2004, when the Expos played their final home game at the Olympic Stadium.

Ray Lalonde, the Canadiens marketing manager, said Youppi! is the first mascot in professional sports to move from one league to another.

“We always wondered what Youppi! would look like in a Habs sweater.”

Youppi! will have his first faceoff against another team at the Bell Centre on Oct. 18 against the Boston Bruins.

Blues suspend forward after failing physical

ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues forward Keith Tkachuk failed a physical and was suspended Friday by the team.

General manager Larry Pleau did not elaborate on the status of Tkachuk, but said he was expected to return to the team.

The 33-year-old left wing had 33 goals and 38 assists in 2003-04, the last season before the lockout. He has scored 431 goals and added 401 assists in his career.

The Blues’ first full-squad workout is Saturday, and the team opens the preseason Wednesday at home against the Predators.

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