Friday, September 25, 2015

Lehtera skates in full practice

Center takes part in full skate with teammates 
for first time; Blues place seven on waivers

ST. LOUIS -- Jori Lehtera has been skating for the last week on his own. Well, not exactly by himself. 

Head athletic trainer Ray Barile has been putting Lehtera through the drill sergeant work on the ice before the team skates for practices. Those skates have been strenuous, and they've prepped the Blues center to get on the ice Friday for his first full practice.

Lehtera, who had surgery Aug. 4 to remove a bone chip in his right ankle after blocking a Duncan Keith shot against the Chicago Blackhawks on April 9, went through the 45-60 minute practice without issues. 
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Blues center Jori Lehtera (12) took part in his first full
practice Friday since ankle surgery Aug. 4.

He skated in drills on a line with Robby Fabbri on his left and Troy Brouwer on his right.

"Everything felt OK," Lehtera said before joking that, "the puck felt like hot baked potato on my stick, then felt like my skates were in the wrong feet, but otherwise, OK."

Lehtera, who 14 goals and 44 points in 75 games in his first NHL season last year, was glad to be back with his teammates and skating with the group despite some general soreness after practice.

"There is something," Lehtera said when describing the pain. "It's going to be painful for a while. It was nice (skating), a little bit different than skating with Ray; not that much skating (in practice). It was fun.

"I'm working with my ankle. I have to work with everything else, too; hands, eyes, everything. It felt really fast, but have to get more practices. I'm going to be fine in a couple weeks."

Lehtera is unsure if he'll be ready for the Oct. 8 season-opener at home against the Edmonton Oilers, but if the Blues put him in, "I think so if they put me on the ice. I don't know if it's enough to skate for three weeks. I'm just going day by day."

* Blues put seven on waivers -- The Blues have placed seven players on waivers with the purpose of assigning them to the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League.

Among them are forwards Pat Cannone, Jeremy Welsh, Danny Kristo, Justin Hodgman and Cody Beach, and veteran defensemen Peter Harrold and Andre Benoit.

* Saturday's game lineup at Chicago -- Coach Ken Hitchcock said the Blues will take a workmanlike group to face the Blackhawks Saturday at United Center (7:30 p.m. on KYKY 98.1-FM).

Robby Fabbri-David Backes-Troy Brouwer

Dmitrij Jaskin-Scott Gomez-Ty Rattie

Steve Ott-Kyle Brodziak-Scottie Upshall

Jeremy Welsh-Ivan Barbashev-Magnus Paajarvi

Jay Bouwmeester-Colton Parayko

Joel Edmundson-Carl Gunnarsson

Petteri Lindbohm-Chris Butler

Jake Allen will start in goal and play entire game. Pheonix Copley will be the backup.

* Roster cuts -- The Blues trimmed their roster by 19 Saturday afternoon by assigning 14 players to the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League and releasing five from their professional tryouts.

Heading to Chicago are forwards Cody Beach, Pat Cannone, Jaedon Descheneau, Jacob Doty, Justin Hodgman, Danny Kristo, Zach Pochiro, Ryan Tesink, Yannick Veilleux; defensemen Konrad Abeltshauser, Jordan Schmaltz, Tommy Vannelli and goalies Jordan Binnington and Niklas Lundstrom.

Released from their PTO's are: Stu Bickel, Spencer Asuchak, Evan Trupp, Eriah Hayes and Zach O'Brien.

The Blues are down to 33 active players in training camp, 35 including injured players Patrik Berglund and Dmitrii Sergeev.


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