Friday, September 30, 2016

Schwartz injury opens door for others

Agostino, Blais, Galiardi, others will get shot to fill time vacated by Blues 
left wing; six placed on waivers; Pietrangelo, Bouwmeester to get time off

By Louie Korac Correspondent
ST. LOUIS -- Jaden Schwartz will miss at least four weeks after the St. Louis Blues left wing injured his left elbow at practice on Thursday.

Coach Ken Hitchcock said Schwartz was injured during a drill and got tangled up with teammate Alexander Steen and initial x-rays indicated nothing serious, but a subsequent MRI indicated something.

"It's not bad news. It could have been a lot worse," Hitchcock said. "It's four weeks and we've got two weeks of training camp left, so it's not that many games. You get an injury like that, it could be nothing and it could be surgery. You don't know until you get into that type of injury. 

"We'll deal with it. It's a little bit of time in October and we've still got two full weeks of training camp before we're playing our first game, so we've already bought a lot of time into it. It's not nothing we can't make an adjustment for. That's the one position where we've got a lot of depth. We've got a lot of guys vying for wing positions." 

It's the second time in as many seasons Schwartz, who signed a five-year, $26.75 million contract last summer, will miss games due to injury to begin a season; he missed the first 49 games last season with a fractured left ankle.

Schwartz left the rink Thursday feeling like the injury wasn't going to keep him out long, and Hitchcock initially indicated that Schwartz would only likely miss weekend preseason games against the Dallas Stars on Friday and Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.

"I talked to him [Thursday] morning and he was so excited to get this going and play some hockey for real and that happens," teammate Patrik Berglund said of Schwartz. "I feel bad for him, but the only thing he can do now is focus on taking care of that injury and coming back as soon as possible.

"It's terrible, it's awful. He's going to be missing the beginning of the season again. Obviously with what he went through last year, it's obviously a tough break for him. Hopefully he can get rehab in and come back as soon as he can."

Schwartz's short-term injury opens the door for players like Kenny Agostino, who has a two-way contract, and T.J. Galiardi, who is in camp on a professional tryout.

"Agostino, Galiardi, Magnus (Paajarvi), (Samuel) Blais, a lot of guys," Hitchcock said. "It opens up the door for, on a short-term basis, for quite a few guys. It happens to be the position that guys have had great camps. They've surprised us. Now as teams start to pare down, we'll get a better read on the temperature. The temperature of the practice [Thursday] was way up. It was really revealing for us who could keep up and who couldn't and we're going to see some games get that way too next week." 

Agostino, selected in the fifth round by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2010 NHL Draft, has six points (two goals, four assists) in two preseason games and will be in the lineup when the Blues host the Stars Friday; he had 23 goals and 34 assists in 65 games for Stockton of the American Hockey League last season.

"I'm just concerned about having a good day every day, putting together some good days here," Agostino said. "It's unfortunate, but I'm just focused on the morning skate and having a good game tonight. I'm kind of just taking it day-by-day. That's all you can do at this point.

"So far I'm happy with the start, but it's just a start. I have a long way to go here. I'm just trying to get better every day here really. ... It didn't seem to work out with Calgary in terms of an opportunity. But whenever you come to an organization, you have a fresh start, a chance to create your own identity and that's what I'm trying to do here."

* Pietrangelo, Bouwmeester will get time off -- Fresh off winning the World Cup of Hockey with Team Canada, Blues defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester will arrive in St. Louis sometime this weekend, but expect neither on the ice in the near future.

"Shut them down," Hitchcock said. "More than a couple days. Shut them down and we'll talk it through them. We're not forcing them on the ice. If conditioning is the problem for them, then we're in real tough shape because that tournament was played at a higher speed than any game that's going to get played at right now.

"... You're cheering because you're Canadian, you're cheering because Doug (Armstrong's) there, and you're really cheering because those two guys are there," Hitchcock said. "This allows those guys to start coming back sometime today and get even more days rest and stuff like that. They've played a lot of hockey. ... Rest is the weapon and we're going to use it every chance we get."

* Blues place seven on waivers -- The Blues placed forwards Jordan Caron, Danny Kristo, Andrew Agozzino and Alex Friesen and defensemen Chris Butler, Brad Hunt and Morgan Ellis on waivers for the purpose of assigning them to the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. 

The Wolves' camp opens Monday.

* Tonight's lineup -- The Blues, who are 2-1-0 in the preseason, will play the following lineup against the Stars (7 p.m.).

Jori Lehtera-Paul Stastny-Scottie Upshall

David Perron-Patrik Berglund-Ty Rattie

Kenny Agostino-Dmitrij Jaskin-Magnus Paajarvi

Samuel Blais-Ivan Barbashev-T.J. Galiardi

Carl Gunnarsson-Colton Parayko

Petteri Lindbohm-Robert Bortuzzo

Chris Butler-Jordan Schmaltz

Jake Allen and Pheonix Copley


  1. Any update on status of guys waived: Agozzino, Friesen, Kristo & Butler?

  2. Butler assigned today. Nothing yet on other three but they're headed for AHL any day now.