Steen, Dunn day-to-day with upper-body injuries; Schwartz given maintenance
day; Fabbri practices, leaves early; Sanford returns after father's death
ST. LOUIS -- The Blues had a bit of a mash-up as far as their forward line combinations on Thursday at practice without a couple key forwards.
Alexander Steen and defenseman Vince Dunn missed practice after sustaining upper-body injuries in the preseason game Tuesday against the Washington Capitals. Both are day-to-day.
Jaden Schwartz took the ice for a brief time, took a few twirls around the ice before practice and then left with what coach Mike Yeo called a maintenance day, and Robby Fabbri, who sustained a Grade 1 groin strain in a preseason game last Sunday at Columbus after experiencing a sore back and sore hip flexor after playing against Minnesota on Sept. 19, practiced for the first time this week but did not come back out for the second half of it.
The Blues host the Dallas Stars on Friday at 7 p.m. (FOXSportsGO.com, KMOX 1120-AM), KMOX.com, stlblues.com, Sports Radio 98.1 HD3).
" We would expect [Schwartz] to be on the ice tomorrow and we'll decide if we want to put him in the game and see how that goes," Yeo said. "Robby went on the ice, didn't reinjure it, but just didn't feel up to the level that he needed to, to continue to practice, so we pulled him off."
The Blues open the regular season next Thursday, Oct. 4, against the Winnipeg Jets and are trying to keep the lineup as close to in tact as possible with smaller ailments creeping in.
"You just want to make sure when you're here that we're getting better," Yeo said, "and getting better might mean rest, it might mean holding someone off the ice and just having an off-ice workout and not putting them in a position where if something's nagging them, it gets worse, or it might be getting on the ice and getting better that way."
* Sanford returns -- Another forward, Zach Sanford, returned to the ice after going home to Massachussetts to spend time with his family after the shocking and sudden death of Sanford's father, Michael.
Sanford left the team last Friday.
"It's hard for us to judge him today," Yeo said. "It was good for him to get back on the ice today. He's had a good camp up to this point. We think highly of him as a player and now it's just get him back with the group and see how he gets up and gets moving here."
The best medicine Sanford can get now is the support of his teammates and organization.
"There's really not a whole lot to say. I don't talk about it, not because I don't care. I care incredibly. It's really sad and it just flat-out sucks and I feel terrible. He's a great kid. We're hurting with him, but there's not much to say."
* O'Reilly still working late -- Even since Ryan O'Reilly reported for informal skates prior to training camp, he had a knack for staying well after his teammates were long gone, working on extra drills and getting in plenty of cardio.
And on Thursday when practice was done for at least 30 minutes or so, O'Reilly came into the room to change, and following him in were youngsters Robert Thomas, Sammy Blais, Jordan Kyrou and Jake Walman, all who remained on the ice with the veteran O'Reilly.
"It was just us messing around, working on different things," O'Reilly said. "It's nice. It's nice being out there with young guys. It definitely gives myself some good energy. It's good. You've got to have that. You've all got to work on our game and get better. For these guys, we have to keep doing all these things constantly to make an impact."
Yeo certainly condones it, and not just with O'Reilly, but with everyone.
"I like guys to stay after practice; they don't have to be young," Yeo said. "He's showing that. I think that's an opportunity to work on your game, to work on skills, to work on things that are going to arise and happen in the game and next thing you know, you're ready for it. I think that you're going to see over time, it's one thing for them (and) it's easy because you have a guy like 'O'Ry' on the ice and you're a young kid, it's hard to go off the ice before him. I think what you're going to see over time, you're going to start to see not only young guys but other guys following suit too. ... There's opportunities before and after practice to work on individual skills to you and your game and he's mastered that. When you see a guy out there doing those things, it's not just what he creates, it's not just what he's making happen out there, it's what other people on the bench are seeing and he's raising the level of the rest of the group. His impact is definitely huge. It's his quality of play, it's his body of work. It's also how he drags other people into the fight with him."
* Movable parts on D -- Thursday's practice had the top four defensemen switched up, with birthday boy Jay Bouwmeester, who turned 35, paired with Alex Pietrangelo, and Joel Edmundson paired with Colton Parayko.
It's not uncommon for Yeo to do that, and those four have been flipped before, but it was the first time in camp that Edmundson and Pietrangelo have been separated, and Bouwmeester for the most part has been paired with Parayko.
"It's interchangeable," Yeo said. "I think that that group of four, they've seen time with each guy. 'Eddy' and 'Petro', we've liked what we've seen there. Now it's just an opportunity to see how it affects things. We haven't done it yet this year, so I felt it was important ti give it a shot and see how it looks."
* Bortuzzo suspended three games -- The NHL's Department of Player Safety suspended Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo for elbowing Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny during Tuesday's preseason game.
Bortuzzo will miss the final two preseason games and the regular-season opener Oct. 4 at home against Winnipeg.
Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement and based on his average annual salary, Bortuzzo will forfeit $6,182.80. The money goes to the players’ emergency assistance fund.
Here is video of the league's explanation: https://www.nhl.com/video/bortuzzo-suspended-for-elbowing/t-277440360/c-61378003.
Bortuzzo went in for a check to Kempny in the Blues' zone and caught him up high with the elbow-forearm to the side of the face/jaw area in the first minute of the third period. The Capitals, who won the game 4-0, scored seconds later. Bortuzzo was not given a penalty on the play.