Saturday, January 16, 2016

(1-16-16) Canadiens-Blues Gameday Lineup

ST. LOUIS -- Initially, Alexander Steen (upper-body injury) was expected to miss Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens (6 p.m. on FS-MW, KMOX 1120-AM).

However, a change to the lineup late Saturdy afternoon put Steen in and Dmitrij Jaskin a late scratch.

Steen was hit with an inadvertent stick by teammate Kevin Shattenkirk in the third period during a 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. Steen did not return to that game and was not on the ice for the morning skate Saturday.

Coach Ken Hitchcock only said Steen was "out" this morning.

It's good news for the Blues considering goalie Jake Allen (lower-body injury), defensemen Jay Bouwmeester (upper body) and Carl Gunnarsson (upper body) and forwards Jaden Schwartz (fractured ankle), Steve Ott (hamstring) and Magnus Paajarvi (upper body) are all on the injured list.

"I'm really proud of the players and I'm really proud of the staff for what they're doing, but at the end of the day, nobody cares," Hitchcock said. "We've got five games left before the (all-star) break and we've got to get points."

Shattenkirk didn't want to address the situation, only saying he felt bad what happened.

Bouwmeester (upper body) was on the ice for the first time Saturday but isn't ready to return; he was injured Jan. 8 against the Anaheim Ducks. 

Gunnarsson (also upper body), who was on the ice on Thursday (also his first time since being injured Jan. 9 against the Los Angeles Kings), did not skate Saturday morning.

"He went on the ice, he had a good practice (Thursday)," Hitchcock said, "but he was really sore after. So he's been shut down right now."

- - -

Steen's absence means Ty Rattie, who scored his first NHL goal in a 5-2 win against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday but was a healthy scratch against Carolina, is back in. 

Scottie Upshall moves up to Steen's spot on a line with Paul Stastny and Troy Brouwer, and Rattie will move into Upshall's spot on a line with David Backes and Patrik Berglund

And after writing in today's notebook about Shattenkirk settling in and being comfortable playing with Alex Pietrangelo, the defensive units have been shuffled up again. 

Shattenkirk is back on the right side with rookie Colton Parayko moving to the left, and Joel Edmundson is paired with Pietrangelo.

- - -

The Blues, who have played the most games in the NHL (47), took Friday off and were happy to just simply get away from the rink and not worry about hockey.

"It's been tough," Shattenkirk said. "We've played a lot of games and we've played a lot of games shorthanded. I don't know how many man-games we've lost this year, but it's been one knock after the other. When everything seems to start looking up, another guy goes down. The way that we've handled it has been great, but it wears on you. When you don't have your full team there, it's tough to deal with. We've just been fighting. To be in the position we're in is great. It shows just a lot of resiliency in us and a lot of character."

With all the missing bodies, it was a refreshing break.

"It's great," Shattenkirk said. "I think everyone here will tell you they probably didn't think about hockey once yesterday and that's what you need. It was a day to run a few errands and just sit on the couch and hang out. It's nice, because sometimes you get those on the road and it's not quite the same thing. When you're at home and you can relax and just forget about hockey for a little bit, it's good, especially on the mental aspect of it. It gives you a nice break."

- - -

Tonight marks the second of three Heritage Nights at Scottrade Center, and in a pregame ceremony, tonight will be "Goalies Night."

The Blues are honoring past goalies Curtis Joseph, Mike Liut and Grant Fuhr, who are in town and will be recognized; Glenn Hall could not make the trip. Also, Brian Elliott, who will honor Joseph by wearing a "Cujo" likeness mask to go with the blue pillows and mitts, and Jake Allen will also be recognized.

The group got together for a Friday night dinner at the Missouri Athletic Club that included video highlights and lots of memories.

"It was a great," Joseph said. "We just told stories, there was a question-and-answer, and the fans got an inside look at some of our lives as Blues hockey players. It was a great place to play and the fans really embrace their athletes here in St. Louis, whether it's Mark McGwire or Brett Hull or Brendan Shanahan. They just have a real affinity for their athletes and seem to elevate them, put them on a pedestal. Certainly for me playing here this long, it's a great feeling to come back and have that warm reception."

Joseph, who the Blues signed as an undrafted free agent out of the University of WIsconsin, is honored by Elliott's gesture.

"It's awesome," Joseph said. "It's a nice tribute and it's very humbling for me."

Fuhr, who holds the NHL and franchise record for games played in a season with 79, and Liut are also glad to be part of the festivities.

"Any chance you get an opportunity to come back, it's fun," Fuhr said. "They've had some great goalies in history. You look at the one year, they had Glenn Hall and Jacques Plante, that's a pretty good tandem. Curtis had some great years here. I had a lot of fun here. We've had decent goaltending for a while."

- - -

The Blues have put defenseman Konrad Abeltshauser, who was with the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League, on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a mutual termination of contract. 

Abeltshauser was acquired in the offseason from the San Jose Sharks for a seventh-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft; he had five assists in 20 games with the Wolves. 

- - -

Jaskin knows a thing or two about newly acquired defenseman Richard Nedomlel, who the Blues picked up on Friday from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for future considerations.

Nedomlel, 22, appeared in two games for the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League and recorded a plus-1 rating and 20 penalty minutes; he will report to the Blues' AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves. 

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound defenseman also skated in 10 games for the Toledo Walleye of the East Coast Hockey League this year and tallied two assists and 14 penalty minutes. 

Nedomlel is a Prague, Czech Republic native and spent the majority of the last two seasons in Toledo and recorded 11 goals, 21 assists and 206 penalty minutes in 109 games with the Walleye. 

"He's a big guy," Jaskin said. "I think he's kind of the same guy as Joel. He's big and physical. He likes to fight but I also think he's a smart player. He can play well with the puck and do some, not really fancy plays, but play just simple. and hard and be effective for his team."

Jaskin said the two met when they were in Prague together with Slavia Praha's U18 team.

"We played a couple years together and we've known each other for a little while," Jaskin. "I was really happy for him because he really didn't get a chance in the minors. He's been back and forth from the East Coast (Hockey League) to the AHL all the time. I was really happy for him that he can get a chance to be consistent here."

- - -

The Blues' probable lineup: 

Alexander Steen-Paul Stastny-Troy Brouwer

Robbi Fabbri-Jori Lehtera-Vladimir Tarasenko

Patrik Berglund-David Backes-Ty Rattie

Scottie Upshall-Kyle Brodziak-Ryan Reaves

Joel Edmundson-Alex Pietrangelo

Colton Parayko-Kevin Shattenkirk

Chris Butler-Robert Bortuzzo

Brian Elliott will start in goal. Jordan Binnington will be the backup.

Dmitrij Jaskin is the lone healthy scratch. Alexander Steen (upper body), Jaden Schwartz (ankle), Steve Ott (hamstring), Jay Bouwmeester (upper body), Jake Allen (lower body), Carl Gunnarsson (upper body) and Magnus Paajarvi (upper body) are out with injuries.

- - -

The Canadiens' probable lineup:

Max Pacioretty - Tomas Plekanec - Brendan Gallagher

Tomas Fleischmann - David Desharnais - Alex Galchenyuk

Paul Byron - Lars Eller - Dale Weise

Jacob De La Rose - Torrey Mitchell - Brian Flynn

Andrei Markov-P.K. Subban

Nathan Beaulieu-Jeff Petry

Alexei Emelin-Mark Barberio

Mike Condon will start in goal. Ben Scrivens will be the backup.

Devante Smith-Pelly, Greg Pateryn and newly acquired Victor Bartley are the healthy scratches. Carey Price (lower body) and Tom Gilbert (lower body) are out with injuries.

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