Monday, September 18, 2017

Blues set to open preseason schedule at Dallas

Bouwmeester sustains lower-body injury 
in scrimmage; camp roster trimmed by four

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- The beauty of NHL training camp is that once it opens, it's not long after that preseason games follow.

The Blues opened Friday, and after four days of practicing and drilling sprinkled in with a scrimmage on Sunday, it's time for players to oppose different competition, and the Blues will open their eight-game preseason schedule on Tuesday against the Dallas Stars in Texas at 7:30 p.m. (it can be heard on and on HD radio on Y98 HD3).

It will be a matchup against former coach Ken Hitchcock.

The Blues will take a mix of veterans and young players. The lineup includes:

Alexander Steen-Robby Fabbri-Samuel Blais

Vladimir Sobotka-Robert Thomas-Jordan Kyrou

MacKenzie MacEachern-Ivan Barbashev-Tage Thompson

Wade Megan-Kyle Brodziak-Klim Kostin

Jake Walman-Robert Bortuzzo

Vince Dunn-Nate Prosser

Carl Gunnarsson-Jordan Schmaltz

Carter Hutton will start in goal; Jordan Binnington will play in relief.

Extras: Justin Selman, Thomas Vannelli

"As far as looking at our first couple games, I think that we've balanced things out well between guys that we need to make sure that they're prepared for Game 1, and guys that we want to get a look at and see if they can crack our lineup for Game 1," Blues coach Mike Yeo said. "... Priority one is making sure that your team is ready and so obviously in that, you have to look at your veterans and determine what they need as far as amount of games and personnel they play with. The other part of it is making sure that Game 1, the lineup that we out on the ice is the best one that we can. I think that we have a good group going in. Part of that is we want to see how they react in a tough building. You know in home games, they're going to play a lot of their top guys in their lineup. We have some guys that are going to get some real tough matchups tomorrow."

Among them, 2014 sixth-round pick Samuel Blais, who has worked with Paul Stastny and Vladimir Tarasenko the first few days of camp, spent Monday on right wing with Robby Fabbri at center and Alexander Steen on left wing. It gives Blais, who scored in Sunday's scrimmage, another opportunity playing with proven veterans.

"I knew yesterday that I would be with these two (Monday)," Blais said. "I'm playing tomorrow with these two in Dallas, so we try to get some chemistry during the practice and I think we did some good plays and it was a good practice.

"They're both real good players. Steen and 'Fabs,' they working really hard and I think they are good on offense, too. We'll try to build on that for tomorrow. ... I'm looking forward to a real game. I'm going to try and do my best and show them the same player I was last year in Chicago."

* Bouwmeester injured -- Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester sustained a lower-body injury on Sunday and will see a doctor on Monday afternoon or Tuesday to determine the severity and if he will miss any length of time.

Yeo said Monday that the 34-year-old Bouwmeester was injured during a scrimmage.

"He's going to have an appointment here today or tomorrow. We'll have more of an update after Wednesday's game," Yeo said.

Asked if he thought the injury was serious, Yeo didn't want to speculate.

"I don't think so, but I don't want to say it is or it isn't," Yeo said. "It's serious enough that he has to go see a doctor and serious enough that it kept him off the ice. I definitely don't want to try to get into any kind of time frame right now, especially knowing 'Bouw.' He's a pretty tough customer."

Bouwmeester has been a mainstay on the Blues' top defensive pairing with captain Alex Pietrangelo; he played in 81 games last season, had one goal and 14 assists and averaged 22:24 ice time per game.

Bouwmeester has played in parts of five seasons with the Blues; he was acquired from the Calgary Flames on April 1, 2013 for a conditional first-round pick and two prospects.

* Blues trim roster by four -- The Blues assigned four players to their respective junior teams on Monday, trimming the camp roster down to 47 active players and 49 including injured Patrik Berglun and Luke Opilka.

The Blues assigned forward Tanner Kaspick (Brandon – WHL), defensemen Trenton Bourque (Owen Sound – OHL) and David Noel (Val-d’Or – QMJHL) and goaltender Evan Fitzpatrick (Sherbrooke – QMJHL) to their junior teams.

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