Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Bouwmeester, Sanford sidelined with injuries

Defenseman to be re-evaluated in three weeks with left ankle fracture; 
forward sidelined 5-6 months with dislocated shoulder that requires surgery

ST. LOUIS -- The injury bug has bit the Blues hard even before their first preseason game.

The Blues will open the preseason today at American Airlines Center against the Dallas Stars (7:30 p.m. on KMOX.com and on HD radio on Y98 HD3) but found earlier in the day that defenseman Jay Bouwmeester will miss at least three weeks with a left ankle fracture and forward Zach Sanford will have surgery on a dislocated left shoulder that will sideline him 5-6 months.

Bouwmeester, 34, was injured in the team's scrimmage on Sunday when he took a puck off the ankle; he did not skate on Monday when coach Mike Yeo said his veteran defenseman was to see a doctor. Bouwmeester will be re-evaluated in three weeks.

"I think you come into every training camp expecting injuries and knowing that injuries are part of it," Yeo said. "Obviously that's a tough one for us. 'Bouw's been a part of our group. Part of the reason we were talking about (Jordan) Schmaltz, (Nate) Prosser, (Jake) Walman, (Vince) Dunn is we knew you always need depth and you need guys that are going to have to come in and play games for you, whether it's in September, October or later in the season. It's up to these guys who's going to solidify their position. Obviously some of the guys we have in our group are going to have to step up. If it's a guy like 'Gunny,' maybe he's going to have to bite off a little bit more, or maybe someone else jumps in there, I'm not sure. 

"No different than last year. We saw a lot of that last year. Injuries are part of the game and we have capable players, so we'll get through it."

Sanford, 22, was injured on the first day of training camp on a drill at the Ice Zone inside St. Louis Outlet Mall on a check onto the corner boards from teammate Dmitrij Jaskin.

Sanford was down for several minutes being attended to by head athletic trainer Ray Barile before departing immediately off the ice favoring the shoulder.

"That one's tough," Yeo said. "I feel really bad for him. He worked hard this summer. You can see physically he came in, he looked more ready, more prepared for the NHL game. He looked bigger, stronger. Yeah, tough break. First day, you put all that work and you have these high hopes and expectations and I was really excited about his potential for us this year. Now he's got some work ahead of him, but his season's not over. If he can put in the work and get through surgery and rehab properly, then you never know. I don't know exactly the time frame and obviously we don't know how thing could play out, but certainly a big blow."

What this does is open the door for players like Schmaltz, for Walman, for Dunn, guys who have been or are starting to knock on the door of perhaps possibly finally cracking this roster.

Schmaltz had a cup of coffee with the big club at the end of last season, but both Dunn and Walman are themselves right on the doorstep.

Both will be in the lineup tonight:

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

Find the Stars' lineup here: https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/dallas-stars/stars/2017/09/19/morning-skate-update-stars-loaded-roster-preseason-opener-tuesday

"I don't really changes anything that I do," said Dunn, who will be playing his second-ever preseason game (he played one two seasons ago in Columbus). "I came in here with the same attitude as I still now with 'Bouw' being out for that long, but I think it's obviously another spot that could take up some room or if they need a couple guys for the start of the season, I've got to work towards that. I think it's something to work towards, but it doesn't change my attitude about much.

"It's  exciting to get the first game in. I'm pretty anxious to get it going here. I'm looking forward to the first shift here, getting out there for the first time with this group of guys."

Walman, who will be making his NHL debut of any kind tonight, agreed.

"I honestly haven't really heard much about (Bouwmeester's injury) to be honest," Walman said. "I've been doing my own thing. A bunch of the younger guys agree with that, we have to focus on what we have to do out there and not worry about the situation. The whole summer and this whole camp, I've been thinking about just battling for myself. I know there's an opportunity and there's competition for it, but my biggest opponent is myself and I'm going to work as hard as I can."

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