Tuesday, November 28, 2017

All signs point to Berglund return Wednesday

Center took part in another full practice, centered third line 
between Jaskin, Blais; forward sidelined with dislocated left shoulder

ST. LOUIS -- Another full day of Patrik Berglund practicing with the full group indicates that the big center iceman is ready to return to the lineup.

And that time it looking more and more likely to be Wednesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

Berglund, who's missed the entire season thus far after dislocating his left shoulder during an offseason training session, was part of the group centering the third line between Dmitrij Jaskin and Sammy Blais.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Center Patrik Berglund (21) is looking more and more likely to make his
season debut Wednesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

The Blues will officially make their decision after the morning skate, then have a roster decision to make.

With 24 players all on the cusp of being healthy, someone will either A) be placed on waivers for the purpose of assigning them to the American Hockey League or B) being optioned outright to the AHL.

"He looked good," Blues coach Mike Yeo said of Berglund before half-jokingly ask, "What did he say to you guys?

"He looked good so we'll re-evaluate in the morning, but we feel pretty confident that he's ready to go here. We'll make the decision tomorrow."

The Blues (17-6-1) will play the fourth of a five-game homestand on Wednesday and there was some talk that the target was Dec. 1 against the Los Angeles Kings as a potential return, a full two weeks ahead of the initial re-evaluation time.

"We're happy with where 'Bergy's at," Yeo said. "He's not going to be there yet. He's a big body that it's going to take him a little while for sure, but I know that getting him right off the hop, we're going to give him a chance to get him and his game going quickly.

"He's a great personality and a great teammate. He's a guy that shows up to the rink and has a great attitude. He's a competitor, but it could be his size on one night and it could be his puck protection and offensive zone another night, could be his penalty killing, his defensive play another night. He adds a lot to our group and obviously you add a quality player like that, it makes your group stronger."

With Berglund's possible return, Oskar Sundqvist looks to be the odd-man out.

Sundqvist, who has three assists in 22 games after being acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins in a draft-day trade on June 23, has anchored the third line with the Blues dealing with early-season injuries.

"We have options there," Yeo said. "We know 'Brodzy' [Kyle Brodziak] can play the right. too. 

"I spoke with 'Sunny' today and I feel like that there is more push in his offensive game, I feel like he's taken his game to another level. I know he only has the three points, but his line gets much more sustained offensive zone play time. I think that 'Jasky' has elevated his play and all of the sudden, he's starting to get some points and I think Sunny has been a part of that as well even though he's not faring in on the scoresheet. I think we'd all agree and he would agree that there's another level there, but he's a young player with very little experience in the NHL and I think what we're seeing is progress from him. 'Bergy' comes in tomorrow, if that's the case, then 'Sunny' will find himself out, but he won't be out for long."

Berglund is a versatile forward who can play the center ice position or the wing, but Yeo is sticking -- at least for the time being -- to Berglund playing down the middle.

"We talked about it. We have options going forward here," Yeo said. "I really liked him as a center iceman last year and I've seen him on the wing and he does a great job there, too, but I thought that he did a helluva job for us last year in the middle of the ice. It's really hard to play against a guy like that with skating ability, range and strength."

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