Friday, December 8, 2017


Whirlwind day for Husso; Hutton to IR; Blais recalled, 
will play Saturday; Allen likely to get both weekend games

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- It turned out to be quite a day Thursday for Blues goalie Ville Husso.

Husso, who was in San Antonio just going about business as usual on an off-day in the American Hockey League, said he just fixed himself lunch when the phone rang around 1 p.m. 

The basic message was: time to hustle, get your gear and get on a plane to St. Louis!

Husso was recalled on an emergency basis after Blues backup goalie Carter Hutton sustained a lower-body injury during the morning skate prior to the Blues facing the Dallas Stars.

The Blues had a backup contingency in place, having local amateur goalie Tyler Stewart sign an amateur tryout agreement to serve as Jake Allen's backup until Husso arrived at the rink, which became quite the chore when his 4:40 p.m. flight out of San Antonio was 20 minutes late.

"I got a call (at) like 1 p.m. Then the flight was like 4:40, but it was like 20 minutes late so I got here (at) like 6:59 or something," Husso said Friday after practice. "It was a little bit different day than usual.

"I've been a couple times late, but like never like that."

The Blues got Husso to the rink as soon as possible and he was on the bench and ready to back up Allen with 5 minutes, 9 seconds remaining in the first period. He had no idea why he was going to St. Louis at the time.

"Just get here and be ready like always," Husso said. "They didn't say anything." 

Husso, the Blues' 22-year-old fourth round pick in 2014 out of Helsinki, Finland, will be sticking around for at least a week after the Blues placed Hutton on injured-reserve and recalled right wing Sammy Blais from the Rampage.

The Blues play back-to-back games this weekend, Saturday at noon at the Detroit Red Wings before hosting the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday at 6 p.m.

"It's nice to be here and be in all these kinds of practice and stuff," Husso said. "It's good experience for me. I take that. You never know. Hopefully I get one game, that would be nice."

Hutton going on IR means he will miss at least the next next four games. Blues coach Mike Yeo didn't seem concerned it would be much more time but felt that the move was necessary since Hutton wouldn't be ready for either game this weekend and the desire to put Blais in the lineup against the Red Wings.

"Obviously IR means be could be available to us in a week here, but we felt he wasn't going to be ready to play this weekend and we wanted to get 'Blazer' back in next game, so that's the move that we were kind of forced to make in order for that to happen," Yeo said.

* Allen to get games -- Allen, who is coming off a 29-save, 3-0 shutout victory over the Stars, will start against the Red Wings and could very well get the nod against the Sabres.

In back-to-back situations, it's common for both goalies to split the games, but with one being on a Saturday afternoon and the Blues being home close to a full 24 hours before the next scheduled game, changes the thinking a bit.

"The one thing we do have going for us is I think the afternoon game to the later in the evening game the next day is a little bit of a help here if we wanted to go Jake for all the games, so we'll see what happens," Yeo said. "I think it changes things a little bit. It's a little different situation. Today is a light (practice) day. Jake played really well last game, but he didn't have a huge workload as far as a large amount of shots, having to battle through traffic and what not. ... He did play great and earned that shutout, but at the same time, I don't think that it was a real taxing game for him and then obviously a pretty light day today and then given that it's an afternoon game tomorrow, there will be no morning skate. I think we can manage it here a little bit so that the possibility of him playing both the games this weekend is there for us."

Husso, who is coming off a lower-body injury of his own that forced him to miss roughly two weeks (he was in St. Louis at the time receiving treatment), played for San Antonio this past Tuesday, a 5-1 loss.

"I know the result of the game wasn't really good, but from what I heard, he played pretty well," Yeo said. "I know in talking with Marty, he felt pretty comfortable that he was ready to be here. He'll be fine."

"I play last Tuesday for first time since I was injured, but I felt pretty good out there," Husso said. "I'm 100 percent right now and I'm ready to go."

* Blais back in the fold -- With no morning skate and the Blues not holding line rushes Friday, it won't be known until pregame warmups who Blais will replace in the lineup Saturday, but with the Red Wings, coming off a 5-1 win over Winnipeg to snap a seven-game losing streak, adding Blais' speed and skill will be a necessary ingredient.

"Last game we talked about as going to be a different game," Yeo said. "We want to give him another shot to see what he can do and we've talked about a couple things that we'd like to see a little bit of progress with. He's a great kid and he's willing to learn and it's just a matter of how quickly he grabs it.

"We're seeing some improvement, but it's not there yet. It takes time with habits like this. It's just a matter of how quick it comes to him. Offensively, we like a lot of things that he's doing. It's just a matter with us as a coaching staff to continue working with him. He's had a fantastic attitude about it and if he continues to do that, then he'll get there."

* Scouting the Red Wings -- Detroit (11-12-5) was 0-4-3 before defeating Winnipeg.

It will be the Blues' first visit to the Red Wings' new home, Little Caesars Arena, and only visit this season.

Reports from Detroit indicate the Red Wings will start Jimmy Howard in goal.

"Speed right now," Yeo said describing Detroit's game. "Obviously, they had a couple tough ones there in a row and a real tough one. Certainly when you're faced with something like that, the players in this league, there's an awful lot of pride. I think that they responded real well, handed it to Winnipeg and we're going to have to be ready for that challenge. Creating a lot of chances with their speed, putting a lot of pucks to the net, bodies around the net, generating off that and they get on you quickly with good sticks."

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