Friday, January 5, 2018


Schenn looking forward to return to Philadelphia; Yeo downplays 
Tarasenko's ice time in third Thursday; Blais activated assigned to San Antonio

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- It didn't take long for Brayden Schenn to pull out a calendar and look up two particular dates on the Blues' schedule.

When Schenn was traded from the Philadelphia Flyers to the Blues on June 23 during the NHL Draft in Chicago, after processing some time to absorb that his life in the NHL would change not only zip codes but conferences, Schenn was able to find the two dates that the Blues and Flyers would meet.

One was on Nov. 2 in St. Louis, but the more important one was the return trip to Philadelphia, and that comes on Saturday at Wells Fargo Center.

"Absolutely, you always look when you play the Flyers," Schenn said. "When they were here, they got the best of us last time they were here. It'll be nice to get a win in the Wells Fargo (Center) against them."

Schenn, who spent six seasons with the Flyers from 2011-2017, has gotten off to a terrific start in his new home with the Blues, is tied for the team lead with Vladimir Tarasenko in goals (17) and leads them in assists (25) and points (42).

"I'm looking forward to getting back there," Schenn said of Philadelphia, where he had 109 goals and 137 assists. "First time being the opposition, first time going into Wells Fargo, I'm looking forward to it. It's always weird playing former teammates and it's going to be a little bit weird, but I'm glad it's a 1 o'clock game. You get up, you get ready and you go play. You don't really worry about the whole pregame skate and everything like that. It's going to be a little bit weird, but I'm looking forward to it."

The Blues and Flyers will play a matinee at noon on Saturday (FS-MW, KMOX 1120-AM), but before that, Schenn was going to dinner on Friday with some former teammates he called friends.

"Yeah, I'm going to go for dinner with a few guys," Schenn said. "It's going to be good to see them. I got to see them quickly here after the game in St. Louis. I'm looking forward to obviously seeing them and playing them as well."

* Tarasenko's ice time -- Tarasenko was held to just 3 minutes 56 seconds in the third period and did not see the ice for the final 7:09. 

Normally, injury would come to mind as to why your highest paid player and top offensive weapon would not see the ice in that amount of time, but Blues coach Mike Yeo saw some things in others that warranted playing time in a 2-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights and ending their eight-game winning streak and 13-game point streak.

Tarasenko's 15:43 ice time for the game was a season low.

"There was no strategy," Yeo said. "I think it was just ... again, I think you can make a story of it if you want, but bottom line is, you can look at it how you want to look at it, what he wasn't doing or what other guys were doing. I don't think it's any different than what we talked about with 'Brodzy' (Kyle Brodziak) and 'Uppy' (Scottie Upshall) earning some extra ice time. It's not any different than 'Hutts' (Carter Hutton) deserving a couple games. There were some guys last game that were rolling really well and playing really well. And obviously through the game as a coach, you have to do what you think is right to get the win."

Magnus Paajarvi (5:29) and Dmitrij Jaskin (5:11) saw more third-period time than Tarasenko, and was an example of guys that had the buy-in mentality to beat a quality team like Vegas.

"To me, it was an impressive game from Jaskin," Yeo said after the game Thursday. "I thought he had a strong game tonight and one of his stronger games in a while and 'Maggy' had a stronger game than he's had in a little while, too. 

"When we put him up with 'Stas' (Paul Stastny) and 'Sobe,' (Vladimir Sobotka), that seemed to give a lot of energy from that line."

It's clear what Yeo's intentions were, and he was giving guys ice time he felt could deliver the victory.

The Blues held a heavily populated optional skate on Friday and Tarasenko was one of them working.

* Blais sent to AHL -- The Blues activated forward Sammy Blais off injured reserve and assigned him to San Antonio of the American Hockey League.

Blais, who missed nine games with a lower-body injury, has one goal and two assists in 10 games with the Blues this season. He was injured Dec. 16 against the Winnipeg Jets.

The Blues were already carrying 23 healthy players on the roster and with Blais coming off IR, someone had to be optioned out.

* Dunn to miss games -- Defenseman Vince Dunn did not accompany the Blues on their two-game trip to Philadelphia and Washington and will miss his third and fourth straight games.

Dunn was a healthy scratch last Tuesday but has not practiced since Tuesday morning and has been sick.

Yeo said the immediate plan was to carry just the six defensemen. If someone were needed to be recalled for the game Sunday, the Blues feel they have ample time to get some one to Washington with a day game in Philadelphia.

* Goaltending mystery -- Jake Allen will get one of the two games this weekend. Which one is the mystery, as Yeo would not divulge which game Allen would start and which one Hutton would get.

Hutton, who started the past three games at home (all wins) has played fantastic, and even Allen has said Hutton has been "the best goalie in the league." But Allen, who is 1-6-0 in his past seven starts only allowing 18 goals in even games but getting just nine goals of support in those seven games, is anxious to get things geared up again.

"Yeah, it'll be nice to get back in there, get the feel of stopping the puck again," Allen said. "It's only been a week, I guess, but it feels like an eternity. But at the same time, it's exciting to go in and play. A couple big games for us against a couple tough teams that are playing well."

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