Saturday, September 22, 2018


Fabbri back at practice, could play Sunday; Perron, Bozak, Sanford all miss 
practice; Gunnarsson gets day off; Blues cut 10, trimming camp roster to 40

ST. LOUIS -- Robby Fabbri was back on the ice Saturday practicing with the Blues, his first time since he played in his first preseason game on Wednesday.

Fabbri has missed the past two days with a sore back and sore hip flexor, nothing uncommon of a player trying to come back from two ACL surgeries in his left knee playing in just his second preseason game the past 20 months.

"We were expecting to get out; we didn't know when, so happy to see him out and that he was there today," Blues coach Mike Yeo said. "I haven't had a chance to grab him yet since practice. I'd like to get him in a game tomorrow, but obviously don't want to put him in a bad spot."

The Blues, 2-1-0 in the preseason, are back at it Sunday at 2 p.m. in a rematch with the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The Blues blanked the Blue Jackets 3-0 on Friday at Enterprise Center.

* Perron, Bozak sit; Sanford remains out; Gunnarsson gets day off -- Forwards David Perron and Tyler Bozak were absent from practice Saturday, each nursing sore groin injuries.

Perron was supposed to play last Wednesday against the Minnesota Wild but was held out as a precaution, thenagain was held out of Friday's game.

"Every day that you're out is another day that you're not getting closer to being ready to play and being on top of your game," Yeo said of Perron. "Certainly concerned for that. But he's a pro. We'll get him back here. We still have lots of time in camp to get him back on top of his game."

Bozak scored twice in a 3-2 win over the Wild but hasn't practiced since.

"We've got to be smart right now," Yeo said. "Every day we're here, we're trying to get better and we're trying to get ready. But at the same time, push him through something and putting yourself in a position where you're going to be out 2-3 weeks because you tried to rush things. That's not smart either."

Forward Zach Sanford was given time off from camp after the sudden and tragic death of his father, Michael Sanford.

Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson was given the day off; he's still coming back from left ACL and right hip surgeries.

"Giving him a day today," Yeo said. "He hasn't had a day off the ice yet, so we're giving him a day today."

* Allen getting closer -- Goalie Jake Allen practiced again and got in a full workload.

Allen will miss the game Sunday, but Yeo said it's a matter of time.

"Every day that he's out there, had his own net today, he's getting closer," Yeo said.

* Mikkola making mark -- Defenseman Niko Mikkola played 15 minutes, 49 seconds on Friday and made a favorable impression in his second preseason game.

A fifth-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, Mikkola, 22, has played in his home country Finland the past seven seasons but will make the move to North America this season and likely play at San Antonio.

"I thought first game, he was a little erratic, kind of all over the place," Yeo said of Mikkola. "(Friday), I thought he was more controlled. He's got a big body, used his stick well. I thought he read the play well, defended hard. What I like is he's a gamer. He wants to make a difference in the game. He doesn't just try to get through a shift. There might be a mistake or two through the course of a game, but he's going to make a lot of very good plays because he's going to try and make something happen. I like that mentality."

* Thomas gets another chance; Husso to play Sunday -- Center Robert Thomas will play again Sunday and try to give himself another shot at making the opening night roster.

Thomas, a 2017 first-round pick, played better despite no points in Friday's win and Yeo double-shifted him early in the third period and moved Thomas up to play with more seasoned players.

"I'm pretty excited to get another opportunity at it and get right back into it," Thomas said. "... As the game went on (Friday), I started making more plays. It was a good building block for me.

"I must have been doing something right if [Yeo] did that. It was a good start for me and I've just got to build on that for Columbus."

Goalie Ville Husso, who stopped 23 of 25 shots against Minnesota, will get the start and play the whole game Sunday against the Blue Jackets.

* Roster trimmed by 10 -- The Blues reduced their camp roster by 10 by assigning forwards Conner Bleackley, Brian Flynn, Tanner Kaspick, Austin Poganski and Trevor Smith, defensemen Joey Laleggia, Sam Lofquist and Tyler Wotherspoon and goaltenders Jordan Binnington and Evan Fitzpatrick to San Antonio of the American Hockey League.

With the cuts, the camp roster is down to 40. 

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