Wednesday, October 10, 2018


Edmundson appears ready to make season debut; Dunn likely to sit 
out; Jerabek expected to make Blues debut; Blues ready to play a game

ST. LOUIS -- Judging by the workload and no-holding-back demeanor he's displayed the past three days, the Blues should welcome defenseman Joel Edmundson back against the Calgary Flames on Thursday.

Edmundson missed the first two games of the season with a groin ailment originally sustained in a preseason game on Sept. 25 against the Washington Capitals; he played the following game on Sept. 28 against the Dallas Stars but only played 13-plus minutes.

"It's felt good the past couple days," Edmundson said after practice Wednesday at Enterprise Center. "I think these last three practices, just get my conditioning back up to par. If it feels good after the morning skate tomorrow, I'll be in. I'm looking forward to it.

"... I think at this point it's up to me. I'll let them know how I feel after the morning skate and we'll go from there. The last couple days, I've been feeling good. I haven't been holding back in practice. I just feel better every day."

Edmundson will be a welcome addition to a lineup that has allowed 10 goals in two losses, going 0-1-1 against Winnipeg and Chicago.

"We've given up 10 goals against in two games and I don't think it's a coincidence," Yeo said. "It doesn't mean that we can't win with some players missing out of the lineup, but when one of your key defensemen, one of your top defenders is out of the lineup, that has an impact. Certainly expect him to come in and influence the game on the defensive side of things, on the physical side of things and he helps our execution as well."

Edmundson, in his fourth season, has been paired with Alex Pietrangelo and is anxious to help stabilize a staple in the Blues' game in the defensive zone.

"I never really like watching our team play," Edmundson said. "I want to be out there battling with the boys. If I feel good after the morning skate, I'll be in the lineup. I just want to get out there with the guys. 

"We've got a good team in Calgary coming in. They had a good game against Nashville the other night. We're not really worried about them, we're more worried about what's going on in our dressing room. We want to come out and play with our emotions and be excited for the game."

* Dunn to sit? -- It's been a little bit of a tough start for defenseman Vince Dunn this season, and by all indications, he could be a healthy scratch against the Flames.

Dunn, in his second NHL season, was on the ice and misplayed a clearing attempt that led to Patrick Kane's goal that tied the game 2-2 in the second period Saturday and his ill-advised shot into two bodies was blocked and led to Jonathan Toews' breakaway winning goal in overtime.

"I'm going to wait to see what our decision is and if we decide not to play him, then we can comment on that," Yeo said. "I want to make sure we spend some time as coaches after practice. We haven't had a chance yet to sit down as a coaching staff. I wanted to look at practice today and use that as a tool to help us make a decision for tomorrow. Obviously we've got 'Schmaltzy' [Jordan Schmaltz] too. We can make a decision there."

Dunn and Schmaltz have been the Blues' extra d-pairing in practice this week.

* Jerabek to make debut? -- Defenseman Jakub Jerabek, acquired for a conditional 2020 sixth-round pick from the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 1, is in line to make his Blues debut against the Flames.

Jerabek, who is 5-foot-11, 199 pounds, had eight points (two goals, six assists) in 36 NHL games last season, his first, with the Montreal Canadiens and Washington Capitals.

"I think we've got to get him into a game right now," Yeo said of Jerabek. "It's tough at practice. I think that what's good is he's played in some systems in Washington where there were some similarities in certain things that defensemen do. In Montreal, there were some similarities in some of the things that their defensemen do and some of the d-zone tactics or systems, if you will. I think that that'll be beneficial for him. I think that was helpful in talking to him and discussing sort of our game plan and what we want to see out there. I think that'll kind of help him grasp things early. Until we get him into a game, it's pretty hard to tell."

* Time to play -- The Blues will have waited five days to play their third game of the season after losing 5-4 in OT to the Blackhawks last Saturday.

They took the day off and gradually built their practices up Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We just want to play right now. It's been a long week," Yeo said. "It's always a challenge when you have a long layoff trying to get those legs going and get the battle and the intensity of the game going again, so our start's going to be important tomorrow."

Everyone skated at practice Wednesday except for Robby Fabbri (groin), Nikita Soshnikov (concussion) and Carl Gunnarsson (knee, hip). However, all three did skate before practice. It was Fabbri's fourth straight day on the ice.

"Just because we had the long layoff, we had so many guys out there for practice the previous couple days," Yeo said why they were kept off the practice group. "We've got some extra guys with 'Sosh', with Robby, we've got 'Gunny.' We just wanted to tighten things up a little bit. With a long layoff, we wanted to have a shortened, intense practice today and so for that reason, we had sort of the guys that aren't available for us in the lineup, we had them skate earlier."

* Scouting the Flames -- Calgary comes to town on the heels of an impressive 3-0 win at Nashville on Tuesday, with goalie Mike Smith pitching the shutout with a 43-save effort.

The Flames (2-1-0) have won two straight after a season-opening 4-1 loss at Vancouver last Wednesday.

"It certainly gets your attention when they walk into Nashville and grab a win the way that they did," Yeo said of the Flames. "You see a team playing with confidence, they make a lot of plays. A lot of things are similar, but you can see [Flames coach Bill Peters'] influence there as well, having the chance to coach with him, knowing the way that he likes to coach, the aggressive mindset, the way that his teams like to play. You can see a lot of that start to take hold. I've always felt their defensemen get up and join rushes as well as any team in the league. Their counter attack is as quick as anybody's. You still see that part of the game. The offensive zone, they look dangerous right now. They're finding a way, whether it's off the rush in the offensive zone. They're making an awful lot of plays in the slot that are connecting, and those are dangerous."

Johnny Gaudreau (one goal, six assists), St. Louisan Matthew Tkachuk (one goal, five assists) and Sean Monahan (four goals, one assist) lead the way for the Flames the first three games.

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