Sunday, October 31, 2021


Husso latest to join COVID-19 protocol list, Hofer to get recalled from 
AHL; Saad still on target for Wednesday return; Schenn misses practice

MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. -- While one comes off the COVID-19 protocol list for the Blues, add another name to the list.

Brandon Saad was skating for a second straight day on Sunday, which is the good news after Saad missed his fourth straight game after being removed from the protocol list, but add Ville Husso, who was placed on the non-roster COVID list by the team on Sunday.

Husso joins Ryan O'Reilly, who missed his second game Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Blues coach Craig Berube didn't know as of yet what Husso's status is, whether it's day to day or he misses the minimum 10 days if he's symptomatic.

"I don't know anything right now guys, to be honest with you," Berube said. "It's tough news for sure."

What Berube does know is Joel Hofer is being called up later in the day Sunday from Springfield of the American Hockey League.

So it sounds like as if Husso will not be making the trip to California when the Blues next play on Wednesday in Los Angeles against the Kings. They also play Thursday in San Jose against the Sharks and there's a chance Binnington could play in back-to-back games.

"We'll see how it goes, okay," Berube said. "I'm not going to make that decision right now."
The Blues skated in full on Sunday and St. Louis native Mike McKenna, who has retired from professional hockey, was the extra goalie on the ice along with Binnington.

"It was great," Berube said. "He was awesome too. We had a little 3-on-3 game there and he ended up being the winning goalie."

McKenna's white team did defeat Binnington's blue squad, 3-1.

* Saad revving up for return -- As for Saad, who has a goal and an assist in three games this season, the plan is still to have him ready to return against the Kings unless there is a setback.

"I thought he looked good today, he felt good," Berube said. "We'll get him skating again tomorrow just on his own and then practice with the club on Tuesday."

* Schenn misses practice -- Center Brayden Schenn missed Sunday's practice with what Berube said was precaution.

Schenn was tripped in the 1-0 win against the Blackhawks by Alex DeBrincat and crashed hard into the defensive zone boards. He skated off the ice, returned for a quick shift, then left again due to a concussion spotter mandate but was able to return to finish the game.

"Precaution. He's just sore," Berube said. "He'll be good to go."

* 3-on-3 practice -- The Blues have played seven games this season and have yet to get a sniff of overtime, which means no 3-on-3 play. And no 3-on-3 work.

Well, they haven't worked on it a ton during practice sessions, so they got in some good time with it Sunday.

"We wanted to work on it today," Berube said. "That was part of the plan to play 3-on-3. We ended up going a little longer than we though, but we haven't really worked on it that much and we haven't seen it in the games. It was important to get it in today."

And the Blues chose to do it on Sunday rather than give the player a day off and get back on the ice Monday.

"I just wanted to split practice up too," Berube said. "I didn't want to go two in a row. I think it's important that we have a morning skate in L.A. So that will be three days in a row on the ice and then playing. Now it's one day, then we have a morning skate and then we play."

* Aftermath of Saturday's win -- One area that the Blues (6-1-0) made the game interesting against the winless Blackhawks (0-7-2) was the inability at times to manage the puck properly.

The Blues finished with 14 giveaways in the game, according to the stat sheet, which is too many for the coaching staff's liking.

"I think it is fair to say. I think there's times where we made soft plays with the puck and then there were other times where you just hope pucks," Berube said. "We didn't make the right decision with it when we were confronted by the opposition. I think we've got to do a better job when there's confrontation in the offensive zone, defensive zone, making the right play with the puck. Put it to an area where we can get it back or just make a hard play in your own end and get it out. I think that was more of it than anything else."

One line that helped drive zone time in the offensive zone? The fourth line of Kyle Clifford, Dakota Joshua and Klim Kostin.

"I thought that line was really effective, forechecking hard, they had some good opportunities too," Berube said. "They were a pretty direct line tonight, which was good."

Clifford led the Blues, in just 10:43 ice time, with five shots on goal and seven attempts.

"Offensive zone stuff for sure. I think we had a lot of opportunities off the rush and stuff here tonight, which is good to see," Berube said. "Made some real good plays but (Marc-Andre) Fleury was good, but we stuck with it. And our power play came through for us in the end, which is nice. Special teams was good. We had to kill a few couple penalties, big kills, in my opinion. And then power play came through."

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