Friday, November 19, 2021


After impressive win over Sharks, Blues must stick to script, build off win; 
Lebanc to have hearing for slew-foot; Schenn practices; Berube talks to Kostin

MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. -- OK, it's one game. Now what?

That's what the Blues (9-5-2) have to ask themselves.

It was impressive, a 4-1 home win against the San Jose Sharks to half a four-game rut, as they liked to call it going 0-3-1, but nonetheless, it was the type of 60-minute effort the Blues search for on a daily basis.

What's important now is to try and build on it and move along with it on a game-by-game basis.

The next step is a Saturday road game against the Dallas Stars (6-7-2).

"I think just having that mentality," said forward Brandon Saad, who scored twice in the win Thursday. "It's something where you do the right things, you have success. It's easy to fall back on those habits and that routine. Obviously we did a good job (Thursday) and we want to continue that."

"It's a long season," defenseman Marco Scandella said. "We've got a lot of older guys here that have played a lot of years, and there's ups and downs in the season, but you can't let those moments where you're slipping, you can't let them last too long. You've got to find a way to stop that and get a win again and feel good in the locker room. I feel like that starts with hard work. I feel like we went to practice before the last game and we all came to work and we got better and we brought that into the game and we played a full 60, and that's what we needed to do."

And by doing so, coach Craig Berube put the team through a short, but brisk and intense practice on Friday before hopping on a plane to Texas. It's about having what he called a "businesslike" attitude.

"Like we talked, it starts with practice today and just being business-like again and having a good practice," Berube said. "I thought the details of practice were good today. They're not going to have the same energy as they would have if there wasn't a game last night. It's not going to happen, but the details were good. I thought it was business-like in practice and then you've got to understand what you're going into tomorrow, a team that got beat 7-2, desperate team. They'll be mad obviously. You've got to go in there and we've got to understand what we need to do as a team to make that other team play uncomfortable. We're going to have to play on the goal line on them and play a north game like we talk all the time and do a lot of the same things we did last night in the game. It's about execution and it's about just doing the right thing and playing the right way."

Berube barked at the players a couple times during drills, a sign of a coach wanting his players to remain sharp and staying even-keeled, even after a solid outing.

"No, it's all about skating for me, work," Berube said. "I know a lot of times it's hard. You played a game the night before, but you've got to push yourself. It's my job to push the players and then hopefully they respond to that."

What the Blues found was something the players have said the past couple games.

"We definitely had a lot of jam," Scandella said. "I feel like every line was setting up the other line. We were going out there getting good changes and just working together and we did it for 60 minutes. That's why we got the result we did.

"I just felt like the second efforts were there and not putting ourselves in a bad spot. We weren't wasting a lot of energy on turnovers and having to back-check unnecessarily. We were feeding into our game, which is below the goal line, feeding the 'D,' just getting shots on net, smothering teams. We win by committee. We have a lot of talented players on this team, but we don't have just two guys going out winning games for us. I feel like it's everybody, and everyone has to feel good in those games, and that's what we did. We just helped each other get to our games."

* Labanc suspended one game -- San Jose forward Kevin Labanc was suspended for one game by the league's Department of Player Safety for the slew-foot play that resulted in a tripping penalty on Tyler Bozak in the first period.

Bozak, normally mild-mannered, didn't take too kindly to going hard into the side boards and was aided by teammate Klim Kostin and others that congregated in the scrum.

"I can’t speak for him," Bozak said Friday. "I don’t know if there was any intent there, but obviously it’s a dangerous play, which I’ve seen actually a few times this year in the league and I don’t know why. It’s been starting to happen.

"Obviously, I was upset. There should still be a respect level out there on the ice. Everybody plays hard. If it’s clean, it’s fine. When stuff like that happens, not saying he meant to or if there was intent, but you’ve seen that bad injuries can happen and guys can get hurt. So obviously I took offense to that."

Bozak has a history of concussions and he crashed pretty hard onto the ice.

"You hate to see plays like that that can result (in injuries)," Bozak said. "I was lucky, obviously, to be fine. But some other guys this year had the same sort of thing happen to them haven’t been so lucky. So we definitely don’t need things like that in the game.

"I don’t know if he meant to do it or not. It’s all good now. It’s over with. But it’s definitely a play that needs to not happen moving forward."

* Schenn practices -- Blues center Brayden Schenn, who missed his seventh game Thursday, practiced with the squad but looks like he'll miss an eighth game Saturday with an upper-body injury sustained Oct. 30 against Chicago.

Schenn took part in practice, skated and did some stick-handling and shooting but was not part of line rushes and when the team went to a 3-on-2 battle drill, he was at the other end putting himself through cardio and puck work.

Schenn, who has six points (three goals, three assists) in nine games, will return soon and someone will have to come out of the lineup, a decision Berube will at some point have to make barring any injuries/transactions between now and then.

"I think it's good that we have depth," Berube said. "We've got a lot of guys that can play big roles for us. I think you need that in an 82-game season and they are tough decisions sometimes, but that's part of my job and you've got to go with what's best for the team and you've got to understand this is what's best for the team. It's all about team. This whole hockey, the game, all sports, it's about team and if you get everybody buying into that, you can be really successful."

Just reading between the tea leaves, Berube had a longer than usual chat as practice was about to start with Kostin, and for a younger player, it is a coach usually talking about things either that they like and to continue down that path or what they're looking for more of.
Kostin has two goals and two assists in 15 games this season.

"No, not so much. It's about playing a role like he's playing like Bozak," Berube said of Kostin. "It's about managing things and making sure that you do the right things every shift with the puck, putting it in deep and going to work, creating energy for the team. I was talking to him about puck protection in the offensive zone, being strong on it, keeping pucks and hanging onto it because he's a big guy and he can do that and just about maybe taking pucks to the net more and getting himself to the net. Just disrupt the other team a little bit more, make the other team notice them and make it uncomfortable for the other team."

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