Thursday, May 5, 2022

Santini recalled, could make season debut in Game 3

Defenseman called up under emergency conditions with status of Leddy, 
Scandella, Bortuzzo unknown with series shifting to St. Louis

ST. LOUIS -- The Blues are back dipping into their American Hockey League pool of recalls among their defenseman when they called up Steven Santini from Springfield under emergency conditions on Thursday.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
With three defensemen down at the moment, a bigger responsibility could
be played in front of Blues defenseman Colton Parayko (right).

With the Blues down three defenseman at the moment, including Marco Scandella (lower-body injury), Nick Leddy (undisclosed but believed to be upper-body) and Robert Bortuzzo, who took that puck off the side of the head/ear off the stick of Joel Eriksson Ek in the first period of Game 2 Wednesday, could miss Game 3 on Friday and thrust Santini into the lineup with the series tied 1-1.

The 27-year-old has appeared in 119 NHL regular-season games and played for the Blues in two of their four games in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs last year against the Colorado Avalanche.

When asked if there's a chance Santini could make his season debut in Game 3 on Friday (8:30 p.m.; BSMW, TNT, ESPN 101.1-FM), Berube said, "There's a chance. We've got to see how guys are. Day to day to rest and see how they feel tomorrow. Then we'll go from there, but we need to make sure. We've got to get a guy in just to be ready.

"... He's not going to wow you with the puck play or anything like that, but he's going to make simple plays and he's going to play hard and he's going to battle at the net and do things like that. He's going to try and make it difficult for the other team."

Scandella, who has missed the past three games since the knee-on-knee collision with Avalanche's Nico Sturm, a former Wild forward by coincidence, skated again today along with Scott Perunovich.

"He's been skating," Berube said. "I think it's more just trying to keep him going here as best as we can. If he feels like he comes in and is skating and he feels better, you never know. I think it's just trying to keep him going."

None of the others skated. It was more of a rest day.

"I haven't seen everybody," Berube said. "I really don't have an answer for you there."
Santini has dressed in 66 games for the Thunderbirds this season and has 18 points (two goals, 16 assists); he has 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) in the NHL.

"He's obviously a real good leader down there," Berube said of Santini. "He gives you everything he has every shift. There's no doubt about that. He's a difficult guy to play against, he's physical and just simple with the puck. That's his game."

Berube did mention earlier in the week that Perunovich could be available "sooner than you think," which was a bit surprising considering the left-handed d-man is coming off left wrist surgery. He's skated in full since the playoffs have started.

"I think he's making progress," Berube said. "He's skating and he's doing more with his wrist. He's getting better and better. A timeline on it, that's tough for me to give you a timeline because it boils down to when he starts doing the puck battling and the battling and things like that, that's what's really going to test it."
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Blues defenseman Calle Rosen made his NHL playoff debut in Game 2
against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday.

Berube hinted at some good news regarding Bortuzzo, who could have come away from his injury a whole lot worse.

"Yeah, that's a tough play, real tough play," Berube said. "Glad he came out of it alright. Not too hurt, you know what I mean. That could have been dangerous. That was fortunate.

"He lays it on the line all the time, right? No matter what. When there's a broken play like that, that's what he does. He goes down and tries to block things and help out the best he can. It's a tough play."

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