DETROIT – For the first time since Nov. 4, when he aggravated an upper-body injury in San Jose, Brayden Schenn is back in the lineup for the Blues tonight against the Detroit Red Wings.
“It’s really good to see him back,” coach Craig Berube said following the team’s morning skate at Little Caesars Arena. “He pushed even last game (to play), but we held him out. He’s good to go. He’s a very good player for us. Two-way player. We know that. He can provide offense for us, but he plays a hard game, does a lot of things for us.”
Schenn, one of the team’s alternate captains, missed nine games with what was believed to be a hand/wrist injury. The Blues went 3-5-1 in those contests.
“He’s obviously an important player for us,” forward David Perron said. “I think he brings a lot of that physicality as well that we definitely need to have every single night. That’s great to have. He’s another guy that can score a lot of goals for us, too. We’re pretty deep right now. You can tell, even our lines with him back.”
Schenn centered a line during the morning skate that included Brandon Saad on left wing and Jordan Kyrou on the right. Schenn also practiced on the second power-play unit with Scott Perunovich, Kyrou, Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich.
“I’ve said time and time again, he’s an emotional leader for us,” defenseman Torey Krug said. “We miss his physicality, his scoring touch. He does everything for us, so he’s a jack of all trades. To have him back in the lineup, it’s a big step for our group and for our consistency down the middle. Our team got better today, by putting him in the lineup.”
So for the first time this season, the Blues have their full roster available. Kind of.
Veteran forward James Neal came out for the start of Wednesday’s morning skate, and then left after tweaking something.
“More maintenance, but he kind of aggravated himself a little, so I told him to just get off (the ice),” Berube said.
How long has it been since the Blues last played Detroit?
Well, Robby Fabbri was still a member of the Blues. It was Oct. 27, 2019 at Little Caesars – a 5-4 overtime win for St. Louis. Fabbri played 11 minutes 14 seconds in that contest. Ten days later, he was traded to the Red Wings in exchange for Jacob de la Rose.
A March 31 contest that same season, scheduled to be played in St. Louis, was one of 11 regular-season Blues games canceled due to COVID. And last season, of course, the Blues played the same seven opponents in a reconfigured West Division. So believe it or not, this marks the first time Fabbri is playing the Blues since the trade.
“It’s definitely going to be different,” said Fabbri, who had dinner with a bunch of his former teammates Tuesday in Detroit. “Long overdue. ... They’ve changed quite a bit, but there’s still a good group there that I was with.”
The years are rolling by, but the memories of that 2018-19 season live on, Fabbri told Detroit reporters Tuesday.
“That’s not something you’ll ever forget,” Fabbri said. “That’s something that we’ll share together as a team, and as a group that was there when we won.”
Still only 25 years old, Fabbri has three goals and five assists this season for the Red Wings.
“He’s doing well,” Perron said. “I think he enjoys it here. It’s a big season for him. I think he’s finally past those injuries that he had with us, he can look to build his game from there. It was good to see him (Tuesday) night when some of us had dinner with him.”
Fabbri is scheduled for unrestricted free agency after this season.
Little Caesars Arena is about 25 minutes from Krug’s childhood home in suburban Livonia, Mich. Naturally, he grew up a Red Wings fan.
“The teams I grew up watching were great,” he said. “Obviously a few Stanley Cups sprinkled in there. A lot of talented hockey players, Hall of Famers. So it was very easy to be a Red Wings fan, and (I) always enjoy coming back here.”
Krug had time for an early Thanksgiving dinner with his family Tuesday — turkey and all the fixings.
“First time in a long time,” he said. “So got to see my nieces and nephews, my brothers and parents. It was great. ... Nice to get Mom’s cooking again.”
Husso in goal
Ville Husso is scheduled to start his third game of the season tonight. He has allowed only one goal on 61 shots this season. Jordan Binnington worked late with extras Robert Bortuzzo and Jake Walman following the morning skate.
With a back-to-back this weekend — Friday at Chicago, Saturday home against Columbus — Husso figures to get one of those starts, as well.
Blues projected lineup
Former Blue Kyle Clifford has been recalled by the Toronto Maple Leafs from the Toronto Marlies of the AHL. Clifford had played in two games for the Marlies since his Nov. 16 trade by the Blues for future considerations.
• After registering double figures in blocked shots in eight of their first 12 games, the Blues have not had more than eight blocked shots in any of their next six contests. They had only six blocks Monday against Vegas.
• The Blues have scored a power-play goal in seven of their past eight games.