Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Another wave of bad news washes over befuddled Blues

Another wave of bad news washes over befuddled Blues

Kings Blues Hockey

St. Louis Blues' Alex Pietrangelo looks down during a break in the action late in the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings Monday, Nov. 19, 2018, in St. Louis. The Kings won 2-0.(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

With a major uphill climb staring them in the face if this season is to be saved, the Blues saw the path get steeper and the terrain get swampier.

The Blues managed one win in three games on their just-completed trip, then went 0 for three in the medical ward upon their return, announcing Monday that defenseman Alex Pietrangelo would be out until at least Christmas with a hand injury, forward Robby Fabbri would be out until at least Christmas with a separated shoulder and forward Alexander Steen would be day to day with a concussion, which is coming on the heels of missing six games with an upper body injury that may well have been a concussion.

Add in the still injured Jaden Schwartz and Carl Gunnarsson, both with upper-body injuries, and the Blues are down five regulars, including three of their top nine forwards and two defensemen who made up their top pairing for a brief period that was one of the team’s few successful stretches this season.

Although the case could be made that even when those players were all healthy the team was having a tough time winning — and there were only six games all season in which all five were on the ice, with the team going 3-3 — only the firmest believer in addition by subtraction can look at Monday’s developments and think it somehow helps.

But those are the straws the Blues have to clutch at now, the hope that through this ordeal they somehow come out with the resolve that’s been missing so far. Who knows? This season already hasn’t played out the way anyone expected.

“It’s one of those things where you’ve got to realize that it’s time to step up for everybody,” said defenseman Colton Parayko, who is likely to see his ice time, already second on the team to Pietrangelo, go up even more. “It’s something that someone else has got to jump into different roles, maybe take on a different role and just bring something different each and every night and be prepared. Obviously at this point, we know where we’re at and we want to continue to get better and we want to climb the standings and that’s going to take a lot of commitment from everybody. Everyone’s got to play together and it’s not just going to happen in one game. It’s going to be a step up for everybody.”

“The team has to play well,” interim coach Craig Berube said. “When you have injuries, it’s very important that we stick together as a team and play well as a team.”

To the rescue, at least in some way the Blues hope, come three players from San Antonio: forward Jordan Kyrou, who played nine games with the Blues at the start of the season and had one assist; forward Jordan Nolan, a seven-year NHL veteran whom Berube described as a hard, physical fourth-line winger; and veteran defenseman Chris Butler, who showed well in two games with the Blues at the start of the season. While all three have put up good numbers in the AHL — Kyrou has five goals in his past five games and Nolan has seven goals and six assists in his past 11 — translating that to the NHL will be the big challenge.

Pietrangelo and Fabbri, who were both placed on injured reserve, will each miss at least nine more games, and Armstrong said Pietrangelo was still exploring whether surgery would be needed and that it was likely. Armstrong said Gunnarsson and Schwartz were making progress and getting closer, but Berube said neither would practice with the team Tuesday, which would seem to rule them out for the game Wednesday with Edmonton. Gunnarsson was also placed on IR, but it was retroactive to when he got hurt and he can come off at any time.

The biggest loss, of course, is Pietrangelo, who leads the Blues in ice time — overall, even strength and killing penalties — and who also logs significant power-play time. The Blues will have to refigure pretty much every part of their game with him out.

“He’s a huge loss,” Berube said. “Logs a lot of minutes, plays in a lot of situations, captain of your team. It’s tough, but there are other players who are going to get an opportunities here, and they have to step up. We all have to play well.”

Fabbri, meanwhile, continues to have the fates laugh at him. After a grueling recovery from two knee operations, he hurt his shoulder throwing a check at the very end of the first period against Arizona, skating to the bench cradling his right arm. He has played in just 15 of the past 137 games for the Blues. If he’s on schedule, he’ll be back not long before his 23rd birthday and having seen a career’s worth of misfortune.

“It’s tough,” Berube said. “He’s had a tough run here. We do feel for him.”

Fabbri missed the first 10 games of the season as his body was sore from getting back into game shape after his extended absence. He was also battling to get his scoring back into shape. In his 15 games this season, he had just two goals and two assists.

“He had good jump,” Berube said. “He had a lot of scoring opportunities. They just didn’t go in. He had a lot of good looks.”

So while the Blues have searched one set of answers to their befuddling season, now they find the equation has changed.

“It’s tough to swallow, no question,” goalie Jake Allen said. “You sit there, ‘What did we do wrong? Do we deserve some of this?’ For a guy like Fabs, who’s worked so hard to get back in the lineup, doing everything he possibly can, he just can’t catch a break.

“We’ve got to move on, we’ve got to keep playing and fill the big holes they leave in our lineup.”

10 sports execs who flopped

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.



Blues News

Breaking News

Cardinals News

Daily 6

National Breaking News