Blues coach Craig Berube said it would be a big step forward if injured defenseman Vince Dunn would be on the ice Friday for the team’s one big practice in St. Louis before leaving for Boston. But Dunn didn’t take part in Friday’s session, casting further doubt on how soon he could return to the lineup.
“He just stayed off and did off-ice (work) today,” Berube said. “We’ll see how he is tomorrow and go from there. That’s all.”
Dunn has been out since taking a puck to the face in the first period of Game 3 against San Jose. He is believed to be out with concussion symptoms, though the team is saying he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
Dunn and Robert Thomas are the only players who weren’t on the ice Friday for the team’s first practice since winning the Western Conference final. Thomas hasn’t practiced in a couple weeks for what has routinely been labeled maintenance. He hasn’t missed a game. He went on to the ice at the end of Friday’s practice, skating on his own after the contact sessions in practice had ended.
“He’s fine,” Berube said. “Again, just rest. He skated at the end there on his own. But he’s good to go. … This time of year there’s always something.”
BACK TO WORK
The Blues took Wednesday off and did only off-ice work on Thursday, but Friday, it was back to work, with a session that went long enough that it required a dry scrape of the ice halfway through.
“They had a couple days off the ice so we had to get out and get moving again,” Berube said. “A lot of it with the puck, get the puck moving again and touching it and get your feet moving again and ramping it up a little bit. I thought practice got better as it went along. It was slow early. It picked up at the end and we finished off with some grinding down low stuff which is always good. I thought it was good overall.”
The Blues will have an optional skate on Saturday at Enterprise Center before flying to Boston. That’s one day earlier than they normally would head to a road destination, but the league has a media day on Sunday in Boston, so the Blues have to come in a day early.
Berube said he’s spent a lot of time on logistics the past couple of days and it was nice to get back to hockey, though there will be a lot of off-ice stuff still to come.
“There’s a lot of stuff going on there,” Berube said. “But it’s good that we get to Boston and we get a skate in in Boston at their rink before all that, which will be good.”
Berube said he hadn’t given his players any guidance on watching what they say when they hit Boston on Sunday.
“You could tell them all you want, but they still might say something,” he said. “They’re good, though. I think they do a good job, our players.”
The rack on which the Blues display a puck for each win had a slight modification on Friday. A blue, one-puck “pocket” has been added at the top, above the words “St. Louis Blues.” The rack has room for 60 pucks on its shelves, and the Blues currently have 57 wins, meaning they wouldn’t have a place to put a potential championship winning puck. …
The officiating pool for the finals will be Gord Dwyer, Steve Kozari, Wes McCauley, Chris Rooney and Kelly Sutherland. None of the four referees or linesmen from the Hand Pass Game in Game 3 of the Western final advanced to the final round. McCauley left Game 6 of the Western final with an injury in the first period. Kozari and Sutherland worked Game 5 of the San Jose series and Dwyer and Rooney worked Game 4. ...
The Blues and Bruins have identical scorelines by period in the postseason: 16-16-24-1, from first through overtime. The Blues did it in 19 games, the Bruins in 17 games. … The Blues and the Bruins are the two least-penalized teams in the playoffs this season. The Blues are averaging 6.18 penalty minutes per game. The Bruins are averaging 6.21. …
Blues defenseman Niko Mikkola, who spent the season in San Antonio, scored for Finland in their 5-4 win over Sweden in the world championships in Slovakia. Finland plays Russia in a semifinal on Saturday, with Canada and the Czech Republic playing in the other. The championship game is Sunday. Mikkola has two goals and three assists in the tournament.