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St. Louis Blues v Dallas Stars Game 3

St. Louis Blues right wing Troy Brouwer (left) reacts after assisting on a goal by left wing Alexander Steen (second from right) in the first period during Game 3 of a Western Conference semifinal playoff game between the St. Louis Blues and the Dallas Stars on Tuesday, May 3, 2016, at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Photo by Chris Lee, clee@post-dispatch.com

In the time between the Florida Panthers letting him go in training camp and the time the Blues invited him for a tryout, Troy Brouwer was skating with a junior team, the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League, so he would be in shape as he made one more run at the NHL. Hockey aside, he learned something there.

“It made me realize that a lot of the things that I thought were problems when I was 17 and 18 aren’t really that big a deal,” he said Thursday.

Brouwer’s biggest issue at the moment, whether he could still play in the NHL, was put to rest on Wednesday when the Blues signed him to a one-year contract. Down three forwards at the moment to injury, the Blues were looking for a veteran presence before giving their youngsters in the AHL a chance. Brouwer was expecting to play Thursday night against Calgary, the team that bought him out of the last two years of a four-year contract in the summer of 2018, but his work visa hasn’t come through yet. How long that might take is uncertain.

“I’ve had visas that have taken a few days, I’ve had ones that have taken a little while,” he said. “It depends on how much emphasis they put on the process at the customs office. … The guys met Trump a couple months (ago) and I bet they can ask him (for help).”

Getting a tryout with the Blues was one thing, getting a job was another. Thursday was to be the final day of his 10-day tryout, and as the deadline approached, Brouwer was getting nervous.

“I had a talk with (Doug Armstrong) after the game on Tuesday,” Brouwer said, “and he wanted me to stick around so we could have some further talks and he needed to talk with the coaches as well. For me, that night and Wednesday were a little nerve-wracking, not quite sure what the future’s going to hold in the next couple days and I’m thankful it played out the way it did.”

With Vladimir Tarasenko likely out for the rest of the regular season, Sammy Blais out 10 weeks and Alexander Steen out two more weeks, there should be playing time for Brouwer in the near term. How it fits together when those players come back is another matter. Brouwer has a two-way contract, but potentially playing in the AHL is not something he wants to think about.

“We’ll cross that path when it comes,” he said. “Hopefully I can play myself into a regular in the lineup and we don’t have to worry about that. As for right now, I’m here to make sure I’m helping out with the holes they do have in the lineup and try to work myself into being a regular every night.”

No Blais

Blais played some of the second period and all of the third period with the wrist injury that will keep him out 10 weeks.

“That kind of an injury, it’s a tough injury,” coach Craig Berube said. “It takes a lot of time to heal. You can’t play with it, though. He came back with it. It was obviously bugging him.”

On the play where Blais was hurt, he had his right wrist bend back when he was hit into the boards. He took off his glove right away and while the cut on his head was being addressed, Blais was opening and closing his right hand as he knelt on the ice.

“He’s playing well this year, especially with the puck,” Berube said. “He does a lot of things with it individually, beats people one-on-one, creates scoring chances on his own, physical player. He was a good player for us. … We’re not going to replace him. Somebody else is going to come in and play. That’s how we’ve been doing things, same as the other injuries. We’ve got other guys that are going to get a chance.”


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