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Hoffman scratched from Blues season opener because of work visa issues

Hoffman scratched from Blues season opener because of work visa issues

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Blues Avalanche Hockey

St. Louis Blues center Jordan Kyrou, left, looks to pass the puck as Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar reaches for it during the first period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER — The new season arrived with a surprise for the Blues. A big surprise. The Blues skated out for pregame warmups at Ball Center without newly signed forward Mike Hoffman.

The Blues announced that Hoffman was not eligible to play because his work visa has yet to be approved. Hoffman is a native of Kitchener, Ontario.

He is expected to be eligible for Friday’s game here in Denver against the Avalanche, according to the team.

Hoffman signed a one-year, $4 million free-agent deal with the Blues on Monday after spending training camp with the Blues on a PTO (professional tryout contract).

The sharp-shooting winger is expected to provide scoring help, particularly in the absence of Vladimir Tarasenko, who was placed on the long-term injured reserve list Wednesday morning as he continues his rehab from offseason shoulder surgery.

Sammy Blais replaced Hoffman in the lineup. These were the Blues’ revamped lines in Hoffman’s absence:

Schenn-O’Reilly-Perron

Schwartz-Thomas-Sundqvist

Sanford-Bozak-Kyrou

Clifford-Barbasshev-Blais

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