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St. Louis Blues pre-season starts

St. Louis Blues goaltender Colten Ellis, left, St. Louis Blues center Robert Thomas takes part in the Blues's first pre-season practice of the 2019-2020 season in the team's new training facility at the Centene Community Ice Center in Maryland Heights on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com

TORONTO • Robert Thomas was back practicing with the full team Wednesday, but isn’t ready to return to game action just yet.

“He’s not ready tomorrow yet,” coach Craig Berube said, referring to Thursday’s game in Ottawa against the Senators. “But he was better, so it was good news. And it’s good he’s out there and practicing.”

Following offseason wrist surgery, Thomas played in only one preseason game. (He was scheduled to play in the canceled preseason finale at Columbus.) He then played in the season opener against Washington, but hasn’t played since.

The team has described his latest setback only as an upper-body injury. As to when Thomas might be ready for game action, Berube said: “It’s just about him feeling good. We want to make sure he’s 100 percent.”

Even though Thomas practiced with the full team, after skating on his own for several days, there were no line changes for the Blues on Wednesday. They practiced at the Ford Performance Centre, the practice complex of the Toronto Maple Leafs, before flying out to Ottawa on Wednesday afternoon.

BACK TO WORK

The Blues didn’t practice Sunday before leaving for Toronto. And they didn’t practice Tuesday, when they visited the Hockey Hall of Fame Archives and took part in a Stanley Cup ring ceremony at the actual Hockey Hall of Fame.

So Wednesday marked the team’s first full-scale practice, excluding morning skates, since last Friday.

“It felt like a little bit of time off to be honest with you,” Berube said. “Being on the road and stuff. But guys worked hard today. It wasn’t clean-clean, but they worked hard.”