You could run down the list of injuries the St. Louis Blues were forced to miss time in 2015-16 due to injury, or you could simply read a list of players to suit up for the squad this past season. The lists, as it turns out, are almost identical.
In fact, the injuries were so bad during the past campaign that it took until the opening game of the playoffs, Game 83 of the season, before St. Louis was finally was able to ice its “optimal roster,” meaning a team free of any injury replacements. And though things turned out quite all right for the Blues, who earned their way to the Western Conference final, the hope was that this season would be a healthier one for all involved.
With that in mind, it’s easy to understand why the players and coaching staff have been holding their breath whenever someone is forced to leave the ice in training camp or pre-season action, but it already appears the Blues are catching more breaks when it comes to potential injuries already.
During practice Thursday, winger Jaden Schwartz, who missed 49 games in 2015-16 with a fractured ankle, left the ice early and was later said to have suffered an upper-body injury. The ailment appeared to be to do with his wrist, but the Blues could breathe easier when coach Ken Hitchcock announced that Schwartz won’t be forced to miss any meaningful action.
“He’ll need a couple days off,” Hitchcock said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford. “He’s not going to skate this weekend in any of the games, but we’ll be ready to go next week with him. It’s training camp, it happens, it’s just part of what goes on. You hope it’s not serious and it’s not serious. That’s a good sign.”
Schwartz, 24, has become one of the Blues’ go-to scorers over the past few seasons, and though St. Louis remained successful during his absence in 2015-16, his presence on the ice was sorely missed. Schwartz had scored 53 goals in 155 games over the first two full campaigns of his career, and there was hope that he’d chase the 30-goal mark this past season. He’ll have his shot at doing so in 2016-17, though, especially as he looks set to take on a first-line role in St. Louis.
But Schwartz isn’t the only injury the Blues are dealing with as 20-year-old Robby Fabbri has also been sidelined since the start of the week with an unspecified upper-body injury. Like Schwartz, though, there’s good news to report in that Fabbri’s injury isn’t one the Blues are considering serious.
According to Hitchcock, Fabbri will be out through the weekend and will continue to be monitored, but he has been on the ice skating. Fabbri missed 10 games this past season — six with a concussion, four with a lower-body injury — but the hope is he can remain healthy this season and take a shot at winning a consistent top-six role as a sophomore scorer for the Blues.
UPDATE: Maybe there's some bad news for the Blues after all. St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong announced Friday that Schwartz will be forced to miss four weeks with a left elbow injury. The timeline for recovery means Schwartz will have to miss the opening two weeks of the regular season, and could be on the shelf for at least seven meaningful games, if not more.
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