Blues Game Day: Kyrou status uncertain for Edmonton | St. Louis Blues
EDMONTON — After missing Wednesday’s game in Vancouver due to illness, Blues leading scorer Jordan Kyrou skated for the second straight day here in Edmonton on Friday.
But coach Craig Berube didn’t seem too optimistic about Kyrou’s availability for Friday’s 8 p.m. (Central) game against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place.
“We’ll see after the skating here,” Berube said.
Bérubé never participates in the morning skates – they are led by his assistants – and Kyrou was participating in the skates when Bérubé met the media. As for Kyrou’s appearance on Thursday during the team’s full practice, Berube said, “Not very good, but not bad. Just okay.
Only five players took part in Friday morning training: goalkeepers Jordan Binnington and Ville Husso, forwards Kyrou and Ivan Barbashev and defender Niko Mikkola.
It was the lightest attendance for a morning practice this season, but with 16 games in 29 days remaining to wrap up the regular season in April, resting and keeping your legs cool is of added importance.
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Kyrou was still skating 45 minutes into the morning skate – it was just him and Husso by then. So with all that time on the ice, it seems doubtful he’ll be in the lineup tonight.
Kyrou missed Wednesday’s game against Vancouver, becoming the fifth Blues player since the All-Star break to miss a game due to illness.
Berube said defenseman Calle Rosen, recalled from the Springfield Thunderbirds on March 25, will play his third straight game tonight. He liked what he saw of Rosen in Vancouver on Wednesday.
“I think he played a really good game,” Berube said. “Moved the puck well. Closed plays pretty well. He has really good feet. And again, he holds his head up high (when) making plays.
Berube said Rosen will be paired with Robert Bortuzzo again, meaning Mikkola will be a healthy scratch for the second game in a row.
And for the purpose
Binnington was the first goalie off the ice on Friday, which means he’ll get the start against Edmonton. Husso had started six of the Blues’ previous seven games, including both wins over Vancouver earlier this week, and is expected to start Saturday in Calgary.
Binnington’s last start came on March 24 against Philadelphia, a 5-2 loss to the Blues in which he stopped 22 of 26 shots. (Philadelphia’s fifth goal was an empty net.)
Veteran Mike Smith gets the start in front of goal for Edmonton. Smith, 40, is 7-9-2 with a 3.41 goals-against average and .896 save percentage.
Smith faced the Blues on Dec. 29 in St. Louis, losing 4-2. He hasn’t had much success against the Blues in his career, going 5-18-0 with a 3.55 GAA and .882 save percentage.
Bring on the Oilers
There’s nothing deep or complicated about playing Edmonton. It’s about trying to keep the lid on superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
“They obviously have two of the best players in the world that you have to pay attention to,” Berube said. “It takes all five guys on the ice to get the job done. That’ll be a good part of it.
“They are great players. They also play a good team game. They are quite balanced. But these two guys – one has 100 points, the other has 97. So we really have to pay attention to them.
Meanwhile, Edmonton coach Jay Woodcroft spoke about the challenge of managing St. Louis depth during his afternoon media session.
“They’re not that far from winning the Stanley Cup,” Woodcroft said. “A lot of their key people have been involved in this run. They do a good forecheck, they transition well between pucks, they burst well.
“They do a lot of things very well, so we will need all 20 people in our squad to make sure they are focused and ready to perform immediately.”
old river otter
Woodcroft, 45, who replaced Dave Tippett as Edmonton head coach on Feb. 10, previously played for the Missouri River Otters in St. Charles.
“We had a few NHL players, guys who had played in the NHL – Lonnie Loach, Darin Kimble,” Woodcroft said. “It was a good experience for me, and a lot of really nice people in this area. It’s a great place to live and an underrated hockey community.
Woodcroft scored seven goals and 12 assists in the 2000-01 season as a center, his only year with the minor league River Otters. One of his teammates, Colin Chaulk, is now head coach of the Bakersfield Condors, Edmonton’s affiliate of the American Hockey League.
Another teammate that season was Kevin Plager, son of the late Blues great Barclay Plager.
“He lived up to the family name,” Woodcroft said of Kevin Plager. “He was all sandpaper and he played the tough game. He was a great human being. He was a very good teammate. »
Friends for life
Colton Parayko’s foster family and his junior hockey coach made the five-hour drive from Fort MacMurray, Alta., to see Parayko on Friday and watch tonight’s game.
The Fitzpatricks – Barbara, Jamie and Joshua – were her foster family. Peter Spiers was his trainer. There was also a friend, Hillary Regular.
Although Parayko didn’t participate in the Blues’ morning practice, he came to see the group during practice and posed for pictures. Then he brought 12-year-old Joshua back into the Blues dressing room. Joshua, who has cerebral palsy, was 2 years old when Parayko stayed with his family. Parayko helped teach him to walk back then, and Joshua skates now.
In the summer of 2019, Parayko invited the Fitzpatrick family to his hometown of St. Albert (outside Edmonton) for his Stanley Cup day.
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