All signs point to Vince Dunn being out of the lineup Thursday against Calgary, and as might be expected, the second-year defenseman isn’t happy about it.
At the end of Wednesday’s practice at Enterprise Center, coach Mike Yeo had a lengthy conversation with Dunn on the ice — perhaps 10 minutes.
In the dressing room afterward, Dunn was visibly upset. When asked if he had been benched for the Calgary came, he issued a terse “No comment.”
During all three practice days this week newcomer Jakub Jerabek replaced Dunn on the Blues’ third defensive pairing with Robert Bortuzzo.
On Wednesday, Colton Parayko took Dunn’s spot on the first power play unit.
All evidence to the contrary, Yeo stopped short of saying Dunn won’t play against Calgary during his post-practice media session.
“Potentially,” Yeo said. “We’ll see. We haven’t decided on our defensemen yet. But I talked to ‘Jerry’ (Jerabek), to see how he felt after practice today. (We will) make a decision on that.”
When asked a follow-up question on Dunn, Yeo replied: “You still want to keep going on that, eh? Why don’t we wait until tomorrow? We’ll see what happens.”
There have been whispers during training camp and the preseason that the coaching staff wasn’t happy with Dunn’s play. In the preseason finale against Washington, a turnover by Dunn deep in the St. Louis zone led to a goal by Alex Ovechkin.
In Saturday’s 5-4 overtime loss to Chicago, Dunn had a shot blocked that led to a Blackhawks breakaway and the game-winning goal by Jonathan Toews. After the game, Yeo wasn’t overly critical of Dunn, noting that there were several other costly miscues by the team.
In the season opener against Winnipeg, Dunn scored the Blues’ only goal.
Jerabek was acquired Oct. 1 in a trade with Edmonton but didn’t begin practicing with the team until this Monday as his visa situation got sorted out. Yeo and the Blues are eager to see him in a game.
“I think we gotta get him into a game right now,” Yeo said.
Jerabek played with Montreal and Washington last season, and Yeo said parts of their systems are similar to what the Blues do defensively. “So I think that will be beneficial for him,” Yeo said.
EDMUNDSON A GO
After missing the first two games of the regular season with a groin injury, defenseman Joel Edmundson is scheduled to make his season debut against Calgary.
“If I feel good after the morning skate tomorrow, I’ll be in the lineup,” Edmundson said Wednesday. “The past few days I haven’t held back at all, and it felt fine. So I don’t see why I won’t be in the lineup. It’s gonna be nice to get back out there with the guys.”
Edmundson suffered the injury during a preseason game Sept. 28 against Dallas, and until Monday hadn’t even practiced, much less played a game. So to say he’s eager would be understatement.
“Absolutely,” he said. “It’s been long enough. It feels like forever since I played the last game.”
READY FOR A GAME
Edmundson isn’t the only one eager to play. Just two games into the regular season, the Blues have just completed four days without one, an unusual scheduling quirk early in the season.
“We were laughing in the locker room — not laughing — but we feel like we coulda used this maybe (last) January, February — four, five days off,” center Brayden Schenn said. “Obviously two games, two results that we weren’t looking for. So now’s the time to get out there and have a solid weekend, play some games and stop practicing.”
Thursday’s home game with Calgary begins a stretch of three games in four days, and five games in 10 days, for the Blues.
“That’s kind of what we’ve all been waiting for here,” Schenn said. “You usually don’t get four or five days off after your two first games of the season. But here we are. We’re rested, we’re ready, and we’re looking forward to the weekend.”