Defenseman Torey Krug will be out for at least a week and maybe longer after sustaining a hand and wrist injury in Washington on Tuesday.
The Blues say Krug has struggled with an upper-body injury week in and week out. Krug was smacked in the left hand by Washington’s Nick Jensen at the end of a second-half power play. Krug finished his shift with just his right hand on the racquet, dropped the puck for a teammate, and then went straight to the bench and into the locker room. He didn’t come back.
“It’s really tough,” said blues coach Craig Berube. “Valuable player for us. It is what it is, but it sure is a heavy loss. … It didn’t look like much, but obviously it is.”
“A big part of our defense,” said defenseman Colton Parayko. “I guess what we’ve been doing all year is next man. We end up having a lot of games here, so there’s going to be a lot of maintenance and stuff like that for us. But it’s hard to lose Kruger, the kind of player who brings a lot of value to our team and is hard to see.”
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The close takeover of veteran defender Nick Leddy looks even bigger now in Krug’s absence. Leddy moved into Krug’s place as quarterback for Thursday’s first power play session.
“Sure,” said Berube. “He’s an experienced guy who’s been around and played a lot of situations so I think he’ll be able to do the job. He’s played a lot of power play in his career so we’ll see how it goes. We may need to mix and match here. We’ll see how it works with the PP.”
With the team down to six healthy defensemen, Calle Rosen was called up from Springfield Thursday night, the fourth time Rosen has been called up this season. Tyler Bozak was placed on injured reserve.
In the tunnel ahead of Tuesday’s game in Washington, cameras caught Blues forward Alexei Toropchenko leaning forward and kissing forward Nathan Walker on the helmet. The two spent much of the season as teammates in the AHL at Springfield.
“I think just a little handshake thing that we have going on,” Walker said. “We’ve been doing this all year, so it was only fitting that we had it rolled out up here.”
It’s also made possible by the fact that Toropchenko is almost a foot taller than Walker. Torpchenko is listed at 6-6, Walker at 5-9.
“Maybe that’s why,” Walker said. “I think he’s kind of watching over me, so that’s the only thing you can do. I don’t have to do much.”
Yeo is back
Mike Yeo was the interim coach behind the bench for the Flyers on Thursday. The blues team he saw on the other side looks less and less like the one he coached. After that, Oskar Sundqvist was traded to Detroit for Nick Leddy. The Blues only have 10 players left who were active in the Stanley Cup the year Yeo was fired (plus Jordan Kyrou and Mackenzie MacEachern, who were in that season but didn’t play in the Finals), but they always are still close to the top of the Western Conference rankings.
“I think a lot of the core is still the same,” Yeo said. “Oskar was obviously a very big part of it, he played very well against us in Detroit (on Wednesday). Really heavy body and just a guy that fits the way they play the game to the point that it’s hard to play against. A lot of the parts are still there and one thing (Doug Armstrong) is that he has a pretty good sense of the identity that he wants to have with this hockey team and there will always be moving parts but mostly the game is like that look very similar when new bodies come in so obviously still a real real solid hockey team over there. The amount of skill they have, the way they can create, but they also have size, they have weight.