Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bluenotes: Blues Set to Open Exhibition Slate Twice, in Different Locations

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bluenotes: Blues Set to Open Exhibition Slate Twice, in Different Locations

Article excerpt

The Blues start their exhibition schedule with two games Tuesday night, one against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Ohio and the other against the Blue Jackets at Scottrade Center.

The split-squad contests put 40 of the 58 players in camp on the ice somewhere. And with only a few exceptions, the players sitting out are very low on the depth chart.

Defenseman Robert Bortuzzo got Monday off and will not play Tuesday to get back to 100 percent, and forward Ryan Reaves, who has been out because of a minor injury and is in a similar situation, is expected back by the end of the week.

Forwards Alexander Steen, Paul Stastny, Vladimir Tarasenko, Robby Fabbri, Jaden Schwartz and David Backes are slated to play in St. Louis, where Brian Elliott will start in goal.

Tryout forwards Scott Gomez and Scottie Upshall will get their first looks in Columbus, where Jake Allen will start in goal. The game in Columbus has new faces in the lineup: Troy Brouwer, Kyle Brodziak and Magnus Paajarvi will play there. Vince Dunn, the Blues' top pick in the 2015 draft, also will be in Columbus.

The games come after four days of training camp for the Blues, enough for coach Ken Hitchcock to get some opinions on players.

"There's separation now," said Hitchcock, who will coach the team in St. Louis. "Some of the people that know they're competing for spots have moved ahead of the guys who came for a look-see. The next step is to evaluate in game-like situations against people you don't know or you're uncomfortable with, so that's our next evaluation. We know where the battle lines are drawn; now we get to see where everybody's at."

"I think we're all excited," said Schwartz. "We haven't played a game in a long time. Haven't gotten a hit or given a hit in a long time. So that will be good too. It should be fun."

With the split-squad game Tuesday, the Blues have five exhibition dates. …

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