Reinforcements are coming.
The hardest thing about judging the Blues’ performance this season is that they haven’t been the full shebang all season long. Tyler Bozak has been out since January 26th due to a high, and possibly illegal, check to the head by Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone. That’s 21 games without the team’s third line center and veteran locker room presence. That’s less than ideal.
Jaden Schwartz, on the other hand, has missed only (?) 14 games, out since a February 12th lower body injury against the Coyotes sidelined him. In a shortened season, 14 and 21 games is a lifetime. The Blues have performed pretty well all things considered. As their IR list grew, they’ve generally been able to keep pace with the division, but haven’t performed at the level that fans expected them to.
In an interview after Monday’s practice in LA, during which both Bozak and Schwartz skated, coach Craig Berube had some good news. Bozak is go for Wednesday, and Schwartz is a maybe:
“Bozak skated today and he looks like he’s a go,” Berube said Monday afternoon.
A “go” for Wednesday?
“Yeah,” Berube replied. “I would say so, yes.”
“Schwartz is making great progress,” Berube said. “I’ll know more tomorrow on him for Wednesday. But he practiced with us today. He was on a line, he looked good. So we’ll see.”
That’s more non-committal for Schwartz than Bozak, and rushing the process isn’t necessary. If Schwartz can’t go on Wednesday night, Friday night against the San Jose Sharks works just as well.
Robert Thomas and Jacob de la Rose aren’t as close to a return, but it sounds like they’re making good progress.