Will we see Niko Mikkola tonight?
Niko Mikkola hasn’t played since November 4th. It’s not entirely due to his on-ice acumen – he was out for ten days thanks to landing on the Covid-19 protocol list. Upon his return to active play, he missed out on returning to the lineup. Jake Walman’s ahead of him on the depth chart, and with the recall of Scott Perunovich – who looks like he belongs in the NHL after just a few games – both he and Walman have been knocked a peg down the depth chart.
Don’t take that as a dig on Mikkola. Craig Berube certainly doesn’t seem to mean it that way:
“He played a couple solid games and got COVID, (so it’s) unfortunate,” Berube said. “We’ve been wanting to get him back in there. Big body, aggressive, difficult to play against… He played a couple good games before COVID hit him. Hopefully he can feed off that and get going again.”
A coach doesn’t say that about someone they don’t want to get out on the ice. With Bortuzzo sitting tonight, it’s a perfect chance to get Mikkola back in there.
Here are tonight’s lines, from stlblues.com.
Kyrou – O’Reilly – Perron
Buchnevich – Thomas – Tarasenko
Saad – Sundqvist – Barbashev
Kostin – Bozak – Neal
Krug – Parayko
Perunovich – Faulk
Mikkola – Scandella