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Blues' Upshall to make season debut vs. Flames

by Aaron Vickers

BLUES (1-1-0) at FLAMES (1-1-0)


CALGARY -- Forward Scottie Upshall will make his St. Louis Blues debut Tuesday against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Upshall will dress in place of injured Robby Fabbri, 19, who is out indefinitely after sustaining a concussion in the first period of a 3-2 loss against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.

"It's an exciting time of year," said Upshall, who had eight goals and 15 points in 63 games with the Florida Panthers last season. "It's been a long summer. I'm excited to get back in there and help this team do big things. It's a new team, new bunch of guys, new linemates. I'm hungry to get in there and poised for a big night. I feel this trip is a big trip for us to start the season and I just want to get in there and have some fun."

While the start of Fabbri's career has been halted, Upshall is trying to resurrect his.

The veteran of 553 games, Upshall attended training camp on a professional tryout and parlayed that into a one-year, two-way contract signed Oct. 5, two days prior to his 32nd birthday.

"You've got to be hungry," said Upshall, who was a healthy scratch in St. Louis' first two games. "There were a bunch of us in the position. You've got to sit back and realize that this game doesn't get easier and you can't take anything for granted. There's a lot of great players pushing for jobs. You always thought about that as a younger guy wanting to push older guys out. But once you become that older guy you're not going to let anyone kind of push you around."

Upshall beat out some of St. Louis' prospects to earn a contract.

"He's a veteran player that with him we don't miss a beat," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "When we decided to go this route and send the kids into the minors to play, this is exactly why, so when we can absorb some injuries like this. We can get back on the bus and get going right away."

The Blues are Upshall's sixth team in 13 seasons; he's also played with the Nashville Predators, Philadelphia Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets and Panthers.

"It's like a reset button," Upshall said. "You've got to look in the mirror, evaluate, and you go back to the drawing board, so to speak. For me, it was a time in my career where I didn't really know … the uncertainty of where I was going to be was embedded in your brain. This team is an unbelievable group of guys. The stuff they do on the ice on a daily basis is always impressing me. I know that there's something special here so it's nice to be part of that."

Upshall and the Blues will face Flames goaltender Jonas Hiller, who is making back-to-back starts after a 3-2 overtime win against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.

The Flames rotated primarily between Hiller and Karri Ramo last season, and also have goaltender Joni Ortio on the roster.

"Hiller, it's always about composure," Calgary coach Bob Hartley said. "He's always composed in there. He's always under control. He's a veteran. He knows what he has to do. He knows the situation we're in. It's the same situation as last year. It's nothing new for us."

Here are the projected lineups:


Alexander Steen - Paul Stastny - Vladimir Tarasenko

Dmitrij Jaskin - David Backes - Scottie Upshall

Jaden Schwartz - Jori Lehtera - Troy Brouwer

Steve Ott - Kyle Brodziak - Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Carl Gunnarsson - Kevin Shattenkirk

Joel Edmundson - Colton Parayko

Brian Elliott

Jake Allen

Injured: Robby Fabbri (concussion), Patrik Berglund (shoulder)

Scratched: Robert Bortuzzo, Scott Gomez


Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler

Mason Raymond - Sam Bennett - Michael Frolik

Micheal Ferland - Matt Stajan - David Jones

Lance Bouma - Mikael Backlund - Brandon Bollig

Mark Giordano - Dougie Hamilton

Kris Russell - Dennis Wideman

Brett Kulak - Deryk Engelland

Jonas Hiller

Karri Ramo

Injured: TJ Brodie (hand), Ladislav Smid (neck), Joe Colborne (thumb)

Scratched: Josh Jooris, Joni Ortio

Status report: Edmundson is expected to play in place of Bortuzzo for St. Louis. … The Flames aren't expected to make any lineup changes from the group that played in a 3-2 overtime win against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.

Who's hot: Tarasenko, who was tied for fifth in goals last season with 37, has two goals and one assist in two games. … The Flames' top line of Gaudreau, Hudler and Monahan have combined for nine points in two games against the Canucks to start the year.

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