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Blues' Fabbri day-to-day with lower-body injury

Left wing expected back on ice 'in next day or so'; Bouwmeester, Gunnarsson, Ott close to return

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- The news on St. Louis Blues rookie left wing Robby Fabbri, who was injured Tuesday against the Colorado Avalanche, wasn't nearly as serious as it could have been. The Blues appear to have caught a huge break.

Fabbri, who left a 3-1 victory against the Avalanche with a lower-body injury, was categorized as day-to-day by Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, who said Fabbri will be back on the ice "here in the next day or so."

Fabbri, who has been playing with Paul Stastny and Troy Brouwer to comprise St. Louis' hottest point-producing line since the All-Star break, took a hit from Colorado forward Jack Skille during the third period and fell awkwardly on his left leg as his left skate toe-picked the ice. Fabbri was clutching his leg as he limped off the ice and to the bench. He did not practice Thursday.

"I think this time we had a guy come back in [Alexander Steen, who missed 15 games with an upper-body injury] and then Robby goes down," defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "It's a big injury, especially the way Robby's been playing lately. I think he's been one of our best forwards. I think that line has probably been our best line the past three weeks or so. Finding someone to fill in for him is going to be tough, but getting [Steen] back allows us to have at least one hole fixed even when another one opens."

Magnus Paajarvi and Dmitrij Jaskin will fill Fabbri's role and play however long Fabbri is out, which isn't expected to be longer than two or three games, Hitchcock said.

Video: VAN@STL: Fabbri snipes Stastny's great feed

"Whether it's [Jaskin] or [Paajarvi], we've had injuries all year and we've dealt with it," said Stastny, who leads the Blues with 21 points since the break, including 14 in the past 10 games. "This is just another bump in the road. You want guys to be smart and not come back too early. Like I said, whenever they're ready, they'll be ready to come back, but until then, we have a lot of options."

Fabbri, who missed six games in October with a concussion, is second on the Blues with 19 points in 24 games since the break.
His return will coincide with that of defensemen Jay Bouwmeester, who has missed three games with an upper-body injury believed to be related to concussion-like symptoms, and Carl Gunnarsson, who has missed two games with a lower-body injury sustained March 25 against the Vancouver Canucks.

"They'll all hopefully be skating in the next day or so," Hitchcock said.

None are expected to be in the lineup when the Blues (46-22-9, 101 points) host the Boston Bruins (40-29-8) on Friday (8 p.m. ET, NESN, FS-MW, NHL.TV), but the hope is all will be available to play games before the end of the regular season and be ready for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Blues were hopeful of their two defensemen returning soon, but they needed to wait on the news regarding Fabbri, who has had a solid rookie campaign with 18 goals and 19 assists through 71 games. But with Fabbri being day-to-day, it allows Hitchcock to keep his lines relatively stable.

"I'm not going to blow up things," Hitchcock said. "If it was week-to-week, it would be a different story, but they're day-to-day and I'm not going to blow something up for one game, two games." 

Video: STL@SJS: Fabbri makes nifty move for lead in the 3rd

Another option in the near future could be forward Steve Ott, who skated in full for a second day Thursday. Ott has been out since Dec. 5 (50 games) after tearing both hamstrings against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"He's getting real close," Hitchcock said of Ott. "This is Day 2 with no holdback. He's had two complete practices of where he's been a full participant of both [penalty kill], 5-on-5 and battle drills. He's pushing too." 
"I feel great actually, to be honest with you," Ott said. "I've had a solid week and a half, been skating for six weeks to kind of get myself ready for these upcoming dates. I think the process has taken care of itself. Timeline-wise, I think we're sitting there right on it."

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