Wings' Fabbri finally gets a chance to face former Blues teammates
Detroit — After two full years, Robby Fabbri finally gets to play against his old team.
Fabbri was traded from the St. Louis Blues to the Red Wings on Nov. 6, 2019. By this time, normally, would have faced his former squad at least a time or two.
The pandemic changed things.
The first year Fabbri was with the Wings, the season was cancelled about a week before the Wings were headed to St. Louis. Last season, the Wings never played the Blues.
Fabbri was quick to search out the Blues on the schedule this time around.
"Long overdue," Fabbri said. "It'll be the first time playing them since I was traded so it's definitely going to be a little different."
Fabbri was hoping to catch up with most of the former teammates who are still in St. Louis Tuesday night for dinner.
"It'll be nice to see a bunch of them," Fabbri said. "I'm very excited. I've circled this one (game) early in the year. We'll actually have 12 or 13 of us going to dinner, so they've changed (the roster) quite a bit but there's still a good group there that I was with the majority of time. It'll be nice to see them."
What makes Fabbri's bond with the Blues so strong is simple. The Blues won the Stanley Cup in the spring of 2019, capping an unexpected romp through the playoffs with a Game 7 road victory in the finals in Boston.
It's been a couple years now since the victory, but winning a Cup is something Fabbri will always treasure.
"It's not something you ever forget," Fabbri said. "It's something we'll share together as a team and as a group. So it's old news, but it's not something you easily forget."
Fabbri was beginning to be bumped out of the Blues' rotation before being traded.
"He went through a ton of injuries, so he never got traction with that team," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "There was more opportunity that was going to be here for him. ... I don't want to speak for people, but players look in the mirror (when traded) and ask 'what do I have to be better at.' In Robby's case, he and I talked right away and talked about getting back to what makes him a special player. That's playing with great intensity on a shift-by-shift basis. That means he's going to put his body out there and be subject to potential injury. But that's the only way to be a real good player and he recognized that.
"When you come back from multiple injuries, you can play cautious. The conversation we had is you can't be cautious. You have to attack and be a real good player. He's done that for the most part."
Surgery for Stecher
Defenseman Troy Stecher attempted to practice and play with the pain, but wasn't able.
Blashill said Stecher had wrist surgery and will be out until around the Olympic break in early February.
Stecher has played in six games with one assist. He last played Nov. 4 in Boston.
With Stecher unavailable, one defenseman who could see more playing time is Jordan Oesterle (Dearborn Heights/Dearborn Divine Child). He has seen limited action to this point.
"It gives him a better opportunity, the more games he plays in a row," Blashill said. "I recognize that it's really hard to go in and play every once in a while and feel real comfortable and confident. The more games he plays in a row, it gives him a chance to get comfortable and confident. If his game rises to a level that's better than other guys, you see more ice time.
"The first couple of games he went in, I don't think he played his best. ... Some of that is understandable given the amount of time in between games. But the reality is, I'm still judging him on those games and now he has a chance to get more games. It could certainly lead to more sustained ice time and games. But his play will dictate that."
Defenseman Marc Staal also didn't practice Tuesday after missing the last two games of the recent road trip with a non-COVID 19 illness
The Wings play host to St. Louis in the traditional Thanksgiving Eve game. The Cup-winning Blues have remained near championship level since the last time the Wings played them.
"They've earned that credibility and confidence," Blashill said. "They've got a real good roster, still. Obviously some pieces have moved in and out. But the pieces they've moved in are good pieces.
"They're a real good team and we know that. There are certainly challenges playing any of these teams you haven't played in a long time. This is different because I don't think their style has changed since the last time we played them."
Blues at Red Wings
►Faceoff: 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Little Caesars Arena
►Outlook: St. Louis (10-6-2) has rebounded from two disappointing playoff eliminations after winning the Stanley Cup to looking like a definite contender again this season..The Blues have a lot of scoring depth, led by C Jordan Kyrou (eight goals, 18 points), LW David Perron (17 points) and C Robert Thomas (15 assists).