TORONTO (KMOX) – For the first time since being named to the 2018 NHL All-Star Team, Brayden Schenn and Alex Pietrangelo take the ice for the St. Louis Blues, Tuesday. It’s the first time All-Star game for both players, and for Pietrangelo especially, head coach Mike Yeo is just wondering what took so long?
Related story: Pietrangelo, Schenn Named NHL All-Stars, Tarasenko Left Out
Yeo, speaking to media before St. Louis’ 6 p.m. game in Toronto, said he was shocked to hear it was Pietrangelo’s first All-Star award.
“How much I’ve coach against him, being in the same division and now having a chance to coach him you see what a world-class player he is,” Yeo says. “His defensive game, his offensive game, the way he impacts the game through so many different ways, it’s really mind-boggling.”
This season, Pietrangelo is tied for ninth in points among all NHL defenseman, with 30 on eight goals and 22 assist. Thirteen of those points came in the first month of the season, when he was among the top scorers in NHL. Yeo attributed that offensive success partially to Pietrangelo’s recognition that he had to fill the void left by former Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.
Pietrangelo was asked about his season, as a possibly Norris Trophy candidate, and shifted the credit to Yeo.
“He came in last year and implemented what he wanted to implement and it worked,” Pietrangelo says. “And I think you can see a lot of guys having good years personally, which is why we have a lot of success.”
Schenn’s first All-Star appearance comes partially thanks to his durability, something the Blues haven’t had a surplus of this season. The offseason trade acquisition has played in all 46 of St. Louis’ games this season, and is tied for the team lead in points, 44, with Vladimir Tarasenko.
Schenn also pointed out his surprise that it was a first for Pietrangelo.
“You don’t realize how good he is until you play with him,” Schenn says. “I know it’s a tough game to make with only three D-men in the division (being selected), but like I said he’s well deserving and he’s been a great player for us.”
The 2018 Honda NHL All-Star weekend will take place Saturday, Jan. 27 and Sunday, Jan. 28, in Tampa, Florida.
St. Louis is currently third in the Central Division, one point behind the Nashville Predators and four points behind the Winnipeg Jets.
Pregame quotes courtesy of Blue Note Productions.