Hitch makes Fabbri a healthy scratch, needs to see more ‘tenacity’

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Robby Fabbri was a productive rookie last season, finishing with 18 goals and 19 assists in 72 games. He also produced in the playoffs, with four goals and 11 assists in 20 games.

But Fabbri will a healthy scratch tonight in Nashville. The 20-year-old forward has just one goal and three assists in his first 14 games of the current season — although for head coach Ken Hitchcock, it’s not about that.

“It’s all connected to tenacity,” said Hitchcock, per NHL.com’s Lou Korac. “Goals and assists, I don’t look at.”

Fabbri logged 13:57 in last night’s 2-1 overtime loss to Chicago. He did not register a point, or even a shot on goal.

For the record, it was only last week that Hitchcock was defending Fabbri.

“I think he’s been good everywhere,” the coach said, per the Post-Dispatch. “He’s one of our best forecheckers. He’s a hard guy to play against. He’s been snake bit on scoring. That’s just the way it goes at the start. This is a big challenge for him. … I think there was a lot of pressing going on, and we just have to make sure he stays enthusiastic about the way he’s playing.”

Clearly, Hitchcock now feels that Fabbri’s enthusiasm has been waning, and so the youngster will sit and watch a game.

Nail Yakupov will take Fabbri’s spot against the Preds. Yakupov has been a healthy scratch the last three games, after scoring two goals in his first 11 outings as a Blue.

Indeed, it’s a very competitive environment among the St. Louis forwards. The Blues have not been forced to endure all the injuries they did last season, and that means healthy scratches, or in some cases waivers.

“You have to make a decision whether you want to be in the group of 14, or if you want to stay in that top nine or 10,” said Hitchcock.