As a smaller scorer, Robby Fabbri was already a hockey player who was easy to root for. His terrible injury luck makes it a no-brainer, really, so his latest attempt to get on track with the St. Louis Blues is absolutely worth watching.
After word surfaced that the shifty winger was activated from IR, Blues coach Mike Yeo admitted to The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford that he’s pulling for him, too.
“I’m excited for him personally,” Yeo said. ” … I don’t know how long it’s going to take for him to get right back on top of things. I do know that players that are relentless and tenacious and as driven as (he is) usually find a way to get there quicker.”
Yeo added something undeniable: Fabbri’s been through “an awful lot.”
Fabbri’s 2017-18 season ended before it began, as a knee injury sidelined him through that campaign. The 22-year-old actually hasn’t played in an NHL game since Feb. 4, 2017, as his 2016-17 season was also derailed by health issues. Those problems bubbled up again, thwarting his hopes of beginning this campaign on a healthy note.
That’s tough to stomach for anyone, particularly for a player who’s still trying to establish himself as a difference-making, quality scorer.
It stings that much extra because, while he hasn’t been unstoppable with the Blues, there have been flashes of first-round brilliance. Fabbri’s scored 66 points in 123 regular-season games despite modest ice time (14:16 per game on average). A struggling St. Louis team could really use another catalyst, so if Fabbri is reasonably healthy, this could be a real boon for the Blues.
(Not to mention fans who enjoy watching creative scorers.)
The Blues look to bring Fabbri along slowly at first. According to Left Wing Lock’s listings, he’s currently slated to play on the fourth line. That said, that trio is relatively intriguing: Robert Thomas is a promising prospect/bad music joke machine, while Oscar Sundqvist deserves his own set of kharmatic bounces considering the hit he suffered from Tom Wilson.
Maybe the most promising early opportunity comes on the power play. While Fabbri is on the second unit, it’s one of the more intriguing No. 2 groups in the NHL, as he joins Alex Pietrangelo, David Perron, Brayden Schenn, and Jaden Schwartz. Honestly, that could easily pass as a top group on a shallower squad.
The Blues are off to a frustrating 3-4-3 start, and Fabbri knows all too well how it must feel like to be snakebitten. Perhaps both the player and team can improve their fates together?
St. Louis hosts the Vegas Golden Knights – another team that’s dealt with some irritating ups and downs so far this season – on Thursday night.