By the looks of today’s morning skate it didn’t appear Alex Steen is ready to return from a concussion that’s sidelined him for nine games. Skating with Andy McDonald and Chris Porter would certainly point towards Steen not playing. But after speaking with Ken Hitchcock I wouldn’t rule out a Steen return tonight against Dallas.
Hitchcock told me a decision would not be made until after he speaks with the Blues medical staff. Steen skated pretty hard on Sunday and came out feeling pretty good.
Speaking of McDonald, even though he looks great and is skating everyday he’s yet to fully shake the fogginess related to a concussion he suffered back on October 13th. There’s a chance he gives it a full two weeks once he becomes symptom free before he returns to the lineup. Once he removes the red sweater we will know he is no longer experiencing symptoms.
Kris Russell will return Thursday from a groin injury he suffered on December 31st. He could have played tonight but considering how important skating is to his game there is little point in pushing the envelope.
Kent Huskins has been skating for several days after undergoing ankle surgery a few months ago. Huskins still has a ways to go before a return is in sight. It will take a few weeks for him to build the strength back up to where he’s close to 100%.
Speaking to several members of the Minnesota Wild, they were very impressed with the Blues emergence as a legitimate top club in the West. Much of this has to do with the Blues defense who are very effective in getting the puck up ice quickly.
If there isn’t a passing option available all these guys have the ability to use their feet to get to the red line. Offensively they’re big, heavy, and fast and come through the neutral zone with lots of speed. Getting clean exits out of their own end creates the tempo they like to play.
David Perron continues to thrive especially on the power play where he controlled the play against Minnesota. Playing with a high compete level with or without the puck has always been a major part of his game. His battle level could come as a surprise for those who don’t watch him play every night.
League sources indicate things are progressing and moving in the right direction between Tom Stillman and the NHL. A signed purchase agreement is the next order of business and I would anticipate hearing some news on this soon. Stillman’s exclusive agreement runs through March 15th.
More to come,