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Posted On Thursday, 12.19.2013 / 1:41 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Schwartz returns, to play with Steen on Blues' top line

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues got some good news on the injury front.

Left wing Jaden Schwartz, who missed the previous two games with an upper-body injury, will return to the lineup when the Blues (22-7-4) host the Montreal Canadiens (21-12-3) on Thursday night at Scottrade Center.

Schwartz, who is fifth on the team with 22 points, including 12 points in his previous 12 games, skated for the first time Wednesday and deemed himself ready to return after the Blues went 0-1-1 with him out of the lineup.

"Yeah, I feel better so I'm going to go [Thursday]," Schwartz said. "No excuses now. I've just got to go play like I would any other night.

"I just tweaked something a little bit ago and it just got worse. I needed to rest it. It's a long year so I didn't want to keep making it worse. A few days of rest has definitely helped. I got a lot of work on it. I definitely feel better for tonight."


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Posted On Tuesday, 12.17.2013 / 7:51 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Backes out for Blues against Sharks

ST. LOUIS -- For the first time in nearly four years, the St. Louis Blues were faced with life without David Backes on the ice.

The Blues captain, who suffered an upper-body injury in the late stages of the second period of a 3-2 overtime loss against the Ottawa Senators on Monday, was not in the lineup against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday. He is listed as day-to-day.

Forwards Vladimir Sobotka and Jaden Schwartz each missed a second straight game with an upper-body injury. Neither player faced the Senators. The Blues went with seven defenseman Tuesday, with Carlo Colaiacovo at left wing against the Sharks.

"We're going to be in a position where every line has to change," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said prior to facing the Sharks. "I don't know that you look at it from a depth standpoint. I think recognizing when it's time to adjust your team game and right now, we have to adjust our team game.

"... Getting points when you're not healthy is all about being able to adapt."

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Posted On Thursday, 12.12.2013 / 1:52 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blues' Steen still excited to play former team

ST. LOUIS -- Five years have passed since Alexander Steen was a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, but the maturation process from the time he a Leafs player to a present-day member of the Blues is a constant reminder of how much the Winnipeg, Manitoba, native has grown as a player.

Steen and defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo were acquired for forward Lee Stempniak, who has since moved on to play for the Phoenix Coyotes and currently the Calgary Flames. The Blues look back fondly on the day of Nov. 24, 2008.

For Steen, who's among the NHL leaders in goals (21) and points (33), he'll be facing a Leafs team that only carries one player from his days in Toronto (Nikolai Kulemin).

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Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 2:32 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blues could be without Steen against Ducks

ST. LOUIS -- Forward Alexander Steen is the latest St. Louis Blues player to get hit with the flu bug.

Steen, who leads the Blues with 20 goals and is second to Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin (21) for the NHL lead, will be a game-time decision when the Blues (19-5-3) host the Anaheim Ducks (19-7-5) in a battle of Western Conference heavyweights Saturday night.

It started when forward Chris Stewart was the first to get sick when the Blues visited the Buffalo Sabres, but he played. Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk missed the Nov. 25 home game against the Minnesota Wild because of illness, and left wing Magnus Paajarvi sat out a 3-2 loss Monday against the Los Angeles Kings.

"Same rules ... doesn't feel well, stay home, stay away from the rest of us," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of Steen, who leads the team with 32 points in 27 games. "Everybody else has been able to play that's been sick.

"We'll see how he feels later in the day. Rather than infect the rest of us, he didn't feel well and just stayed home."

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Posted On Thursday, 12.05.2013 / 2:51 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blues dealing with first adversity of season

ST. LOUIS -- Before they headed west to face a pair of familiar foes that had given them issues in the past, particularly the Los Angeles Kings, life was good for the St. Louis Blues.

The Blues (18-5-3) had not lost consecutive games in regulation all season before coming away empty handed in road losses to the San Jose Sharks and Kings.

The Blues have earned points in 21 of 26 games this season, but for the first time this season there is some adversity to deal with. How this team handles it is the big question moving forward.

"You can't dwell on it. We have a good team here," defenseman Jay Bouwmeester said. "If we play the way we can, more often than not we're going to get results. That's just the focus. You don't need to drag things along and make it too painful on yourselves."

Which is why when the Blues host the New York Islanders on Thursday, they'll do what they've always done: Move on and tackle the next challenge.

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Posted On Monday, 11.25.2013 / 7:49 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blues' Shattenkirk to sit vs. Wild with flu

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk will miss the game Monday against the Minnesota Wild (8 p.m., NBCSN) with the flu.

Shattenkirk, who has points in 12 of the past 15 games (one goal, 12 assists) missed the morning skate Monday and was considered a game-time decision. Coach Ken Hitchcock said the flu has been going around the Blues locker room, with five players in the past week with some form of illness. Shattenkirk is the first to miss a game due to illness.

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Posted On Monday, 11.25.2013 / 1:56 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Colaiacovo to make return debut for Blues vs. Wild

ST. LOUIS -- Less than two weeks after signing a one-year, $550,000 contract, Carlo Colaiacovo will make his return debut with the St. Louis Blues on Monday.

Colaiacovo was brought back to the team after defenseman Jordan Leopold (hand surgery) was lost for two months to provide veteran depth. After being bought out of the final year of his contract with the Detroit Red Wings this past summer, the 30-year-old Colaiacovo was without a job but keeping in hockey shape in Toronto.

Colaiacovo got the call from the Blues and a contract was consummated quickly.

"That's what I was told. Hopefully that's the case. If it is, it's exciting for me," Colaiacovo said regarding his insertion into the lineup. "... At the end of the day, I'm confident in myself, I'm confident in my abilities that I can come in here and play a simple game, use the experience of my partner and the guys on the back end and just focus on getting a win."


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Posted On Saturday, 11.23.2013 / 2:32 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Morrow set to face old Stars mates for first time

ST. LOUIS -- At some point in time after Brenden Morrow was traded away from the only team he's ever known, the forward knew he was going to face the Dallas Stars.

Morrow, the 34-year-old left wing who now playes for the St. Louis Blues, will line up against the team that took him with the 25th pick in the 1997 NHL Draft when the Blues and Stars meet for the first time as Central Division rivals Saturday.

Morrow played in 865 games over 14 seasons, 835 of them have with the Stars, including the last seven seasons as their captain.

"It's going to be strange," Morrow said after the morning skate Saturday. "I think there's nine or 10 fresh faces over there, so it's not like I know the whole team but it's still some great memories of that franchise and I'm still real close with a lot of the players there. It's going to be a strange game.

"There's going to be a little bit more intensity into it tonight. Usually it's messing around and joking around. I still haven't put a whole lot of thought into how I'm going to feel. It just feels like another game at the moment right now, but once I get out there and see all the guys and the puck's dropped, there might be some different feelings going through my mind."

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Posted On Tuesday, 11.19.2013 / 2:11 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sabres send three to AHL, Zadorov to junior team

BUFFALO -- Not only did the Buffalo Sabres go through a culture change off the ice last week, they're now experiencing it on the ice as well.

The Sabres announced prior to facing the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday that they had assigned defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and left wing Johan Larsson to the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League. Center Mikhail Grigorenko was sent to the AHL, on a 14-day conditioning assignment. The team also sent defenseman Nikita Zadorov to the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.

Only 19-year-old center Zemgus Girgensons, the 14th pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, survived the youth purge.

The oldest of the four players is Larsson, who is 21. The others are teenagers [Ristolainen and Grigorenko are 19 and Zadorov is 18]. The message from interim coach Ted Nolan was simple: The Sabres are too young to compete at the highest level in the NHL and they need more of a seasoned, veteran group.

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Posted On Saturday, 11.16.2013 / 1:31 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Muller faces off against former coach Hitchcock

ST. LOUIS -- When St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock looks across at the opposition's bench Saturday, there will be a familiar face guiding the Carolina Hurricanes.

Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller played for Hitchcock at the tail end of his 19-year career and will be opposing his former coach. It will be the third time the two have faced each other (each owns one victory), but with the Hurricanes in the midst of their best stretch of the season [4-0-1 in the past five games], Hitchcock was asked if the Hurricanes are reflective of their coach when he was a player.

"Depends which one you get," Hitchcock said. "The one in New Jersey? No. The one in Dallas? Probably a lot."

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Quote of the Day

A piece of scar tissue breaks off, pinches the nerve, and every time you move your leg it's almost like having a root canal in your stomach and groin.

— Detroit Red Wings center Stephen Weiss on his sports hernia surgery