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At the Rink blog

Jackman returns as Blues work way to good health

Saturday, 01.14.2012 / 2:42 PM

By Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Jackman returns as Blues work way to good health
ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues hope that one by one, they start to get some missing pieces back into their lineup.

The first step to that goal came to fruition as defenseman Barret Jackman took part in the morning skate after missing his first game of the season with a hip injury suffered Tuesday at Montreal and will play tonight when the Blues (25-12-6) host the Minnesota Wild (22-16-6).

Jackman, who has 6 assists in 42 games this season, was injured following a hit by Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban in the second period of a 3-0 Blues win.

"I saw him coming, but I didn't realize he was going to step up as hard as he did," Jackman said of the Subban hit. "I was just trying to get a shot on net to maybe get a rebound out front. I just put myself in a bad position and fell awkwardly.

"I'm feeling good. The body's getting there, but it's the middle of the season so you've got your wear and tear. We'll see what happens."

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The St. Louis Blues' defensive corps was crowded on the ice Saturday morning, giving it a training camp flavor with nine guys out there.

Along with Jackman (hip) returni, Kent Huskins (ankle) and Kris Russell (groin) were also out taking part in the morning skate. Neither will play but continue to work on getting back into the lineup.

"We're not there yet, but it was nice to see Russ and Huskins join us," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Obviously Husky's a little bit away from playing, but nice to make him part of the team for a few minutes anyway. ... You're talking weeks (with Huskins), yeah. But it's nice that at least he gets to come out and skate. and be part of the team. He's excited by that."

And Russell? Maybe next week?

"Close. I don't know yet. We'll see," Hitchcock said. "We'll participate in a full practice tomorrow hopefully. We'll see, but he's close. That's a good sign there, too. Lots of guys on the rebound here, so we'll see where we get the next three or four days."

The Blues can only hope to play with a full deck soon.

"It'll be nice obviously ... the sooner the better," defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "It's good to see everyone kind of coming around. There's still a little time for some but at least we got them out there skating, which is obviously good.

"Once we get everyone back, it's going to be a pretty tough blue line to beat. Throw Andy (McDonald) and Steener (Alex Steen) up there in front, it's endless. The combinations you can get ... seems like it's going to be a problem for Hitch unfortunately, but it's a good one."

McDonald and Steen continue to skate and make progress. Steen is likely to get reinserted into the lineup sometime next week. McDonald is still wearing a red no-contact jersey and is weeks away.

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Blues captain David Backes spent last season as the Blues' lone All-Star representative. This season, it will be goalie Brian Elliott, who has to re-alter his plans of going to Wisconsin.

Backes, who could make a case to be going to Ottawa with 31 points and good numbers in other areas through 43 games, will instead be taking up a new hobby.

"I'm going to take my pilot's license test," Backes said. "I've passed the written test and now I've got the oral (test) and the actual flying test and then I'll have my license. The oral is a couple of hours and then the flying is a couple of hours, so I finally get a full day off and I'll hope to sneak that in."

Backes is glad for Elliott, who did not even know he'd make the Blues out of camp this season.

"'Ells' is very deserving and he'll have a great time in a place that he's played before," Backes said. "Would I love to be going with him, yeah, but there's only so many spots on there and there's a lot of great players in this League.

"It's an honor to go to that game, and if I can go to more in the future, that's great. If not, we get to rest up (like this year) for a great second half of the season into a playoff push."


Quote of the Day

[He's] real confident with the puck now, getting it off his stick quick and no second-guessing. We need that. He's such a good guy in the room. He works so hard. That's the big thing. For not a big man, he just fights for every puck and when he scores, the guys appreciate that even more.

— Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice on Mathieu Perreault, who scored two goals in win against Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday