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Blues agree to terms with Colaiacovo

by Louie Korac

ST. LOUIS -- Looking to add depth to their blue line after an injury to Jordan Leopold, the St. Louis Blues have turned to a familiar face.

The Blues announced they have agreed to terms with Carlo Colaiacovo on a one-year contract, pending a physical. Colaiacovo has been out of hockey since the Detroit Red Wings bought out his contract in the summer.

Colaiacovo, 30, played six games with the Red Wings last season after signing a two-year, $5 million contract. He missed most of the season with a shoulder injury.

Colaiacovo spent four seasons with the Blues (2008-12). He had 18 goals and 106 points in 259 games after coming to St. Louis along with Alexander Steen from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Lee Stempniak.

In the meantime, Ian Cole steps into the role vacated by Leopold when the Blues host the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN). Leopold will be sidelined a minimum of two months. Leopold will have surgery this week to repair ligament damage in his right index finger, an injury sustained against the Calgary Flames on Thursday.

"I think he's accepted the role that's necessary for him to start in the League," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of Cole, the 18th pick in the 2007 NHL Draft. "I think he was typical of a lot of young players that they'd like to start at the penthouse and not on the ground floor. I think from that standpoint he was impatient and wanted to bring the game that he had in college to the American [Hockey] League and the NHL without taking the steps. He missed steps and I think this last year, last 12 months, has allowed him to reprocess the steps.

"Now he's got some foundation in his game. I think he's got a reality that being a member of the group is valuable rather than a certain identity and a certain role. I think that sense of, 'This is what I should be rather than I just need to fit in,' has really changed and I think it's made him a way better player because of it."

The Blues (11-2-2) also will get forward Brenden Morrow back into the lineup Tuesday after the 34-year-old missed five games with an upper-body injury sustained against the Winnipeg Jets on Oct. 29.

The Coyotes (12-4-2) are off to the franchise's best start since the 1998-99 season, including leading the League with three victories when trailing after two periods. They beat the Washington Capitals 4-3 on Saturday after trailing 3-1 late in the game.

"There's a sense of calmness in the room when we are down. Obviously you never like to be down but we know we're a group that's never going to give up," defenseman Keith Yandle said. "We're going to play until the last whistle and we take pride in that. If we are down, we take pride in coming back."

Radim Vrbata (lower-body injury) and Martin Hanzal (undisclosed) will be game-time decisions, according to coach Dave Tippett. Vrbata, who missed the game against the Capitals on Saturday, was on the ice for the morning skate Tuesday. Hanzal did not skate.

Defenseman Derek Morris (lower-body injury) will miss his third consecutive game.

"We're still hoping to have people available [Tuesday], but we'll see how the day goes," Tippett said. "Morris won't play for sure. Everybody else is a possibility."

On Monday the Coyotes recalled forward Chris Brown from the Portland Pirates of the AHL.

The projected lineups for the game Tuesday between the Blues and Coyotes:


Rob Klinkhammer - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan

Lauri Korpikoski - Martin Hanzal - Mikkel Boedker

Kyle Chipchura - Mike Ribeiro - David Moss

Paul Bissonnette - Jeff Halpern - Jordan Szwarz

Zbynek Michalek - Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Keith Yandle - Michael Stone

David Schlemko - Rostislav Klesla

Mike Smith

Thomas Greiss

Scratched: David Rundblad, Chris Brown

Injured: Derek Morris (lower body), Radim Vrbata (lower body)


Alexander Steen - David Backes - T.J. Oshie

Derek Roy - Vladimir Sobotka - Chris Stewart

Jaden Schwartz - Patrik Berglund - Vladimir Tarasenko

Brenden Morrow - Maxim Lapierre - Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk

Ian Cole - Roman Polak

Jaroslav Halak

Brian Elliott

Scratched: Adam Cracknell

Injured: Jordan Leopold (hand), Magnus Paajarvi (upper body)

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