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Jaden Schwartz of Blues sidelined with injury

Will miss at least four weeks after hurting left elbow at practice Thursday

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Blues forward Jaden Schwartz will miss at least four weeks after injuring his left elbow at practice on Thursday.

Coach Ken Hitchcock said Friday that Schwartz was injured during a drill when he got tangled up with teammate Alexander Steen. Initial X-rays showed nothing serious, but a subsequent MRI revealed something more.

The Blues said Schwartz will be re-evaluated after four weeks.

"It's not bad news. It could have been a lot worse," Hitchcock said Friday. "It's four weeks and we've got two weeks of training camp left, so it's not that many games. You get an injury like that, it could be nothing and it could be surgery. You don't know until you get into that type of injury.

Video: Hitchcock discusses injury to Schwartz

"We'll deal with it. It's a little bit of time in October and we've still got two full weeks of training camp before we're playing our first game, so we've already bought a lot of time into it. It's not nothing we can't make an adjustment for. That's the one position where we've got a lot of depth. We've got a lot of guys vying for wing positions."

It's the second time in as many years Schwartz, who signed a five-year, $26.75 million contract on July 15, will miss games because of an injury to begin a season; he missed the first 49 games last season with a fractured left ankle.

Schwartz left the rink Thursday feeling the injury wasn't going to keep him out for long, and Hitchcock initially said Schwartz would likely miss weekend preseason games against the Dallas Stars on Friday and Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday until the MRI showed otherwise.

"I talked to him [Thursday] morning and he was so excited to get this going and play some hockey for real and that happens," teammate Patrik Berglund said. "I feel bad for him, but the only thing he can do now is focus on taking care of that injury and coming back as soon as possible.

"It's terrible, it's awful. He's going to be missing the beginning of the season again. Obviously with what he went through last year, it's obviously a tough break for him. Hopefully he can get rehab in and come back as soon as he can."

Schwartz's injury provides an opportunity for Kenny Agostino, who has a two-way contract, and T.J. Galiardi, who is in camp on a professional tryout.

"Agostino, Galiardi, Magnus [Paajarvi], [Samuel] Blais, a lot of guys," Hitchcock said. "It opens up the door for, on a short-term basis, for quite a few guys. It happens to be the position that guys have had great camps. They've surprised us. Now as teams start to pare down, we'll get a better read on the temperature. The temperature of the practice [Thursday] was way up. It was really revealing for us who could keep up and who couldn't and we're going to see some games get that way too next week."

Agostino, selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the fifth round (No. 140) in the 2010 NHL Draft, has six points (two goals, four assists) in two preseason games and will be in the lineup when the Blues host the Stars. He had 23 goals and 34 assists in 65 games for Stockton of the American Hockey League last season.

"I'm just concerned about having a good day every day, putting together some good days here," Agostino said. "It's unfortunate, but I'm just focused on the morning skate and having a good game tonight. I'm kind of just taking it day by day. That's all you can do at this point."

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