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Stanley Cup Final

Steen, father bond over Stanley Cup Final run of Blues

Former Jets captain hoping son wins championship against Bruins

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

ST. LOUIS -- Alexander Steen doesn't have an average hockey father. 

The St. Louis Blues forward is the son of former Winnipeg Jets captain Thomas Steen and is trying to win the family's first Stanley Cup title.

"I'm really enjoying this," said Thomas Steen, a Sweden native who had 817 points (264 goals, 553 assists) in 950 NHL games, all for the original Jets from 1981-95. "I can enjoy this more than when I played myself. I know a little more today than I did back then. I really enjoy the whole experience. You never know if you'll get an opportunity to see something like this. I'm very grateful for it."

 

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The Blues and Boston Bruins will play Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at Enterprise Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS, SN) with the best-of-7 series tied. 

Alexander Steen was born in Winnipeg during his father's days with the Jets and has 605 points (238 goals, 367 assists) in 963 regular-season games with the Blues and Toronto Maple Leafs. This is the 35-year-old's eighth appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, all with the Blues.

He said he's enthused about sharing the experience of the Cup Final with his father, who is in St. Louis for the series, and understands why he's enjoying the experience so much.

"Having your son play is probably a lot different than you playing yourself," Alexander said. "It's special for everyone, the sacrifices your immediate family makes, [things] your wife and kids do for you and your family as you grow up, your parents, things they did. I'm happy everyone, family, city, community, is enjoying themselves."

Video: SJS@STL, Gm3: Barbashev connects with Steen for goal

The No. 24 pick of the 2002 NHL Draft by Toronto, Steen played four seasons for the Maple Leafs before being traded to the Blues with defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo for forward Lee Stempniak on Nov. 28, 2008. He said there was obvious influence from his exposure to and closeness with NHL players when he was a kid.

"At a young age, you get to see what teams go through, what the high-profile players, the high-skill players, what they go through during the course of a season, and even from season to season," he said. "Even though I was very young, I think it's something that helps you in later stages, having a more developed understanding of what guys go through and what it takes to get to the top."

Alexander was frequently seen on the ice at the old Winnipeg Arena, skating with Jets players including Dale Hawerchuk, Phil Housley and Teemu Selanne after practice.

"I think I switched (my) favorite player according to who hung out with me that day," said Steen, who has four points (two goals, two assists) in 21 playoff games. "I changed all the time. There were so many great players, not just on the ice but great individuals off the ice that always allowed me to be around."

Thomas Steen, who was co-captain of the Jets for two seasons from 1989-91, remembers his son's early passion for hockey.

"He never played with toys as a kid," the 58-year-old said. "He just had a mini stick and a ball and that went with him everywhere. During (NHL) games, they'd play in the wives room. And he was always on the ice every chance he'd get.

"At home, the fireplace was the goal and he'd put his sister in net and shoot tennis balls at her. Growing up in Winnipeg, he was like all boys, they wanted to play hockey and he had a lot of friends who wanted to play with him."

Thomas said he is not a nervous hockey parent or fan but having been an NHL scout for 10 seasons after he retired (nine with the Minnesota Wild, one with the Anaheim Ducks), he said he now watches games in a different way.

"I have worked so much in hockey; some years I watched 300-400 games a year and I'm exhausted now after I watch a hockey game," he said. "I don't get very emotional, but I'm tense for two and a half or three hours. But all day before a game, I'm excited for it to start.

"Alex has had to play a lot of tough minutes, like playing the end of periods and end of games and watching the other team's best line and killing penalties. It's a hard job and a very important job in the playoffs."

Thomas was a versatile, skilled center who had five NHL seasons when he averaged at least a point-per game and had an element of grit to his game.

Does he see any similarities in his game with his son's, and does he view Alexander's games as father or scout?

"I see how he reads the game, that's very similar," Thomas said. "I had no idea how much he picked up over the years because he was 17 the last time I was close to him in hockey. But I can tell he knows the game, especially defensively."

Having played 10 times in the playoffs in his 14 NHL seasons (never advancing past the second round), Thomas understands the intensity and the commitment required to succeed. And he's excited about how much of that he sees in Alexander and the Blues.

"I'm just so happy for them," he said. "I've never seen a team play as well as they do right now. Every player is chipping in. The other teams have been trying to watch a couple of guys and then somebody else pops up. It's a good sign; it's a sign of a good team that plays for each other."

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