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Stewart expected suspension

by Louie Korac
ST. LOUIS -- After finding out Chris Stewart's fate on Wednesday, the Blues will move on and do without their bulky power forward for the next three games beginning with tonight's game at Scottrade Center against the Florida Panthers (8 p.m. ET, FSN, KMOX 1120-AM).

The Blues have accepted the ruling of the NHL's Senior Vice President of Player Safety, Brendan Shanahan, and moved on.

Stewart was suspended for a hit Tuesday on Detroit's Niklas Kronwall in the first period. Kronwall left the game but returned for the second and third periods and suffered no injury.

Stewart reflected on the suspension for the first time after the morning skate today. He had a conversation with Shanahan and understands where the League is coming from.

"When in doubt, you probably shouldn't do it when you see his numbers to you," Stewart said. "There's definitely a gray area there.

"I was obviously hoping for no suspension, but I kind of expected it. I've seen a couple replays. It looked pretty bad."

Added captain David Backes: "It's up to the rest of the guys now to fill that void and make sure that we're making up for his absence. When he comes back, he'll be more energized and more determined than ever."

Backes said the League is trying to crack down on any type of hit, whether done by accident or not, and the team accepts the consequences.

"It's those kinds of hits that he said as a League we're going to have taken out," he said. "Unfortunately, it's a guy on our team that's the recipient of a suspension. I think he's been relatively consistent throughout the season on hits that are into the boards or hits from the backside.

"Chris plays hard. He's a great part of our team. We wish he wasn't suspended, but the fact of the matter is when you play hard like he does, when you're in the trenches, when you're battling all the time, you're probably going to be suspended. Especially with the way things are right now."

Stewart, who has 3 goals and 5 points in 17 games, said he'll use caution but won't change his style.

"I've got to stick to my game here," he said. "I'm definitely more valuable to my team on the ice than in the press box.

"I'm probably going to think twice the next time I see a guy's numbers to me. As far as competing and going out there and playing with that edge, I'm still going to play with that edge, for sure."
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