The St. Louis Blues were already suffering the loss of their rookie sensation Vladimir Tarasenko when on Tuesday in Practice the Blues lost two more forwards.
When the season started, one of the hottest lines for the Blues was the pairing of McDonald, Tarasenko, and Steen, but now all three forwards will be out indefinitely.
After a home win against the Columbus Blue Jackets that was less than impressing, St. Louis Blues Coach Ken Hitchcock decided to push the team hard this week in practice. Returning to drills you would normally only run in a training camp, Hitchcock wanted to get the most out of his team and get them back on the right track.
One of the drills Hitch had the team running is known as the “battle” drill or the “small ice” drill. The drill consists of placing two nets about 30 feet from one another and having small groups of players battle to score goals in the small space. Unfortunately for the Blues, this might be the last of the battle drills that the team sees for quite a while.
Steen was the first to go down and was injured in a battle for the puck that saw him land awkwardly on his shoulder. Steen had already been complaining of soreness and a minor injury in his shoulder which may mean that this fall aggravated something that was already there.
Andy McDonald went down after colliding with forward Vladimir Sobotka and appeared to be focusing on his knee. McDonald appeared in pain on the ice and limped to the locker room on his own power after lying on the ice for a moment.
After yesterday’s practice Ken Hitchcock had little to say about the situation.
We won’t know until (Wednesday). Both guys fell in the last drill, so we’ll see in the morning.
Shortly after yesterday’s practice had ended, the Blues did call up Andy Murray from Peoria meaning that at least one of the injuries could be serious.
Meeting with the media after practice, St. Louis Blues left wing David Perron had this to say,
We were in the battle drill out there and that’s a thing that can happen. It’s tough to see two in a row go down like that, but what can we do? It’s the NHL and we’ve got to keep going. I don’t know what to think of it yet. Hopefully both guys are fine. … I don’t know, we’ll see. We’ve just got to deal with it… Hitch wanted us to bring the level up and we did. I kind of got into it with Roman a little early. Sometimes guys get (ticked) off. We’re all human and we take pride in our work.
While it is good that the Blues are showing spirit and tenacity in practice, the loss of an entire forward line may put a severe damper on an already struggling Blues team.
Hey, it happens … it happens. It could happen anytime. A guy could lose an edge. But let’s not get all wound up until we see what it is. So let’s evaluate it and see what it is. I think we’re really getting better. Unfortunately the last drill when those two guys went down kind of took from another really good practice. We had a lot of fun and guys were working hard, really accomplishing a lot, so hopefully we can take a good lineup into the game on Thursday.
So while the Blues had remained mostly healthy through the month of February, the loss of Tarasenko, Steen, and McDonald could have a major impact on the team going into a critical game against a Chicago team that has yet to lose in regulation. The loss of the St. Louis Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak set the Blues back earlier this month, but the loss of an entire forward line at once could mean the Blues are in serious trouble.
We will have more as we get it and will keep you up to date on the injuries the Blues are suffering.
LET’S GO BLUES!