Colaiacovo returns, targets opener;
McDonald, Johnson set to get on ice Thursday
By LOUIE KORAC
HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- Carlo Colaiacovo, out since Sept. 24 after suffering a hip-flexor injury in a preseason game against Minnesota, was back on the ice Tuesday at St. Louis Mills.
Colaiacovo, who said he's "on track to play Saturday," skated with his teammates for the first time in 11 days.
"I felt really good," Colaiacovo said. "Obviously it's not fun watching, not fun being out there with the guys, but it definitely feels good to get back out there and I feel good. I look forward to getting better every day."
Payne had Colaiacovo paired with Tyson Strachan on the ice Tuesday and said the target is to play in the opener after his observations of the defenseman's play.
"Not too bad," Payne said. "Looked like he hadn't been on the ice and the gas task was a little bit low on some of it, but he was with a group that only had three D as well, so you've got enough extra reps. For the most part, good steps towards this weekend."
"That's what I'm preparing for," he said. "I'm preparing to be in there Saturday night. Right now, if things continue to go as good as they are, then it should be a pretty good possibility."
Colaiacovo's hip-flexor apparently was more than just a strain, the injuries McDonald and Johnson are dealing with.
"It was bothering me significantly for the first couple days," Colaiacovo said. "I didn't really know how bad it was. I just wanted to take it easy. There's no sense in pushing it at this time of year. I got the proper rest. I've got to give credit to our training staff, who really helped me out a lot. ... Hopefully, there will be no setbacks today and come back tomorrow and continue to move forward."
* McDonald, Johnson still out -- Both McDonald and Johnson, dealing with hip-flexor strains, are expected to be back on the ice Thursday after an off-ice workout Wednesday at the St. Louis Mills.
Both are expected to be ready in time for Saturday's opener against Philadelphia.
"It gives them a couple extra days," Blues coach Davis Payne said. "We figured this would buy them some more time. Andy's chomping at the bit, and Erik's real close. Both guys we anticipate for the weekend."
* Sobotka on track -- Center Vladimir Sobotka was once again on the ice with his teammates Tuesday -- still skating with the no-contact red jersey -- but this time, the Trebic, Czech Republic native was partaking in drills and also took in some light contact.
Sobotka, 23, will begin the season on injured reserve but is going to go see doctors in Boston Oct. 13 to see if he can get clearance to begin playing as soon as possible.
"Even though he's got the red jersey on, he probably had a little bit of contact today," Payne said. "I just think he's itching to get that thing off and get cleared. He's got to get up to Boston on the 13th and get that final checkout from the doctors up there. From that point forward, it should be the final touches upon game-type conditioning and feeling people bump against him and getting ready for the pace and timing that goes with that.
"You get past the 13th, you start looking at early games within 5- to 7-day span after that."