Friday, November 5, 2010

Jackman joins injured list with sprained knee

Defenseman Cole recalled from Peoria;
Nikitin, Janssen, Conklin set to see action

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- The hits keep coming. The Blues continue to take them, but sooner or later, it's bound to catch up.

Already without defensemen Roman Polak (wrist) and Carlo Colaiacovo (concussion), the Blues learned on Friday that they'll be without veteran defenseman Barret Jackman for at least three weeks with a sprained right knee. He was placed on the injured reserve list.

Jackman was injured early in the second period after being hit by San Jose's Ryane Clowe in the defensive zone. Clowe caught Jackman along the corner boards and pinned the defenseman's right knee. Jackman momentarily left the ice but eventually returned to finish the game. He played 17 minutes, 20 seconds of a 2-0 victory over the Sharks, the Blues' fifth straight win.

The team also announced that Polak, who had wrist surgery last week to repair a torn tendon in his right wrist, will be re-evaluated in eight weeks. Colaiacovo is day-to-day since he was hit by Nashville's Jordin Tootoo at Nashville on Oct. 28.

To replace Jackman, the Blues recalled defenseman Ian Cole from their minor league farm team in Peoria.

Blues coach Davis Payne said Friday that there is a "strong possibility" that defenseman Nikita Nikitin, out since breaking his right wrist on Oct. 1 against Chicago in a preseason game, will play tonight in Boston and/or Sunday in New York against the Rangers.

Cole, one of the Blues' three first-round draft picks in 2007, was in a battle with four other defenseman in training camp for two open slots on the Blues' back line.

Cole got the call from Peoria general manager Kevin McDonald Thursday night and told to pack his bags and was in Boston awaiting the Blues to arrive late Friday afternoon.

"I was sweating and shaking profusely and my heart started going nuts," an excited Cole said by phone. "I'm pumped. Any time you get the nod, it's pretty cool."

Cole had no points in 11 games with the Rivermen and was a minus-1 with 16 penalty minutes.

"It's been going alright. With the numbers, they could be going better," Cole said of his time in Peoria. "But at the same time, they wanted me to play a pretty specific kind of game. The coaches have been harping about don't try to force anything, try not to make the hard play, just go simple, simple-get-it-out, simple-get-it-up, and that's what I've been trying to do. ... I haven't been playing my best, I haven't been playing as well as I could, but I don't think I've been playing too poorly either."

Cole, who played in five preseason games for the Blues and picked up a pair of assists, said he understands that this is another training camp session for him. He could be here a couple days, or it could be a couple months.

"It'll be the same mentality I had going into training camp," he said. "This is essentially ... it might be a couple games, a one-game training camp to show I can play up here and play well, make a difference and help the team win. I've got to go out there and show them that I can.

"I'm extremely excited. There's definitely little nerves in there, but it's a little far away from game time to be getting too nervous. ... I'm sure the nerves will come a little bit, but it'll mostly be excitement. ... I've got to kind of take this opportunity and show them that I can play."

Nikitin, the Blues' fifth-round pick in 2004, has been skating for a week and continues to improve with his rehab and his on-ice preparation has improved as the week has gone along.

"We feel he's ready," Payne said Friday of Nikitin. "We feel that he's done a great job with his conditioning over the past month and in the past few days in practice has shown that the battle level is equal to the task. There's a comfort level there. (Tonight's) a pretty good night for him to get a chance."

Payne also disclosed that there is also a "strong possibility" of Cam Janssen getting his first action this weekend since the season opener. The Blues' coach also said backup netminder Ty Conklin, who has only played one game this season -- Oct. 16 in Dallas, could see action this weekend, likely Sunday against the Rangers.

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