Friday, September 30, 2011


Team mum on Colaiacovo injury, has one week to fine-tune certain aspects

ST. LOUIS -- The Blues went through a fast-paced but spirited and friendly workout on Friday, their last before the final preseason game.

The Blues will face the Dallas Stars Saturday at 1:30 p.m. but the news on defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo is ... no news.
(Getty Images)
Carlo Colaiacovo (28) left Thursday's exhibition win over Colorado with
an undisclosed upper-body injury. The Blues are awaiting test results.

Blues coach Davis Payne wasn't tight-lipped but he also didn't disclose anything new on Colaiacovo's mysterious upper-body injury, which he sustained in the first period of Thursday's 3-1 win over Colorado.

"We're going to get some further tests today," Payne said early Friday afternoon following practice at Scottrade Center. "What we determined this morning is we need to look into it a little bit more. Until we know more than that, there's no point giving you guys any sort of direction or non-direction. We've just got to wait."

This is the exact reason why the Blues (5-2-0 in the preseason) went out and replenished a cupboard that was pretty thin as far as depth was concerned, although this injury took place on the defensive side, where they lost a ton of man-games a season ago.

If for any reason Colaiacovo -- who has had a history of injuries throughout his career -- is out for any length of time, Nikita Nikitin and Ian Cole are ready to step in.

Payne also said the team will take a look at some players on the fringe of making the squad for the game against the Stars. Some of those players include forwards Chris Porter, Evgeny Grachev, Adam Cracknell, Philip McRae and Ryan Reaves, who did play in Thursday's victory. The team also recalled forwards Jonathan Cheechoo, Anthony Peluso, Brett Sterling and defenseman Mark Cundari from Peoria Friday afternoon, a clear indication that the lineup against the Stars will be for those looking at making one last crack at the big club.

Jaroslav Halak will get the nod in goal, as both Ben Bishop and Brian Elliott, vying for the backup role this season, have each made two of the seven preseason starts. Halak has started two games and Jake Allen, optioned back to Peoria, started one.

* Blues rounding into shape, still fine-tuning -- Thursday's lineup against the Avalanche resembled one that is as close to being regular-season ready as it can be.

The results were positive for the most part but Payne was concerned with a couple areas, particularly a power play that was 1-for-4 where the team used all its regulars.

"We had some potitional issues," Payne said. "We were kind of drifting into some spaces that doesn't make us very affective. That's why it's exhibition. ... These are things we've got to get worked out."

Forward Alex Steen said things are progressing according to plan.

"I think the last couple games, we've taken steps to getting closer to our complete game," Steen said. "I think every game we've been focusing on different things, from fore-check to defensive zone to PP and PK. Now we're just tweaking. We've got one more game here and we'll have a full week of practice.

"We'll have time to tweak the last little bit of things. We'll be ready. I think everyone's super-excited to get going. There's a special buzz around the team, the city. We're all excited."

* FANfest schedule -- FANfest will take place prior to the Blues' exhibition game with the Stars on Saturday. For a complete list of activities, here is a link:|STL|home

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