Pietrangelo begins skating after surgery;
players wait before deciding on going overseas
By LOUIE KORAC
CHESTERFIELD, Mo. -- Among the skaters with fellow teammates and other NHLers Thursday included Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.
Pietrangelo, who had surgery to remove a bursa sac from his ankle a month ago, resumed skating on Monday after beginning off-ice workouts a couple weeks after the surgery, according to Pietrangelo.
"Yeah, I feel good. I feel better than I thought I was going to," Pietrangelo said after the informal skate at the Hardees IcePlex. "There's still a little bit of soreness. There's going to be a period to kind of get back into shape. Those guys are in top form right now; they've been skating for two months. For me, it's trying to get up to speed. Whenever you go through something like that, it's going to take a couple weeks to kind of get into regular form. I'm not too worried about it."
The surgery, performed on Aug. 29, was something Pietrangelo felt like he needed to do now since there was the possibility a lockout would keep players away from game action. The irritation was something that had been prolonged and bothersome for quite some time.
"When you've got so much pressure on your skate going on your foot, it just irritates it," Pietrangelo said. "It might sound like nothing, but it gets painful. After a full year, it was just something we had to take care of. It was just the right time to do it.
"We tried a few things to get rid of it and it didn't work, so especially with the time now that we have, we don't really know when it's going to turn back around. We thought it would kind of be a good time to do it, get it out of the way. At that time, there was still lots of time if camp started on time."
Pietrangelo was joined on the ice Thursday by Scott Nichol, T.J. Oshie, David Backes, Matt D'Agostini, Jamie Langenbrunner, Kevin Shattenkirk, Barret Jackman, Jaden Schwartz, Mike McKenna, Sergei Andronov and Evgeny Grachev as well as Calgary's Chris Butler, Chicago's Brandon Bollig, and former Blues Ben Bishop and Cam Janssen.
* Playing overseas a possibility? -- The Blues already have more NHLers playing overseas in leagues throughout Europe during the lockout.
Alex Steen and Patrik Berglund are in Sweden, Vladimir Tarasenko is in Russia and the KHL, Chris Stewart is playing in Germany, Roman Polak and Vladimir Sobotka are in their home country playing in the Czech Republic, Kris Russell will be playing in Finland and Jaroslav Halak could latch on with his hometown Slovakia club HC Slovan Bratislava, which competes in the KHL.
But depending on the length of the lockout, others could join them as well but not certain.
Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, one of the Blues' player reps for the NHLPA, said he'll stick around and feel out the negotiation process.
"I've thought about it. As of right now, I'd like to wait and see and maybe feel the temperature of this thing at the end of October," Shattenkirk said. "If it looks like it's going to be something that's a little longer, then I'll really start to entertain the ideas of overseas. There have been a few opportunities, but I just still think it's a little too early for me at this time."
Any ideas where?
"The plan is to just throw my name out and see who might be interested and see what league fits well and fits best," Shattenkirk said. "I really haven't done too much research on the whole thing."
Veteran Andy McDonald is another one considering options overseas but like Shattenkirk, will wait a couple weeks before deciding.
"I'm definitely considering it," McDonald said Thursday. "I kind of want to get a better sense of which way things are going here with negotiations. There's no sense of me personally rushing over there right now.
"I definitely want to play hockey and want to play in some games. If it looks like this thing's going to be long, then I definitely will be going over there to get some games in and making sure that I'm staying on top of my game."
Pietrangelo, who like Shattenkirk doesn't have the option of joining Peoria and playing in the AHL because they don't have two-way contracts, will take his time deciding when and/or if he will look elsewhere.
"I would tell you if I had any idea, but right now, with the ankle, I'm just kind of taking it slow and see how it goes," Pietrangelo said. "Once I get back up to how I feel I can play a game and feel when I'm ready to jump into real speed, then I'll decide what I want to do. For now, it's just working with my ankle and trying to get that healed up.
"I'm not even considering anything right now until I feel like I can jump into a game, which is not anytime soon with the way it's feeling."
* Remainder of preseason canceled -- The NHL announced on Thursday that the remainder of the preseason schedule has been canceled due to the lockout.
The initial cancellation eliminated the first five games for the Blues, and with the recent wave being wiped out, the Blues lost games on Oct. 2 vs. Nashville, Oct. 3 at Dallas and Oct. 6 vs. the Stars.
The Blues are scheduled to open the 2012-13 season Oct. 11 in Colorado but with no progress being made between the league and players, regular season games could start being canceled as early as next week.
* Hitchcock coaching clinic -- Blues coach Ken Hitchcock should be firmly entrenched in training camp getting the team ready for the 2012-13 season. But with the lockout in place, he will be giving back to area coaches instead.
The Blues announced Wednesday that the 60-year-old Hitchcock, who won a Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999, along with assistant coaches will run a three-day coaching clinic Oct. 9-11 from 6-8 p.m. at the Ice Zone inside St. Louis Mills.
The seminars are free and open to travel coaches on the 9th, high school coaches on the 10th and house league coaches on the 11th. Space is limited so to register, go to the team's website here: http://blues.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=83330.