Tuesday, January 14, 2014

(1-14-14) Coyotes-Blues Gameday Lineup

ST. LOUIS -- The Blues' revolving injured reserve door took a couple more turns on Tuesday.

Defenseman Roman Polak, who's missed 10 games with a fractured left ankle suffered Dec. 19 against the Montreal Canadiens, will return to the lineup when the Blues host the Phoenix Coyotes (7 p.m. on FSN, KMOX 1120-AM).

With Polak coming off IR, center Maxim Lapierre was placed on IR retroactive to Friday with a lower-body injury suffered late in a 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.

The Blues recalled forward Dmitrij Jaskin from the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League.

Vladimir Sobotka also missed the morning skate Tuesday with the flu and will miss the game Tuesday.

"He's off IR, ready to go," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of Polak after the morning skate. "He'll play tonight. 'Lappy' goes on IR. He's going to miss the next couple games. 'Sobe' missed, he's got the flu. We left him at home and hopefully he's ready to go. 

"We tested (Lapierre) today, not ready to go. We're looking to bring a player up."

With Polak's return to the lineup, the Blues are back to eight healthy defensemen. The odd-player out tonight is veteran Jordan Leopold, who has three assists in four games since his return from ligament damage in his right hand. Ian Cole, who started the season as the seventh defenseman, stays in the lineup.

"(Leopold's) been OK, but Cole's quite frankly been better," Hitchcock said. "Ian's played really well. It's hard to take a guy out when he's playing as well as he's played."

Hitchcock didn't mention anything specific regarding where Cole has excelled. It's been the whole package.

"Everything," Hitchcock said. "Physicality, composure with the puck, the game's slowed down in his head so he's able to read things defensively. 

"He really took advantage of the opportunity here. He's earned the right to keep playing. We understand that we're going to get everybody in at times, but Cole quite frankly, if you're looking at eight healthy guys, he's earned the right to play. We expect the guys that aren't in to have great attitudes towards getting themselves ready when it's their turn. Internal competition makes your team better, makes the players in that competition uncomfortable at times, but man, does it ever make your team better. They know that, so I'm sure you're going to see guys like Carlo (Colaiacovo) and 'Leo' working their tail off so when it's their turn, they're not going to miss a beat either."

Cole, who has eight points in 30 games, feels he's done what's been asked of him.

"I think I’ve played well and I think I’ve helped the team continue to win games," Cole said. "Do I want to be in the top six and play every single night? Absolutely. No question. But that's up to the coaches and that's their decision. I'll just kind of roll with whatever they decide because there's a lot of great players. It'll be interesting to see how it works out (moving forward)."

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Forward Patrik Berglund was all smiles in the locker room following the morning skate. He had every reason to be.

There are Swedish reporters in town interviewing him, likely regarding his selection to the Swedish Olympic team, but Berglund also will play in his 400th career game tonight.

Berglund, holding his new Christmas present given to him by his girlfriend (a new Chelsea FC soccer ball), was the 25th pick in the first round of the 2006 NHL Draft. He's spent his entire career with the Blues.

"Is it tonight? I knew I was really close," Berglund said of the milestone. "It's a milestone for me. It's exciting.

"It's been a really good run. The team's getting better and better every year. That's obviously nice to be a part of actually, developing every year. We're getting better here every year and it's nice to be a part of this kind of from the beginning to now. A few of the guys have been part of it the whole way here. Everyone appreciates it even more. We really want to win and that's what we're striving for every day."

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The Blues' projected lineup:

Jaden Schwartz-David Backes-T.J. Oshie

Magnus Paajarvi-Patrik Berglund-Vladimir Tarasenko

Brenden Morrow-Derek Roy-Chris Stewart

Dmitrij Jaskin-Adam Cracknell-Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo

Barret Jackman-Kevin Shattenkirk

Ian Cole-Roman Polak

Jaroslav Halak will get the start in goal. Brian Elliott is the backup.

Healthy scratches include Jordan Leopold and Carlo Colaiacovo. Alexander Steen (concussion) and Maxim Lapierre (lower body) are out. Vladimir Sobotka (flu) will miss the game.

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The Coyotes' projected lineup:

Shane Doan-Mike Ribeiro-Mikkel Boedker

Lauri Korpikoski-Martin Hanzal-Radim Vrbata

Rob Klinkhammer-Antoine Vermette-David Moss

Tim Kennedy-Kyle Chipchura-Jordan Szwarz

Keith Yandle-Derek Morris

Oliver Ekman-Larsson-David Schlemko

Rostislav Klesla-Michael Stone

Thomas Greiss was the lone goalie on the ice Tuesday and could start. Mike Smith played Monday and could get the day off. The Coyotes' goalie status is a gametime situation.

Healthy scratches include David Rundblad, Jeff halpern and Paul Bissonnette. Zbynek Michalek (hip) is on injured reserve.

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