Friday, January 17, 2014

Steen activated, set to return Saturday

Blues' leading goal scorer missed 11 games with a concussion

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- The record may not indicate it, but the Blues will get a big and welcome addition back into their lineup Saturday night.

Alexander Steen, who's missed the past 11 games with a concussion, skated on Friday -- the fourth time in five days on the ice with his teammates -- and deemed himself fit and ready to return against the Anaheim Ducks.

Steen, who leads the Blues in goals (24) and is second in points with 38 (behind T.J. Oshie's 40), is fifth in the NHL in goals. He went through another hard workout on the ice during the team's optional skate at the Ice Zone.
(St. Louis Blues/Mark Buckner)
The Blues will get a boost Saturday night with the return of Alexander
Steen (20) to the lineup after missing 11 games with a concussion.

Steen's made good progress throughout the week and will slot back in on the left wide with David Backes and T.J. Oshie against the hottest team in the NHL in the Ducks, who played Friday in Chicago.

"I took it at my own pace," said Steen, who has 38 points in 35 games. "I feel like we're ready to go tomorrow.

"I think everybody who (returns) has to be 100 percent confident. It's not just the way I play. Once you're in, you've got to go back in and play."

The Blues were 8-2-1 with Steen out of the lineup. His initial injury occurred when taking a high hit to the head from Ottawa's Zack Smith on Dec. 16, then taking a late hit from Montreal's Douglas Murray on Dec. 19 and finally, a collision with former teammate David Perron at Edmonton on Dec. 21. Steen has not played since.

"We're all really excited to get him back," teammate Jaden Schwartz said of Steen. "He's a huge part of our team. It's nice to see his health back for sure. To get him back in the lineup, he's going to be a big boost. He plays in every situation and a big leader on this team. Having him back's going to make us more confident a better feeling."

Steen was recently selected to represent Sweden, along with teammate Patrik Berglund, in the 2014 Sochi Olympics, comes back into the lineup on the heels of the Blues getting downed down to reality a bit after a 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings Thursday.

When Steen left the lineup, he was battling with Washington's Alex Ovechkin for the NHL goal scoring lead. Ovechkin currently leads the league with 34 goals.

"He's had a great year. He's been our best player," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of Steen. "He's in great shape right now. I think we're going to play him as much as he can handle and hopefully he can get up to speed right away and play the minutes that he did before and contribute the way he did before. He was a huge impact player for us. 

"He's felt good for a week. It's time to get going."

With Steen being activated, the Blues sent forward Dmitrij Jaskin back to the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League.

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