Bouwmeester gametime decision; Berglund OK;
Brodeur ready when called upon; Binnington assigned to AHL
CHICAGO -- With all the Martin Brodeur hoopla surrounding the Blues on Tuesday, as the future Hall of Famer signed a one-year, $700,000 pro-rated contract filled with incentives, the Blues resume what amounts to be a four-game trip with a showdown with the rival Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday.
However, the Blues (16-6-2) will not know if Jay Bouwmeester will play after the defenseman appeared to aggravate a lower-body injury during practice on Tuesday.
Bouwmeester, who skated on his own Sunday and with the team Monday and Tuesday, left towards the end of practice and has been deemed a gametime decision by coach Ken Hitchcock.
"'Bouw' is fine. He'll be a game-time decision tomorrow," Hitchcock said."
Also, center Patrik Berglund was hit with an errant puck towards the end of practice and left the ice early but is expected to play after Hitchcock said he received seven stitches on his chin.
* Brodeur ready when called upon -- Brodeur will back up Jake Allen in goal against the Blackhawks, and then will make his Blues debut either Thursday at Nashville or Saturday at New York against the Islanders.
Hitchcock wasn't forthcoming when the 42-year-old will play, but after Brodeur went 19-14-6 with three shutouts, a 2.51 goals-against average and .901 save percentage last season, it's hard to place expectations when all he's done is practice.
"The adrenaline rush of being in a competition is something that ... it's hard to let go," Brodeur said. "I think it's probably one of the most difficult things for me, not having that in my life. I'm happy for that.
"I feel good in the net. Until I get to play games, it's going to be hard to tell before that, but I'm going to prepare myself for that until I get that first start."
Hitchcock, who coached with Brodeur for three Olympic teams with Canada as well as the 2004 World Cup of Hockey and against Brodeur during the 1999 Stanley Cup Final, won't lower his opinion.
"It's hard to lower your expectations on such a special athlete," Hitchcock said. "I'm not lowering them. I expect him to go in and help us win hockey games. I think he feels the same way. ... I don't care how much he's missed or age or anything like that. He's got moxey like any winning athlete does. I think Marty has high expectations of himself as do we."
Blues general manager Doug Armstrong agreed.
"Our expectations are that when he gets put in the net, he has to give us an opportunity to win," Armstrong said of Brodeur. "Great stories are great stories, but that's not my job responsibility -- it's to help the team put players on the ice that give us a chance to win. We believe that he gives us the best opportunity to win when he goes in there."
* Binnington assigned -- With Brodeur on board, the Blues made it a formality and officially assigned goalie Jordan Binnington to the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League.
Binnington, 21, backed up Allen the past two games -- both wins against Edmonton and Minnesota. He is 6-2-1 with a 1.89 GAA and .925 save percentage with the Wolves this season.
* Blues to miss Crawford -- The Blues will not see Corey Crawford when the Blues and Blackhawks clash at United Center on Wednesday. Instead, it will be Annti Raanta, who also was in goal when the Blues defeated the Blackhawks 3-2 earlier this season when Crawford was nursing another injury.
Coach Joel Quenneville told reporters Tuesday that Crawford sustained an undisclosed lower-body injury off the ice, sometime between the Hawks' last game Saturday during their annual 'Circus Trip' on Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings and practice Tuesday.
Crawford is 11-2-3 with a 2.26 GAA and .914 save percentage in 16 career games against the Blues. Raanta is 0-1-1 with a 3.88 GAA and .857 save percentage in two games against the Blues.
Also, Patrick Sharp (knee) will not play against the Blues, nor will defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk, who is out 3-4 months with a fractured left patella.