By LOU KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- Judging by the way defenseman Colton Parayko skated Saturday morning, the rookie will be available to play against the Detroit Red Wings (7 p.m. on FS-MW, KMOX 1120-AM).
But the team will wait until the pregame skate to make a decision on whether Parayko, who was injured late in a 3-2 victory against the Winnipeg Jets on Monday.
"We'll let you know on the night of the game," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "... Hopefully he gets to play tonight. I'm not sure we'll know until the game-time skate. We'll see how he gets through the rest of the day today."
The Blues went 1-1-0 with Parayko out of the lineup but definitely missed him.
"Mobility. He's a big guy who moves really well, really transitions the puck well," Hitchcock said of Parayko. "Him and (Carl) Gunnarsson have been a great pair because we get a real advantage matchup using 'Petro' and 'Bouw' because we can use them sometimes secondary matchups or even offensively. 'Gunny' and Colton have been a great pair for a couple weeks now. That's a good sign for us. Those two on the ice, we feel comfortable playing them against top players or whoever."
Parayko was skating with Gunnarsson at the morning skate. If he can't play, Robert Bortuzzo will draw back in.
"It's something I want to make sure I take care of," Parayko said. "I don't want it to keep lingering on through the season. Hopefully come game-time I'm a go and should be good.
"I wasn't exactly sure how long it was going to be. Initially I thought it was going to be a couple days. That's just the way it is. I want to get ready and come every night and help the team win. ... It seems like I sat out 20 games already and it's only been two. It's obviously hard to watch, but at the same time, you're got to make sure it's in the best interests and the best interests of the team. I've got to make sure I'm 100 percent so I can try and push forward for the team."
The Blues (13-6-1) would not have had the available resources had they played on Friday. An extra day helped get some guys feeling better health-wise.
"We know where we're at body-wise," Hitchcock said. "Instead of practice, this is now, what, almost three weeks we haven't had a hockey practice. We've opted to just focus on energy, get what we can from it and see if we can focus on that rather than spending extra time on practice."
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Left wing Alexander Steen will dress in the 700th game of his NHL career against the Red Wings (10-8-2).
Steen, who has played 446 games with the Blues, has 188 goals and 258 assists for 446 points.
"He's kind of mister-do-it-all for us, I think," said defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who was drafted third overall, or 21 spots ahead of Steen in the 2002 NHL Draft. "Five-on-five, he's playing against the top lines, plays power play, kills penalties. He's obviously a leader in our locker room. I think he's probably one of the guys who's been here the longest with 'Backs.' Any time you get a milestone like that, it's kind of neat. You kind of just think about it at first and then you move on. You pass those little things and you think about what's gone on in your career. He's one of our best players."
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Scottie Upshall will return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch on Thursday.
"You like his energy, you love the speed, but we need the puck to be more part of his game," Hitchcock said. "He has the ability to really do good stuff at practice and he's very confident and he seems nervous to make a play during the competitions. We talked to him about it and I guess where he plays, whoever plays on that line, doesn't matter who it is, we need somebody that can make plays. When he's confident and can make plays, then he's an effective player. If you're just giving up the puck, then you're chasing it all night. That's really what a fourth line does."
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The Blues assigned forward Jeremy Welsh to the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League.
Welsh played in two games and did not register a point.
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The Blues' projected lineup:
Alexander Steen-Jori Lehtera-Vladimir Tarasenko
Magnus Paajarvi-David Backes-Scottie Upshall
Robby Fabbri-Scott Gomez-Troy Brouwer
Steve Ott-Kyle Brodziak-Dmitrij Jaskin
Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo
Joel Edmundson-Kevin Shattenkirk
Carl Gunnarsson-Colton Parayko
Jake Allen will start in goal. Brian Elliott will be the backup.
Healthy scratches include Ryan Reaves and Robert Bortuzzo. Paul Stastny (foot), Jaden Schwartz (ankle) and Patrik Berglund (shoulder).
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The Red Wings' projected lineup:
Justin Abdelkader-Henrik Zetterberg-Dylan Larkin
Brad Richards-Pavel Datsyuk-Teemu Pulkkinen
Tomas Tatar-Riley Sheahan-Gustav Nyquist
Drew Miller-Luke Glendening-Darren Helm
Niklas Kronwall-Mike Green
Danny DeKeyser-Jonathan Ericsson
Brendan Smith-Alexey Marchenko
Jimmy Howard will start after Petr Mrazek played Friday against the Los Angeles Kings.
Healthy scratches include Joakim Andersson and Jakub Kindl. Johan Franzen (concussion), Kyle Quincey (ankle) and Landon Ferraro (knee) are out with injuries. Ferraro was placed on waivers Saturday.