Friday, February 24, 2012

Russell returns to St. Louis for evaluation

Defenseman suffered concussion-like
symptoms Thursday in Nashville; Cole recalled

ST. LOUIS -- This is getting to be old hat, almost like words etched in stone: The Blues must deal with adversity with yet another injury.

This time, it's projected to be a hit on their blue line, where Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said recently that the blue line is not where a team can afford any injuries.

Defenseman Kris Russell is the latest casualty, as he was sent home from the team's current six-game trip following Thursday's 3-2 shootout win at Nashville when Russell suffered concussion-like symptoms in the third period.

Russell was sent back to St. Louis to be evaluated by Dr. Matt Smith.

Russell, who has already missed nine games earlier this season with a groin injury, has three goals and three assists in 36 games with the Blues.

If Russell in fact has a concussion, he would be the the sixth player to have dealt with a concussion since the start of the season, joining David Perron, Andy McDonald, Carlo Colaiacovo, Alex Steen and Matt D'Agostini. Perron's concussion injury carried over from last season.

Cole would be making his trip back to St. Louis on recall this season. He has a goal and six points in 18 games for the Blues this season and nine points in 44 career games.

The team is likely to reinsert Kent Huskins into the lineup against the Jets Saturday but coach Ken Hitchcock likes Cole and could use him at times for the remainder of the trip.

"Yeah, he's been good. He was really good," Hitchcock said after Friday's practice in Winnipeg, where the Blues will face the Jets Saturday at 1 p.m. "So Husky will go in. We're not sure who Husky is going to play with, whether it's with Roman (Polak) or with Petro (Alex Pietrangelo), but we'll see.

"Cole will come in. We'll see where Russ is in a few days here."

Huskins, who returned to play three games after missing 46 because of a broken bone in his left ankle, sat out the last two games as Hitchcock said the veteran defenseman "hit a wall."

"Yeah, when you miss that much time, I think looking back on it, we probably should have spaced it a little better," Hitchcock said. "But he looks fine now, it looks like he's got some jump back, so that will be good. Ian Cole is going to come in and back up."

Huskins, whose last game was Sunday in Chicago, realizes he in fact hit a wall.

"I guess maybe ... it's tough to admit," Huskins said. "You come to work and obviously you want to play in every game, but it's a coach's decision whether you're in the lineup and that's fine. Keep working hard and be ready to go when called upon.

"I tried to take advantage of the extra work on the ice, the work with the coaches, and just prepared myself to be ready to go."

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