There was a strange scene at St. Louis’ practice at the Honda Center yesterday — strange in the sense that a full compliment of Blues were participating.
The NHL leaders, ravaged by injury throughout the season, had 16 forwards, eight defensemen and two goalies on the ice for a grand total of 26 players…which, according to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, means the club had every player on its NHL roster in skates at one time.
“It’s a good start,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “We’ll see moving forward how it all turns out. But it was good news. It was expected news. We had planned for this.
“We’re still in various stages of repair, but they were able to participate fully in practice the first 50 minutes and go from there.”
Hands on deck included the concussed trio of Alex Steen (out since Dec. 30), Matt D’Agostini (Feb. 8) and Kris Russell (Feb. 24) as well as the walking wounded: David Backes (foot), Andy McDonald (shoulder) and Jason Arnott (being 37 years old.)
Steen, D’Agostini and McDonald all wore red non-contact jerseys but of the three, only McDonald is expected back soon as his recovery from last week’s shoulder injury is going better than expected. There’s still no timetable for Steen and D’Agostini, though Hitchcock is hopeful.
“They obviously had high energy, all three guys,” Hitchcock said. “[McDonald] was flying around the ice, Steen was flying around the ice, D’Agostini was flying around the ice … we’re still in the conditioning phase on some guys. I don’t know. I try not to get excited. I think sometimes you can hope for players to come back in, then they reach and certain stage and never get there, and you’re disappointed.”
While Steen and D’Agostini are a ways away, it sounds as though St. Louis could return Russell to the lineup on Wednesday against the Ducks.