It appears Chris Stewart’s press box exile was a short one.
According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, the 24-year-old power forward will be back in the Blues lineup tonight after being made a healthy scratch for Game 2.
Stewart skated alongside Jason Arnott and Vladimir Sobotka on St. Louis’ third line during Monday’s pregame skate, suggesting that 1) Jamie Langenbrunner will be moved down to the fourth line, and 2) judging by the rushes, Matt D’Agostini is the odd man out.
Dropping Stewart from the lineup was just one of the changes Ken Hitchcock made for Game 2, and given how well those changes worked — the Blues looked solid and spirited in a 3-0 win over San Jose — it’s a little surprising that he’d tinker with the formula.
That said, it would also be tough to imagine Hitchcock banishing Stewart for any length of time. Even in a down year, Stewart scored 15 goals for St. Louis after posting back-to-back 28-goal campaigns — that goalscoring ability is key for a Blues team that does, on occasion, struggle to put pucks in the net.
In short, putting Stewart in the press box for a game was probably Hitch’s way of delivering a wake-up call. And it sounds like Stewart got the message.
“I do hope I get a chance to get back in there and show him that I can play,” Stewart said after learning of his Game 2 demotion. “This isn’t the time of the year to pout or get down on yourself. We’re a team, we’ve got to stick together, and they’re going to need me eventually in this series.
“When I get the chance again, I’ll be ready.”