There was great anticipation about Paul Statsny debuting for the Blues tonight on a line with Alex Steen and Joakim Lindstrom.
Now, that enthusiasm is tempered just a bit.
Steen — who’s dealt with a myriad of injuries over the last three years — is being held out of Thursday’s game versus Columbus after getting “banged up” in Wednesday’s scrimmage. The decision will prevent Steen from linking up with Lindstrom, his former running mate on the Swedish junior national team, but the line will still have a decidedly Tre Kronor flavor as Magnus Paajarvi will replace Steen on the wing.
“When a guy gets pulled out, you’re always concerned, but right now, it’s day to day,” Hitchcock said of Steen, per NHL.com’s Lou Korac. “If it goes any deeper, I’ll let you know, but I don’t think we’re too worried about it. I think we’re at the point right now with our veteran guys where anybody that’s got even an ailment, we’re just going to pull them out.”
As for Stastny, he’s just looking forward to getting back out on the ice — regardless of linemates.
Armed with a four-year, $28 million deal, the former Colorado Avalanche center arrives in St. Louis under pressure to help the Blues end a recent string of playoff disappointments. St. Louis has been bounced in the opening round in consecutive years, and Stastny made a point of saying preparation for postseason starts now, in the preseason.
“Even before training camp, you have guys in tip-top shape, ready and willing to go for a long season,” he said, per the News-Democrat. “People have that long-term goal in mind. Everyone’s prepared to play 100-plus games or whatever it has to take.”
As for other Blues debuts tonight, keep an eye on Ivan Barbashev as he gets to play his first game in style, on a line with David Backes and T.J. Oshie. Barbashev, the 33rd overall pick at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, scored 68 points in 48 games for QMJHL Moncton last season.