Blues captain David Backes was back at practice today.
What did that mean? Well, something quite remarkable, per the Post-Dispatch:
[It] meant that every Blue was in uniform and accounted for Tuesday. That’s a total of 26 players, including 15 forwards, eight defensemen and three goalies. That borders on a miracle for a roster that has lost 288 man games to injury this season.
“It was good, first time all year,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “Nice to see, got some choices now. See how it goes tomorrow.”
Asked if every player was available for Game 1, Hitchcock replied: “Yeah, 100 percent, we’re to go … so let’s play. Thanks.”
To say the Blues have been besieged by injuries this season is an understatement. Only one player — Brouwer — appeared in all 82 contests while key contributors like Ott, Patrik Berglund and Jaden Schwartz each played in 50 or fewer.
With all these healthy bodies, Hitchcock does have some legitimate lineup decisions to make. One of the byproducts of St. Louis’ health issues is that several depth players saw quality minutes and playing time this year.
Up front, there’s a surplus of experience as well. Ott, who suffered a major hamstrings injury and then diagnosed with colitis, hasn’t appeared in a game since December but has 46 career playoff contests on his resume. Magnus Paajarvi and Dmitrij Jaskin, played 48 and 65 games this season, respectively.
The Blues will open their playoff campaign against Chicago tomorrow night.