(HockeyStL) -- Saturday night was a much-needed showing by the Blues. The club routed Nashville, scoring six goals and allowing just one for their sixth regulation win of the season. But it wasn’t all good for the Blues on Saturday as the club announced injuries to forwards Magnus Paajarvi and Chris Stewart in-game. Both injuries were significant enough to sideline the players for the remainder of the game.
Paajarvi, who was playing in his fourth game of the season, left for the Blues’ locker room in the first period. Paajarvi was hit by Nashville’s Victor Bartley approximately mid-way through period one. He remained on the ice after the hit, but never returned after finishing his fifth, and what would be his final shift at 10:44 in the first period.
Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock told reporters after the game, including St. Louis Post Dispatch writer Jeremy Rutherford, that Paajarvi’s injury was “significant”. The team labeled it as an upper-body injury, but Hitchcock was not willing to give any more info.
Paajarvi was settling into the Blues’ lineup after the team’s four-day excursion in South Carolina. He was not a player in any of the Blues’ first five games, but has played in each of their last four. Paajarvi started on the fourth line in his first game as a Blue, but had recently been playing alongside Vladimir Tarasenko and Vladimir Sobotka on the team’s second line. Though he has no points and is a minus-one on the season, Hitchcock has liked Paajarvi’s game of late.
The Blues faced a two-man disadvantage when they lost Stewart more than halfway through the second period. The play in which Stewart likely sustained his injury was much more obvious. Nashville’s Patric Hornqvist was racing Stewart for a puck and nudged Stewart into the end boards. Stewart remained down on the ice for a lengthy period of time, but skated off to the locker room on his own. Stewart remained in the locker room for approximately three minutes before returning to the Blues’ bench. On his next shift, Stewart engaged with Hornqvist, undoubtedly regarding his displeasure over the earlier hit, and appeared to worsen his injury.
Stewart was supposed to serve a total of 14 penalty minutes, but before that time had been served, the Blues made the announcement that Stewart would not be returning to the game. Stewart’s injury was also announced as an upper-body injury. After the game, Hitchcock told reporters, according to Rutherford, that the nature of Stewart’s injury is not known, but it doesn’t appear to be a small one.
The Blues are off on Sunday, so their next practice will be on Monday morning. Both Stewart and Paajarvi are expected to be evaluated, and an update will likely be given on Monday as to the extent of the injuries.
Currently, it appears that both will miss at least one game. The Blues’ next game is on Tuesday, which is also the fifth and final game of Maxim Lapierre’s five-game suspension. If both Stewart and Paajarvi are indeed unable to suit up for Tuesday’s game, the Blues will have to call on a player from the Chicago Wolves. Adam Cracknell is a player that would be inserted into the lineup to replace one of the players, but the Blues will have to test their depth if both players are still sidelined.
The lengthiness and severity of the injuries will play a role in determining the route the Blues take. The Blues have plenty of forward depth in their system if needed, but obviously would prefer to have both Paajarvi and Stewart healthy for Tuesday. That doesn’t appear to be likely.