Posted on April 30, 2012 at 7:44 AM
(HockeyStL) -- Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock updated the status of injured defenseman Alex Pietrangelo after Sunday’s practice, and listed him as day-to-day with what is believed to be a concussion.
“He’s day-to-day, upper-body, we will see tomorrow.”
Pietrangelo was pushed into the boards by Dwight King of the Los Angeles Kings during Saturday night’s semifinal game. King received a two minute minor penalty for boarding. Pietrangelo returned to the game for one more shift, but then made his way down the Blues’ tunnel and into the locker room. He would not return.
The NHL’s official statement on the call was that the referees did not believe it was a hit worthy of a five minute major penalty.
The injury to Pietrangelo, and the force of the collision leaves many thinking that it is suspension worthy, but according to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, no league involvement is expected.
“Why don’t we leave that for the league,” said Coach Ken Hitchcock. “I’m more worried about ‘Petro’, our group. Everybody’s made their comments about it, we’ve all seen the written stuff, so let’s just let (the NHL) comment, let’s move on to game two.”
The biggest task for the Blues will be taking on Pietrangelo’s ice time which averages out to nearly twenty five minutes a game. If Pietrangelo is unable to suit up for Monday’s game, Hitchcock may elect to dress seven defensemen and only eleven forwards.
“One of the things if ‘Petro’ doesn’t play, we’ve got to look at the penalty kill minutes,” said Hitchcock. “Huskins is really good at penalty killing so whether we do eleven and seven or twelve and six, we have to decide that.”
Hitchcock did say that Ian Cole would be the defenseman that replaces Pietrangelo in Monday’s lineup if need be.
“Cole comes in, whether we go to seven (defenseman) and eleven (forwards), we will see. We think Cole has really gotten better in the last month since he’s been practicing, he’s looked really good, he’s also a guy that can play the right side well. It’s just an easy switch.”
No one player can replace Pietrangelo, so this could be a serious situation for the Blues, but there is a chance that discussing these alternatives is all-for-not as Hitchcock said “don’t be writing him off (for Monday) yet.”