Gunnarsson activated from IR, expected to play tonight -

Gunnarsson activated from IR, expected to play tonight

(HockeySTL) -- The Blues have activated Carl Gunnarsson from injured reserve. The defenseman, who has missed the last ten games with concussion symptoms, is expected to play Friday in Anaheim.

Gunnarsson, who was injured on Dec. 6 after being the recipient of a high hit, has been symptom-free for around a week.

“He practiced full (Thursday),” Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock said after Thursday’s skate. “This is three days in a row. We are going to talk to him and see if he’s ready to play. He’s had no complications, no setbacks at all. This is now a week with no setbacks. He’s acting and behaving like a player now.”

Last week, Gunnarsson was sent home from the team’s road trip after experiencing further concussion symptoms. Those complications came after the defenseman began to ramp up his workouts in anticipation of a near return.

“That’s how it goes sometimes,” Gunnarsson said. “You try to push it a bit and never know what is going to happen. I couldn’t skate with the team so they sent me back here to skate on my own and pick my own pace.”

With one goal, four assists this year, Gunnarsson will likely suit up for game No. 21 against the Ducks.

The beginning of Gunnarsson’s career with the Blues has been a rough one. He has missed 17 games this year due to health reasons.

The first seven games of the season were missed due to an offseason hip surgery to repair a problem Gunnarsson had been dealing with for some time. His bout with the recent concussion symptoms was an entirely new experience for the defenseman.

“This is the first time,” Gunnarsson said. “It’s tough to deal with when you haven’t been through it before. I’ve heard of guys having worse than I did. It’s a matter of getting rid of the symptoms and feeling good.”

The news of Gunnarsson’s activation isn’t exactly a surprise. Indications following Thursday’s practice were that Gunnarsson would play Friday. The final decision was expected to come after the flight to Anaheim.

In a correlated move, the Blues reassigned forward John McCarthy to the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves. McCarthy was recalled by the team on Wednesday and practiced Thursday before being reassigned.

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