(HockeyStL) -- Tuesday’s Blues practice in Anaheim was a bit different from what fans and players have grown accustomed to. All 26 players on the active roster were present on the ice throughout practice including concussed players Matt D’Agostini, Kris Russell, and Alex Steen. Steen, D’Agostini , and Andy McDonald skated together on what has been named the “red” line, the line was given its name because of the red no-contact-jerseys the players are sporting.
It is uncommon that the Blues have multiple positive injury updates in one day, and if anything, the Blues prepare for the worst, but Tuesday was the exception as even more positive news was reported. Blues’ captain, David Backes, was not only on the ice, but also skating well enough that it looks like his streak of 185 consecutive games played will remain intact. Jason Arnott, who was given time off for maintenance by head coach Ken Hitchcock, will also be in the lineup when the Blues face off against the Ducks on Thursday. Post Dispatch Blues beat writer Jeremy Rutherford also reports that Kris Russell could be inserted into the lineup Wednesday as well if he tells Hitchcock he is ready to return.
Perhaps the most welcome return on Tuesday was that of Alex Steen who rejoined and practiced with the team after receiving treatment in California for the past few weeks. Steen was receiving a similar treatment to what Andy McDonald underwent not too long ago with his concussion. The treatment is known as the Hyperbaric Chamber, and apparently it works as both McDonald and Steen saw improvement after their respective treatment. Steen was a huge part of the Blues’ offense before being diagnosed with a concussion earlier this season, and if he does make a return to the Blues’ lineup this season, it would be better than any trade that Armstrong could have made.
All of these updates qualify as great news for the Blues, as it appears they are finally on the verge of being healthy, and getting these players could be exactly what the Blues need to go deep into the playoffs. Keep in mind that there is still a ways to go before Steen and D’Agostini are ready to return, but the first step to returning was taken on Tuesday.
The Blues currently sit atop the NHL and have already clinched a playoff spot. Therefore, they have absolutely no reason to rush any of these players back before the playoffs. Nonetheless, with fewer than three weeks to go before the start of the playoffs, the Blues are able to see rays of hope that they may enter hockey’s second season at nearly full strength.