(HockeyStL) -- The Blues took part in their first regular season pregame skate of the season on Thursday, but one Blue, the newest, was not taking part. Instead of skating with the team, forward Brenden Morrow was awaiting word on the status of his work visa, without which, he will be unable to play in Thursday’s game.
Morrow, 34, has been skating with the Blues since being signed by the team in September. However, he has yet to receive the okay to work, or in this case play, due to issues surrounding his work visa.
Head coach Ken Hitchcock was asked about the likelihood of having Morrow, but provided little insight.
"I don’t know. It's up to the government,” he said in an interview posted on the Blues website.
In order for Morrow to play, the paperwork regarding the visa must be cleared up by the 7:30 p.m. start time. The Blues are prepared with an alternate plan in the event that Morrow cannot dress for the matchup.
"We'll just see where Brenden's at," Hitchcock said. "He's getting his paperwork done now. So if he's back in time, he'll play. If not, Magnus (Paajarvi) will go in that hole."
Paajarvi, who was acquired by the Blues in an offseason trade that sent forward David Perron to Edmonton, was expected to be an extra for Thursday night’s game. With Morrow potentially sidelined, Paajarvi was skating with the team in Thursday’s morning skate according to reports.
Should Morrow not be able to suit up, Hitchcock said he plans to play Paajarvi on the fourth line and slide Vladimir Sobotka up to the second line. Morrow was slotted to play with Derek Roy and Chris Stewart, so that is likely who Sobotka would be lining up with, assuming Hitchcock sticks to his original plans.
The Blues’ hope is that Morrow has the required paperwork done, and is cleared for action by game time. It appears that it could go down to the wire.