(HockeySTL)-- After sitting out just one game with a concussion, Blues captain David Backes will return to the lineup on Saturday.
“Backes will play today,” Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock confirmed following the team’s morning skate, in which Backes was a participant.
Backes wasn’t as blunt as Hitchcock when he was asked whether or not he would play, but said he felt well enough following the skate to do so.
“I felt good in the skate this morning but those things aren’t black and white yes or no,” Backes said with a smile on his face. “This is a fluid, dynamic thing. If I feel good the rest of the day, I’ll be ready to go.”
The forward was also on the ice Friday for practice, just two days after sustaining the head injury, though the team was still monitoring his condition.
The injury occurred on Tuesday in Dallas after Backes collided with Stars defenseman Trevor Daley. Backes lost his balance, fell and slammed his head on the ice. The following day, Backes was diagnosed with a concussion.
Backes sat out Wednesday and Thursday but was given clearance to play on Saturday.
“He’s got clearance, so he’s ready to go,” Hitchcock said.
Backes was centering Jaden Schwartz and Magnus Paajarvi during Saturday’s morning skate, but that combination may not be one the Blues throw out against Colorado.
“Backes is ready to play so we will put a line together, whether it is with Schwartz and Berglund, maybe Magnus will get a little time there, depending on how it goes,” said Hitchcock. “He played a good game last time out. We will just wait and see.”
Hitchcock said the only lines that are set are the Steen-Lehtera-Tarasenko and Ott-Lapierre-Reaves combinations. Part of the uncertainty surrounding the rest of the lineup is the bacterial infection still lingering in the locker room. The ailment took down two more Blues players yesterday and some were still feeling its effects Saturday morning.
“Some guys that skated today felt good, some didn’t feel great so we will just take it through the day,” Hitchcock said. “I wouldn’t go to the bank on any other lines; it’s all dependent upon our health.”
The coach wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the team playing 11 forwards and seven defensemen against Colorado. That tactic was used Thursday against Anaheim due to a wealth of health-related issues.
“We will make sure we have 20 (players),” Hitchcock said. “Whether we go back to 11 (forwards) and seven (defensemen), we will see.”
The only player not on the ice Saturday morning was T.J. Oshie, who is sidelined with a concussion. Paul Stastny (shoulder) and Joakim Lindstrom (sick) both joined the skate. Stastny won’t play against his former team, but Lindstrom, who also sat out Thursday, is possible for the matchup against the Avalanche.