ST. LOUIS, Mo. (HockeyStL) -- The Blues have placed defenseman Alex Pietrangelo on injured reserve with a right knee injury. The announcement came Monday while the Blues were holding a full-team practice.
“The guys had a good practice today and have already moved on,” said head coach Ken Hitchcock. “We practiced with some of the adjustments we are going to have to make.”
The defenseman will miss at least three weeks and will be re-evaluated in late February.
Pietrangelo was evaluated Sunday after sustaining the knee injury in Saturday's game against Minnesota. Players were informed of the severity Monday morning.
Barring a significant development in the timetable given by the team, Pietrangelo will miss at the very least the 10 remaining February games. He likely won't return until the calendar turns to March.
Pietrangelo was injured late in Saturday's game after colliding with Wild forward Charlie Coyle. The brunt of Coyle’s hit was taken by Pietrangelo’s right knee and the defenseman had a tough time exiting the ice after the impact.
“From what he told me, the hit was pretty late,” said fellow defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. “Everyone was looking up the ice, to be honest. He's one of those guys that when he stays down, you know something is up. When he's not on his feet, you know something is up.”
Pietrangelo will not be easy to replace. The Blues’ top defenseman is averaging 26:40 of ice time per game this season, which is fourth-most in the NHL. He has three goals, 20 assists in 55 games.
“We will miss him,” said defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who has spent most of the season playing on Pietrangelo’s left side. “A guy who plays that much, in all situations. He plays the most out of anybody and nobody is going to replace that. All year we have dealt with injuries, so hopefully he gets back soon.”
With Pietrangelo out, Bouwmeester is expected to play with Shattenkirk, while Carl Gunnarsson and Colton Parayko will form the team's second pairing, leaving Joel Edmundson and Robert Bortuzzo to round out the third pairing.
Bortuzzo, who has been chomping at the bit to earn ice time, will benefit most from Pietrangelo’s absence.
“Looking forward to it,” said Bortuzzo. “Obviously these aren't the circumstances you want to get back in there but sometimes this is what it takes to get and show you want to be in there every night.”
“He's not been happy at the coach for a little while so he gets a real opportunity and I think he's going to take advantage of it,” said Hitchcock.
Copyright 2016 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.