Steen and Elliott closer to return, join Blues for practice - KMOV.com

Steen and Elliott closer to return, join Blues for practice

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ST. LOUIS - The injury-plagued Blues have miraculously made it four games without losing a player and at practice on Tuesday a pair of injured skaters returned to the ice taking the next step in their rehab process.

Forward Alexander Steen and goaltender Brian Elliott skated out in the middle of practice with trainer Ray Barile and worked separating from the team. The teammates suffered injuries in back-to-back games - Steen with an upper-body injury February 20th and Elliott with a lower-body injury February 22nd. This was another step in their recovery both hoping to return before the start of the playoffs next month.


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“I’m getting reevaluated in two weeks up until then it’s just work everyday,” Steen explained. “I’m not getting overly optimistic on the good days and not too hard on myself on the rough ones. It’s a slow process, but mentally trying to stay in it, stay positive and do what I can and right now that’s conditioning. A lot of [bike] rides, trying to get on the ice and keep my hip-flexors and groins active and ready so that when the upper body is ready, I’ll be good.”

Elliott, who was placed on long term injured-reserve, is in a different situation than Steen. The St. Louis winger is eligible to return at any time. However, Elliott was placed on long term IR to free up some cap space for the Blues. It means the netminder can not return for 10 games or 20 days putting a possible return for March 19th at Vancouver.

“Really pleased with how things are going,” the goalie said. Besides taking shots in the net, Elliott also went up and down the blue line hopping from one leg to the other in a video you can see below. Elliott said his right leg was tangled up on the play that caused his injury making the drill look more impressive and hinting at Elliott’s quick progress.

“I’m on long term IR so I can’t really do anything more than shoot for that date. You just want to be available when you can be, working up to it and not pushing too hard but just enough. When the date is coming you want to be ready to jump back in,” said Elliott.

Harder for Elliott was sitting out following his hot streak post All-Star Break. The 30-year-old went 7-1-1 with a 1.94 goals against average recording one shutout.

“It’s never fun,” said Elliott. “When you’re playing and on a roll you just want to keep playing. It’s tough when you go down like that, but you’ve got to think positively, be a little more rested and ready for a playoff run.”

Ken Hitchcock said this isn’t the first time either skater has taken the ice, but the first time anyone outside of the team has seen them.

“They’ve been skating for a little while. They’ve been on the ice for 4-5 days now. We’re glad to have them closer. We’ve learned not to get excited until they’ve been given the green light to start practicing with us,” Hitchcock said.

Despite the coach’s hesitation the rest of the locker room was abuzz with anticipation at the possibility to see the full squad together for the first time all year.

“That’s always a good sight to see the injured back on the ice. That means their return is a lot closer than just riding the bike and coming in for some treatment,” said captain David Backes. “It gives everybody a little boost and you know the competition for spots is getting more fierce. Maybe cause some more guys to have a jump in their step.”


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The Blues need that stimulant in the knockout fight for the top spot in the Central Division and Western Conference. Two points separate the Blues from the Blackhawks and the Stars, both of whom St. Louis will take on this week. Neither Steen nor Elliott will take part in those games, but the team knows if they can just make it five more weeks gathering as many points as possible they will get two key pieces back to help aid their hopefully deep run in the postseason. The same philosophy the 2011 Cardinals employed.

“Now the way we look at it now is hopefully that's it,” Kevin Shattenkirk laughed, hoping not to tempt fate. “But I think they look like they're progressing pretty well. More than anything we're playing well which I think puts them at ease they don't have to rush anything back and feel like they have to jump back in the lineup to add something because we're taking care of the team's job while they're gone.”

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