Forwards Alexander Steen and Steve Ott almost certainly won’t be ready to play this weekend, but returning before the postseason remains on their list of to-do’s.
Steen (upper-body) and Ott (hamstrings) continue to rehab their respective injuries, targeting returns in the final eight games of the season. But with both unlikely to play Friday or Saturday, they will only have six games, at the most, before the playoffs begin.
Though both players skated with the team for Thursday’s practice, neither knows when they will be ready.
“I have no timeline,” said Steen. “We haven’t even discussed a timeline. We are just trying to get it as good as we can.”
Steen, who has 17 goals, 47 points in 61 games this season, is the Blues’ second-highest scorer despite having missed the last 13 games after suffering an upper-body injury late last month.
“Until he tells us he’s ready to play, he’s a rehab player,” said head coach Ken Hitchcock. “He is doing everything that we want him to do and that he wants to do. He will let us know when he is ready to play.”
Steen was set to be re-evaluated one month from Feb. 21, the date of his placement on injured reserve. It was determined that the forward still has a ways to go.
“We have had some talks and we are happy with the progress that I have been making,” said Steen. “I’m not ready just yet. Still not great but we are getting there.
“It’s a slow process but we are moving forward. Obviously we've had a plan, but some days you've got to step back, sometimes you're able to push it a little bit. It's just reading the body.”
Though his injury is more significant, Ott, like Steen, hopes for a return prior to the playoffs.
Ott has been sidelined since early December after a collision along the boards left the forward with two torn hamstrings. The injury, which has been labeled as the first of its kind in the NHL, required surgery to repair.
“You’re dealing with different issues that you are trying to get used to,” said Ott. “All of us know our bodies well and know that feeling when you are ready. When that time comes, I can go to ‘Hitch’ and let him know. But in the meantime I am going to try to progress.”
Ott had posted two assists in 21 games prior to the injury. He was one of the Blues’ most effective players in last year’s postseason series against Minnesota.
“Obviously we are inching closer to the playoffs so time is at a premium but I have to be able to perform before I can play again,” said Ott.
“It’s probably still a little bit aways. You go on feel and I’ll tell ‘Hitch’ and everybody when I am ready to be out there.”
Ott and Steen both accompanied the Blues on their recent 12-day, five-game road trip, but they’re anxious to get back into positions to help the team succeed on the ice.
“You work hard to be a joining piece of the puzzle,” said Ott. “Just being in the locker room has been a lot of fun. It’s been a long time.”