Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Injured Blues Staying in Good Spirits

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Injured Blues Staying in Good Spirits

Article excerpt

EDMONTON, Alberta * Alexander Steen, Steve Ott and Brian Elliott came off the ice soaked after a lengthy skate Wednesday morning before the Blues faced the Edmonton Oilers. But the sweat was nothing compared to the sarcasm dripping from their mouths.

The three have been rehabilitating from their respective injuries together, spending more time together than usual. With regard to Ott, Steen wasn't so sure how that would go.

"He hasn't worn me out yet and I thought for sure he was going wear me out," Steen said. "We're still good friends. That goes to show our friendship.

Ott laughed and then turned the tables on Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, who joked last week that he wasn't looking forward to the forward's return.

"We've been helping 'Hitch' coach," Ott teased back. "When we can help Hitch coach and continue to improve him, we're being all- around good team guys."

All three would like nothing better than to be back with the team again. Elliott, who just sat back and chuckled Wednesday while his teammates reeled off one-liners, is the closest to returning to uniform. In fact, the goaltender could rejoin the club for Saturday's game in Vancouver.

Elliott suffered a knee injury making a save against San Jose on Feb. 22. He was placed on long-term injured reserve (LTIR), which required him to miss 10 games and 24 days. Wednesday's game was the 10th game and Thursday will be the 24th day.

"My goal was to come back when the IR date was going to expire, and I worked towards that," Elliott said. "Obviously we have to give it the last talk. We'll talk with the coaches, trainers and management and go from there."

Steen would seem to be next in line, although he is not fully healed from an apparent shoulder injury that happened Feb. 20 in Arizona. After missing the last 11 games, he is still having problems shooting the puck.

"Obviously with time, it's going to heal on its own," Steen said. "Like I said before, I feel like it's a slow process. It's just not good enough right now. This is going to take the time that it takes. They're long days right now."

There are 10 games left in the regular season, and conventional wisdom suggests that Steen would want to return before the playoffs. But the forward said he's not looking at it that way.

"I'm not overly concerned or stressed about that," Steen said. "I need to get it to a point where I'm happy playing with it. We'll see when that is. I'm not stressing to get a certain number of games in before I come back. Obviously that would be optimal and that's what you hope for, but I'm not setting a game date and coming back when it's not good enough. …

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