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McDonald Ready to Get Started

After several concussions, Andy McDonald is healthy and ready to go

Wednesday, 09.05.2012 / 11:02 AM / St Louis Blues - Features
By Louie Korac  - Correspondent
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McDonald Ready to Get Started
After six concussions, Andy McDonald had a completely healthy summer and feels young again as he prepares for the start of the 2012-13 season.

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- Andy McDonald knows the score.

The Blues forward understands that Father Time catches up with everyone, and for McDonald, who turned 35 on Aug. 25, it's only natural to have those after-hockey thoughts and think about how much more gas he has left in the tank.

But as he enters his 12th NHL season -- his fourth full season in St. Louis -- he thinks Father Time will have to wait a while longer for him to hang up his skates. If he is as refreshed and energized as he was while skating with Blues players informally at their practice facility this week, there are quite a few more miles remaining in those speedy skates.

"Physically, I feel 25 again and I'm really looking forward to this year," McDonald said. "I'm really looking forward to it. I feel better this year than I did last year. I think you play so many years with injuries and things going on, you don't realize what good health is. I feel great. I had a really good offseason. I'm healthy."

McDonald, who has 468 points in 648 career games, also was healthy going into the 2011-12 season, a year in which the Blues had one of the best seasons in franchise history, going 49-22-11 and finishing second in the Western Conference with 109 points. However, McDonald's season was derailed when he suffered another concussion in the third game of the season in Dallas. That was Oct. 13; he wouldn't see NHL action again until Feb. 12, missing 51 games.

It was the sixth concussion of McDonald's career, and he admitted that during the recovery process there were times where he didn't know if he would play again. With a wife and two young children to think about, his long-term future was a consideration.

But McDonald went through the treatments, got some rest and followed concussion protocol, vowing to return. He played an abbreviated 25-game schedule last season and finished with 22 points. He then scorched the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with four goals and four assists in five games before the Blues lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings.

But the return to action was a different feel for McDonald, considering it wasn't the customary off-season program that builds a player up for the ruggedness of an 82-game season.

"Physically, I probably wasn't where I wanted to be because you really take advantage to having the offseason to get your strength," McDonald said. "When you go through a concussion, there's a good portion of the time where you're not doing anything, you're not training. To come back in and try to play and not kind of have that summer to train and get ready made it a little bit tougher. But I was probably just a little bit lighter and probably strength-wise, I could have been a little bit stronger.

"I was so happy to be back playing and I was pretty happy about my health at that point. I feel like I'm in better shape this time around. I will have my conditioning back, I will have my strength back. I'm a lot better off now."

McDonald, who is experimenting with wearing a new helmet -- one he hopes will help protect from another concussion -- could play the upcoming season on a line with Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko, the team's first-round pick in 2010. It has the potential to be one of the more lethal third lines in the League.

McDonald, who's entering the final season of a four-year contract, is eager and anxious to play a full 82-game season -- something that's only happened twice in his NHL career. Plus, McDonald would love to prolong his career here, perhaps even finish it in St. Louis.

"I feel better now mentally than I did last year," McDonald said. "I had some lingering things from years with concussions.

"I don't think I realized what 100 percent was until last season, being able to come back and get the treatments and go through all that and to get to a point where I really felt confident that I was 100 percent. That's why I'm so upbeat about this season. I've had a great summer and I'm really looking forward to playing a full year with this kind of health."




1 NSH 62 41 14 7 188 147 89
2 ANA 62 38 17 7 182 174 83
3 STL 61 39 18 4 190 152 82
4 CHI 62 37 20 5 183 146 79
5 WPG 63 31 20 12 174 170 74
6 VAN 61 35 23 3 174 162 73
7 MIN 61 32 22 7 173 160 71
8 LAK 60 29 19 12 162 153 70
9 CGY 61 33 24 4 174 158 70
10 SJS 62 30 24 8 173 177 68
11 DAL 61 27 25 9 191 202 63
12 COL 61 26 24 11 161 175 63
13 ARI 62 20 35 7 137 210 47
14 EDM 62 18 34 10 142 206 46


V. Tarasenko 61 31 29 27 60
A. Steen 59 19 32 4 51
J. Schwartz 54 20 26 16 46
D. Backes 60 20 21 3 41
T. Oshie 53 17 24 12 41
K. Shattenkirk 49 8 32 18 40
P. Stastny 53 11 23 10 34
J. Lehtera 54 9 24 16 33
A. Pietrangelo 61 5 27 -3 32
P. Berglund 57 8 11 -2 19
B. Elliott 19 9 2 .921 2.21
J. Allen 17 6 2 .905 2.50

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