Steen Returns to Practice

Alexander Steen (concussion) has been out of the lineup since Dec. 21

Monday, 01.13.2014 / 4:42 PM / St Louis Blues - News
By Louie Korac  - NHL.com Correspondent
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Steen Returns to Practice
Alexander Steen, who has been out of the lineup since Dec. 21 with a concussion, returned to practice on Monday.



HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- It was the first step in the process of returning to the lineup, and for the red-hot St. Louis Blues it will fortify an already solid lineup when Alexander Steen comes back.

Steen, who has missed nine games with a concussion, was a full participant at practice Monday for the first time since he left the lineup during a Dec. 21 game against the Edmonton Oilers due to a concussion.

Steen, who's tied for fifth in the NHL in goals with 24, still leads the Blues with 38 points. He has stayed active since leaving the lineup with the second concussion of his career (he missed 39 games during the 2011-12 season).

"Good ... better," Steen said when asked about his health. "Obviously hanging around the guys again is a big lift in spirits. With these kinds of injuries you tend to fall away from the team, spend time on your own. That's usually the hardest part of having an injury like this. But I'm staying positive, taking steps forward, and enjoying my time with the team [Monday] and the rest of the week.

"Just feeling better so I figured I'd try [to practice]. Basically just try stuff and analyze and see how you feel and go from there."

The Blues, who begin a three-game homestand Tuesday against the Phoenix Coyotes, have no definitive plan for Steen's return.

"He's been skating on his own so he joins the team," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "As time moves forward we'll see when he's ready to play. It's a good sign. He had good energy. I think the guys were real happy to have him back on the ice.

"I don't think you want to read anything into it though until he's declared a player. You could go through this for days; you could go through this for weeks. You don't really know. It's all kind of how he feels."

Steen took shifts with the Blues' top-line trio of David Backes, T.J. Oshie and Jaden Schwartz.

"It was good. I think he may have gotten faster over the past couple of weeks somehow," Backes said of Steen. "Hopefully he's back in the lineup shortly, and when he is he'll make us an even better team. It's great to have him back."

Steen did not accompany the team to its Dec. 23 game against the Calgary Flames. He came back to St. Louis before going to see a concussion specialist in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Dec. 26. He was allowed to stay active to a certain level.

"It's tough for players with my type of personality to sit on your couch and not doing much," Steen said. "Mentally I just feel better when I'm doing something so I try to stay a little active ... long walks, bike rides and stuff like that. You just go by how you feel.

"The thing I learned from last time is not over-analyzing myself hour to hour, letting you [media] guys stress me by questioning me every day to see if I'm playing or practicing, what are the symptoms. I'm kind of taking it at my own pace and seeing how I feel. It's basically the only way to go about it."

Steen said if he feels better on mornings the day after he pushes the pace, he'll raise the bar even higher and push even harder.

"Just basically do what I feel comfortable with. There's no timetable," Steen said. "Up until [Monday], just kind of been going day by day. I haven't planned a week in advance or anything like that. Just go by how I feel in the mornings and nights, especially the nights after I've done stuff. I'll look [Monday night] at how I feel and maybe we go harder [Tuesday] or just take a step back and chill.

"Even if you don't see me out there [Tuesday] it's not the end of the world. It's not like I sat at home … completely crushed. It's just another day, and you're looking at the all-around and long-term plan to get me back."

The Blues have gone 7-1-1 in Steen's absence, including a seven-game winning streak that was snapped Friday against the Vancouver Canucks.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Steen 68 33 29 17 62
T. Oshie 79 21 39 19 60
D. Backes 74 27 30 14 57
J. Schwartz 80 25 31 28 56
A. Pietrangelo 81 8 43 20 51
K. Shattenkirk 81 10 35 1 45
V. Tarasenko 64 21 22 20 43
D. Roy 75 9 28 -1 37
J. Bouwmeester 82 4 33 26 37
V. Sobotka 61 9 24 14 33
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
B. Elliott 18 6 2 .922 1.96
R. Miller 25 30 4 .918 2.64

 
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