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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 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

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
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
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
B. Elliott 19 9 2 .921 2.21
J. Allen 17 6 2 .905 2.50

 
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