Four Games in Six Days
Injuries have been the number one story concerning the Blues these past couple weeks and the biggest test still looms ahead. TJ Oshie might be out for at least three months, but at least some of the other walking wounded will be making returns in the near future. Until then, the Blues have a tough test with four games in just six days in a stretch that may see a few players make their return.
Beginning Monday, the Blues will head to Colorado followed by Detroit before returning home to face Ottawa and New Jersey over the course of the next six days. This stretch of games will be an important test to see how this team responds while still trying to return several players back to the lineup.
Carlo Colaiacovo has returned to practice and could be ready to go as early as Monday against the Avalanche. The blueline has been hit the hardest with the injury bug, so his return would be a much welcomed sight. Carlo's ability to move the puck and contribute on the power-play are skills the Blues have desperately missed.
David Perron's situation remains day-to-day as he attempts to make a comeback from a concussion. The team is being very cautious with this injury (as they should) and they will make no attempt to rush him back.
Brad Winchester is probably the next closest to returning outside of Colaiacovo and will be with the team on their road trip, though there is no word on if he will play in Colorado. Winchester's depth and size have been missed and he should return some grit back into the lineup.
With Roman Polak still on the mend until sometime in January, Barrett Jackman is our last injury to round out the list. Jackman still needs time to recover from a knee sprain and we likely won't know more about his status until the end of the month.
Is that it? Did I get everyone? I think so.
The injuries have hit hard and hit some of this team's most influential skaters. On the bright side, we are getting some good looks at what type of depth the Blues' organization has waiting in the wings. Gut check time. It was nice to see Andy McDonald and Brad Boyes find the back of the net but they will need to do it on a much more regular and consistent basis if the Blues hope to weather the injury storm.
- How clutch has Matt D'Agostini (pictured right) been? With six goals in 15 games, D'Agostini leads the team in scoring and is already halfway to matching his career-high of 12 goals back in 2008-09. His contributions are certainly unexpected but certainly most welcomed. Knock on wood that they continue.
- Is it just me, or has Eric Brewer looked much better this season overall compared to 2009-10? He did have his own share of injuries last season which likely limited him, but on the whole he has looked much better out there than he did at any time last season. Brewer has plenty of critics, I usually being one of them, but I am forced to give credit where it is due. While he has not played perfectly (who has), he has played some pretty solid defense out there. Once more, knock on wood.
- Nikita Nikitin may have one of the coolest names in hockey but he also has impressed me with his early play. Granted, I did not catch all of the Phoenix contest, but so far I have liked what I have seen from the Russian. His stats may not tell the whole story (0 points, -3) but he has played a pretty good game in his first taste of the NHL.
- The former "Kid Line" composed of Oshie, Perron and Berglund has seen two of its members miss time, leaving Berglund as the lone member still on the ice. For my money, this is as good a time as any for Berglund to really step it up and bring his game forward. The team needs a spark and needs some players to excel their game and Berglund is the perfect candidate for it. He has the skills and he has the potential, unfortunately he just hasn't been able to put everything together. He has gotten off to a decent start with four goals and four assists so far, but now he should dig deep and carry this team for his fallen former linemates.