Andy McDonald to Return Saturday
Yesterday the St. Louis Blues announced they had activated Matt D'Agostini off the IR. Today, the Blues have confirmed that Andy McDonald has recovered from a shoulder injury and will play when the club takes on the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday, as reported by the Post-Dispatch
If there's any wood near you, knock on it right now. Seriously. This isn't a joking matter.
The St. Louis Blues are almost completely healthy. For the first time in recent memory they will have all of the their available offensive weapons at their disposal - here is where the knocking on wood comes in handy. Alex Steen is back. Andy McDonald will be back on Saturday. Matt D'Agostini has been cleared to play and may appear Saturday as well. All of the sudden the Blues have a lineup that looks quite different than the one we have seen in recent weeks.
Unfortunately, while it is extremely easy to be positive about players returning from injury, it does present some problems. The players returning from injury have immense talent but they lack the chemistry that this team has created over the past few months. This doesn't pertain to Andy McDonald but does relate to a guy such as Matt D'Agostini. It's nice having another option at forward but should a guy like Ryan Reaves, someone that has worked hard all season long and been a huge asset on the ice, be benched for someone like D'Agostini? I'm not so sure.
I'm concerned that the returning faces, McDonald excluded, will mess with some of the current chemistry we have seen. With so many healthy bodies there are suddenly several players that will be forced out of the lineup. Guys like Reaves, Chris Porter, Jaden Schwartz and B.J. Crombeen will all be left fighting for a spot in the lineup despite the fact that several of them, Reaves especially, have done everything they can do to retain a spot in the lineup.
It'll be interesting to see how Ken Hitchcock deploys his lineup now that he has so many options. It will be tricky trying to get time for everyone, especially in the playoffs. Depending on the opponent we might see Hitchcock deploy more offense, speed or physical toughness based on what is needed that night.