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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Blues' sniper Steen out with concussion

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ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues placed star forward Alex Steen on the injured list Saturday because of a concussion and are cautiously optimistic.

General manager Doug Armstrong said the NHL's No. 2 goal scorer will be out indefinitely. Armstrong announced the move, made retroactive to Dec. 21, in a statement before the team's game with Chicago.

"I say indefinitely because it could be day to day or week to week," Armstrong said during the morning skate. "There's no set timetable, but he is exercising and we hope he has a speedy recovery."

Steen hasn't played since he left a game against Edmonton on Dec. 21 with what the team called an "upper-body injury." It's the second concussion with the Blues for Steen, who will not accompany the team on a two-game trip to Dallas and Minnesota.

"We're going to want to take our time," Armstrong said. "We're hoping that it's not a long-term thing."

Steen is the Blues' leading scorer with 24 goals and 38 points in 35 games. He has six game-winning goals, second most in the league.

The Blues believe Steen's symptoms began with a hit by Ottawa's Zack Smith on Dec. 16. Smith was penalized for an illegal check to the head but the NHL did not review the play. Steen also took a high hit from the Canadiens' Douglas Murray on Dec. 19 and the last came from former teammate David Perron of Edmonton.

"He's such a big part of our team," said forward Jaden Schwartz, who has taken Steen's spot on the Blues' top line with David Backes and T.J. Oshie. "He plays in all situations, he's a big leader, so it's definitely tough."

The Swede is in his ninth season. He signed a three-year $17.4 million contract extension this month.

Forward Sergey Andronov was recalled under emergency conditions from Chicago (AHL). The 24-year-old Andronov was a third-round pick in the 2009 draft has 13 points on seven goals and six assists in 28 games.

Steen missed 39 games with a concussion in 2011-12 from a hit against the Phoenix Coyotes on Dec. 23.

"I think we'd be just as careful if it was his first one," Armstrong said. "Any time you deal with a head injury, you want to be cautious and that's what we want to do with Alexander."

The Blues anticipated forward Vladimir Sobotka would return Saturday from an upper-body injury.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 29, 2013 B2

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