COMMENTARY | So far this season the St. Louis Blues have not been injury plagued as they have been in the past. There have been some injuries this season, but most of those players have rebounded and are back on the ice contributing to the team. The month of November, however, was harsh as two key players have had to undergo hand surgery.
Defenseman Jordan Leopold was taken out of the November 7th game against the Calgary Flames. He is out for an estimated eight weeks with a hand injury that did require surgery. Leopold was having a solid season prior to the injury. Leopold's absence from the line-up prompted Doug Armstrong, general manager of the Blues, to bring defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo back to the Blues. The defense has become steadier since Leopold's departure with the help of Colaiacovo, Roman Polak and Kevin Shattenkirk. These defensemen have started to shine and move up into the play while still maintaining a solid presence near their net.
Forward Ryan Reaves was injured in the November 23rd game against the Dallas Stars. His hand was broken during the first period when he engaged in a fight with Stars defenseman Brenden Dillion. Reaves also had surgery on his hand and is estimated to be out for six weeks. With the injury to Reaves, forwards Adam Cracknell and Magnus Paajarvi will be given more ice time. There was a large hole created with the injury to Reaves and in my opinion the offense is suffering. While he is not a large goal-scorer, Reaves is a playmaker and creates scoring opportunities while on the ice. With his absence for at least six weeks, Cracknell and Paajarvi will have the chance to find their groove and become major playmakers and scorers.
The Blues will hopefully be able to continue their winning streak and their impressive start to the season even with these setbacks. Having a key defenseman and a key forward out for several weeks, the team needs to shift gears and change up their lines. During practices and games they have to modify and find what will work to generate offense and continue winning. From what I have seen during practices, it looks like the Blues defense is solid. Their offense needs to pick up, but with Cracknell and Paajarvi settling into their roles, that should come along soon.
Micki Holley lives in St. Louis and has been following the Blues for 13 years. Micki is a steady presence at Blues' practices, games and fund-raising events. She has been published on multiple websites, blogs and print.
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- Jordan Leopold