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St. Louis will get Kris Russell back Sunday

Kris Russell

The Blues have lost four of their last five games, but when they look to end that slump on Sunday, they’ll defenseman Kris Russell on hand to help. After missing 14 contests because of a concussion, Russell is ready to return.

Russel doesn’t get a ton of points, but Blues coach Ken Hitchcock is happy with what he does.

“Kris allows you to exit the zone without having to make too many plays,” Hitchcock said. “He’s able to skate the puck out of trouble, he’s able to skate by coverage. You don’t have to talk about countering the puck and all that. He can skate right by the first forechecker, so he makes exits way easier. So for us, that dynamic on that side of the ice is needed. We’ve got that dynamic on the other side, the right, but we need that dynamic on the left.”

The timing of Russell’s return is particularly fortunate, as the Blues will probably be without blueliner Ian Cole on Sunday. Cole was able to participate in Saturday’s practice, but the team is likely to err on the side of caution after Cole was struck in the head by a shot during Thursday’s game. Cole has been a concussion victim in the past.