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Surging St. Louis welcomes back Steen, Russell


James O’Brien

The good times are about to get better for the St. Louis Blues.

Sitting in third place overall and boasting the league’s best home record, the Blues will get some reinforcements tomorrow when Alex Steen and Kris Russell rejoin the lineup to face Edmonton.

Steen is the more prominent of the two returnees -- prior to suffering a concussion, he was third on the team in scoring (still is, actually) with 13G-11A-24pts in 36 games. He also led the Blues in plus-minus (+20) and was second only to David Backes in terms of ice-time for forwards. According to Andy Strickland of St. Louis Fan 590 sports radio, Steen will be reunited with Backes and Chris Stewart, meaning the “kid line” of Patrik Berglund, TJ Oshie and David Perron will be back together as well.

The other returnee is Russell, a quality depth defenseman that has been out since Dec. 27 with a groin strain. Strickland reports that Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock thinks Russell is among the NHL’s best defensemen at evading the first forechecker -- the shifty 5-foot-10, 172-pound blueliner has quick feet and is a good puck mover (he’s also third among all Blues defensemen in power-play time.)

These returns are big steps towards the overall health of the Blues organization. Once Steen and Russell return to the lineup, the only significant roster player missing will be center Andy McDonald, who has missed all but three games this year with a concussion.