Blues left winger Alexander Steen was absent from today's morning skate and will be a game-time decision tonight against the Anaheim Ducks.

According to Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, Steen was not feeling well, and Hitchcock even linked it to the team's lingering bout with the flu-like symptoms.

"Same rules, stay at home, stay away from the rest of us," Hitchcock said. "We'll see how he feels later in the day. But rather than infect the rest of us, he didn't feel well and just stayed home."

Not having Steen in the Blues' lineup would be significant. He leads in the Blues with 20 goals, which ranks No. 2 in the NHL behind Washington's Alexander Ovechkin (21).

Steen's spot on the club's top line would be filled by Jaden Schwartz. Schwartz has six goals and 18 points in 27 and he had a seven-game point streak snapped in Thursday's 5-1 win over the New York Islanders.

"He's a similar player (than Steen) with more speed probably," Hitchcock said. "Not the size that Alex brings to the table ... Alex is a big player. But if we have to go this way, the lines you saw today are the ones we'll play and if Steener is back in, the ones we finished with (Thursday), those are the ones we'll play with."




Jaden Schwartz-David Backes-T.J. Oshie

Vladimir Sobotka-Patrik Berglund-Vladimir Tarasenko

Brenden Morrow-Derek Roy-Chris Stewart

Magnus Paajarvi-Maxim Lapierre-Adam Cracknell


Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo

Barret Jackman-Kevin Shattenkirk

Ian Cole-Roman Polak


Jaroslav Halak




Dustin Penner-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry

Emerson Etem-Nick Bonino-Kyle Palmieri

Daniel Winnik-Saku Koivu-Andrew Cogliano

Matt Beleskey-David Steckel-Pat Maroon


Cam Fowler-Ben Lovejoy

Bryan Allen-Sami Vatanen

Mark Fistric-Hampus Lindholm


Frederik Andersen



Anaheim Ducks forward and St. Louis native Pat Maroon was hoping to get a chance to face the team he watched growing up last season. But before a meeting between the Blues and Ducks in St. Louis, Maroon was sent back to the American Hockey League.

The former standout with Oakville High, the St. Louis Jr. Blues and the St. Louis Bandits won't be denied his dream opportunity tonight.

Maroon, 25, will be in the Anaheim lineup tonight, mostly likely taking the place of NHL star Teemu Selanne

"It's very exciting," Maroon said. "My family and my son (Anthony, 5) get to watch me. It will be my first time playing against the Blues. It's going to be fun for me. Growing up, having season tickets at the old Arena, watching some Hall of Famers, and now I get the chance to play against my hometown, the St. Louis Blues, I'm very excited about that."

Maroon's son Anthony was in the Ducks' locker room Saturday morning, sitting in the stall next to his proud dad.

"He gets really excited about this kind of stuff," Maroon said. "He obviously knows who everyone is. His favorite player is (Corey) Perry, so hopefully he'll get to meet him tonight."



With the Olympics approaching, NBC has begun promoting its coverage of the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and a video to surface recently includes Blues captain David Backes.

Backes, who was a member of the Team USA roster that captured a silver medal in Vancouver in 2010, will be back with the team in February.

Backes was one of several American athletes to participate in the video, which is titled "12 Days of Sochi."

"It's one of those things where you're having fun with a bunch of hopeful Olympians," Backes said.

Backes, though, can expect some jabs from teammates. In a deep, gruff voice, he announces the 3rd day of Sochi while holding an instrument called a "keytar," a cross between a keyboard and guitar.

"You can't do anything around here without expecting a little ribbing," Backes said. "Whatever comes, it comes."

The search for commentary from Backes' teammates Saturday morning came up dry. "No I haven't seen it yet, but I'm going to," defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "He knows he's going to hear about it from us."

If you haven't seen it yet, the link to the Sochi video is at the top of page.



Anaheim's last three games have all gone to a shootout. After falling 4-3 to San Jose and 3-2 to Los Angeles, the Ducks topped Chicago 3-2 on Friday.

The Blues are 6-0-1 against Anaheim in the teams' last seven meetings at Scottrade Center. The Ducks are 9-7-3 on the road this season.

The Blues had 26 shots on goal against the Islanders Thursday, only nine until Derek Roy scored a power-play goal in the second period. The club currently averages 30 shots per game, ranking 16th in the league. "We're not good enough there, not close," Hitchcock said. "We still want to make the next play. We pound (the message) every day."

• Anaheim's top line of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Dustin Penner are all streaking coming into tonight's game. Getzlaf enters the night with a 12-game point-streak (9 goals, 18 points), followed by Perry at six games (5 goals, 8 points) and Penner (5 goals, 8 points).

Jeremy is a reporter at the Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @jprutherford.

Jeremy Rutherford is the lead Blues beat writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.