Andy McDonald appears poised to join the Blues' lineup and indications are that the veteran forward will be in uniform Sunday at Scottrade Center.
McDonald skated on a line with Patrik Berglund and Chris Stewart during practice on Friday at St. Louis Mills. In previous sessions - as he returns from concussion symptoms - McDonald was participating on a fifth line, or skating with a group that was not going to dress for the approaching game.
With back-to-back home games this weekend, McDonald is expected to sit out Saturday's game against Colorado and then suit up Sunday against San Jose.
“I feel really good, “ said McDonald, who has not played since suffering the injury on Oct. 13. "I've been clear on the ice for a while now and I'm really close.”
Receiving the final clearance to play, McDonald said, is "obviously a decision that will include the doctors and training staff and coaches... But I feel really close. That's about all I can say.”
Stewart has gone to a slightly longer stick in hopes of regaining his scoring touch. It worked in New Jersey on Thursday, as he got his 11th goal and added an assist.
“It doesn't change anything really,” Stewart said. “I've gone from a longer stick to a shorter stick and back again … It's just a little change of scenery and it worked out. I've tried different tape-jobs too and things like that.
“But at the end of the day, it's all in your head and you just have to go out there and play. I'm just trying anything right now.”
McDonald's promising improvement aside, the Blues injury report is not good. Center Jason Arnott has been placed on injured reserve and will miss this weekend's back-to-back games, against Colorado and San Jose on Sunday.
Defeseman Kent Huskins is close physically but not quite ready conditioning-wise. Matt D'Agostini, who suffered a concussion on Tuesday in Ottawa, did not skate on Friday and his condition remains uncertain.
Defenseman Kris Russell has the flu and did not skate on Friday. If he is not better by Saturday, the Blues will have to promote a defenseman from their Peoria affiliate, likely Ian Cole.
Forward Alex Steen skated on his own before the team practiced. His return from concussion symptoms, which once seemed eminent, remains uncertain.
Goaltender Brian Elliott, who stopped all 15 shots he faced at New Jersey in relief of Jaroslav Halak, will start in goal against the Avalanche. Elliott pitched a 4-0 shutout at Colorado in the last meeting between the teams on Jan. 7 at Scottrade.
Among goalies with at least 25 games, Elliott leads the NHL in goals-against average (1.60) and save percentage (.940).