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Gunnarsson out for season; he's fifth Blue on IR

Gunnarsson out for season; he's fifth Blue on IR

Couture scores two goals, Sharks hold off rallying Blues 5-4

St. Louis Blues' Carl Gunnarsson (4), of Sweden, handles the puck in front of San Jose Sharks' Rudolfs Balcers (92), of Latvia, during the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday Feb. 20, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)

The Blues have placed veteran defenseman Carl Gunnarsson on injured reserve, bringing to five the number of Blues who are on some form of injured reserve.

Gunnarsson injured his right leg in a wall collision with Los Angeles’ Gabriel Vilardi behind the St. Louis net in the second period and had to be helped off the ice.

The Blues later announced that Gunnarsson would be out for the season with a right knee injury, and was undergoing additional testing to determine the full extent of the injury.

"It's disappointing for sure, and really disappointing for him, I'm sure," coach Craig Berube said. "An injury like that's tough. It's tough to see a teammate, player, go down like that with that injury.

"I feel bad for him. We're losing a great teammate, great guy and a real good hockey player for us."

He joins Ivan Barbashev (ankle), Tyler Bozak (upper-body), Robert Thomas (thumb) and Vladimir Tarasenko (shoulder surgery) on IR. Tarasenko is on long-term injured reserve; the others are on “regular” IR which means they cannot play for at least seven days.

In the case of Barbashev and Thomas, they are expected to miss six weeks. Barbashev underwent left ankle surgery Tuesdasy morning.

The Blues Bozak has been out for nearly a month but took part in the Blues’ morning skate Monday, a sign he is recovering from an apparent concussion.  Bozak didn't take part in Tuesday's optional skate at Centene Community Ice Center, but skated on his own earlier in the day according to Berube and continues to make progress.

Tarasenko has been skating for several days and may just be a few weeks away from a return.

In addition, the Blues are minus Colton Parayko (back) and Jaden Schwartz (lower-body injury) but those players are not on injured reserve. Berube said there were no updates on either player.

It’s possible that Monday marked Gunnarsson's last game as a member of the Blues. Gunnarsson is 34 and is scheduled for unrestricted free agency after this season.

“It's horrible,” alternate captain Brayden Schenn said following Monday’s 3-0 loss to the Kings. “He's obviously in a lot of pain. I'm sure we'll find out more tomorrow, but that's a guy that's laid it on the line for this organization for a long time.

“He's a hell of a teammate and a good guy, so hopefully it's not too serious. The guy is an absolute warrior, so it's tough to see a guy that plays hard every single night, and gives it his all, go down like that - obviously it looked serious."

With Gunnarsson down, Niko Mikkola is the next man up on the Blues’ defense. Mikkola has played in nine games this season but none since Feb. 8. Another young defenseman, Jake Walman, also figures in the mix.

Berube also said Utica Comets forward call-ups Nathan Walker and Dakota Joshua should have met quarantine requirements and thus be able to accompany the Blues on their upcoming road trip at the end of the week as taxi squad members.

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