Blues forward T.J. Oshie was missing at the team's morning practice Monday at St. Louis Mills, a situation coach Davis Payne described as an "unexcused absence."
Oshie, 24, has had a tumultuous season. He missed 32 games after suffering a broken ankle in an 8-1 loss to Columbus on Nov. 10. He has 10 goals and 20 assists in 44 games for the Blues, including a goal and two assists in the last two games.
Payne said he would meet with general manager Doug Armstrong to discuss the situation and determine what disciplinary action might follow. Payne declined to go into specifics about the circumstances of Oshie's absence, adding only, "We'll handle it internally."
Issues off the ice are not entirely new to Oshie. As a junior at North Dakota, he was suspended for one game in January 2008 after an arrest for disorderly conduct. New Hampshire senior Mike Radja, now playing in Germany, also was arrested in the incident, which took place at 2:28 in the morning. At the time, Oshie was serving probation for a previous arrest, a situation in which he and teammate Jonathan Toews, now with the Blackhawks, were arrested for being minors in a bar.
Oshie could not be reached Monday to comment.
There is a precedent for punishing such an infraction. Last March, Patrik Berglund "overslept" and missed a team workout. Berglund was a healthy scratch when the Blues played the Edmonton Oilers the next day.
Jackman, Steen on ice
The absence of Oshie was not the only surprise at morning roll call. There also was unexpected attendance. Both defenseman Barret Jackman and forward Alex Steen were on the ice.
Jackman had surgery on his right index finger and was thought to be lost possibly for the remainder of the schedule. Steen suffered a high ankle sprain in a win at Columbus earlier this month and just took the protective boot off of his right leg Sunday. A day later, he wanted to see how it felt on skates.
"Today, I just came in, we did some work on it and decided to test it out there," Steen said. "It is what it is right now. I went out there without any expectations, just to see how much I could trust it, see how much it has healed. I'm surprised it felt as good as it did."
That said, the Blues have only seven games remaining on the regular schedule and no reasonable chance of making the playoffs. Steen was not ready to draw any dramatic conclusions after his light skate.
"I'm not thinking anything right now," said Steen, who is the Blues' second leading scorer with 18 goals and 30 assists for 48 points. "I'm just trying to get healthy first and then we'll go from there."
Jackman, on the other hand, took part in a full practice and could be ready to play before the season is over.
"There's no certainty on it, but I would place some probability on that," Payne said.
If it seemed strange the Blues sent Adam Cracknell and Ian Cole back to Peoria after Saturday night's victory at Minnesota, there is some 'splainin to do.
For one, Peoria is in a fight to make the playoffs in the American Hockey League and has six games remaining. Truth is, the Blues might have preferred to send Philip McRae to Peoria, so he could get more extensive playing time. But McRae, Ryan Reaves and Chris Porter cannot be assigned to Peoria because they were on the Blues' roster at the trade deadline.
Cole, who had a goal, three assists and a plus-6 rating in 11 games since being recalled in early March, was recalled Monday afternoon.
But with forward Vladimir Sobotka skating full tilt on Monday and ready to step back into the lineup, Cracknell probably will remain at Peoria. If so, it certainly has nothing to do with his performance for the Blues.
"He worked, he executed structure, he's an intelligent hockey player," Payne said. "His first time up, he was at pace early and seemed to fall off. I thought this time he maintained pace and was effective from start to finish. We used him at wing and at center, he got in penalty kill minutes. ... He did everything he needed to do."