ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Blues center Alex Steen was back on the ice Thursday for the team's morning skate, but was unable to play in a 3-0 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Steen suffered an upper-body injury Tuesday at practice and is considered day-to-day. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said Steen could potentially play Friday at home against Edmonton or Sunday in Dallas.
"He's feeling better and we'll see how he feels tomorrow morning," Hitchcock said Thursday. "It's good that he's on the ice, it's good that he's skating. He doesn't feel like it's 100 percent so I'm not going to take a chance right now.
"We've got so many games coming up I'd like to just make it as close to 100 percent as we can."
That leaves the Blues without all three members of one of their most effective lines because of injury. The line included Steen and injured wingers Andy McDonald (left knee) and rookie Vladimir Tarasenko (concussion).
As a result, will the Blues be forced to count on the top line of David Backes, T.J. Oshie and David Perron for more scoring?
"They lead us in a different direction," Hitchcock said. "They lead us in compete level. I think (scoring) distributes right throughout the lineup.
"We're capable of scoring goals anywhere in our top nine. What we're looking for is to get people who are given this opportunity, who wanted this opportunity ... now they've got a chance."
Hitchcock was talking about players with increased roles because of the injuries like Vladimir Sobotka, Matt D'Agostini, Jaden Schwartz and even Chris Porter.
Hitchcock hinted that Sobotka would likely move to center and will see time on the power play.
"Sobotka runs the power play in the World Championships; he runs the power play in the Czech League," Hitchcock said. "He's a really good power-play player and now he gets an opportunity to do that.
"He's come from Europe as an offensive player and we put him into a role as a checking player. It will be interesting to see over the next couple weeks how he looks."
With Steen and McDonald out, the Blues turned to some hard-working role players to fill out the lineup. Wingers Chris Porter and Andrew Murray each got opportunites Thursday against the Blackhawks.
Hitchcock said the Blues need to return to the check-first mentality that served them so well a year ago.
"It's really not just against Chicago," he said. "If you look at the next three teams (we play), they're teams with really high-end skill. We just have to play our game, which is a straight-line game. The more north we play, the better we play. With the guys that are missing in our lineup we've just got to simplify."