Blues' Steen nominated for Masterton Trophy

News-DemocratApril 4, 2014 

St. Louis Blues forward Alexander Steen is the local nominee for the NHL's Masterton Trophy by the St. Louis Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

The annual trophy is awarded to the NHL player "who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey."

Typically known as a defensive forward for much of his career, Steen is in the midst of a career year with 33 goals and 60 points through 64 games. He also missed 11 games with a concussion, his second in three seasons.

When Steen hit the 30-goal mark, he joined his father, Thomas Steen, as only the third father-son duo in NHL history to each score 30 goals in a season.

The others are Bobby Hull and Brett Hull and Ken Hodge and Ken Hodge, Jr.

Steen has nine game-winning goals among the 30 he has scored and also remains a fierce checker, as his plus-minus rating of plus-20 would attest.

The last Blues player to win the award was goaltender Jamie McLennan in 1997-98. Now a television hockey analyst, McLennan overcame bacterial meningitis.

The only other Blues player to win was Blake Dunlop in 1980-81.

* The Blues (52-17-7) play host to Colorado (49-21-6) at 1 p.m. Saturday hoping to take another step toward nailing down the Central Division title.

"We know we're going to be in the playoffs, now it's how much can we dial up our game and get ready to play," said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, whose team beat Buffalo 2-1 on Thursday. "These types of opponents give you great measuring sticks for what you need to work on."

The Blues beat the Avalanche in all three previous meetings, outscoring them 13-5. Ryan Miller is expected to return in goal for the Blues while Colorado has a hot goalie of its own in Semyon Varlamov.

With a victory Saturday, Varlamov (29-14-5) would tie coach Patrick Roy's Avalanche record for wins in a season with 40.

"To be honest with you, I find the hockey in March and April great, because even the teams that are out, they're trying to win jobs," Hitchcock said. "I think it's the best hockey of the year, I really do. Every game has implications."

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, or follow him on Twitter: @NormSanders

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