ST. LOUIS — The Blues’ star defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was on the ice for Monday’s morning skate, increasing the chances he will be ready for tonight’s Game 2 here.
He was injured late in the second period of Game 1 when he went face-first into the end boards off a hit from the Kings’ Dwight King. King received a two-minute minor for boarding and no supplementary discipline.
“Right now, we’re deciding,” Blues Coach Ken Hitchcock said. “So it feels good, so far. So we’ll see, make it through the rest of the day. We’re not going to put him in the warmup (tonight) unless we’re going to play him.”
Said Blues’ forward T.J. Oshie: “He’s a warrior. I’m hoping to see him out there.”
Pietrangelo did not practice Sunday and his absence in the series would seriously impact the Blues, as he is their top defenseman and leads them in minutes played per game.
The Kings lead this best-of-seven-game Western Conference semifinal, 1-0.
Hitchcock spoke about King’s hit on Pietrangelo and how his own approach has changed to such issues through the years.
“I think 10 years ago we would have had a big display of grandstanding,” he said. “It just isn’t important. What’s important is the health of the player, No. 1. The player that hit him (King), that’s just not his M.O.
“It was a dangerous play. But the grandstanding that goes on, or all that stuff you did years ago. You don’t have time for any of that stuff. (Kings Coach) Darryl (Sutter) or I ... neither one of us have time for that. It’s about the players...it’s about things that are more important than you. Playoffs are for the players, they’re for the organization.
“As you get older, you just understand about keeping the team’s focus, and moving ahead from tough times. “It’s tough watching your best player lie on the ice. It’s tough getting the information that he’s not coming back. But what’s tougher is the impact it has on your team.”