As the old adage goes…when it rains, it pours. The 2015-2016 campaign has been plagued by injuries up and down the roster, and the injury bug claimed its latest victim on Monday night.
Arguably the team’s MVP over the last 17 games, Brian Elliott was forced to leave the game early, giving way to counterpart Jake Allen. Jake had been out since Jan. 8 recovering from his own injury, and was lifted from injured reserve on Sunday. As it turns out, his return could not have come at a more critical time.
Elliott’s injury comes on the heels of an upper-body injury to Alexander Steen, who’d been one of the team’s most consistent offensive threats over recent weeks. Steen’s placement on injured reserve had succeeded the return of forward Jaden Schwartz, who—since returning from injury—has boosted the “STL line” once again.
For the St. Louis Blues, it has been extremely difficult to keep four lines on the bench. But numbers aren’t the only issue.
Attempting to keep pace in the Central Division is daunting. With each injury, the task becomes more difficult. Hitchcock struggles to get the line combinations that he wants on the ice. Finding line-chemistry is important come postseason, and it allows the team to operate more smoothly under the intense pressure.
Injuries are nothing new in St. Louis. Just three players have steered clear of IR completely this season. The Blues are being forced to handle the unpredictability, which is a major concern for St. Louis moving forward. Ultimately, getting the entire team healthy, and keeping them healthy, is of major importance. Putting together a deep postseason run will require depth, chemistry, tenacity, and a healthy roster.