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Halak’s illness could provide audition for Bishop

Feb 17, 2012, 7:34 PM EST

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David Moss, Ben Bishop, Alex Pietrangelo AP

Remember all that talk about the St. Louis Blues possibly trading big Ben Bishop? He might just get a chance to increase his trade value soon. Jeremy Rutherford reports that Jaroslav Halak is fighting off a flu, which might prompt the Blues to recall Bishop.

Halak was primed to start for St. Louis tomorrow, but Brian Elliott will get the nod instead. Ken Hitchcock says that the decision regarding Bishop won’t be made until Halak’s status is clear.

“We’ll just see how Jaro feels later on,” Hitchcock said. “We’ll look at bringing Ben in if Jaro doesn’t feel good tonight.”

Chances for Elliott and Bishop

This ultimately might be more of a chance for Elliott to get a better share of the starts in the Blues’ rotation, but if the Minnesota Wild manage to bludgeon the All-Star, it might open the door for Bishop’s first appearance of the season.

Going further, if Halak’s flu-like symptoms don’t subside, the Blues might be wise to give the over-sized netminder a start.

Bumping up Bishop’s value

With Halak and Elliott established as the clear duo for the near future, Bishop would be stuck in the minors (where he’s putting up dazzling numbers). While it’s great to have that kind of organizational depth, it’s reasonable to picture Bishop being part of a package that nets St. Louis that one extra piece that pushes its profile to an undeniably elite level. Moving him is likely to be the best way to get the most value out of the situation.

Then again, Halak could load up on Emergen-C and be good enough to back up Elliott tomorrow, making this all moot.

It brings us back to a familiar refrain ever since Hitchcock came into the fold: the Blues’ options in net rank as a great “problem” to have.

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