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After 12-game absence, Sobotka returns for Blues

Mar 13, 2014, 12:42 PM EDT

NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 21: Vladimir Sobotka #17 of the St. Louis Blues takes the puck in the first period against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on January 21, 2014 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

The red-hot St. Louis Blues will get a key piece back for tonight’s game against Edmonton as Vladimir Sobotka will play for the first time since Jan. 31.

Sobotka, who has been on IR with a leg injury that kept him from representing the Czech Republic in Sochi, was on pace for a career year prior to getting hurt. He had seven goals and 25 points in 46 games — his career best is 29 points — and was averaging 16:31 TOI while sitting third among all Blues forwards in hits (87).

The Blues head into tonight’s action sitting first in the NHL with 95 points and, with Sobotka’s return, will be as healthy as they’ve been all season.

At this morning’s skate, Sobotka centered the second line between Vladimir Tarasenko and T.J. Oshie. David Backes was on the top unit between Jaden Schwartz and Alex Steen, while Derek Roy manned the middle on the third line with Steve Ott and Patrik Berglund.

St. Louis’ fourth line was Magnus PaajarviMaxim LapierreRyan Reaves. Brenden Morrow and Chris Porter were the extras.

  1. bluesfanman - Mar 13, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    The Blues get back their best face-off man and their spark on offence. Sobotka is one of the most under-rated players in the NHL IMHO.

    • bcsteele - Mar 13, 2014 at 2:02 PM

      Amen brother…most underrated player period in my book.

    • blues1988 - Mar 13, 2014 at 2:03 PM

      yep definitely one of my favorites. I like what hitch said too, Morrow is only getting scratched tonight because he’s going to rest him more often down the stretch. For the future though idk how you can scratch paajarvi, he’s so quick and has been playing really well. I say sit Roy. he hasn’t shown up in a while.

      • bcsteele - Mar 13, 2014 at 2:06 PM

        Problem there is Ott, Morrow, and Roy have shown some great chemistry. I agree with your comment but not sure of a solution.

        We’re just deep! I’m so ready to see what this team and Miller can do in the playoffs.

        Time is NOW!!!

      • 11111111111a22 - Mar 13, 2014 at 3:59 PM

        These are all great problems to have, aren’t they? As a diehard Wings and Blues fan (which I only admit anonymously online for safety reasons) they are the envy of Detroit with their health/depth.

        100% agree Sobe is the most underrated player in the NHL. If you asked me 6 months ago I’d say Steen but he is on everyone’s radar now…

  2. sigep316 - Mar 13, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    Come playoff time Reaves will be sitting. Blues have more then enough players that can stand up mid game. Always bring Reaves in the next game if it gets to out of hand. I love reaves and the energy brings to the game with his hits, but see him being off man out come playoff time

  3. bucfanforlife - Mar 13, 2014 at 2:59 PM

    yep reaves and porter will sit come playoff time

    • 11111111111a22 - Mar 13, 2014 at 6:30 PM

      I want Reaves in the game if we meet any of the California teams.

  4. stevedurbano - Mar 13, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    Wow- how many other teams have an excess of quality talent at this time of year? Usually the Blues are trying to figure out who to get off waivers or which journeyman to call up. Personally I’d sit Morrow or drop him to the 4th line and sit Lapierre. I really would like to see Paajarvi move up but then who do you sit?

    • 11111111111a22 - Mar 13, 2014 at 4:01 PM

      Who centers the fourth if you sit Lappy? Bring Bergy down? Backes, Sobe, Ott/Roy, would be the best set of pivot men in the game.

      • stevedurbano - Mar 13, 2014 at 5:19 PM

        Good point. Berglund is inconsistant but he should get more time than the fourth line. Should be interesting to see how Hitch goes. Another hard choice will come up when Leopold returns.

  5. 11111111111a22 - Mar 13, 2014 at 6:31 PM

    Cole and Carlo will be on the outside looking in once we get Leo back (if I had it my way).

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