What: St. Louis at Detroit
When: Monday, January 20, 7:30pm (TV: FSD)
You know you’re off to a good start when you can miss 11 games due to a concussion and still be, far and away, your team’s leading goal scorer when you return.
The Blues’ Alex Steen didn’t come out of nowhere this season, but his jackrabbit start wasn’t exactly expected.
Steen already has tied his career high with 24 goals—all accumulated in the season’s first 35 games before he was shelved due to the concussion, which was brought on by a series of hits as opposed to one bone cruncher.
Steen, 29, returned on Saturday, and he will be in the Blues’ lineup tonight in Detroit.
The St. Louis crowd gave Steen a standing ovation on Saturday, as well they should. Never before has Steen in his nine-year NHL career pumped pucks into the net with the frequency that he has this season.
The fast start earned Steen a contract extension, signed earlier this season.
Steen will play for his native Sweden in the Winter Olympics next month in Sochi.
Steen’s goal scoring exploits are baffling, but in a good way, if you’re a Blues fan.
Only twice before has Steen scored 20+ goals—in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons. Before and after those two years, Steen has been more of a 15-goal kind of guy.
In last year’s lockout-shortened season, Steen had eight goals in 40 games, much more his speed.
But this year?
Someone who knows him well has some insight.
Steen’s dad is Thomas Steen, who showed up in goalie’s nightmares when he played in the NHL for the Winnipeg Jets in the 1980s. The elder Steen notched 264 goals in his 14-year NHL career.
“(Alex) looks happy and not much is bothering him,” Thomas told CBC Sports in late-November. “He plays for a great team that is working together.
“I think every year a player gets a little better, a little more comfortable. But he feels good, his spirit is good.”
The Blues acquired Alex Steen in November, 2008, from Toronto, along with D Carlo Colaiacovo, for Lee Stempniak, who now plays for Calgary.
Steen wears no. 20 for the Blues.