Alexander Steen played the entirety of the 2017 postseason with a broken foot.
As the St. Louis Blues got deeper and deeper into the postseason, one thing remained constant: 33-year-old forward Alexander Steen never practiced. For a player that’s been as consistent and hard-working as Steen has been over the years, it was pretty clear that he wasn’t just taking routine “maintenance days.”
It became obvious that Steen had a rather serious injury, but with the possibility of a team gaining a competitive advantage by learning the details of his ailment, neither the veteran forward or the team elaborated on the reason for his absence from practice. With the playoffs over, however, Steen opened up about what had been holding him back for so long.
As NHL.com’s Lou Korac and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Jeremy Rutherford relayed following the Blues’ Game 6 loss and elimination from the postseason on Sunday afternoon, Steen played nearly all of the postseason with a broken foot.
Despite his injury, Steen was the team’s second-leading point producer during the playoffs, collecting three goals and four assists in 10 games. He struggled in the faceoff circle, but it’s difficult to say his presence wasn’t a net positive for most of the postseason.
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Steen didn’t practice all postseason, but he missed just one game–Friday night’s Game 5 win. Ironically, his absence from the lineup gave the Blues the lift they needed. His replacement, Dmitrij Jaskin, scored the Blues’ first goal in a 2-1 victory. Though Rutherford reported on Friday that Steen was on crutches and wearing an extended boot, the veteran forward bounced back and suited up on Sunday. While he didn’t put any points on the board, he certainly didn’t skate like a guy with a broken foot.
With that said, it’s fair to question whether the Blues should have played Steen on Sunday after his injury had worsened. While it’s tough to sit down a veteran member of the leadership group when he wants to try to play, the Blues sat one of their more productive offensive forwards this postseason in Magnus Paajarvi in order to accommodate Steen’s presence in the lineup. It’s hard to get too upset about a player like Paajarvi who doesn’t have too much of a track record sitting so that a proven offensive talent like Steen can play, but it caused the Blues’ lineup to lose quite a bit of speed and energy on Sunday.
It seems like a rather distinct possibility that Steen will end up undergoing surgery this offseason. This would be the second straight summer during which Steen would undergo a relatively serious operation; last year he had shoulder surgery that kept him off the ice for the entire summer and some of training camp.