Practice Buzz: Derek Stepan could suit up Monday versus the Blues
Derek Stepan was out there today practicing with his teammates in a yellow non contact jersey. Hits or no hits, his return to the ice was a smashing success.
Alain Vigneault said that it is possible Stepan could play Monday versus St. Louis if he continues to improve. That also coincides when the centerman is eligible to return off Long Term Injured Reserve.
Alain Vigneault discussed the probability as per Jim Cerny of BlueshirtsUnited:
“He skated today and looked fine to me, but the medical staff will tell us when he can start taking contact, and then from there it’s when we feel his conditioning is good and he’s good to go,” explained Vigneault. “At this point it doesn’t appear that he would play Monday, but I would not rule anything out.”
Stepan was all smiles today as he said it felt nice to “feel like a player again.” Out since late September, he’s called it a process of crawling before you can walk and that he’s listening to his doctors carefully.
The chances of him playing may be overly optimistic, but there’s at least some hope. It would make sense to wait it out until next weekend, but it will be up to the doctors.
Who gets sent down upon his return? Our initial guess is Kevin Hayes but the poor play of Ryan Malone may have it work out differently.