Forward Oskar Sundqvist has been out of the Blues lineup since September 30, when he was taken out by an illegal hit from the Capitals’ Tom Wilson. Sundqvist suffered a shoulder injury, a concussion, and facial laceration, and was put on injured reserve.
Wednesday morning, Blues head coach Mike Yeo said that Sundqvist has been cleared to play.
And Yeo confirms that Sundqvist is ready to go and will be available Thurs.
— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) October 24, 2018
Sundqvist spoke about the Wilson hit with Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“It’s obviously a pretty bad hit,” Sundqvist said. “People saying that he hit my shoulder — he hit my head. I think you can avoid that hit.”
Sundqvist has not been following Wilson’s appeal process closely but hopes that Wilson “has learned his lesson,” especially considering Wilson’s history.
“What is it, 16 games since his last suspension?” Sundqvist said. “So obviously it’s something they needed to show him, I guess, with the 20 games. We’ll see.”
Wilson’s hit was borderline, with some–including his teammates–saying that the hit was clean, or at least following league guidelines. Sundqvist disagrees with those assessments.
“Mostly it’s probably people that don’t play hockey or watch hockey,” Sundqvist said. “But definitely didn’t hit my shoulder, I tell you that.”
Wilson appealed his 20 game suspension with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in a very, very long hearing on October 18. Bettman is expected to release his decision this week. Wilson has the option to appeal that decision with a neutral arbiter, who would have the final say.
It’s unclear if Sundqvist will play now that he is eligible, as the Blues have a full roster and a glut of other bottom-six forwards available. Forwards Robby Fabbri and Nikita Soshnikov were recently sent down to the to the Blues’ AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage, for conditioning following injuries.
Sundqvist could make his return as early as Thursday, when the Blues face the Columbus Blue Jackets on home ice. If he is a scratch, at least he will be a healthy one.
Headline photo: Jim McIsaac
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