Blues lose Tkachuk for week

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- St. Louis Blues forward Keith Tkachuk will miss at least a week because of a deep thigh bruise he got playing for the United States at the Olympics.

Tkachuk started the gold-medal game on Sunday, but was forced to watch the last two periods of his team's 5-2 loss to Canada when the injury flared up in the first period.

He rejoined the Blues in Vancouver on Monday night, but flew back to St. Louis Tuesday morning for further tests.

"It looks like we'll have to give him a little rest here and get a clear idea of the extended period that he will have to be off the ice," Blues coach Joel Quenneville said.

Quenneville described the injury as being like a "charley-horse" and added that fluid has built up around the thigh muscle and up toward Tkachuk's groin area.

"He's been unable to really exert his stride," he said. "We'll count him out for this week."

Besides tonight's contest in Vancouver, Tkachuk, who leads the Blues with 29 goals and 58 points, will miss key inter-conference games in Calgary on Thursday and Edmonton on Saturday.

St. Louis then has four days off before hosting the Minnesota Wild March 7. Quenneville hopes to have his leading scorer back by then, but admitted the Blues would miss the power forward, who is tied for fifth in goals in the NHL.

"It's a big hole," Quenneville said. "He gives the opposition defense a lot to be concerned with over the course of a game."

But the Blues coach insisted he wasn't upset about losing one of his best players to the Olympic tournament just as his fifth-place team prepares for the stretch drive in a tight Western Conference.

"We knew going in that somebody would come out of this banged up and we hoped it wouldn't be us, but I think that's all part of it," he said. "You get that type of a format with that much intensity and that much riding on it, everybody is going to be dealing with some issues."

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