It's about damn time.
Shattenkirk, who has missed seven weeks with an abdominal injury that required surgery, could be back in the lineup when the Blues return to the ice Saturday against Columbus. But it will depend on whether he makes it through Friday's practice.
"We gave him a very aggressive cardio test (Wednesday) that he passed, so he's gotten through the conditioning side of things," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Now it's full contact and full absorption of a full practice (Friday). If he passes, then we expect him to play Saturday."
Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson could also be ready to play Saturday. He has missed two games with an upper-body injury. He also skated in Thursday's optional practice.
"This is the second day he's been on the ice, so I'm hoping that he's ready to go," Hitchcock said. "We're assuming that. He came through the pre-game skate last time fine, so this is another 48 hours later ... we're hoping that he's 100 percent."
So, participation in optional practice? Check. Go for Saturday? Ehhhh... probably. I'll take it.
Now the question is this: if they're both in on Saturday against the Blue Jackets, who sits? We may be seeing seven defensemen. We may be seeing six. It's up to Ken Hitchcock, since it "depends on his mood."
Who will we see? If they pass the baseline tests, it'll be Shattenkirk and Gunnarsson, and those are the last two guys opponents want to see.