Blues forward Maxim Lapierre will have missed five games when his suspension is complete, but because of the club’s light schedule in late October, 16 days will pass from the time of his hit on San Jose’s Dan Boyle until the first game he’s eligible to play.

“It is really long right now,” said Lapierre, who will sit out the final game of his suspension tonight against Winnipeg and will be eligible to play Friday when the team travels to Florida. “I can’t wait to come back and be a part of the group.”

The Blues, who are moving forward without injured forward Magnus Paajarvi, are also eagerly awaiting Lapierre’s return to the group.

“He’s a very effective player for us,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “He’s good on (penalty kill), he’s got great energy. We miss him. We miss his personality in the locker room. He’s got an enthusiasm to compete and play. I’m really looking forward to getting him back.”

Lapierre has been practicing with the Blues since the incident with Boyle on Oct. 15. He missed only two days when the club played in Winnipeg, while Lapierre attended his hearing with the NHL in New York. The next day, he met the team in Charleston, S.C., and resumed workouts.

“It’s different practicing and playing, but I know 100 percent I did everything I needed to do off the ice through my suspension to be in great shape,” Lapierre said.

The concern isn’t his conditioning, but his approach to the game following the second suspension of his career.

“Obviously I’ve got to come back and play the game I’ve played all my career,” Lapierre said. “I’m not going to lie. A hit like that’s always makes you think a lot, (but) I’m not going to change my role. I might take a different approach from now on. I’m not saying I’m not going to be physical, but I’m definitely not going to finish a hit on a (puck rimmed around the boards).”

The Blues don’t want Lapierre to change.