St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong spoke to reporters on Wednesday and shared some distressing news from Phase 3 Training Camp.
According to Armstrong, 20 percent of the team contracted the coronavirus ahead of the postseason. Armstrong pointed to that issue for being one of the major reasons why the Blues could not repeat as champions. St. Louis was eliminated in the first round by the Vancouver Canucks in six games.
“I thought coming into Phase 3, there was a lot going on around our organization,” Armstrong said. “Of our regular players, I think we had like 20 percent of those guys had had COVID at some point. Their mindset was always to be competitive and to play hard, but they had a lot going on around them. Four or five guys had just had babies or were going to have babies. The information about COVID was changing every day on how it was going to affect older people, younger people, and babies. It took us a while. I thought we got the most comfortable when we finally got to Edmonton, but I didn’t think we were comfortable heading into Edmonton. I think that showed early on in our first couple weeks there.”
In early July, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jim Thomas reported that four Blues players and a member of its coaching staff tested positive for coronavirus after several team members visited a bar in Clayton, Missouri. The resulting positive cases forced the Blues to cancel practice at their practice facility at Centene Community Ice Center in Maryland Heights, Missouri.
When asked if the COVID cases affected the conditioning level for some Blues players, Armstrong agreed.
“Yeah it did, just because when they were quarantining, they couldn’t go to the gym or do certain things,” Armstrong said. “It affected each player differently. Some lost a considerable amount of weight. They all felt some form of a symptom. It wasn’t that they had it and didn’t feel anything.”
Armstrong also announced that Vladimir Tarasenko, the team’s best goalscorer, will need to have a second shoulder surgery and will miss at least the next five months
“He was very limited (when he returned) He had shoulder surgery obviously at the start of the season,” Armstrong said. “He rehabbed, he came back, we had to do another MRI. He wasn’t feeling good. That surgery [in October] didn’t take the way that we had hoped, it wasn’t successful. He’s going to go back in and have more surgery next week, and it’s serious in the sense that he won’t be with us and he won’t be re-evaluated until five months after the date of the surgery.
“It’s certainly not a positive that we’re going through right now,” Armstrong added. “We just know he prepares and trains hard and needs to get back and play well for us. It’s a concern in the sense that he’s going to have three surgeries.”
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