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As Blues ramp up for playoffs, the first step is 'getting the legs moving'

Jim Thomas, St. Louis Post-Dispatch on

Published in Hockey

The Blues' one exhibition game takes place in two weeks -- at 5:30 p.m. July 29 against the Chicago Blackhawks in the hub city of Edmonton. They begin round-robin play in 2 1/2 weeks -- Aug. 2 against the Colorado Avalanche, in another 5:30 p.m. start.

Normally, teams are in training camp for maybe three days before they play an exhibition game. Not so this time around.

"So start slow and kind of ramp it up, and then get into our full-team drills," Pietrangelo said. "But for now, we're just kinda getting that conditioning back up, kind of getting the muscles and the hips and everything back to play in these situations."

With that in mind, Berube's message to the team has been pretty simple.

"He said we gotta get our legs going," forward Ivan Barbashev said.

There has been nothing resembling 5-on-5 work so far at Centene. No systems work. And very little in the way of situational drills.

 

"Right now, it's a lot of high-paced flow drills that we're doing out there," O'Reilly said. "We haven't had a ton of kinda scrimmage (work) or anything yet. So it's all kind of working on getting the feel and getting the conditioning back. Getting used to the high intensity and having a good pace."

Practices haven't been long, about 45 minutes. The squad has been split into two units, with one group working at 10 a.m. and the other coming out at noon. With only about 16 players on the ice at a time, that means everyone is getting plenty of work.

"The first two days we're pretty pleased with everything," Berube said. "I think our guys are working hard, moving pretty well. There's a lot of reps out there with smaller groups, so they get tired pretty quick. But we're keeping practices pretty short. I want up-tempo the whole time to get the conditioning up."

Overall, Berube said the Blues aren't in a bad spot conditioning-wise.

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