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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

"But it's gotta get better for sure, and it will," he added.

The focus will change next week.

"Definitely we'll do some scrimmaging," Berube said. "I'm not sold on, you know, referees and things like that. But I think controlled scrimmages, situational scrimmages, power play, penalty kill scrimmages will be important here going forward. We're definitely gonna get into some of that."

For now, it's more like Hockey 101: Introduction to skating, shooting, passing. All designed to get the legs working, the hands working, and the timing back.

Because all of this is taking place in July, Barbashev called it a combination of weird and exciting. Weird because this is a time of the year when players normally are on vacation or back home with family and friends in Canada, Sweden, Russia or wherever.

Exciting, because with a tight-knit group like the Blues it's always good to see teammates, especially when gathering to try to win another Stanley Cup.

There was nothing weird, however, about seeing O'Reilly working late after Tuesday's first session. He was the last man off the ice, skating end-to-end sprints.

"Just a test I give myself to kind of gauge where I'm at," O'Reilly said. "Kinda just working on my technique, really trying to lengthen my stride. I'm not really known for my skating ability so I gotta try to work on that as best I can."

 

Always working.

After Monday's work, Pietrangelo said the team looked pretty good all things considered. But given the fourth-month layoff, is it enough time? Will the Blues' gradual workout have them ready when the time of reckoning comes in August?

"Well, they have to (be ready)," general manager Doug Armstrong said. "It's not something that they're gonna do a straw poll and say let's push this back a few days. I believe our guys are pros. I believe they take great care of themselves. I know that they want to play. I know we'll be ready."

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