ST. LOUIS – After falling short of playoffs for just the second time in 12 seasons, the St. Louis Blues are dealing with a longer wait than usual to hit the ice once again.
For head coach Craig Berube, the lengthy wait serves as motivation.
“That weighs on you all summer,” Berube told Matthew DeFranks of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch earlier this week. “Not making playoffs weighs on you, and we’re not in the business of not making playoffs.”
Berube’s run with St. Louis has been a largely successful one. He took a last-place squad midway through the 2018-19 season and turned it into the Blues’ only Stanley Cup championship. The Blues followed up their title with three consecutive playoff bids and have finished among the league’s top teams in attendance in the post-pandemic era. He’s even earned two new contracts with the Blues and already has the third-most wins of any coach in team history.
Last year, however, presented some roadblocks. The Blues dealt with a grueling eight-game losing streak early in the year and found it hard to gain ground back in the standings. St. Louis lost dynamic veterans Ryan O’Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko and Ivan Barbashav in trade deadline deals, and the Blues ultimately finished with their worst full-season record in 15 years.
Berube doesn’t want that to become the habit. “It becomes long,” he told the Post-Dispatch. The Blues haven’t played since April 13. They won’t report to training camp until Sept. 20. A grand total of 160 days.
Still three weeks away from training camp, Berube expects the Blues to be fully healthy come training camp with plenty of position battles expected.
“We’re ready to go now,” he said. “I want to get going here.”