There have been plenty of reasons for St. Louis to sing the blues this season.
Expected to be a dark horse to win the Stanley Cup after acquiring Ryan O’Reilly via trade as well as signing free agents Tyler Bozak and David Perron over the summer, the Blues have massively underperformed. Their 10-14-4 record has them sitting 29th in the league. Worse than that though, they were pumped 6-1 by the Vancouver Canucks at home on Sunday.
Yes, the Canucks.
“I apologize to all our fans,” said Vladimir Tarasenko following the game’s final buzzer. “We can’t play at home like this.”
Frustration within the team boiled over during practice on Monday, with video emerging of Robert Bortuzzo putting a licking on Zach Sanford before coaches separated the two.
Bortuzzo ended up getting the majority of the swings in while Sanford protected himself. After the hands were thrown, Bortuzzo wasn’t done, as he continued to yell in Sanford’s direction while he skated away.
Although he’s only appeared in ten games due to a one-game suspension at the beginning of the year and some injury troubles, Bortuzzo really isn’t the enforcer he used to be. The 29-year-old has 22 regular season fights to his name in his eight-year NHL career, but hasn’t dropped the gloves this season and only did so once in 72 games during the 2017-18 campaign.
Sanford, meanwhile, hasn’t fought since 2014 when he was in the United States Hockey League, according to hockeyfights.com. The 24-year-old only has 23 penalty minutes to his name in his 62 NHL regular season games played.
After starting the year 7-9-3, the squad fired head coach Mike Yeo and gave Craig Berube the position with the interim tag in front. The Blues have been a disappointing 3-5-1 since that change in mid-November.
The current bench boss commented on his team beating each other, well, black and blue after practice.
Berube on Bortuzzo-Sanford fight: “That happens. Guys are frustrated and they should be. So sometimes in practice it boils over and things happen … that’s what happens because they do care and they want to be successful and they want to win.” #stlblues
— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) December 10, 2018
One of the most difficult things for the Blues to deal with this season has been the aggressiveness of the injury bug on their roster. Jaden Schwartz, captain Alex Pietrangelo, Carl Gunnarsson and Robby Fabbri are all currently on the shelf. That’s four key contributors that are unable to help the team on the ice right now. However, it sounds like Schwartz, who has consistently been one of the team’s top point producers the last few seasons, may return soon.
During this dumpster fire of a season, St. Louis could really use more good news like this from here on out.
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