Blues drop anchor in Charleston for team-bonding trip

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Entering the Blues’ Stanley Cup season, it used to be Annapolis, Md., and the United States Naval Academy.

Last season, it used to be Vail, Colo.

Well, with the preseason now entire and the regular-season opener now not till Saturday night time, at house towards Columbus, the Blues are off on every other team-bonding trip.

This time it’s Charleston, based in 1670 as Charles Town — in honor of England’s King Charles II. It as soon as used to be a big slave-trading port, and where the place the Civil War began in 1861 with the Confederates firing on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

Today, this is a tourism middle with cobblestone streets and antebellum mansions in its ancient district, tradition, delicacies, seashores, golfing and fishing alternatives.

“We got some new guys, and even if we didn’t, I think guys like to get away and get some cohesiveness and chemistry together,” Blues trainer Craig Berube mentioned sooner than the group left St. Louis. “Just bond a little bit. It makes it tighter. Listen, you gotta be like this.”

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(Berube intertwined his arms.)

“You gotta be a tight hockey team to be successful in this league,” he persisted. “We’ve built that culture here and want to keep building it. So we get away. We’re gonna work on our game in practices. … It’s not just gonna be a vacation. We’re gonna work. But then at the same time, we’re gonna do some golfing and have some fun and get the guys together.”

Sunday used to be a break day from hockey actions, however the group is scheduled to follow on the North County Coliseum, house of the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Colorado’s Stanley Cup-winning trainer, Jared Bednar, used to be head trainer of the Stingrays from 2007-09. Blues ahead Nathan Walker performed a handful of video games for the Stingrays in the 2014-15 season whilst with the Washington Capitals group.

Last season in Vail, chilly climate — together with some snow — made fishing and golfing problematical. But that shouldn’t be a topic this week, with temperatures anticipated to hit the mid-70s.

“It’s always nice,” Blues ahead Brandon Saad mentioned, talking of bonding journeys, now not the elements. “You get to know the new faces a little bit more. A lot of guys at home go back to their family (after practice) and have responsibilities. So any time you can get a few days to go away and bond as a team, I think it’s a lot of fun.”

Berube says he and normal supervisor Doug Armstrong generally speak about doable websites in combination when taking into account team-bonding locations. For Charleston, they may have got some enter from defenseman Torey Krug — who has a house right here.

“‘Kruger’ set up some high-end restaurants,” defenseman Robert Bortuzzo mentioned. “He’s our concierge for the week.”

That clearly is a large accountability.

“We trust him somewhat,” group captain Ryan O’Reilly joked. “We’ll see. It’s difficult when you got this many guys. No, it’ll be good.”

To say that the avid gamers revel in those getaways could be understatement.

“Never gets old,” Bortuzzo mentioned. “Part of the game. I hope it stays (that way) for a long time after I’m gone. It’s just a great time. Chance to get to know guys on another level. I’m a firm believer that it just builds your group and helps carry you through the tough times during the season. We’re going to take advantage.”

As the Blues have whittled their squad with roster cuts, a gradual flow of avid gamers have made their solution to Springfield, Mass., house of the Blues’ American Hockey League associate — the Thunderbirds.

The T-Birds don’t open their steady season till Saturday, at house towards the Bridgeport Islanders, however tuned up with a couple of exhibition contests over the weekend towards the Providence Bruins.

A dozen avid gamers who had been in Blues camp took section in both Friday’s or Saturday’s contest — or in some instances each.

Among them had been Hugh McGing, Mathias Laferriere, Will Bitten, Steven Santini and Brady Lyle. Goalie Vadim Zherenko performed all the recreation Friday, preventing 33 of 37 pictures in a 4-2 loss. He performed the primary length Saturday, preventing 8 of 9 in a 6-2 loss.

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