Were they sick?
When the various phases came and went, we knew that some of the Blues contracted covid-19. They shut down their entire facility, stopped practicing and had no meetings.
What we did not know was who and how many. At the time, it could have been just a staff member and the team being cautious.
After the season was over, Doug Armstrong said about 20% of the team had the virus. They were not asymptomatic either.
“Yeah it did (affect their conditioning), just because when they were quarantining, they couldn’t go to the gym or do certain things,” Armstrong said, reported by Chris Pinkert. “It affected each player differently. Some lost a considerable amount of weight. They all felt some form of a symptom. It wasn’t that they had it and didn’t feel anything.”
This was news nobody really expected when it was released. We all knew someone had the virus and many expected it was Vince Dunn since he was held out for so long.
We did not know that many players contracted it and all had symptoms. You can say there are no excuses since they went ahead and played, but being sick with anything is a reason you might not perform.
Think of your own life experiences. I know that after having even just a stomach issue or a cold, going back to the gym is murder because your body is just not prepared.
Your cardio shape has all but vanished and even strength levels are way down. In a sport that requires insane amounts of cardiovascular stamina and strength to win puck battles, being at less then 100% puts you behind the eight ball.
We were not those players. We don’t know how they felt or how the sickness might have taken a toll on them.
Each of us have our own beliefs on the virus and how the responsible authorities have reacted to all of this. However, whether you think it’s a new plague or just the next cold, the bottom line is a decent amount of players got sick.
When you’re sick, your body is trying to fight the battle inside first and everything outside is secondary. That could explain the lack of energy just as much, if not more, than a lack of training intensity.
We will never know. The sad thing is this team was built to repeat.
They were the best team in the Western Conference for almost the entire regular season. Colorado was creeping up, but the Blues were still rolling.
No matter how you slice it, nobody can deny that the pandemic pause derailed the Blues. Whether they did not take things as seriously as they needed, whether it was a lack of fans or lack of family during the quarantine or whether they were still dealing with the aftereffects of the virus, the pause cost them a true opportunity to repeat.
Maybe they would have played in a second final or maybe they get bounced in the second round. We will never know, but I would take my chances with that Blues team that played against Anaheim in March over what ended up playing in Edmonton, any day of the week.