Left wing wants to make his game more consistent across the board
moving forward, talks of playing with new teammates, losing close ones
HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- Blues left wing and assistant captain Alexander Steen rejoined his teammates last week for informal skates ahead of the start of training camp, which begins with on-ice workouts Friday at Scottrade Center.
Steen, who set career highs in points (64) and assists (40) last season, recently talked about about the Blues' offseason changes, putting last season's disappointment in the rear view mirror and moving on without close friends and how he can help improve his game moving forward:
What did you think of the offseason and coming back for the 2015-16 season?
I think we made some good moves. If you look at our team as a whole, we play in my opinion, one of the toughest if not the toughest division in the NHL and we've finished first or second in the last four years. So we have an extremely powerful team. We've gotten stuck in the first rounds the last three years (in the Stanley Cup Playoffs) and the year before that, it was just the second round, so there is obviously an emphasis on that. That's a huge point for us to get to that position again and find our way through that first round. But from a starting point right now, we've made some changes. The biggest thing is to get everybody included right off the bat and to make sure that we work on the details of our game that are going to make us successful throughout the season and then when that time comes, we've got to find that little extra to get past it, but we can't be too focused on that from the get-go. Right now, the focus is getting ready for the season and make sure we get ourselves off to a good start when Oct. 8 comes around.
What are your thoughts about not having T.J. Oshie and Barret Jackman as teammates anymore? And your early impressions of Troy Brouwer, Kyle Brodziak, Scott Gomez and Scottie Upshall?
It's different not seeing 'Osh' and 'Jax' around. Obviously they've been a huge part of our team and a huge part of the community for so many years. 'Jax' has been here for 13-14 years. He still has his family from here, so we'll still see him around, but it's very different not seeing him in the room all the time when you've been that close with guys for so many years. It's a bit of a change. We made some great changes. I just met the guys today. Gomer's very happy-go-lucky, walks around with a smile on his face all the time. Upshall's a very hard worker. Troy seems to be a terrific guy, an extremely hard worker, big body and then Brodziak ... it's funny my dad called me right after we signed Brody and I'd been complaining about him for a few years how hard he is to play against. It's nice to have him on your team.
Do the new guys bring something to the team you didn't have before?
I don't know if it's what we didn't have before. Obviously when you move players, you're going to get new guys in that are a little bit different in the way that they play. With the guys that we bring in, we've got big bodies, extremely hard workers. I don't think that's a huge difference to what the guys were that were leaving. It's so hard to compare when they're completely different players. We're not expecting Troy Brouwer to do things that 'Osh' was doing, but it's a different look and we're excited to see how his game rounds us out. It's a bit of a different look for our team.
Are you a guy that sits back after the season and reflects on what you could have done better or do you park it and move on quickly?
You analyze every year whether it was good or bad. Personally, I think looking back at my year, it was a little bit too much up and down. I had the most points I've ever had in the league, but to me, those things aren't what matters. It's how you feel during the course of the year. For me, I almost want to have a boring style where you're always accountable, you're always the same. You bring the same thing every night. I felt like I was a little too up and down individually last year. I never set goals as numbers ... I want to hit 20 goals or 30 goals or anything like that. It's more of a feeling what you're contributing to the team. That was an emphasis that I put on myself coming into the year. I didn't really change too much of my approach.
Were the ups and downs reflective more of the team as a whole more?
I don't think it's because of it; I think we had that a little bit. There were times during the year where we were spectacular and then there were times where we couldn't find that same edge on a nightly basis. Those are things we're going to have to adjust a little bit. This dwelling and trying to over-analyze and bring up old situations constantly all the time, it's not a great use of your energy. Obviously you have to learn from it and almost get fueled by it. You are a little pissed off that we do have such a powerful team and can't get past the first opponent that we've had in the last three seasons in the playoffs. That's something that gnaws at you. At the same time, I don't go and dwell on losing the Olympic final, but that's something that always is gonna bother me that we didn't win that game. You've got to use your energy wisely and be positive and from here on, it's about getting everybody in the group and making sure that we're ready for Oct. 8th, getting a really good start to the season and from there, you continue to work on your team throughout the year. If you start the season with your focus on the first round of the playoffs, you're not going to have the right mindset for that game, that night.