Blues defenseman hopes injuries behind him, looking forward to healthy season
ST. LOUIS -- Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson is currently taking part in his second training camp in preparation for his second season with the Blues.
Gunnarsson, who dealt with a hip injury to begin last season along with a concussion, is healthy and eager to prove his worth to a franchise and fan base expecting big things. He talked recently at the team's practice facility at the Ice Zone about feeling 100 percent, the disappointment of last season's ending and other topics here:
What are your thoughts on a second camp with the Blues?
Personally, I think this is fun. I have a good feeling about this. I think for me coming in and feeling healthy and all that, it's a huge part. A couple additions, it feels good. We've been skating for a couple days (before camp) and I think everyone's excited for camp.
As a team, how do things feel now?
A couple new guys on here, I think they fit right in. It's going to be nice this year. Everyone's excited. I think everyone's got a good feeling here.
With how last season ended, are you surprised there are as many parts to last year's team as there is?
Maybe you see more changes, but I think management has big belief in the coaches and the group. A couple twitches here and there bringing a couple new guys in here like they did or changes to something in the game, so we'll see. I think everyone's got the same (mindset) as last year, both in the group and the coaching staff.
The fact that you're healthy, is that a big difference for you coming in as opposed to last year?
It feels so good. No matter if it's before the season or during the season, when you're injured, you're a little bit on the side doing your own thing trying to get back. Now you're one of the guys in the group and it's easier. I'm looking forward to playing some games to really get going too, get some exhibition games before really the hard stuff here.
How does putting Petteri Lindbohm and Robert Bortuzzo into the group on a regular basis change things on the blue line and what does it do losing veteran guys?
It's tough to lose 'Jax.' As a player and as a guy in the room. It seems like this always happens. A veteran has got a routine, he knows what it's about. Losing guys like that, it happens all the time. You've just got to find your place, step it up, they get their chance, who knows what they're going to bring. It might be instant success, it might take a little while to get into the group. You've just got to learn to deal with it. It's going to be a little bit different from last year, but those guys have played before. It's not going to be a problem.
What does playing more reckless mean to a defenseman in Ken Hitchcock's system?
We'll see what he says in camp here. We'll probably have a couple meetings about it. We'll figure out what we can do differently because we don't want something like last year happening again.
The fact that you're healthy, how much more do you feel you can bring to the table?
A lot. Just now out here skating around, I have no issues. I don't have to think about injuries or anything. Just play my game and be confident about it. It feels good. Last year was a lot of ups and downs. Hopefully, I can stay on the upside of that from the get-go here.
Did you reflect much on how last season ended or quickly turn the page?
You have to (reflect on it). At first, it's kind of tough; you don't want to think about it. It's all negative, negative, negative. After a couple weeks, you start thinking back, 'Alright, what can we do, what can I do, how can I help the team?' Then after a couple weeks, you've got to turn the page and then you move forward and you look forward to the next season. You can't linger on what (happened) last season or the last couple seasons. It's now that matters and moving forward here what we can do.