Center who is seventh on the Blues' all-time games played list injured
opposite shoulder in 2015, understands to patiently rehab accordingly
HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- Patrik Berglund was so excited at what the Blues roster would look like moving forward into his 10th NHL season after an offseason of minimal improvements with more of a youthful infusion, he got off to an early start on the training regimen to get ready.
But then it happened.
Another shoulder injury.
|(St. Louis Blues photo)|
Patrik Berglund (left) celebrates a goal with Jaden Schwartz in Game 5 of the
Western Conference Final in 2016 for the Blues against San Jose.
It's not what the 29-year-old who has played all 637 NHL games with the Bluenote on his chest and beginning a new five-year, $19.25 million contract signed on February 24 had in mind.
Especially after being given a solid role and identity under Mike Yeo when Yeo took over for Ken Hitchcock.
But instead of skating with fellow teammates and NHL players during informal skates at the Ice Zone inside St. Louis Outlet Mall these days, Berglund finds himself in warmup clothes rehabbing a second shoulder injury.
"Obviously a really tough break. I don't think anyone wants to go through an injury and rehabbing and all that," Berglund said Thursday. "An unfortunate accident, too, but you've got to just move forward, try to get healthy and that's all you can do.
"It's a tough sport. You get banged up obviously, but especially for me, I've injured both shoulders. Hopefully when we get this one back in shape, at least they will be pretty solid hopefully."
Berglund, who had 23 goals and 11 assists in 82 games last season and has 296 points (151 goals, 145 assists) in his career, has been rehabbing in St. Louis, and will continue to do so until he's healthy.
"I've been here already for a couple of weeks," Berglund said. "I've started the rehab process. Even in that process, you've got some good days where you feel you can do some solid work and you also got days where it just doesn't feel very good. It goes up and down.
"... So far, so good. You're just rehabbing and listening to your body telling you what to do. You can't just push it too hard. It's fresh in my mind from the other one (sustained at the end of the 2014-15 regular season). You've got to listen to your body and basically take it one day at a time. That's all you can do."
Yeo was utilizing Berglund in important situations, including both sides of the special teams and critical ice times late in games with the two points in the balance. It was a big reason why Berglund was motivated to get a leg up on summer training and come in hopping at an accelerated rate from the start.
"It was really exciting to play for him," Berglund said of Yeo. "I was hoping to have a good summer, get in shape and get better and better. Not only be in shape, but develop to get better and stronger, faster and work on the areas you think you need to improve. It was definitely a tough blow. I barely got two weeks to work on stuff. "
Berglund was expected to be penciled in as the third-line center when the season opens Oct. 4 in Pittsburgh. Now the competition will open up to a slew of younger players and perhaps veteran Vladimir Sobotka, who gets more ice to get re-acclimated with the North American ice surface again after spending three seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League before returning to St. Louis for the last game of the regular season and the playoffs.
|(St. Louis Blues photo)|
Blues center Patrik Berglund (21) looks for a rebound in the 2017 NHL
Winter Classic on Jan. 2 against Chicago. Berglund will be sidelined until
December with a separated left shoulder sustained during offseason training.
"I think it's a really good balance," Berglund said of the team, which added Brayden Schenn from Philadelphia via trade for Jori Lehtera and two first-round picks. "I'm very excited about this year. I think we're looking really good. As the year keeps going on too, we're getting more and more obviously experienced and in playoff situations and so on. Hopefully we learn from that and keep building and keep moving forward."
Berglund, if all goes according to plan, will at some point this season pass Garry Unger for sixth on the all-time games played list in franchise history. Unger sits at 662. Getting to Bernie Federko's all-time record of 927 will be quite the chore, and one that apparently is a jinx every time it's brought up.
"I guess so. It wasn't a very good start to it," Berglund said. "Hopefully I still have a lot of games left to play and hopefully I can get there one day."