Thursday, June 2, 2022

Blues center Ryan O'Reilly

ST. LOUIS -- The numbers may not have always been there for Ryan O'Reilly at the start of the 2021-22 season, but when was all said and done for the Blues captain, in the end, there's no questioning the body of work as a whole the 31-year-old produced in his fourth season in St. Louis.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Blues captain Ryan O'Reilly (right) completed his fourth season in St.
Louis, finishing with 21 goals, 37 assists in the regular season.

O'Reilly did surge in the end of the regular season to finish with 21 goals, the third time he did that in his four seasons here and he did finish with 58 points, his second-fewest next to last season's 56-game COVID-19 shortened season (54 points) but he came on strong again in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, finishing with 12 points (seven goals, five assists) in 12 games. And for the seventh straight season, O'Reilly once again proved he's one of the top face-off specialists in the league when he produced at 56.78 percent

O'Reilly will be entering the final year of his contract in 2022-23 and there will come a time, whether it be sooner or later, when the Blues will have to make the decision of whether to commit to him with another contract or not.

O'Reilly discusses that and the season as a whole, his thoughts on the championship window, on teammate and friend David Perron and more:

Thoughts on the season:
We're obviously very disappointed losing to Colorado. I think we would've liked to perform better there. But overall, our season was great. We had so many different guys step up and it was a fun team to be a part of. Again, we're looking to do the same thing going forward, get a bit better and give ourselves a good chance to win next year.

On if the team back is on the map:
Yeah, we're definitely very close. Looking at the teams playing right now, we're right there. Obviously we didn't beat Colorado, but the confidence in the group around and talking to guys, we know we can give ourselves a better chance to win and be right there. So, it's going to come down to having a good summer, being in shape, getting healthy and ready to start right again.

Want to be skilled, but also gritty? How do you do both?:
Yeah, I think the group, I think we have the ability to score goals, it's just staying committed to that process of playing Blues hockey and being stingy to play against. I think it's all there, it's just being consistent with it and trusting our process. But yeah, I feel we're a really good hockey team and we're going to be right back there again.

On Perron coming back again:
We want to keep this group together and he's such a big part of it. Yeah, the season just ended, and I'm sure things will progress as we go forward here, but yeah, he's a big part of this and I think we both want to be here.

On your contract and if you want to be here long-term:
Oh absolutely. It's a place I want to be. Yeah, it's crazy going into a contract year. It feels like time kind of flew by. Yeah, I'm sure things, over the summer and going into next year, I'm sure we'll try to figure something out. Again, the season just ended, so we haven't really had time to discuss it. But yeah, if it happens, it happens.

On clip of playing the air guitar with his stick on the bench:
I don't (do that a lot). I was just trying to get another stick and I was looking at one of our trainers, Drew. I think it was like music playing, which was loud and I couldn't really hear him. I was just trying to get his attention and, I don't know, just a random thing. Yeah, it's not something I do often.

How COVID affected him early in the season:
Yeah, I think it definitely did a number on me. It was tough. It was tough coming back from it. Needing to have jump and stamina, it was tough, it was hard, it took a little while to find my rhythm again. But yeah, I don't think anybody had an easy time with COVID. It was unfortunate, but it was nice that we had the depth and we had different guys step up over the course of the year when guys would go down. We always had such a good team that we were able to keep going and stick with it, find ways to win games. Yeah, it ended up being alright.

One or two things you'd like team to do better going forward:
It was a great team, fun to be a part of, fun to watch. You see there were a lot of good things at different times, so it's just being more consistent with it. I think as a group, if we stay together more, I think that will come together naturally. So again, going into the summer, it's all individual, we all have to find a way to get a little bit better. That's individually for each guy, find new things to work on and such. Right now we rest and start training soon and get prepared.

On the roster/championship window:
Oh we're definitely right there. We're definitely right in the mix of it. Yeah, I love our roster, the guys we have and in the room, the way guys are together, it's a very good group and a great mix of both, whether it's energy or veteran presence. I have full confidence that we can find our way back there and have a chance.

On Nick Leddy and if you'd like him back:
Oh absolutely. You watch him out there, how smooth he is, the way he skates, and defensively just shutting stuff down, it just comes so natural to him. He just makes such an impact out there. Yeah I hope things can work out bringing him back. He did a phenomenal job for us.

On the Jordan Binnington injury:
Yeah, coming back 1-1 here, that happens, Binner going down, you kind of feel the energy just come out of the building and us, too. I don't think we responded the right way. Again, you look back and there's a lot of things you could have done different at times, but yeah that was a big moment that we just didn't handle the right way and that falls on myself, too, and other leaders on the team.  We're still a very deep team in all areas and (need) to find a way to respond. It is what it is, move on.

Highest-scoring team. On the potential there for the offense to continue:
Yeah absolutely. We're a very talented group offensively. Power play was great this year. Every year is different and as long as we're winning hockey games, that's all that really matters.

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