Jun 20, 2012, 2:57 PM EDT
One of the big mysteries out of St. Louis this year was the poor play of Chris Stewart.
The 24-year-old saw his offensive production plummet and ended up a healthy scratch twice in the postseason, a stunning development from a guy that was — as recently as last season — considered one of the league’s best young power forwards.
Now, we’re starting to learn more about Stewart’s struggles.
Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock spoke with Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about Stewart’s major issue this year — a lack of fitness.
“He’s got to play with a high level of physicality for seven months, nine months. That’s a long time,” Hitchcock explained. “You can’t do it unless you’re in optimum shape. His season was a roller-coaster. He was up, he was down, he was up, he was down.
“In order to play the type of game he needs to play, it requires an unbelievable level of fitness. It’s not a game of skill. It’s a game of grit and skill. In order to play that game, you’ve got to be in unbelievable shape. Otherwise, you break down.”
One wonders if this is related to Stewart’s playing weight. He’s listed at 232 pounds — the heaviest player on St. Louis roster — and stands 6-foot-2, which is a pretty solid frame.
(I’m not saying this is the case, because some guys play better when they’re heavier. But it’s definitely worth mentioning.)
Regardless, Stewart has made amends for his down year by joining Team Biosteel, a professional sports training and nutrition group that counts Boston’s Tyler Seguin and Montreal’s Carey Price among its clients.
Stewart’s new dedication to fitness has already impressed Hitchcock.
“Stewy’s figured out that he wants to have a long career,” he said. “It’s not like he’s suddenly found a trainer. What he’s found is that he can only get so far himself doing the training.
“Now he’s got somebody pushing him really hard everyday. I’m really proud of him.”
May 25, 2013, 2:08 AM EDT
One loss away from elimination.
May 25, 2013, 1:03 AM EDT
Future of the NHL.
May 25, 2013, 12:20 AM EDT
Now, that’s a toe-drag.
May 24, 2013, 11:56 PM EDT
Was Friday’s loss his last NHL games?
May 24, 2013, 11:15 PM EDT
Pittsburgh wins in five games.
May 24, 2013, 10:47 PM EDT
Bad blood, although this seemed unnecessary.
May 24, 2013, 10:31 PM EDT
Big developments coming out of the desert.
May 24, 2013, 10:27 PM EDT
Await winner of Boston-New York.
May 24, 2013, 10:09 PM EDT
May 24, 2013, 9:50 PM EDT
L.A. can move to conference final with a win over the Sharks in Game 6.
May 24, 2013, 9:19 PM EDT
Not speaking about Bobrovsky, but in general.
May 24, 2013, 8:50 PM EDT
You be the judge.
May 24, 2013, 8:41 PM EDT
May 24, 2013, 8:00 PM EDT
Including one of his coaching rivals from the QMJHL.
May 24, 2013, 7:01 PM EDT
Dan Bylsma sticking with the same lineup.
May 24, 2013, 6:05 PM EDT
Kevin Prendergast (pictured) and longtime NHL netminder Ron Tugnutt were let go.
May 24, 2013, 5:08 PM EDT
“The NHL remains committed to securing the Coyotes’ future in Glendale under new ownership, and we believe Don’s long-term agreement evidences that he is equally committed,” said the deputy commish.
May 24, 2013, 4:28 PM EDT
He’s missed the entire series with a broken hand.
May 24, 2013, 4:27 PM EDT
Craig MacTavish has a few things he’d like in return.
May 24, 2013, 3:20 PM EDT
“Hopefully, we’ll find that chemistry,” says Spezza.
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