Tension Rises During Blues Pre-Game Soccer Warm-up
You may have heard Darren Pang discuss the pre-game soccer incident that took place prior to Columbus hammering St. Louis Wednesday night. You can’t make this stuff up.
Word is several Blues players took issue with Blue Jackets player R.J. Umberger who not once but twice ran through the Blues pre-game soccer warm-up.
That’ll get you a red card in any league in the world including the NHL where these hockey players take their soccer very seriously.
This is far from being exclusive to just the St. Louis Blues as a number of teams use soccer to help physically and mentally prepare for hockey later that night.
Tension began to escalate between the Blues and Umberger once goaltender Ty Conklin spoke up and asked if he wouldn’t mind running somewhere else? That’s when Umberger told several Blues players they aren’t welcome to use this area to play soccer.
Things officially reached absurdity once Umberger went and fetched building security who tried to remove the Blues from playing soccer in this area. The Blues refused to leave as about a half dozen Columbus players were enjoying their own game of soccer just a few feet away. Eventually NHL security was called over who told the Blues they were fine where they were and could carry on as normal.
I’m told no one from Columbus walked over to help their teammate. They were all in earshot of what was happening yet no one came to Umberger’s defense. Not sure if that says more about the Columbus players or Umberger himself?
One Blues player told Umberger next time Columbus comes to St. Louis he will make sure they are forced to go outside and play soccer in the snow. That’s when Umberger apparently responded “your building sucks anyway”.
Those sound like fighting words to me!
Obviously most of the concern this morning was on the health of forward T.J. Oshie who broke his left ankle last night. Doug Armstrong is expected to give an update on the long-term status of Oshie tonight before the Blues host Nashville. The rumor of Oshie missing 8-12 weeks could be heard inside the Scotttrade Center although there’s been no confirmation from the Blues.
Carlo Colaiacovo skated for the first time since suffering a head injury back on October 28th in Nashville. He says he felt good and is hoping to return sometime during the upcoming road trip.
David Perron still has not skated and is not expected to make the trip out west this weekend. He will not be cleared until he’s symptom free.
Roman Polak had his hard cast removed from his surgically repaired wrist. Polak obviously remains several weeks away but hopes to begin light skating sometime in the next week. He tells me it’s too hard to watch the Blues play on television as he has yet to watch a game.
Brad Winchester tried to skate this morning but didn’t last long as he is still being bothered by a leg injury.
The lines will look very different tonight as there’s a very good chance you will see Brad Boyes skating on the fourth line with Nick Drazenovic and Cam Janssen. This is interesting on a number of levels.
Drazenovic is obviously pumped about playing his first NHL game. He played his junior hockey in Prince George where he was roommates with Thrashers D-man Dustin Byfuglien.
Chris Porter is expected to skate with Jay McClement and B.J. Crombeen.
This means Vladimir Sobotka will see an increased role tonight playing with either Berglund and Steen or McDonald and Backes. Mat D’Agostini will likely play with one of these two lines as well.
Ian Cole is the odd man out tonight as the Blues will dress six D-men for the first time in four games.
Jaroslav Halak gets the start in net.
More to come,
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