“Among our regular players, I think we’ve had about 20 percent of these guys who had COVID at some point,” Armstrong told reporters Wednesday during his end-of-season media availability, also stating that those who tested positive had certain symptoms.
“When they were in quarantine, they couldn’t go to the gym, they couldn’t do certain things,” he explained. “It affected each of the players differently. Some have lost a lot of weight. They all felt some form of symptom. It’s not that they had it and they didn’t feel it.
In early July, during phase 2 of the NHL return-to-play plan, the Blues were forced to close their training center for a few days after several players tested positive for COVID-19.
Armstrong acknowledged a number of factors that potentially played into the team’s failure, saying they “had a lot going on around them.”
“The mentality was always to be competitive and to play hard, but there was a lot of stuff around them. I think four or five boys have just had babies or are going to have babies, ”he said. “Information on COVID was changing every day about who it was going to affect – you know, the elderly, the young, the babies. And it took us a long time. . . I thought we were the most comfortable when we finally got to Edmonton. I don’t think we were comfortable leading in Edmonton. And I think it manifested itself from our first few weeks there.
The Blues, who were at the top of the Western Conference at the time of the season’s suspension, struggled to catch up with their pace once competition resumed earlier this month. They went winless in the round robin, falling to fourth and were eliminated by the Vancouver Canucks in Game 6 of the first round.