Things may be a lot different this year with a new 24-team playoff format in two hub cities, but…
"Nothing changes," St. Louis Blues goalie Jordan Binnington said.
Yes, the goal is still the same. There is still work to do. And the opportunity to capture the Stanley Cup for the second consecutive season is just waiting to be seized.
"I enjoy winning," Binnington said after his final training camp practice in St. Louis before traveling to Edmonton. That's where the Blues will remain until early October if Binnington is able to guide the defending champions back to the Stanley Cup Final. "Hopefully we can use the momentum we had a few months ago in the regular season and continue to work together to build as a team and put some good performances together.
"Obviously, last year gave us a lot of experience from top to bottom in the dressing room, and I think hopefully we can use that going into this year," Binnington added. "But it was a tough, mental battle last year. It's a long process and I stayed even-keeled the whole way and just kept trying to get better and competing out there. I expect more of the same."
Binnington went 30-13-7 with a 2.56 goals-against average and a .912 save-percentage before the season paused on March 12. Last season, he became the first rookie goalie in NHL history to win all 16 games in the Playoffs en route to a Stanley Cup.
The Blues will restart play with an exhibition game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday, July 29 at 5:30 p.m. CT (FSMW+, 101 ESPN). After the exhibition, the Blues will play three round-robin games (Aug. 2 at Colorado, Aug. 6 vs. Vegas and Aug. 9 vs. Dallas) to determine seeding for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"The pace has picked up and we're preparing for war here," Binnington said. "Team-wise, I think the boys were great (in training camp). We were patient, we were careful and we put the work in to prepare for what's to come."