Last week, Sammy Blais packed his things and made the 16-hour drive from his hometown near Montreal to St. Louis.
"Me and (Vince Dunn) followed each other," Blais told stlouisblues.com. "For me, it was a 16-hour drive but I'm happy to be back in St. Louis."
Blais is one of the most recent Blues to return to participate in Phase 2 workouts at Centene Community Ice Center. The groups on the ice have grown larger by the day as more players get back in town and back on the ice in preparation for the return of hockey.
"Just being back with the boys feels really good," Blais said. "Everyone was happy to see each other, and we love each other and we're excited to be back together. After being away from St. Louis for two months, it feels like a new season. We know we have a job to do and we're just trying to be ready for the playoffs right now."
Video: Blais after Phase 2 workouts
On Monday, the NHL and NHLPA announced a tentative agreement on the Return to Play Plan, which also includes a four-year extension to the collective bargaining agreement. If the agreement is approved by the NHL's Board of Governors and the NHLPA, training camps would open on July 13, teams would travel to the hub cities on July 26 and games would resume on Aug. 1.
"If everyone does their part, we're going to be OK," Blais said of returning to hockey in a pandemic. "I think everyone wants to stay healthy and not get the virus. When we go out, we put our masks on. We're trying to stay as safe as we can and that's the only thing we can control right now.
"With last year's experience, I feel a lot more confident," Blais said. "Everyone knows what it takes to win, everyone is ready and we're excited to start the playoffs and defend our title."