Blues’ Stewart wants to learn from growing pains

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While the St. Louis Blues exceeded just about everyone’s expectations last season, Chris Stewart had a hugely disappointing campaign. He told the St. Louis News-Democrat that he hopes to ride a vigorous offseason and some overseas play into a bounce-back year.

“This is the leanest I’ve ever been in my life,” Stewart said. “I’m excited to put the training into results and help this team win a Stanley Cup.”

Ken Hitchcock took notice after seeing him work out.

“He’s done three things: He’s lost weight, he’s in great shape and he’s focused,” Hitchcock said. “He’s done a heck of a job. He looks great, he looks like a different player on the ice. When you see him skate he’s way more fluid … he looks really good.”

Despite that down 2011-12 campaign, St. Louis decided to give the power forward a mulligan in the form of a one-year, $3 million contract in the offseason. In return for that extra chance, the Blues hope for a scoring boost.

St. Louis managed to win the Central Division last season even despite scoring the second fewest goals (210) among Western Conference playoff teams, yet one wonders if they can walk that tight rope again. A productive Stewart could provide some helpful breathing room – and benefit the budding power forward;s bank account in the process.