The St. Louis Blues suspended new goalie Grant Fuhr indefinitely b
ST. LOUIS (AP) _ The St. Louis Blues suspended new goalie Grant Fuhr indefinitely because he was unable to complete the training camp physical.
The move, announced Sunday in a two-sentence statement, came just hours after coach and general manager Mike Keenan spoke of his regard for Fuhr.
Keenan was unavailable for comment, preparing to depart with the team for Worcester, Mass., for the start of training camp today.
Fuhr, who turns 33 on Sept. 28, said he was unable to take the VO2 test. In the test, a player rides an exercise bike at his maximum output while medical technicians evaluate the efficiency of his body’s use of oxygen.
It’s a rigorous test. In Keenan’s early days of VO2 testing with the Philadelphia Flyers, it wasn’t unusual for players to collapse.
Ironically, Keenan used the VO2 test to justify goalie Curtis Joseph’s trade this summer to Edmonton. Keenan told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Joseph had had the worst results he had ever seen.
The Blues signed Fuhr as an unrestricted free agent in early July, giving him a two-year contract worth $2.1 million in salary and bonuses. He was scheduled to make $975,000 this season, with his first paycheck coming Oct. 15.
Reached in his St. Louis hotel room Sunday night, Fuhr said he was ``a little bewildered″ by the sudden development. He said he had contacted his lawyer.
``We’re not sure what this means,″ said Fuhr, who said he would leave St. Louis as soon as possible to return to his home in Edmonton. ``I’m not sure what to think.″
Fuhr said a knee problem kept him from taking the VO2 test. He said he has bone spurs in his left knee and was told two years ago by Buffalo Sabres team doctors not to take the test because of them.
He also acknowledged that he reported a little heavier than the Blues had wanted him. He said he weighed 219 pounds, with 20 percent body fat. At Buffalo’s camp last season, he said he weighed in at 201 pounds, with 20 percent body fat.
``Usually, I come to camp, skate in practice, and the more I skate, the weight comes off,″ Fuhr said. ``But I didn’t have a chance.″
Keenan often cited Fuhr’s commitment to fitness in justifying his signing. After trading Joseph, Keenan said he had received good reports about Fuhr’s fitness, citing his performance last December for an all-star team put together by Wayne Gretzky for a European tour while the NHL players were locked out.
When the season resumed, Fuhr lasted only three games in Buffalo. He was 1-2, with a 4.00 goals-against average and an .859 save percentage. The Sabres’ traded Fuhr to Los Angeles, where he finished 1-7-3, with a 4.04 GAA and a .976 save percentage.
The Kings made no attempt to re-sign him after last season. The Blues and Edmonton Oilers were said to be his only suitors.
The Blues are left with Jon Casey, 33, as their No. 1 goalie, with minor-leaguer Bruce Racine the only other goalie under contract. Prospects Mike Buzak, Jeff Callinan and free-agent tryout Brent Convery are also in camp.