Agree all the way. What a pleasant surprise. He blew past Walman and camp and just kept improving while some other young guys (Walman, Thompson, Blais, Barbashev) either plateaued or stepped back as the games got real.
Not familiar with the league, but I know that "box lacrosse" is a good fit with hockey and that a fair number of guys played both. Ah, but can it draw enough to pay the bills on the Scottrade off-nights?
One factor: There are fewer huge hits in the modern game, which is probably good for safety reasons. Now they are a show stopper. In the old days, it took something really dirty to draw the ire of teammates. These days a good bump will fire up the boys.
Top of the head: Under, over, over, under.
Yes, bridge deal for Fabbri. Nobody can remember a guy blowing up the same knee twice in short order. Edmundson could get big coin on his next deal, with the league trend pointing past the bridge contracts to large dollars like Parayko got. Armstrong hates that trend, but he must live with it.
The Blues lost the game of musical chairs. There are 31 NHL teams and, for this season, 30 AHL teams. Somebody had to go without and the Blues were left standing. Next year there will be 31, with Colorado moving its players out of San Antonio and the Blues gaining the Rampage as a long-term affiliate.
This team's margin for error is not great. All their top players are playing well right now, which is why they have found ways to win. But they lack a third scoring line, which is the norm in today's NHL, and they are vulnerable to further injuries and slumps. That is why they needed to bank a W vs. Philly when they showed up with a vulnerable lineup.
Tarasenko is one thing. A top 10 talent with strong KHL options. Then there is the rest of the league. Looking at some of the D-men getting long-term deals. Many will never get a whiff of an all-star game.
I've seen plenty of outdoor lacrosse and the stickwork is crazy. The indoor version must be medieval.
Right now, I'd bring back Hutton on a one-year deal and let Husso play 60 games in San Antonio. I would consider Stastny for fewer years and dollars, depending on where Thomas was with his development. Robert looks like a classic No. 2 center to wedge between Schenn and Berglund. Also, where does Kyrou fit in? I believe Tavares is a pipe dream, given the depth of talent the Blues have coming (that will need to get paid some day) and dollars that would take.
Too much practice time is a poor excuse. Their start was fine but they didn't sustain. Maybe they expected the Flyers to crack and they never did. Some bounces went the wrong way, the Flyers got a bit of a fluke goal with a great screen and then Blues got a bit panicky in their comeback bid. Had they just kept coming at the Flyers for 60 minutes, that would have been a growth opportunity.
Maybe go back to the Sobotka contract battle, when he was trying to get to $3 million per. It could look something like that. Maybe Fabbri takes one year, gambles on his health and then aims for higher salary for the long term, Uncharted territory for sure.
Doug is on a roll, having offloaded his big salary mistake, Lehtera while adding Schenn. Both organizations have lot of good prospects coming, so both get credit for that. The Cardinals aren't dealing with a cap and the franchise is spending far less than it can afford to, so, yes, the Blues do look better.
Checking out a tablet to see what happened? No thanks. That is dumb. I do think the off-site reviews are good. The whole offside review thing is ludicrous, even as amended, and the reviews are useless with goaltender interference because nobody seems to know exactly what the rule is.
No! Parayko is a rare commodity. I like Marner, even now that he is busted down to a fourth-line role, but Kyrou could be that guy in a year. Paraykos seldom come along.
No idea on the next sponsor. As for hockey bars, I'd give a shout out to Bobby's Place at I-44 and 141 in Valley Park. Huge TVs, good staff, fair pricing and Bobby Plager himself frequents the place named for him.
Current player . . . That's a tough one. It's all business these days. Bortuzzo seems like a fun guy, and he can also work security. Former player? Brett Hull, hands down.
I will say this is a nice group of fellows. They do lots of things nobody ever hears about. And kudos for Blues management for making it clear to all players coming into the organization that community outreach is something this franchise does.
He got loose for the one big offensive game, but otherwise I'd like to see him get more pucks on net. His current 5-on-5 line checks well, but he needs to be the trigger man for that group. Steen provides much more than scoring, but with injuries the Blues do need him to score, too.
I'd have to think about that one. The Blues had some great checkers, but some (Guy Carbonneau! Esa Tikkanen!) were past their prime when they got here. Gilmour might have been the best checking center ever here, especially when flanked by Jorgen Pettersson with Jacques Demers coaching. That might be the winner. I believe Wayne Babych played with them. I do tend to mutter "Richie, Ronnie, Bass" in my sleep and Sudsy did lean hard on such players . . . so that might be a runner up. Coach Q loved Mike Eastwood, but got bless him he didn't do much on the counter-attack.
The Kings are legit. They love their new coach, as the Blues do, and they are doing all of this without 30-goal scorer Jeff Carter. Jake Muzzin is back on track and their D rocks. Edmonton misses Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. Strome is doing nothing for them and the Lucic contract will cause long-term damage. They decided to go big just as the rest of the league was getting faster. Oops!
I chipped in a bit more early on, but Jim Thomas loves the beat and is working it hard. Having Tom Timmermann there is huge because he has years of experience and was able to make the transition much easier. Jim misses the NFL, but it's not coming back and meanwhile the Blues have become a nice story.
The D-men no longer hear Hitchcock screaming in their ears. Sometimes they almost look giddy out there.
This goes on the permanent record! He works very hard on them.
He likely needs a lot of AHL time to flourish in North American game. The tools are there and he seems to have the drive as well. It's a shame he missed so much time with injury last season in Russia. But then again, had he played, he would have been drafted long before the Blues could get to him.
In my time Tony Twist was the ultimate. He punched to hurt people. Most feared guy in my time, which did not include Bob Gasoff. Next up was the aptly named Garth Butcher. Dirty player who relished being the heel. Great guy off ice though.
In that case, Bob Probert (Red Wings) followed by Bob Probert (Blackhawks). Lots of villains in those days (Ciccarelli, D Hatcher, C. Lemieux) but none were even close to Probie.
There should be 4 or 5 untouchables, those 2 included. Thomas as well. Thompson too.
OK, all quiet now. So we'll check out until next Friday. See you then!