We'll get started momentarily.
OK, thanks for joining me. I could not be at the morning skate today. A lady who has been like "a second mom" in my life had a stroke this morning and I wanted to be by her side at the hospital. We've all learned over the years that life comes before everything else. I feel great about spending some time with her this morning, as she was very supportive throughout my career. So I did get some updates from practice and I'm ready to answer your questions, and as I tweeted, I'm sure folks will be asking about Alexander Steen. I promise we'll get to it. Thanks for joining and let's get chattin ...
We'll see. I can't imagine that the Blues go down without a fight. The games have been fairly even, but give credit to Nashville, they've made big plays. The Blues need to make more of them. I wouldn't put it past the Blues to send this series to a Game 6.
Many teams do the same thing this time of year. We can debate until the cows come home, but coaching staffs and players know each other and constantly measure the fatigue level. Look at last season, the Blues looked gassed in the third period. Would more practice have helped? You can't execute what you work on in practice if you can't skate. Quenneville hardly ever skated the Blackhawks when they won three Cups in six years. The Blues can use the instruction, but they can get what they need through video.
I don't have the current win-loss record at my fingertips, but we all know the success of the road team this postseason has been incredible. I think that could be an anomaly. It may not unfold like this the next three years. However, having said that, I think there's something to the trend. I think that there is a ton of pressure on home teams to play. I think they try to over-do things at home. As it's been said countless times by countless coaches, I think players play a more direct game on the road, which is what hockey is these days. And I think the fans' and media expectations of winning at home is the same that it has been for years and years. So when in reality it's not much of an advantage anymore, but the perception is that it still is, the losses become alarming.
This is what I know: Alexander Steen suffered a foot injury earlier in the playoffs. We have reported many times that it is a serious injury and that is why he playing games, but not practicing. It's one thing for a player to miss a few practices, it's another thing not to practice for three weeks during the most important time of the season. We have reported that Steen has been seen in a boot during the playoffs, so even though neither the Blues nor Steen are saying what the injury is, we all have a pretty good idea when someone is in a boot. Most of us probably saw Steen block a shot in Game 4 and it appeared to hit him in the injured foot. I amazed that he finished the game. I did see Steen on crutches and extended boot yesterday. That is news, however, nothing I knew yesterday regarding the situation has changed. It was not news when he didn't practice this morning. What's different now is that Yeo would NOT confirm that Steen is in the lineup tonight. He has done so every single game without hesitation. I'm NOT saying that Steen won't play tonight. But I am saying that it would not be surprised either way, whether he plays or not. If it was 100 percent that Steen would be in the lineup, I think Yeo would have said so. Yeo has told me that he may not share all the facts, but he won't lie. So he would not tell people that Steen is playing tonight if he wasn't sure. On the flip side, Steen has battled through incredible pain in these playoffs and therefore it also wouldn't surprise me if he was on the ice tonight.
Before Game 4, I would say yes. I don't think the Blues have enough quality options that would offer much more than Steen is giving. I realize he hasn't been all that effective, but to me he hasn't been a complete liability either. Now, will he be a liability if he plays tonight if he did in fact worsen the injury in Game 4? I'm not sure. If the Blues know the answer is yes, then he shouldn't play. It's cool to be a warrior, and I understand him wanting to help the team, but if he literally can't walk, then I don't know how he's helping.
I don't know if it's just catching up to them, but I think he's sorely missed. He's one of their faster, skilled top-nine guys and when they lost him, it hurt. They've gotten by with unexpected contributions from Paajarvi and later Sanford and later Sobotka. But the fact of the matter is that Fabbri is a big part of the lineup, and I think if he's healthy the past couple of months and contributing here in the playoffs, the Blues are obviously a better team. Will he be ready by the start of the regular season? That's the hope. It'll be about 7-8 months since the injury, so the expectation is that he will have enough time. I spoke to Scottie Upshall, who had the same injury around the same time and he played exhibition games the following year.
Lower body, my guess is a knee injury.
I think the Blues miss having at least one player who plays that style, yes. As I've said, I think you can win in the NHL today with a smaller, faster lineup, but that lineup has to have guys willing to go to the net regularly. The Blues haven't had that on a consistent basis. If you don't have that willingness, and you're not as fast or skilled as some other teams, it's going to be tough .... As far as Tavares, the rumors have continued for months and nothing is going to stop them, of course, until there's a resolution. I'm not going to pretend to know his true feelings or what the outcome might be, but I could see him wanting new scenery. It would obviously cost teams a pretty penny.
Husso has played every minute of the Wolves' postseason. He's their guy, and he's the Blues' No. 3 on the depth chart. It's been a bit of a bumpy ride this year for Husso, but he's now established himself as a big part of the future.
Thank you, I appreciate it. She was not only another mom, but she also did my taxes when I was growing up. She used to say every year "Now you're making the big bucks!" ... I really wasn't.
Tom Timmermann was all over the morning skate and his report has been posted. Here's what the lines looked like at practice this morning (of course without Steen) ...
Jaden Schwartz-Paul Stastny-Vladimir Tarasenko
Vladimir Sobotka-Patrik Berglund-Alexander Steen
Magnus Paajarvi-Jori Lehtera-David Perron
Scottie Upshall-Kyle Brodziak-Ryan Reaves
For some reason, the questions are taking a while to load today, so thanks for bearing with me. I'm accepting the question and it's taking 20-30 seconds for it to show up on my screen and I'm assuming yours as well.
The NHL has done a better job of "trying" to explain rules and suspensions in the past five years, but I don't know that it's led to the type of understanding everyone would like. Honestly, though, I don't think if the league provided the most thorough explanation possible that it would satisfy anyone. That's because every play is different and the officials obviously get many wrong. So there are rules and there are interpretations of those rules and I think where everything gets lost is officials trying to make the right call in the heat of the moment and two passionate fan bases seeing it two different ways. Then we all want clarity from the league and they have a hard time explaining some calls that are right, some that are wrong. It's a difficult job, but one that I think we all agree could be done better.
I don't what it's going to take to get Drouin (two 1st rounders, whatever), but I would be shocked if the Blues aren't in the mix somehow. They like this guy more than I like gift certificates to the Golden Corral.
By the way, the esteemed Tom Timmermann, a faithful follower of the chat, tells me that home teams are just 27-31 in the playoffs this season. That is unbelievable! Thanks for the info Double-T!
How do I answer that? There's like 80 choices.
I asked Mr. Berglund that question. He said the line needs to cycle less and go to the net more. That's all he said. For those who want more, I can't force words out of his mouth.
Can I use that in the game story?
That's easier said than done, especially because the Blues have had so much success the past few months in their zone defense, collapsing down in front of the net and blocking shots. Well, you can do that when Spurgeon and Suter are shooting it, but not so much with Subban and Josi and Ellis. The Preds D has been terrific. So what do the Blues do? Well, they can put pressure on the point, but if Nashville can still move the puck, then they've got numbers down low. You've got to pick your poison and the Preds make it hard.
Not much to add here, he's just not one of their top options right now. He skated in Steen's spot today, so you never know, he could wind up getting in. But at this point, a few injuries are the only thing that's going to get Jaskin in the lineup. I don't know what they're going to do with him, but there doesn't appear to be a lot of faith, and though he works hard, it's understandable why.