What's interesting is that five road teams won in the first eight games, including the Blues of course. That has created some upset potential. It certainly catches your eye to see Nashville roll into Chicago and win 1-0. But Chicago being down one game to none in a series is like spotting me 20 yards in a 50-yard dash with Timmermann. He's still got a pretty good shot. I'm not that shocked by the other results. San Jose is a veteran team playing a young team and Boston was putting things together down the stretch.
His junior season with Kitchener ended and the Blues wanted to bring in a spare goalie to take some reps off Allen. Typically on an off day, Allen either won't practice or he'll come off early. That allows the Blues to have two goalies on the ice. Meanwhile, it gives Opilka some invaluable experience. I talked to him yesterday and he's just ecstatic about being around the team. It doesn't affect his contract status and oh by the way he's making the NHL per diem.
Steve Ott ... as a coach?
Ask my wife, you don't want to hear me for that long. Anyway, if I did that, I couldn't step out to the rink and get updates from the skate. The Blues are on the ice in about 10 minutes, so you're going to have to figure out how to waste the other 3 1/2 hours on your own. You found this chat, so I know you're capable of it.
That is true. It would seem to be a great fit.
Yikes! Tell me you went to STLtoday.com to see what happened. Tell me, tell me ...
I have to admit, I was under the gun on deadline at that moment, but it does seem like an odd choice. You had Sobotka and Brodziak on the ice. No Blues had much success on draws, but Steen hasn't been one of the team's better options for sure.
Yes, Yeo is a little more laid back, which I've written about. They like playing for him because they know they have to be serious and can have fun at times. I think the part that we need to keep stressing is that Yeo learned a lot in his time in Minnesota and he's using this chance to do things a little differently than he did with the Wild. He gave too much power to the key guys like Parise and Suter and it bit him. He's developed a good relationship with the Blues top guys so far, but he's going to keep an eye on that and make sure he doesn't give them too much rope. He certainly learned a lot from Hitch, but Yeo is his own guy and knows what he wants to do.
Ok, sorry for the delay, I took a peek at the practice and got some updates for you. It looks like Bortuzzo is in for Schmaltz. He is skating in the third pair with Gunnarsson. Alexander Steen is not on the ice this morning. Zach Sanford is skating in his spot, though I don't have any reason to think that Steen won't play tonight. We'll get an update after practice and when I say update, I mean not much of one.
I think that's very possible. That's part of the reason why you had to make that Shattenkirk trade with Washington. Yeah, you like Sanford and his potential. But it also gave you another first-round pick, and while it's expected to be a late one, you can package it and try to move up.
I haven't heard any complaining. The Blues have to be better, but the Wild are a good faceoff team. They were No. 5 in the league (51.9). The players I spoke to yesterday said they just had to bear down more in the circle.
No, I'm saying the additional first-rounder possibly allows you to put together a package (player, prospect, 1st round pick) to do more than you normally would have been able to do.
The Blues will obviously have to make adjustments. They sometimes help, but it's more about execution. So if they're able to do a better job of getting out of the zone (short quick passes, flips, whatever), if they're able to get out cleanly more often, then as you said the Wild can't afford to be as aggressive. I'm sure the Blues have some tweaks in store, but for the most part they'll want to continue doing what's worked for them in the past but do it better.
Yes, then they'd be getting higher picks from both clubs.
I would send to Scottrade care of Reaves. I'm not sure who handles it but that would be my best bet.
I've been impressed with the Wild's speed, much like Winnipeg. The Blues were 3-2 against them this year, so they've proved they can handle it. But playoffs are different. They sure had fits with it the other night, even though they won. Speed, as you said, was a big difference between the teams in the 2015-16 series. So the Blues have had enough exposure to it, and have done a decent job for the most part. Have to keep it up.
The Blues will be coming off the ice any minute, so I'm going to answer two more questions.
He was terrific in Game 1, probably besides Allen the best Blue. As I mentioned 34 minutes of ice time and without him the Blues would have not been able to handle the Wild pressure. I think people who watch every night know what he means to the team, but he probably doesn't get the credit he deserves.
I have asked that question myself and don't have an answer yet. Stay tuned!
Folks: JR is in the locker room for interviews. He'll be back here soon, before he signs off the chat. Thanks for your patience.
I got an alert that the Blues' locker room was open and time for interviews was running out, so I left without letting you guys know ... my apologies about that. Anyway, I'm back with a couple of updates, including a lineup change that we discussed earlier in the chat and I didn't think would happen.
We mentioned earlier that Bortuzzo will be in for Schmaltz tonight. But in addition, Zach Sanford is in and although Mike Yeo wouldn't confirm this, it appears he'll take Lehtera's spot. Someone asked earlier in the chat if that was possible and I didn't think it was. But it looks like the Blues are making that move tonight.
I'll need to get cranking on the blog momentarily but since we're back and have a little news, I can wrap up by taking a few more questions.
The reason I'm taking this question again is because we asked Yeo again about Stastny a few minutes ago and he wouldn't budge, continuing to say he's day to day.
He's ready to add that physicality, he said, and Yeo said the Blues need it. Yeo said they're not looking for anybody to run around but Bortuzzo is obviously a big body who can provide that element and handle himself.
By the way, while I was gone, I also got an update on whether the Blues will wear their Winter Classic uniform in the playoffs. They will not. I know a lot of people are going to be bummed out about that. I'm told that it's something dictated by the league, not the team.
I think he's dealing with a lower-body injury.
The Blues could do that, certainly, but my guess is they're just not ready to put Sobotka in the middle yet. That doesn't mean he can't take many of the faceoffs on that line.
I wrote that he was 5-9 on 14 faceoffs.
OK, that will do it. Time to start blogging. I appreciate your questions today. We'll have much, much more to talk about next week, with three more games being played before then. Have a good week!