Happy St. Patrick's Day everybody! I want to mention a couple of things before we get going. First of all, I had a lot of fun last night watching the Blues-Sharks game at Tom Stillman's house. The Stillman's, including his wife Mary, were very welcoming to a story idea I had about watching a game through the eyes of an owner. They went way out of their way, especially considering it was a 9:30 start and I didn't pull out of the driveway until after midnight. I got some fun stuff and the story will be in Sunday's Post-Dispatch. Secondly, I'm chatting from the airport in St. Louis today and 'my flight to Arizona boards at 2:05, so I'll be shutting down the chat right at 2 today. Thanks for understanding! With that, let's get chattin ...
Thompson has played two games with the Wolves and so far, no points. I'm going to check in with some Chicago Wolves folks in the next day or two and see how he's looked, so I'll update that as soon as I can .... And as far as I know, yes, everything is moving in the right direction regarding the Blues' new practice facility. They have been discussing the design behind the scenes, so yes, unless there's something going on that I haven't read or heard about, it's full steam ahead.
I think so. What a great shot last night! Little room to put that puck and he found the hole. It was obviously an adjustment coming to the Blues in the trade and especially considering who he was coming here for (Shattenkirk). I thought he was just OK in the Winnipeg game in his debut and then sat for a while. I think the practice helped him get acclimated and he looked more comfortable last night. At this point, I don't see how Yakupov plays ahead of him.
The Blues have said numerous times they see Sanford as a center. He said he played 25 of his 26 games with Washington at wing and he's played both games with the Blues at wing. He played center and wing in college, and it seems to be a situation like Robby Fabbri, where they just want the player to get used to the NHL speed and physicality before they give them the responsibility of playing in the middle. I could see the Blues rolling with that group of centers like that you mentioned. I still, though, like to see what kind of skill level we're talking about with both Sanford and Thompson. It's nice to have all that size up the middle, but if you don't have anybody who can handle the puck at the NHL level (Thompson has done it in college) than I don't think it works. Somebody has got to be feeding Tarasenko.
I agree. I don't know how they're going to be able to do it, benching a regular with a contract like his. I know Yeo has said that he's liked Lehtera's game since he's moved down the lineup, but for my money, Barashev is giving you more. That'll be interesting to see what happens when Lehtera is healthy. You could guess that they'd get Lehtera back in there and move Barbashev to the wing, but I think Barbashev is more capable in the middle right now.
The bye week was a result of negotiations between the NHL and the players association about instituting the 3 on 3 format at the All-Star game. The players agreed to it and as a result the players got their bye week.
I think what the Blues' identity is right now is just playing together. I don't think we can look at them right now and say definitively "this is what type of team they are." Yeah, sure, if you're scouting them, you could tell somebody how they play, but I don't think we're to the point where we know who they are and I don't think we're going to get there this season. How they're playing has been successful, so my opinion is they just need to keep doing what they're doing, and then when Yeo is allowed to add some more of the game plan in the summer and Armstrong is able to tweak the roster, and they have an entire camp to regroup, then we'll have a better idea of what they want to be.
Paajarvi has been terrific. He's skating is fun to watch. He's always had that going for him, but now he's more of a complete player. He's hungry, too, he wants to be better. It's been fun following his progress. I don't have any info now on contract talks, but until I get a chance to ask, I've got to believe that the Blues definitely have interest in bringing him back. He's going to get a bump in pay, for sure, but he's still not going to be that expensive.
No man cave, or I should say if he does have one, we didn't watch it there. I will tell you that luckily there is quite a distance between houses in his neighborhood because when Upshall, Sanford and Tarasenko scored, he would have woke them up. He jumped off the couch, yelled and pounded his fist on the couch arm. Pretty intense!
I would think that's a possibility, probably a small one, but still a possibility. He'll be an RFA.
It's hard to say that you can play better without a guy like Shattenkirk. But yeah, they have gone 6-3 without him and I've got them 6-for-21 on the power play since he left. I think we all believed that the Blues had players who could step up in his absence, but I think most would agree that it's been a little better than we've expected.
Lehtera didn't get any power-play time in two of the three games he played before leaving the lineup. He also had a stretch before that from Jan. 9 to Feb. 9 where he didn't see much, if any, power play time. He's not one of their main options, just seems to be a player they use there in a pinch.
I don't see that happening. They like Schwartz on left wing, he likes it better too, and who can argue with the results lately, even if he's not scoring.
If somebody has, I haven't heard it. From what I hear and read with the NHL, the franchise tag doesn't seem to be real popular with either side. Aren't they trying to find something that works better? It seems like it leads to a lot of unwanted headlines, which isn't good for the league in general.
Yes, here's what I know. With Adidas taking over the production of the uniforms next year, the NHL has informed teams that they cannot wear alternate or "third jerseys" next season. That's because it's going to be hard enough for Adidas to nail down the look for everybody's home and away jerseys, so they're not going to saddle them with producing the alternate jerseys in Year 1. I think we'll see them come back but not until the following year at least. Meanwhile, regarding the Winter Classic uniforms, they are wildly popular. A lot of fans have told the Blues they would like to see them worn as the permanent uniforms. However, it's not that easy. The NHL would have to agree, and I've heard the league hasn't or won't do that. Secondly, I'm not sure the Blues want to do that either. The team understands that people like them, but if you wear them all the time, is that too much of a good thing and does that spoil the novelty. Many think it would.
I interviewed him and asked him this question. He can play either. Just because he played wing and UConn, or with Team USA, doesn't mean he can't play center. When discussing the need for an upgrade at center, Blues GM Doug Armstrong has mentioned Thompson's name a half-dozen times recently. I'm going by what Thompson and Armstrong are saying, not what BlueNoteFanBlogSeasonTicketHolder.net says.
I don't know why it wouldn't be Allen.
I understand what you're saying. There's probably good reason to believe that Vegas wouldn't take him, so why waste one of the seven forward spots protecting him? I've included him in "mock" lists because as disappointing as he's been, you can't really plan on losing a guy if you have no idea yet how you're going to replace him. A lot of people are going to disagree with that, and I understand. You have Stastny, Berglund, Barbashev, Brodziak and maybe Thompson, etc. Or if you lose Lehtera, you can sign someone in free agency cheaper. That all makes sense to me. I'm just saying that when dealing with prospects (Barbashev, Thompson) and when factoring in the possibility of injuries, you have to have yourself covered and can't just lose guys without a plan in place.
I wouldn't call them the "best fourth line in the NHL." I'd call them one of the better third lines in the league.
I don't think it was the ankle. If it was, it sure wasn't bothering him at the start of the season. He had 10 goals in a 16-game stretch from early November until early December. At the time, I thought he was the Blues' MVP. It's just been a struggle for him finishing, a real struggle, but as we said, he's doing a lot now that helping the team to be successful.
I think Reaves has certainly put himself into the discussion of being protected. I would almost venture to say that he will be protected.
If I were putting together pros and cons of who you want to face, I wouldn't include the regular season record. The Blues have played San Jose well this year, winning twice in San Jose. But like you said, that's a veteran group of Shark players and I don't know that you rank them as a team you want to play. I've mentioned in recent weeks that Chicago is still Chicago and even though you beat them last year, I don't know that you want them either. If I'm the Blues, I'd want to see how Minnesota handles the pressure after the quality season the Wild have had.
Hahaha! Probably a lot of people did.
It's a possibility. He knows he role here, you don't have to play him every night, and Army has shown time and time again that even if another player out there potentially has more upside, he likes sticking with guys that he knows over guys that he doesn't know.
Thanks, I do a good job of faking it. If I had to guess, I don't think the Blues have interest in Duchene. In talking to some folks around the league, he's not as much of that quality leader that perhaps some think is. Plus, the price would too high, so it doesn't make sense all the way around.
One more question, and then I'm going to show everybody here at Lambert Airport what 260 pounds running to the gate looks like.
Quite possibly, but as Army said, "until he's on this soil ..."
We're not ending on that, sorry!
Nothing surprises me when it comes to pro sports fans.
OK, I'm out of here. Thanks, it's been fun. I'm back with the team Saturday in Arizona. Chat next week.