Well, well, well ... after a lot of speculation, the Blues made the big this week, firing Ken Hitchcock and ushering in the Mike Yeo era. We have been debating it for a long time of course. I had mentioned in recent weeks that I believed the Blues wanted to stay the course and hold off on transitioning to Yeo until the summer. I believe they did want to do that because they were unsure how fair it would be to Yeo to start up without a training camp, etc. But it got to a point that the Blues felt a change was needed. We'll see how it goes, but as expected their energy was ramped up last night. Before I officially say 'Let's get chattin..." I have to warn you that I will have to break momentarily to go interview Yeo for about 10 minutes. I'll be as quick as possible and then come back and take as many questions as I can for as long as I can. Thanks for your understanding!
Well, here's a happy camper right out of the hop.
Yes he is, but as you may know, he's also been on the ice every day since taking over the goaltending coaching duties. Tom Timmermann is writing about Jake Allen for Saturday's P-D and spoke with Brodeur about his new role, so be sure to check out that article tomorrow for more on that.
Yes sir, I believe 3-0, right?!?
"Defensive issues solved" ??? ... Did I read that right? You're pretty confident after one game. I was wondering about Ribeiro myself. I just don't see it. He's been a healthy scratch in Nashville and he was a question mark well before that. I don't think he'd mix in well with this group.
OK, I certainly do apologize. You never know when people are going to be available for interviews but fortunately/unfortunately I've got to run and speak with Yeo now. So please stick with me and I'll be back as soon as I can.
Ok I'm back thanks for being patient.
It's going to take some time to see how much the coaching change will help the Blues. Look at the Islanders since Doug Weight took over ... they're 5-0-1, I believe. Hitchcock is gone, but the Blues still have issues. That said, though, Yeo can make a difference. What I've noticed is that he's tried not to make the coaching change a big deal. He is trying to keep things the same for the time being. He has mentioned many times that it's a process and the Blues will have to build their game before he's able to make any significant alterations. So basically what you're watching for now is Hitchcock's players and schemes with some new energy. Again, it's going to take a while before we can get a true read on what imprint Yeo will have.
It was a very, very unique idea and tremendous gesture. I've varying reports on who's idea it was. But echoing your thoughts, watching Barclay's banner descend to meet Bobby's and then seeing them go up together is something that will be remembered for a long time.
Yes, briefly. He's laying low for now but I expect we'll get to speak with him sometime soon.
He is going to be the most coveted UFA defenseman at the deadline, so if the Blues decide to move him, they figure to get something good in return. We've discussed that the return would obviously be bigger if Shattenkirk chooses to sign an extension with another team, facilitating a trade. I spoke with him about that a few days ago and he said he has no idea what the next couple of weeks will bring, but this close to July 1 (start of free agency), he thinks his focus is waiting for the summer to sign. That means if the Blues trade him, it would be as a rental, which doesn't yield the club as much in return. My guess would be a top prospect and perhaps a higher-end pick. I suppose the chance exists that he could re-sign, but at $6 million-plus, it seems unlikely.
I get the impression Hitch isn't keen on that idea, but I would never ever say never.
Tampa is 15th in the East and eight points out of a wildcard, so it their intentions this season have probably changed and at the very least are unclear at this point. So yes we have seen a lot of Lightning scouts at Blues games over the last few months (years actually), a trade between the two seems unlikely to me. The Bishop rumors were rampant for a while, but I don't think the Blues were ever super serious about getting him. Tyler Johnson was the name I heard, but again, Tampa's situation may have changed things.
And then go look for a No. 1 D man with that money ... to replace the No. 1 D man they have at $6.5 million through 2019-20? I don't think so.
I don't think Armstrong will get fired if the Blues miss the playoffs.
I think you only have to look at the scoresheet from last night to see two of the guys who we'll probably see on the upswing: Steen and Stastny. Who knows, but those are the two in my mind that will be rejuvenated the most.
He's looked pretty good, but with Stastny, Berglund and Lehtera ahead of him, I don't see how he'll climb the ladder. I'd agree with anybody about giving him a chance ahead of Lehtera, but Yeo likes the way the STL is holding up, so I don't anticipate any changes.
The Blues aren't going to be trading assets to beef up this year's team. They obviously want to make the playoffs, but I think they realize that they're probably not sturdy enough to go on a run this year. I've said for a while that I think any decisions they make at the deadline will be with the future in mind.
There's obviously been some friction between Hitch and some of the players for many years. I always felt like, 'it is what it is, it's not changing.' It was the same way last year and they went to the Western Conference finals. Why? The team was better. They may not of liked him, but they had a good team and they played. This year the team has not been as good and when you don't like a guy and you're losing, then it just creates a bad vibe every day you come to think. I think that's what happened.
No you're not missing anything. I agree a team would be silly to pay the Blues what they want and then give Shattenkirk a big, fat contract on top of it. It would make more sense to make the rental trade and then try to sign him. However, in that situation, that team runs the risk of not being able to re-sign him. As we mentioned, the closer Shattenkirk gets to July 1, the more he's inclined to wait for free agency. So if you're Toronto right now and you trade for him as a rental, you still run the risk of giving up something for a run this year and then watch him walk this summer.
The way I see it, now that it's February and Shattenkirk is still on the roster, the Blues' return gets higher if they wait until the deadline. Plus, as you said they get the benefit of having him keep the Blues in the playoff picture for as long as they can.
As I was saying, I don't think they're going to do anything drastic to boost their chances this year. I know you're just using Sharp as an example, but I don't think he's a guy that boosts your chances anyway. He's 35, has a $5.9 million cap hit, has six goals and he's been out with concussion symptoms this year. No thanks!
According to Armstrong, the Brodeur/Conklin coaching tandem for now is only in place through the end of the season. They haven't committed to that arrangement behind that.