Welcome to the Blues chat, the only place you can go every week where there is no fake news. Big weekend on tap on Scottrade Center, with the Anaheim Ducks in town and the New Islanders visiting tomorrow. Is Doug Weight really a head coach in the NHL? Oh my gosh, I'm getting old. I will never be older than Tom Timmermann, so that's good news. Anyway, let's get chattin' ...
Thanks for the support. Where were you at the trade deadline?
We are at the point in the season, unfortunately, where the injuries became even more secret than the first five months of the season. I'm kind of surprised the Blues ruled Fabbri out of the season. I thought after his Feb. 27 surgery, he might be day to day ;) .... Barbashev is healthy and he's been skating everyday. I asked Yeo about scratching Barbashev the other day and his comments were in the Blues' notebook. Essentially he said they had a "real strong" team meeting in Colorado and the aftermath was a veteran lineup, or as much of one as they could suit up.
I didn't cover in Minnesota, so a little hard for me to say. I did find it interesting that when I tweeted Yeo's post-game comment after the loss in Winnipeg last week that a lot of Wild fans responded. If you missed it, Yeo said the loss should "be a slap in the face" and that the Blues seemed like they assumed things would turn around. You can probably guess that Wild fans said they've heard that before. Hey, you are who you are, right? All coaches say the same thing after wins and losses. I will say in regard to your question, and I've mentioned this before, that the knock on Yeo was that he didn't hold the star players and vets as accountable as he should, and I think he's trying to do that here. It seems like he has been quicker to call out top players, maybe not by name (you can't do that - at least not yet) but he's been putting the burden on them to produce more.
I don't remember a reaction. He'd been back there as an assistant a few times, so I think the story-line has died a bit.
There are probably a few. But if I'm picking out just one, I would piggy-back on what Tom Timmermann wrote about in the Morning Skate today: the home record. The Blues have lost two straight at Scottrade Center and are 4-10-1 at home since Dec. 17 (excluding the Winter Classic). They have eight home games left, and they really need to win 6-7. There are other challenges, but that one sticks out to me.
Do you mean 2017-18 or '18-19? I'm assuming you mean next season. The Blues have everybody under contract with the exception of Parayko and he'll be signed, so you're looking at six defensemen, plus the three you mentioned. I'd like to see more of Schmaltz at this level before we decide on him. Everything I hear about Dunn makes you believe he could be ready next year, too. I think Walman might need some time in the AHL after his college career, so even though he's looking pretty good too let's put him on the back-burner for now. So I think if everybody is healthy, we should see either Schmaltz or Dunn.
That's exactly what Yeo told reporters in Minnesota a couple of days ago. Fans were screaming for the team to play Barbashev and sit Lehtera, so I asked Yeo that direct question. He said that since Lehtera has dropped down the lineup, as you mentioned, he's not seeing the other team's top lines and he's not dealing with the pressure of feeding Tarasenko. Odd, because setting up Tarasenko was basically the reason he was brought in. Anyway, I don't think he's been great the past couple of games, coughing up a few pucks and losing many faceoffs. But he is a "veteran" with some games under his belt and that's what the Blues are looking for right now.
That's a good question, however ... Yeo said today that the Blues don't have a plan with the lineup beyond the next game. They've put it in the hands of the vets to get the job done and the last two games they have. So if the Blues were to lay an egg tonight, there's nothing that says Barbashev and Schmaltz won't be in the lineup tomorrow night. In fact, with back to back games, it's very possible. I get it, they haven't played the last couple, but we're talking about a lineup that beat Minnesota in Minnesota. Not really fair to demand a good performance from that lineup against the Wild, get it from them, and then switch the lineup.
Not in games, but I've seen a few in practice.
We've got to give him the keyboard one of these days. You guys wouldn't want me back, I guarantee it. Tom has a unique and witty look at the world and his humor is underrated. He also doesn't make as many bone-headed typos as me.
Can there be money made off it? If that's a possibility, it will be on TV.
The NHL point system will be the topic of our Blues Insider on Sunday. I spoke to Blues general manager Doug Armstrong this week, asking if there's any appetite among the GMs to change the system. You'll have to click on STLtoday.com or buy a paper to find out his answer, haha. I don't think the league will ever go back to ties - too boring. They've got people excited with the 3 on 3, so I think that's here to stay awhile. One point that Army brought up, and I'll elaborate on it in Sunday's story, that you'll never know what changing the point system will do until you do it. In other words, if you took this year's records and converted them to a different point system, they don't change much. But if you change the point system, it may change the way teams play the game, what their motivation is, and that could change the standings. That doesn't sound like it's happening anytime soon, so for now it's all just speculation.
Those are three prospects who look like they've got a lot of promise. If I had to pick one today, I'd say Thompson. I know Kyrou has had the long point streak in juniors this season and he's got a load of speed. Dunn has done it in the AHL this year and looks like he could be ready soon. But Thompson is a 6-5 guy with soft hands and skill. Pretty unique.
I didn't have a chance to talk to Army about this year. Based on what I've read and heard, it sounded to me like they prefer status quo. It takes a lot to get teams to make fairly drastic changes after discussing it once or twice. With the skate rule, you're talking about a rule that's been around forever. I realize that it's been under the microscope the past couple of years because of the new cameras, but it's still a long-standing rule. Sure, you could eliminate the ability to challenge it, but you're essentially saying, 'OK, we've got video to get it right, but we're not going to look at it.' Technology is obviously changing the game, and along the way we're going to have issues like this. They can't ignore the technology, but I think they're going to have to think things through, instead of meeting in Boca Raton one week and making the change.
I'll comment on everything unless you ask me who Louie is in real life. Game Time does a great job! That radio show is too early for me, though. Can I get it on the internets somewhere during normal business hours?
If anyone missed it, our fellow chatter is referring to LA's 3-2 overtime win over Nashville last night. It was the worst possible situation for the Blues, with Nashville getting 1 pt and LA getting 2 pt. Brodziak had the best response today: "That sucks."
I can understand criticism of that deal. I will say that I don't think Cole would have ever done as well here as he is in Pittsburgh. He didn't seem to fit in with the Blues. I don't think that's as much Cole's fault as it was the guys in the locker room when he left. He didn't mesh well with him. He's a bit of a different personality, but obviously he's fitting in in Pittsburgh. He's also showing that he can play a lot of minutes and on a Stanley Cup team. All that said, I think the Blues needed some more physicality and they get that with Bortuzzo. He's also been a really good fit in the room. But would they make the deal all over again? I don't know.
Pretty significant. I don't know if it's the ultimate factor in day-to-day decisions. But when you're taking about a trade that will either allow you to make or miss the playoffs, I can guarantee you that Armstrong is taking that into account. That's why even though everyone expected the Shattenkirk trade to happen, it was a bit surprising if you strictly looked at it from management's perspective. It showed me that Army and Co. aren't making decisions as if their jobs depend on it. They're in sync with the ownership and have a bigger game plan that allows them to make deals like that.
You'd go to ROWs (regulation or overtime wins) ... Right now the Blues have 32 and the Preds and Kings each other 30. After that you'd go to BBQ ribs and St. Louis would be in.
My first guess is Oshie and Shattenkirk. My second is Ott, who in case you missed it is now with Montreal.