Again, I haven't talked to Armstrong about these guys in a while, but the party line then was that Gunnarsson will be ready for the start of camp. We'll see. And whether he's able to take a full load right away remains to be seen. Last year, the Blues' M.O. on players coming back from injury seemed to be "when they're ready, they're ready _ throw them out there." But I wonder if you take it slow on Gunnarsson at the start of camp..
All good questions. I kind of like the Edmundson-Petro pairing myself. Last year, Edmundson-Pietrangelo were paired together 31 times; Edmundson-Parayko 30 times. Dunn did play on the second pairing late last season (after the Bouwmeester & Gunnarsson injjuries), and I think he's capable of that this season. But if I had to guess, I'd say Bouwmeester begins season on second pairing with Parayko. With Edmundson-Pietrangelo on first pairing. If that's the case that leaves Dunn with Bortuzzo on third pairing and Gunnarsson as seventh defenseman. Again, that's assuming no injuries.
Certainly, newcomers O'Reilly and Bozak should figure in. O'Reilly has been one of the league's leaders in power play goals in recent seasons, and the fact that he's one of the league's top faceoff men as well should help on the man advantage. (How many times did you see the Blues lose a faceoff to start a power play and not get the puck back for 30 seconds last season?) And Bozak could be helpful on the second unit _ I believe about a third of his career points have come on the power play.
I certainly think he can be a 20-goal scorer. He brings size and a physical presence in front of the net _something that wasn't always there for the Blues last season. He isn't what you'd call a great fighter, but certainly isn't afraid to drop the gloves either.
Love your question about speed. As the regular-season wound down, it seemed other teams _ Blues opponents _ seemed to have more team speed almost on a nightly basis. Now, I know the Blues were pretty banged up down the stretch, but it seemed pretty noticeable to me. So I wonder about that as well, especially if some of the prospects aren't in the mix.
It definitely would be Kryou. As Dick Vermeil used to say, his speed is "glaring." Now, some veteran hockey people downgrade his stellar play last season in juniors a bit because he was a year older than Thomas. That speed was evident at the Blues development camp at the end of June. But I recall at that time, Mike Yeo telling him that he's not going to see as much open space even in preseason camp, so it may be tougher to utilize that speed. Kyrou is stronger than he was a year ago at this time, and that will help in the adjustment to the NHL.
Yes, as I mentioned, I'm heading to Enterprise this afternoon when I finish this chat, and plan to have a story for stltoday.com posted around midnight and in tomorrow's Post-Dispatch.
I'm excited as well. You will never hear me say a discouraging word on the Commish. I've known him for a long time _ he was one of our prep writers when I arrived at the Post-Dispatch in 1975 _ and he's an all-time great. I will always try to be fair in my coverage, but also honest. So that will include criticism, but if you're looking for shock value _ the screaming hot take _ that isn't what I do.
Thx. Here's my observation after one year on the Blues beat, factoring in that I didn't experience a Blues chat last season: Rams fans were absolutely nuts; Blues fans are absolutely nuts times about 3.
The way I understand it, North American players must turn 20 by Jan. 15 of the current season to be eligible for the AHL; European players must be 18 by Jan. 15 of the current season to be AHL eligible. That's why Klim Kostin (from Russia) could play in the AHL last year at age 18; and Thomas (from Canada) could not. I'd poke around on google if I were you, but off the top of my head, I can't come up with a link that will help you out.
I'll check on this. Thanks.
They were invaluable to me last season, along with Tom Timmermann and Lou Korac. But I don't have them on speed dial today, but probably should. True confession: over the years during Rams chats, I would frequently text Kevin Demoff in the middle of chats for help on questions.
Haven't heard on live streaming yet for prospects tournament. I'll check. (And I am writing all these down!) Blues should release prospects roster soon. Last year, it was released on about Aug. 28, Aug. 29. Very curious to see if Kyrou and Thomas are in Traverse City. Not sure Kostin goes since he spent a full year in the minors.
There you have it. Thanks, JohnnyNou. . . .
Not sure what you're looking for. Have a couple of favorite Kroenke anecdotes for you, but I'm not sure this is the forum for them. Are you in St. Louis? If so, attend on of our Sports on Tap forums _ we have one or two of them a year _ and I'll dish some dirt.
I have quickly come to sense this fatalistic view of the Blues by longtime fans. I guess that's what a half a century without a championship will do to you.
Haven't totally ironed out the travel yet for this season. But pretty sure I will be in Montreal this year (game is on Oct. 17). Yes, I watch the Rams when time permits. (True confession No. 2: my wife remains an avid hate-watcher.) I certainly don't see St. Louis getting another NFL team here in the near term. But I think there's at least a 50-50 chance there's either an AAF or XFL team year in 2020. As much as we denigrate the dome as a place to watch a game, it would be the best facility in the AAF if St. Louis had a team there this season.
I try to answer every question in these chats. Almost always, I can't get to all of them. Today, for example, I've got to wrap this up in about 15 minutes to get over to Enterprise Center. But I certainly use ideas from the chats for story ideas, or at least things to check on. That could be especially true this season since I'm still the new kid on the hockey block.
What do you think, Blues' ticket-holders?
One thing I've noticed is that Blues fans show up everywhere on the road. Nashville's very close. Vegas is an experience. Chicago's pretty close and tickets might be a little easier to get with the Blackhawks being down.