Folks: Today's practice and post-practice activities at Enterprise Center are running long/late. Jim Thomas will join the chat at about 1:30 -- earlier if he can get out of there sooner. Thanks for your patience.
Appreciate your patience. Practiced started later than usual and went longer than anticipated. A couple of notes before we start. Tyler Bozak (upper-body skated today but Berube said he was still unavailable for game duty. So obviously, he's out for Thursday against Montreal. Also. Vince Dunn has a lower-body issue, which factored into the decision not to play him against Dallas. So Dunn wasn't really a healthy scratch as we originally thought. Berube said Dunn is getting checked out by the Blues' medical team. He didn't play the last 8-9 minutes in Philly, so maybe that's when the issue occurred. OK, let's get to it.
There already has been a lot of change. The head coach is gone. Half of the forward lines were changed over the offseason. So change doesn't guarantee success. Obviously I understand the frustration. Obviously, this is a key year for Jake Allen in St. Louis. That's been apparent since before the start of the season. Doug Armstrong made that crystal clear. My question to you is why do so many goalies leave St. Louis and seem to have success elsewhere?
Trust me, the Blues are bummed, too. They're frustrated over their inability to string victories together. And more than one player is frustrated over whey they never seem to come back from a deficit. Although not technically a "crisis counselor" the team does have a sports psychologist.
Three goals allowed, even though two were "soft" goals, is not a debacle. Since Nov. 14, Allen has a 2.61 GAA and a .907 save percentage. That's in 23 games or 22 starts _ a pretty good sample size. It's not great. Maybe average. But that is not a debacle. Or subpar play. Here's another factor to consider. At home Allen has a 3.65 GAA and an .878 save percentage. On the road, he's got a 2.30 GAA and a .922 save percentage. So what do we make of that? Is Allen pressing more at home? More comfortable on the road? I know many of you have had enough. I totally understand. I get that. I'm not sure I'm there yet. But as I've said several times _ as Armstrong has indicated _ this is a make-or-break year for him in St. Louis. But what if you can't get much in a trade for Allen? Do you just throw him overboard and move on?
I have not heard anything new. I'll try to check in the coming days.
That's what I'm here for.
It's interesting that he hasn't been called up, while Sanford and Blais have. The Blues must feel he's better served getting 20 minutes a game in San Antonio than lesser time in St. Louis. But that's a question for Armstrong, which I'll try to ask at some point. Not really one that Berube is qualified to answer since he doesn't make those decisions.
It was a bad goal. We all know that. Allen knows that. But why should it be the last straw? Why can't the Blues mount a comeback for a change? When is the last time that's happened. I believe Calgary _ a team the Blues beat two out of three times this season _ has come back from four-goal deficits a couple of times. You see comebacks all the time in the league these days. Several Blues players have been wondering about that themselves after last night's game _ "why can't we come back in game" _ Perron and Sundqvist among them
I wonder, as some of you have, why Tarasenko's on the point a lot as well. But during the course of the power play, you see Tarasenko move around a lot.
I don't know what's in Armstrong's head, but I think he's made it pretty clear he's open to about anything in terms of player moves and trying to make this right.. Remember when he said earlier this season (and I paraphrase) that the veterans have used up their equity? I've heard the same names you've heard in trade gossip: Pietrangelo, Parayko, Schenn. I'm not sure if there's any validity to any of this or not.
Well, the Blues have control of player movement now in San Antonio, staff and hockey operations. So that should be good enough. But there's no doubt that not having an affiliate last season hurt the team.
I think Allen should be tarred and feathered. So should everyone associated with the power play after going 0-for-2 last night and 4-for-42 since the start of December. All these accomplished players _ Tarasenko, O'Reilly, Perron, Schwartz, Schenn, etc. _ and 4-for-42? How does that happen? So should Bortuzzo and Sanford for getting what Berube regarded as silly penalties that led to a 5-on-3 for Dallas and the Stars' second goal.
It wouldn't surprise me. Certainly trending that way. The injuries to Bozak and now Steen have gotten him back in the lineup, but he played only 10 minutes last night. I wouldn't think there'd be much of a trade market at this point.
If you remember last season, Hutton was the de facto starter for much of the season. There was no announcement, no ribbon-cutting ceremony. But from Dec. 3 through the first week of March, Hutton started 17 games to Allen's 9. When one goalie gets twice as much work as the other I think he's the No. 1. The only reason that didn't continue is because of the neck injury that sidelined Hutton for more than two weeks last March. (Hutton was scheduled to start March 8 in San Jose when the neck injury cropped up.) Allen returned to the lineup, played well down the stretch. But if Hutton's not hurt, I think he would've continued to start and who knows what the goalie situation looks like today.
Once again, I go back to Armstrong's statement: This is a make or break year for Allen?
What makes you think you can get anything for Allen in a trade now.
The stats were used because of the assumption that Allen has been lousy all season. He has not been lousy all season. He's been decent to pretty good for a pretty long stretch, the hiccups of the past two games notwithstanding. That's all I was trying to say. Of course, you look at the overall body of work in making any final determination. And the overall stats are not good.
I would think that factored into it. I'm sure Berube's seeing what you're seeing.
I don't think you've thrown in the towel when you're so angry after giving up a bad goal (3rd goal) that you slam your goalie stick so hard against the post that it breaks.
I'm not sure about the makeup of the ownership group. But I think it's pretty clear that Stillman cares, and cares deeply about this club.