Hello again everybody. Tom Timmermann is on this trip, bringing you the latest from Southern California. As you might have heard, Bozak and Sanford are off IR. Kyrou and Nolan have been sent down to San Antonio. I don't think the morning skate begins for another half hour, so we won't know for sure about the starting goalie for maybe an hour. Who do you want in goal tonight, Binnington or Allen? OK let's get started. . . .
I don't think Steen has much trade value given his age _ he turns 35 on March 1 _ and his contract status _ two more years after this at $5.75 million per season. Also, Steen has a no-trade clause. As for Bozak, I don't think he's played poorly. His production before his concussion was pretty much normal for him. And again, you've got contract considerations _ $5 million per year, for two more seasons after this. Plus Bozak has a modified no-trade clause (10 teams).
Am I wrong on this? I would think the Blues would have to give more than Pietrangelo (who has a no-trade clause). Marner (who's scheduled to be a restricted free agent after this season) is only 21. Perhaps the Blues would have to kick in a prospect. What do you chatters think?
In no particular order: 1.) Goaltending. Binnington has provided a spark, the LA Kings game notwithstanding. That has to keep up. Concentrate most of the Jake Allen starts on the road, where he has played very well. 2.) Some of the Blues top players have to get going. Schwartz has gone 16 games without a goal; Steen has gone 16 games without a goal; Schenn has no goals in his last 8 games; Pietrangelo needs to get going, as much on the defensive side as the offensive side. Tarasenko has picked it up lately, but needs to keep going. 3.) Beat the teams you're supposed to beat. (At least most of the time.) You may have seen my earlier post: The Blues are 7-9-3 against teams currently out of playoff position this season. Last season they were 25-11-1 against those teams. 4.) Why can't the Blues come back in games? Is there an NHL bylaw against this that we're unaware of? They are 1-18-3 when trailing after two periods, and 4-8-5 in one-goal games. 5.) Special teams _ quit taking stupid penalties. Pick up the production on the power play.
We asked a couple of times earlier in the season. Both players and Yeo. The answer was: There has been no change in the scheme this year. None.
He hasn't been around practice nearly as much this season compared to last. I requested an interview with him after last season and was turned down. I think Ben Hochman has gone 1 for 2 on interview requests with him since then. Yes, I think the owner of a major sports team should be more available to the media.
They're saying upper-body, which often _ but not always _ means concussion. The fact that he didn't accompany the team on the California trip was an indication that he was not close to returning. He was certainly a difference-maker before the injury. After tonight's game the Blues don't play against until Feb. 2 _ 10 days off. You'd think he'd be ready by then.
Kind of a Paul Stastny type game, although not quite as productive as Stastny. Very heady player, anticipates well. Not the fastest skater. I thought he was a pretty good passer. Pretty good in front of the net. Spent most of the season on the first power-play unit, also killed penalties.
If they limp into the playoffs due to a weakened Western Conference, debatable. If they get hot down the stretch and have some momentum going in, I'd have to say he's a legit candidate.
Wow. Tough question. I'm gonna say, the Rams.
Well, I'm a firm believer in just getting in. I've seen a lot of 9-7 teams make playoff runs in football. I think recent NHL history has plenty of examples of teams that weren't in the top group making deep playoff runs as well. That being said, if the Blues were in the Eastern Conference, they'd be out of a playoff spot by 11 points.
I think that's a fair question. But a couple of things. Sooner or later,you have to blame the players, don't you? Also, a new coach _ at least any one of stature _ brings in his own staff.
I think it's because he wasn't with the team for 30 days.
I think there are a lot of teams in that category. My colleague Jeff Gordon says Bouwmeester to Calgary makes sense.
I don't want to speak for Armstrong, but I think that's exactly what he has in mind _ trying to retool on the fly. But doing that doesn't necessarily mean you make only 1-for-1 hockey trades.
You know what, I'm not really keeping score on who gets blamed and how often.
Kroenke committed plenty of sins, but I don't think he had the team deliberately tank in St. Louis. Jeff Fisher did a good job getting them to respectability that first year, but never could get past that, I think largely because of the lack of good quarterback play. But I do recall seeing the tape of that Demoff speech _ as many of you might have _ in which he admitted he was glad the Rams didn't go on a long winning streak in 2015, their last year in St. Louis. It's interesting that most of their top players are ones that were with the team in St. Louis: Donald, Gurley, Hekker, Zuerlein, Barron, Saffold (who has stayed healthy.) I have no desire to cover the Super Bowl. I'm a hockey writer now. Although I do plan to be in Canton when Isaac Bruce goes into the Hall of Fame. Lastly, I was happy for those "St. Louis" Rams players but distressed at the sight of Kroenke accepting the Halas Trophy as NFC champs. I still feel terrible for the fans of St. Louis, who deserved better. Much, much better than they got from Kroenke, Demoff, and the NFL in their handling of this.
Yeah, didn't see anything either. And I saw Perron outside the locker room following the Boston game and he seemed fine. As I mentioned in earlier post, upper-body injury frequently means concussion. But not always.