Hello again everybody, Blues ended up practicing earlier than usual today so we're moving the chat start time back to 1 p.m. Sorry for the confusion. But if you have any questions, fire away.
As someone in the news business, I'm always in favor of transparency. The news about Montgomery was so sudden and surprising that I think the Dallas fans probably are owed some information _ certainly more than they received. Getting next to no information only leads to gossip, rumor and speculation, and that's never a good thing.
For one, the owner is around. During my earliest days on the beat I had a running joke with Tom Stillman that I had seen him more around the team, at practice, etc., during my first camp than I had seen Stan Kroenke in 21 seasons of the Rams in St. Louis. Things were better earlier with Kroenke when he was minority owner. He was pleasant, relatively open. I can remember chatting with him (to use the Jay Randolph vernacular) in the hallways at owners meetings. Things changed when he became controlling owner in 2010 _ and now of course, we know why. He was trying almost since the day he took over the team, to figure out a way to get back to L.A. Rams players were great to deal with _ with only a few exceptions. The hockey players have been fine as well. Now in my third year on the beat, the hockey players have seen enough of me, that I'm more of a known quantity to them. There's a little bit more access in hockey. The concept of talking to hockey players on game day (after the morning skate) is still a little mind-boggling. Can't imagine talking to a football player on game day. Doug Armstrong has been fine to deal with, although he really plays his cards close to the vest. It takes years to build up sources in an organization, and by the time I'm getting to that point with the Blues, it will probably be time to retire. Don't get me wrong, I loved my time covering the Rams and the NFL. Even with all the losing at the end, I'd do it all over again. But hockey is a fascinating, fun sport. I'm enjoying my time here much more than I thought I would.
I don't have a good answer for this one. I would think these are deals worked out individually. But it might make a good story. By the way, don't you get a kick out of the Berube ads. They are funny.
Ironic isn't it. That's a real question these days _ or it might be in a couple of years.
Bozak has had a lot of chances lately, particularly the first couple of games when he was on the Schenn line with Schwartz. But with all respect to Bozak, who does a lot of things pretty well for the Blues, he's never been known as a great finisher. He's usually good for about 15 goals a season over the course of his career. He's had 20 or more only once. He had 13 last season which was pretty much on par with his career average. Obviously, he's behind schedule this season. Some of that has to do with the variety of players he's had on the third line. In a season of constantly juggled lines, the third line has been the most juggled. And now, of course, he's not on the third line _ he's playing up because of all the injuries up front _ namely,, five of the Blues' top 12 forwards.
It's a constant emphasis from the coaches. In his post-practice session with the media after practice today, Berube said they've stressed again the importance off getting more shots _ by all players in all situations, not just the power play. I think it comes back to simplifying, being quick with the puck, and just as importantly getting it through the neutral zone in a timely fashion on the power play. In addition, all the injuries have cut down on some of the depth, forcing the Blues to use players that wouldn't normally be there on the second power play unti. That has hurt as well.
Doug Armstrong obviously might think otherwise, but I think it's too early to think about trades. The Blues are still in a good spot. And they're about to get Steen, Sundqvist and Sanford back. That will help in a lot of ways.
I'm no expert on this, but I've been told that Pietrangelo's agents are of the slow-play variety. In the football world, I know, some agents are known for getting deals done quick and others were known for dragging things out. I'm sure it's no different in hockey. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Armstrong has spoken with Pietrangelo's representatives. I think it all comes down to this: if Pietrangelo's interest is being the highest-paid _ or one of the highest paid defensemen in the league, he probably won't be a Blue at the end of the year. If his interest is in cementing his legacy in St. Louis and perhaps retiring as a Blue, he probably stays here.
I'm not going to get into specifics here, partly because I don't know them all. But I do know this: Eichel was not Dunn's responsibility on that third goal.
Occasionally, but not with any degree of regularity. Just not enough time.
Agreed. Berube's an intense guy. And it shows through even when he's supposed to be the relaxed pitchman. Which to me, makes them even more entertaining.
Buffalo wasn't his best game, but as I mentioned, Eichel was not his responsibility on the third goal. Sure he has glitches, just like every other Blue, but he's an asset and at age 23 still has plenty of potential.
That's a great question. I guess same goes for Bill Peters. As long as this issue is front burner, and it doesn't seem like it's going to go away anytime soon, I would think Babcock and Peters have a hard time getting a head-coaching job. At 56 and 53 years old respectively, I'm sure they both feel like they have time left in coaching.
I'll say this again: Eichel was not Dunn's responsibility on that play.
Which was part of my point in the earlier answer. Not giving at least some idea of what occurred only leads to more speculation, which usually isn't a good thing.
Can't speak for Bannister. Perhaps he simply meant talent that was unfulfilled in St. Louis in large part due to injury. It's clear the Blues would like nothing better than for Kyrou to play well up here and never play another game in the AHL again. Now, it's largely up to Kyrou. If he plays well with Schwartz and Schenn, he's going to stay on that line. Simple as that. Plus as you mentioned, he was on the No. 2 PP in Buffalo. The Blues are giving him every chance to succeed. When Sundqvist, Steen and Sanford come back, you send down Poganski and Wallker and that leaves you with 14 forwards on the team.
As he's told reporters, he's much more comfortable at center. And it has showed. But he needs to contribute something offensively. Berube has said on more than one occasion that the staff and front office think he has more to give in that area. Now it's just a matter of how much patience they have with him once these injured players start coming back.