Blues chat with Jim Thomas

Blues chat with Jim Thomas

Bring your Blues and NHL questions and comments, and talk to Post-Dispatch hockey writer Jim Thomas in a live chat starting at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

    Hello to one and all. Let's get chatting.
    Are you aware what teams are scouting the Blues?
    Well, there's always a list of teams posted in the press box of visiting scouts. I guess I should start paying attention to that. _ it's that time of year. Now some teams routinely have scouts on hand as part of their normal duties, and some could be scouting the other team. So I don't think you can read too much into this, but they are fun to look at.
    Hey Jim, which players for the Blues will be free agents at the end of the season, and where do you think they will end up?
    Other than Pietrangelo, it's a pretty light list. The only other UFA's on the current roster are Jay Bouwmeester and Troy Brouwer. Brouwer won't be back. As for Bouwmeester, he's still playing effectively and at this point, you'd think the Blues would want him back. I believe Bouwmeester wants to keep playing and would come back relatively cheaply for someone with his resume _ he's playing for $3.25 million this year.
    In terms of restricted free agents, de la Rose, Blais, and MacEachern all are arbitration eligible.. Dunn also is an RFA but does not have arbitration rights. I would think Blais and Dunn would be the priorities there, followed by MacEachern. I would think the Blues want de la Rose back at the right price.
    Hi Jim. 28 games to go. Dallas is now in second place and we play them three times in the next 13 games. If we are going to make a move to add a forward do you think it needs to happen sooner than later? Thanks
    Do you sense Berube getting impatient with Kyrou and his lack of defensive responsibility? Perhaps Kyrou isn’t a good fit. Do you think Kyrou can be a long-term player or do you see him being traded one day?
    Sorry, I clicked two questions at once. So I'll answer the Kryou question first. I don't think Berube's any more impatient than he would be with any other young, talented player trying to break into the league. I believe the Blues still think he can be a long-term player. (That doesn't mean he won't be traded if the right offer comes along.) I think more than defensive responsibility, it's his ability to hound pucks, to win puck battles, to maintain possession when he has the puck that Berube wants to see improved. It doesn't happen overnight with the young players, although obviously at some point you want to see progress. The Blues were patient with Sundqvist and it paid off. They were patient with Sanford, and it looks like it's paying off. Even Thomas had his ups and downs last year but has become much more consistent this year.
    And now the Dallas question. The Blues are 2-0 against Dallas this year with the players they have, so I don't think that they're playing the Stars three times in three weeks starting Saturday will dictate whether they make a move or not.
    Are goals against us when we are on the power play counted in the +/-. If not shouldn't they be. I could understand ignoring goals for when we are on the power play, or goals against when we are shorthanded but goals scored by the penalized team are a huge boost
    No. Goals scored or allowed on the power play do not count on the plus-minus.
    Did you notice O'Reilly had a red shirt/jersey on underneath his Blues jersey during the Shooting Stars competition during the All Star Skills night. I would be curious to know if it was a Chiefs jersey, and if he changed his mind about displaying it after Matthew Tkachuk did what he dd.
  • I did not notice that. But since he wore that Chiefs helmet in warmups maybe it was a Chiefs T-shirt. I'll try to remember to ask him, but no promises.
  • I am not in favor of a top 6 forward trade. Look at past history and see the lack of success. CBJ went all in with no success, Mark Stone, Mikael Granlund, Kevin Hayes, and Mats Zuccarelo all moved and their teams were eliminated. The Blues made one cursory move and won SC. Teams need time when making a big change. Just ask ROR. I hope Blues are not players and give up players and picks. I believe in this team. Thoughts?
    Chemistry seems to be very important to this Blues team, so I think Doug Armstrong will be very careful about tampering with that chemistry. It did take a while for the Blues to settle in last year with all the forward changes. It also took a while for Justin Faulk to settle in after he came here. Some might argue he's still in the adjustment process. Krieder has been with the NY Rangers for 8 years, he's been with no other NHL teams. So he might have an adjustment process himself.
    Boy, that goal by #55 was very Ovechkinesque. What do you think about putting him on that side during the power play and letting him tee off like the Great 8 does?
    In his "state of the team" interview with me a couple of weeks ago, Doug Armstrong said he'd like to see Parayko get more involved offensively, he mentioned that Larry Robinson and All MacInnis _ a pair of Hall of Fame defensemen _ have talked to him in the past about doing this. But he also mentioned that Parayko's play has to convince the coaches that he deserves regular duty on the PP. More shots like the one he had against Carolina might help convince the coaches.
    Hey, Phil. I misunderstood your power play question. As Tom Timmermann, who apparently is following along here today reminds me, shorthanded goals allowed do count as a minus.
    What is with the media love for Joe Thorton and focus on winning a Cup? He has points and has played a long time, but I don’t consider him a game-changer. If SJ is wiling to trade him, please do your best to let Army know Thorton is not welcome here.
    At age 40 and with just two goals and at minus-12, I don't think Joe Thornton is coming here.
    Good afternoon Jim and thanks for the chat. I am impressed with how Edmonton has not faded away as I thought they might after the first few months, if Chicago gets in in, they will be a headache for someone in the first round and Vancouver looks to be a team only a year or two from serious contention. But looking ahead (perhaps prematurely) to the playoffs, it seems 3 Central teams, the Blues, Avalanche and Stars appear to be the best bets to emerge from the West. Your thoughts?
  • I don't think Colorado is going away. And with Bishop having another outstanding season, it certainly looks like Dallas will get one of the top three spots in the Central. If the playoffs started today, Arizona and Calgary would get the two wild-card spots in the West. But Nashville, Chicago and Winnipeg aren't that far back with 57 points apiece. One or two of those clubs could emerge down the stretch.
  • Do the Blues make a move and go in on a player like Chris Kreider? If so what would they need to give up?
  • I'm far from the expert on these matters, but authorities such as Pierre LeBrun says there appears to be pretty strong interest in Kreider, and we're talking about a prospect and a first-rounder. So would you be willing to give up Kyrou and a first-rounder?
    Hello Jim, what do you think the chances are that Alex Pietrangelo gets a deal done to stay with the blues this offseason? Also any truths about Alex being displeased with the. Faulk acquisition and signing?
    Tough call on this. And we've talked about it a lot on this chat. Petro's wife and in-laws are from St. Louis, he can be a legacy player here. Is that what motivates him _ considering that he gets a fair offer from the Blues _ are is money more of a motivating factor. I don't know the answer to that. As for him being displeased with the Faulk acquisition, I couldn't tell you.
    JT - I know you've stated you are enjoying the Hockey beat. But it must have been tough to not be in Miami when Bruce finally got the HOF call. Any good Isaac story you'd like to share with us?
    It was tough, but not that tough. And I will be in Canton for the enshrinement ceremonies in August _ or at least that's the plan. I've got a few Isaac memories, as you might imagine. I can remember him storming off the upper-field at Mathews-Dickey _ where the team practiced in 1995 _ when he was told after practice that he had not made the Pro Bowl. (He had 119 catches for 1,781 yards that year _ and did NOT make the Pro Bowl.) He took a minute, calmed down, and then talked to the media about it.
    I remember as the playoffs started in '99, streams of national media coming in to Rams Park to ask about the team. Isaac told a couple of them (and I paraphrase):: "Where have you been all year? I'm talking to my local people." (The "local people" loved it.)
    I'll never forget him slamming his helmet to the turf of the TWA Dome after Trent Green went down with a season-ending knee injury in that preseason game against San Diego.
    Later in his career, I remember Isaac teasing me at a field dedication at the old Northwest High School in north city that I wasn't used to being in neighborhoods like this. He was a little surprised when I told him I once scored 2 touchdowns in a high school game on that field. 
    The blues have proven they can win without tarsenko. Can he be trade bait this summer to free cap space?
    True, but they haven't proven they can win a Stanley Cup without him. All things are possible with Doug Armstrong, but I just don't know about sending 30 goals a season out the door.
    Looked like Vladi was at the rink last night to congratulate Edmundson. Did you get a chance to talk with him about his recuperation?
    Tarasenko was there, in his duties as alternate captain. He was also there, in street clothes, for the Maroon ring presentation on Nov. 19. I did think about running down there, but especially since I was writing the game story for this one, I didn't want to get stuck downstairs while the game was going on.
    Concern about Binnington or just the normal ups and downs for a goalie during the course of a long season?
  • For me personally, I don't think it's reached the stage of concern. He set the bar astronomically high in the regular season last year. To me, he's playing more like he did in the playoffs last year. As opposed to the regular season. He's still piling up the wins, especially at home. Is he giving up some goals that he wouldn't have given up last regular season? Certainly. But I also think the overall team defense isn't quite as strong as it was last year.
    I’ve watched Kyrou closely. Speed and skill no doubt but his lack of strength is glaring. Additionally, he usually doesn’t even engage on 50-50 pucks and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him win a puck battle. The not even engaging part really bothers me. Not near enough compete. I’d like to see some fight even if he winds up on his tucus. His small stature is a no excuse for the no compete. Are you seeing the same thing? I think he may be trade bait. Agree of disagree?
    Last year, it seemed like you could breath on him, and get the puck. I think he's done much better in that regard this year, but still has a ways to go. I think he engages more on 50-50 pucks than you're giving him credit for, but again, could be better. Thomas had some moments like this last year, if you recall. But overall, you've got to be able to hound pucks, do the dirty work in the corners and along the boards, check like crazy if you want to play for Berube. And Kyrou still has a ways to go. But we're talking about 32 games with Kyrou _ this year and last. That seems awfully early to dismiss someone. He's not a finished product. But if you really want someone like a Kreider, I think you'd have to offer someone like a Kyrou as part of the product.
    You've absorbed a lot of hockey-knowledge over the past few years. Would you like to see any rule changes or tweaks to an existing rule? Maybe something that drives you crazy?
    I wish the hand pass was reviewable! (Oh, never mind.) I'm still not clear on how the league judges goaltender interference, although it hasn't been nearly the issue in Blues games that it was last season. One thing I'd like to see is more accountability by the officiating crew. The NFL makes its referee available, per request, by a pool reporter to answer questions about controversial calls. When merited, you could even get the NFLs head of officiating on the phone to discuss something. There's nothing like this in the NHL And the times I've tried to reach someone in the NHL office to help clarify a call _ and I've only tried to do this a couple of times _ I haven't gotten a response.
    Jim, I’m sure I’m probably the only one that feels this way but to me the NHL All Star Game is nothing more than a “glorified pick-up” game. Nobody is really out there giving it their all. The goalies take a beating because there is little or no defense with 3 on 3 play. This format has ruined the All Star Game. It’s just nothing more than an NHL love fest. Personally I think it’s a waste of time and I did not find it entertaining, but that’s just me, but I’m old school. I’m sure it’s all about the money though. I even saw a couple minutes of the Pro Bowl game Sunday when I was at the gym, they weren’t even tackling. If they are so worried about injuries scrap the **** game. The NHL should just name the players who were voted to be All Stars and give everyone the same bi-week off. I’m sure Eddie Shore was looking down with great pride.
  • I think this basically is the problem with all all-star games in the major North American sports. I enjoyed the skills contest on Friday much more than the all-star game(s) on Saturday. Although the interest level might have been better had the Blues/Central advanced to the championship game. I guess the leagues are still making money off these games, and people are still watching on TV, otherwise they wouldn't have them.
  • I didn't get to see the game last night but I saw where Parayko scored a goal. Did he shoot it off the boars and it ricochet into the net? I swear he can't hit the net to save his life. If I was Chief I'd have him stand there in practice and fire 100 shots at the net, and every time he missed, 25 push-ups.
    No, it was a one-timer from the edge of the left faceoff circle, trailing on the backside of a rush. I thought Parayko's accuracy was better last season. Also, I don't think he's shooting as much this year, and he's getting very little power play time. Like all defensemen, he works on his shooting near the end of practice, although I've yet to see any pushups.
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