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.

    And it's a fact. The more games that are played, the more TV dollars that are recouped.
    We've run through our list of questions. Now's your chance to get one in.
    Well, it certainly looks like hockey will return this season. Of course, that could change if there's a coronavirus flareup in the coming weeks. That's one reason why the league still has 10 potential hub cities, giving it some flexibility if one or more of those cities becomes a hot spot in the coming weeks.
    But hockey is hockey, and this should be totally unpredictable if it comes to pass. Especially with no fans in the stands. 
    If the blues resign Pietrangelo are you worried they are spending too much money on their defense? To me, it’s been awkward seeing all that fire power on the right side. It seems to me you need to choose between Pietrangelo and Faulk.
    Let's say Pietrangelo signs for $9 million a year. You would then have $21 million a year tied up in three D-men. Parayko counts $5.5 million against the cap and Faulk is at $6.5 million per CapFriendly next season. That's about 1/4th of your cap tied up in three players next year. Keep in mind though, you could see Faulk on the expansion list (for Seattle) after this season if his play doesn't pick up. The Blues have always been a defense/goaltending-first team under Armstrong though and that's something to be factored in.
    Any word how/if the current pandemic situation might affect the AHL -- specifically the Blues' plans for the Thunderbirds?
  • Without fans in the stands next season, the AHL will have issues. Maybe there will be limited, socially-distanced fans, but it's hard to imagine the entire stadium seating being opened _ at least until there's a proven vaccine.TV dollars are minimal in the league. Will player payroll have to be cut? Roster-size trimmed? This could be a real issue.
    With hockey interest at an all time high in St. Louis after the cup run, why didn't the Blues locate their farm team in St. Louis rather than Springfield Mass so they could train players to use the same system and make call ups easier? It would provide more revenue dates for th e arena, possibly garner a minor tv package and most of all reduce the cost and time of travel - especially with Springfield not being a major transportation hub should they need to call someone up when they are on a west coast trip?
    You have to remember, the Blues don't own the Springfield team, nor did they own the San Antonio Rampage. They have a working arrangement, but don't own the team. So either the Blues would have to purchase a team and move it here _ not a cheap proposition _ or the Springfield owner(s) would have to decide to move the squad here (which is not likely). So it's not nearly as easy as you'd think to set up shop here.
    There certainly is a lot of unknown here. Hockey players are obviously young and generally healthy and in great shape. So they are low-risk. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly has said on several occasions lately that a single positive test wouldn't necessarily shut down the playoffs. And the number of people allowed in the building at any one time would be severely limited. But it depends on how tight a bubble you have around the players and the facility. Are the players willing to stay close to the rinks and the hotels for several weeks at a time? How much will the support staff at rinks _ such as cleaners, electricians, technicians, etc. _ be monitored and tested? How tight will the bubble be at hotels? The league seems to be taking a thorough and detailed approach to all this, but even Gary Bettman said it won't mitigate all risk.
    Jim -- Realize it is early in the process but the NHL given any indication on how media will be handled for these games? Will you be able to be in the arena? Or, will you have to work remotely, maybe asking Berube and players questions during the post-game via Zoom or something else?? Sounds crazy but I know it's a new world we're living in.
    Bettman and Daly were asked about this Tuesday. Nothing's been decided yet, but I think there's a very good chance that media will not be allowed on the event level _ you know down at ice level where the locker rooms, and interview rooms are.
    Maybe we will have separate access to the press box, and that's it, and do postgame and even off-day interviews via zoom. I really enjoy working the locker room, so this would be tough for my craft. But it would be something we'd just have to work with.
    And as you may have heard, in Phase 2 (small-group workouts), media will not be allowed in the building, so it's not like we'll be able to hang out at Centene and talk to each group of six as the come off the ice. It will be challenging to be sure.
    Jim, someone asked about the heat being a factor in the hub cities. I think it gets hot just about every where in the summer, right? That's going to be a factor wherever you go, whether it's Edmonton or South Florida. I just Toronto and Montreal are pushing record heat today.
    Well, it's all relative. Some of the Canadian Blues I've talked to think 80 degrees is hot. But again, I don't think weather is much of a factor. It's not like the players will be spending a lot of time outdoors. And if heat was a major factor, Las Vegas wouldn't be one of the 10 candidate cities.
    Jim -- One other thing. Please pass along to your younger colleagues not to get so defensive in these chats. It's nothing personal. BenFred gets way, way, way too upset and defensive. You dealt with Norm Stewart. Remind these guys they have it pretty easy.
    With a smile on my face while I type, I think I'll just pass on this one. But I think each writer has his or her own personality and style, be it in print or in a chat. The variety makes it more interesting.
    OK, looks like that it's for today. Thought there might be more complaints about St. Louis being knocked out as a hub city. In any event, thanks for playing, stay safe, and we'll talk to you next week.
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