Blues chat with Jim Thomas

Blues chat with Jim Thomas

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






  • The Blues'/Yeo's theory on Bouwmeester getting better is that after missing all that time last year, he might be a little rusty at first. We'll see. Gunnarsson is 31 and played in 63 games last year. Bouwmeester is 35 and played in only 35 games last year. I don't think the lack of speed is what's necessarily hampering him. At least it's not at the top of the list. To me, he has been making some strange decisions on positioning near the net, letting guys get behind him, pinching in at times when he shouldn't, etc.
  • If the blues fall flat this year, do you think they will have a fire sale and look for the future?
  • I don't know about a fire sale, but Armstrong isn't one to sit still. And if that's the case, there would probably be a new head coach.
  • Hi Jim , should we be upset with the quick turn around from the Rams ? I know I am .
    That aside , will there be a St.Louis Chargers anywhere in the horizon ?
  • I know this, after all the lousy teams I covered over the last decade in StL, it's not a warm and fuzzy feeling for me. I'm happy for the players that I knew from St. Louis, but then again, there's not many of those guys left. As for the Chargers or any other NFL team, I still don't think there will be a team here in the near future _ if at all. And if I'm not mistaken, aren't the Chargers locked into that Kroenke-dome lease for about 20 years?
  • O'Reilly's play is getting better but the game .....but what is concerning is that it is after he left Tarsenko. I thought he was overpassing to Tarasenko and not looking to score ...now he is a double threat. Do you see him staying off of Tarasenko's line the rest of the year ?
  • The way Yeo changes lines, he could be back with Tarasenko next week.
  • Everybody is talking about Tarasenko only scoring 2 goals but are overlooking Schwartz's slow start only 2 points, no goals and -2 and Maroon no goals and -5 .....Schwartz shows flashes but doesn't seem like the same dominant player he was last year. Maroon looks limited - good power play guy but slow
  • I think Maroon has been pretty effective. He has five assists, has done some valuable dirty work digging out pucks from behind the net and along the boards, and brings a much-needed physical element. I believe Schwartz will get going, remember he missed two of the eight games with that foot off the puck, and maybe he's still feeling the effects of that. But your overall point is valid: There are other established players still looking for goals (including Pietrangelo) besides Tarasenko.
  • What purpose does Jerabek serve on this team right now? Is he just around in case another D-man gets injured? If so, what was the point of picking him up when they had Butler, who looked good to start the season? Are the Blue afraid to part ways with Butler, because he is from St. Louis? If not, why is he in SA instead of STL where at least he could provide a serviceable 3rd pairing D-man?
  • Right now, Jerabek's their only healthy spare defenseman (with Bortuzzo out), so in the short term he stays. But from the start, that trade never made much sense to me. The feeling I get with Butler is the Blues view him as a stop-gap option but not a long-term solution. So do they call him up for a couple, three games, or just ride that period out with Bouwmeester until Gunnarsson is ready? Looks like they've chosen the latter.
  • J.T. The fans picking on JayBo is so misguided, the coach plays him, yell at th coach, leave the player who is trying alone. Question: I keep hoping #91 will find the line mates that bring out his best. If the man in charge can't get this right, this would be a reason to Chang coach. Harder to coach a #91 type player than a bunch of grinders. Thoughts?
  • As I mentioned early, in the end it is much more likely the coach is held accountable than the star players/established players. And as I also mentioned earlier, I wonder if Tarasenko's shoulder is bothering him some.
  • It has been obvious the Blues defense is not playing well. They play undisciplined and tend to wander a lot. Bou is a shell of his former self and I believe he is not yet physically well. He is slow and is doing too much stickwork. For all their depth at the position, teams are taking advantage and hammering them. You say?
  • I say, the blueliners, overall, haven't been up to par defensively. It's pretty obvious. (The offense from the group has been pretty good.)
  • I understand the penalty kill being why Bouw was playing, but it was beyond the last 6 mins, Bouw took Dunns spot on the top pairing to start the third period, which again is baffling. I dont dislike Yeo but that is bad coaching, so much hype for this team and we are left with these clear mistakes.
  • I  don't think Dunn was nicked up in any way during the game. As much as he's produced offensively, remember Dunn was benched for two games not that long ago. Last week in Canada, Yeo cited a back issue that affected Dunn's summer training, and conditioning once the regular-season started. Maybe that's still playing a factor in Dunn's playing time. Otherwise, it doesn't seem like Yeo totally trusts Dunn on defense with the game on the  line.
  • Good afternoon Jim, and thank you for the chat. Do you think Doug Armstrong would do better by allowing the Blues build a roster from the Draft and use its 1st round picks or does the assumption that the better the team is there is no chance of getting a quality player then and it is best to trade that pick? Do you find it at the least a bit alarming that this Mgt. staff has as very few 1st round picks since it has been in charge?
  • You need at least some draft picks playing and contributing to make the salary cap work. The Blues actually have been playing several youngsters. Obviously, it's hard to give youngsters lots of playing time on an established team, which can slow development. You look at the top rookies from a year ago, DeBrincat, Keller, Boeser, Barzal _ they all played on non-playoff teams. And I think they've had plenty of first-round picks under Army: Thomas, Thompson, Kostin, Bokk, Fabbri, Schmaltz
  • Did you hear anything on why Angella Sharpe has left the Blues? Do you like the new gigs?
  • Did not on Sharpe. Not sure want you mean on the second question. If you mean covering hockey _ the answer is yes.
  • Why doesn't Yeo give a wake up call by giving Tarasenko's "A" to Petro, and Petro's "C" to Schenn?
  • Do you think by doing that it makes Tarasenko a better player? Or Petro? And if you're going to do something like that, don't you do so in the offseason instead of when the season's underway? But I'll say _ again _ I do think Schenn has leadership qualities.
  • Ever since his call up when he outperformed Eric Johnson, I think most Blues fans have been expecting Pietrangelo to eventually take that next step from being a good defenseman to a Norris trophy caliber one. But after a few seasons of coming close, Pietrangelo seems to be settling into a being good but not great player. Do you think Pietrangelo has reached his ceiling as to the type of player he can become?
  • I can't tell you for sure if Pietrangelo has reached his ceiling. But he did make the all-star game last season. And were it not for that puck off the foot in Detroit (yeah, same game Schwartz got hurt) I think he would've made a legitimate run at the Norris. While I agree he hasn't been on his game (although better lately), I'm not ready to make any sweeping judgments on the guy after 8 games. Also, childbirth can have an effect on adults, and Petro's wife gave birth to triplets during the offseason. He's got a lot on his plate.
  • 3 weeks at home hopefully gets the team going. This is like the longest homestand zi remember. Quirk of the schedule?
  • Yeah, I guess it's just a quirk. It happens. Winnipeg was in the midst of a six-game homestand when they played the Blues Monday. I think one team _ was it Nashville? _ had something like a 10-game homestand a year ago. Blues obviously need to get their home-rink mojo back.
  • JT, is it safe to say that maybe the Blues need to look into a better strength and conditioning coach? Not only do the players look exhausted by the 3rd period, but our smaller players seem to get manhandled with ease.
  • Given the team's third period play so far this season, I think all areas should be examined. To me the team looked tired in the third period in Winnipeg _ players and Yeo said no. But it was the third game of a six-day trip.
  • Is there any kind of metric or stat that would show how often the Blues give up a goal quickly after scoring one of their own? It seems to happen frequently where the Blues will score, and then a minute later, the other team scores.
  • There probably is one somewhere, but I'm not aware of where I could point you to on that. But I've seen what you've seen.
  • I echo what Rob in St. Charles said. I thought the piling on on Bouwmeester in the past was very unfair. He's been a good player for the Blues and last year, I admired how he tried to play through some serious injuries. Plus, Team Canada officials always picked him for the Olympics and World Cups, and it wasn't like they didn't have any options. They had some great players to choose from, so someone thought he was pretty good. He just looks to me like a guy who is in the twilight of an excellent career. I hope he proves me wrong, but it is hard to justify playing him now. By the way, I watched the TSN broadcast from Winnipeg on the NHL Network. It's obvious the Blues scratching Bouwmeester on Saturday was big news in Canada.
  • I guess with players like Berglund, Jaskin, Sobotka gone, he's one of the last whipping boys left. (I guess Allen too from what I can gather.) Listen we all see what we see, but I just don't think it does any good to get personal with these things.
  • Jim -- It seems like from reading your work and other beat writers who cover the NHL that reporters can watch practice on a daily basis. From what I understand, that seldom happens in the NFL once training camp is over. Is that accurate? And, I would imagine that makes the NHL a little more enjoyable to cover, right?
  • When the Rams left St. Louis, only a handful of teams had their entire practice open to the media once the regular season began. Fortunately for Rams media in St. Louis, they were one of the handful.of teams with open practices. Only during the Linehan tenure were practices closed to the media in the 21 seasons of the Rams in St. Louis. (And even then, there was about a 20-minute viewing period _ the period before 11-on-11 work began. That's a league rule. So at least you could see who was practicing, etc.) So yes, having hockey practices open is a good thing. They are much shorter than the football version, too, anywhere  from about 30-40 minutes for a morning skate on game day to an hour or so on a non-game day. A far cry from Vermeil 2-a-days in Macomb that went 3 hours-plus apiece..
  • Jimbo, Every offseason I try to figure out where the Blues are trying to go with the moves they make. To me, they seem like a team that can't make up their mind. Their acquisitions don't seem to fit the coaching style that Yeo employs. The game has moved to one of speed, skill, and passing, yet the Blues are still trying to employ the same boring style Yeo had in Minnesota.....dump, chase, hit, try to clog the front of the net and look for garbage rebounds. When are we going to get a GM and coach that bring us into the 20th century and move to that exciting speed style?
  • Interesting comments because players such as Perron, O'Reilly, Bozak and Maroon aren't regarded as fast skaters. Yet the Blues seem to be going to more mobile defensemen _ Dunn, Schmaltz (even Jerabek is regarded as a good puck mover). Kyrou and Thomas are good skaters. I think Blues management/coaching staff want to get quicker, but they also were influenced by what Washington and Vegas did in the playoffs. Neither was what you'd call a quick-skating team, but Vegas had four-line depth and Washington was physical.
  • Hey Jim..... Wanted to get your impression.... I think hockey players are among the best 'overall' athletes of all the major sports..... Incredible hand/eye coordination, etc... Lot of hockey players are good baseball players, great golfers, etc etc.... Very few 'other' sports could play hockey even at a rudimentary level..... Football players cannot just lace up skates and be able to play hockey, for example... Yes, they are all good athletes, I get it.. But hockey is the hardest sport, in my mind.. Your thoughts??? Thanks Jim, enjoy your chats!!!
  • With the possible exception of soccer players, I think hockey players in terms off cardiovascular fitness are unbelievable.  And the fact that they are doing it on tiny blades? Yeah, have a lot of respect for what they do.
  • So JayBo has no trade value, but for free someone would take him? If he were picked up off of waivers, would that free up his cap space? If so, that's got to be a tempting idea to the Blues. On the other hand, how much damage do you do that relationship if he doesn't get claimed and you have to bring him back up.
  • If he's picked up on waivers, the team that claims Bouwmeester inherits his contract _ and at $5.4 million this year, there's probably no one that does. If he clears waivers, Bouwmeester's contract is still the responsibility of the Blues. I can't say if the Blues' thought process has gone that far.
  • If Yeo is fired during the season (I doubt he will, but if) would you expect Berube to take over, or would you expect the Blues to look elsewhere?
  • Berube would make a lot of sense as an interim, with a chance to be more. As for what candidates are out there, that might be a better question for Gordo on Friday. I used to know football GMs that carried a short list of coaching candidates in their wallet. During the Canada trip, at a hotel coffee shop, I had some credit card issues. Armstrong just happened to be in line, asked if I needed some money, pulled out his wallet and extended it my way. I should have accepted _ and looked to see if he had a short list in there.
  • In my opinion the team's underperformance is due to lack of leadership on the ice and behind the bench, which results in the players' lack of confidence when it gets tight. No toughness on the blue line (again coaching problem). The talent is there, leadership is missing. The following in my humble opinion is my prescription to right the ship: 1.) Remove the captaincy immediately from Petro to give to Schenn. 2.) Play the kids for more speed...get Thomas in the lineup. 3.). Trade or release J Bo....too slow and not tough at all...all poke check and no body check. 4.) Never bench Dunn again...the kid's a stud...what was Yeo thinking (players wondering too)? 5.) The next game Parayko must fight someone...anyone. He is too soft. If he refuses to fight trade him. Again, all poke check and the other teams know it. The team lacks toughness and confidence. Your thoughts?
  • Wow. A lot to chew on there especially 3 1/2 hours into a chat. My quick answers. 1.) Repeating from earlier answer. I don't think now's the time to change captains, and I'm not even sure that's a good idea; I do like Schenn's leadership qualities.. 2.) If you play the kids for speed, I think you're giving up on the season at this point. 3.) I don't know if you make that decision now; again, it's clear he's not helping the team; 4.) You never say never in sports, but that one was puzzling; 5.) Parayko has been more aggressive, but yeah he could still turn it up a notch.
    One final question from me today: What was it like to cover hockey in Montreal and Toronto, perhaps the two cradles of the sport? Two beautiful cities. Never seen a game in Toronto, but I found the Bell Center to be amazing.
    I enjoy all the Canada trips. Lots of tradition in Montreal and Toronto..Tons of media. Obviously hockey is THE sport. The atmosphere at both places is great, but I actually liked Montreal even better. But truth be told, I think my favorite Canadian rink is Winnipeg. Smaller arena, crowd right on top of action, very boisterous.
    Lastly, I'll say I'm still trying to figure out the various Canadian coins and what they're each worth. By the end off this trip, I pretty much had it down.
    That's it for today, thanks for playing. We'll be back next Wednesday. Depending on Blues practice schedule, we may have a 2 p.m. start again. Otherwise we'll drop the puck at 1 p.m.
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