It sure seems that way. The Blues were cruising until he got hurt, and his absence seemed to have a trickle-down effect through the lineup. His drop in production came when he was mostly playing center. The move to the wing seems to have been the answer, which we didn't see coming because of how well he did at center last season. Having Schenn allows the talent to be spread out a bit more. But that Schenn-O'Reilly-Tarasenko line was really going.
At this point, it would have to be a goalie already in the organization, so you're talking Coreau or Husso, the two guys at San Antonio, or Fitzpatrick in the ECHL. None of them right now seem to be candidates to be put in a game. Husso, of course, should be the guy -- if he hadn't been hurt and had been playing better, he would have gotten the look rather than Binnington -- but he was out a long time and hasn't gotten back to speed yet. So right now, it's going to be Binnington and Allen. And I would say it's going to be Binnington and Binnington and Binnington, with Allen only playing when there are back to backs.
Boy has that deal worked in the Blues favor. And as Buffalo slowly sinks in the East, it keeps looking better. I tweeted out a link to a Sabres story from The Buffalo News last night, and Sabres stories now read like Blues stories did early in the season. They're a fragile team and they give up a goal and everything falls apart.
AHL teams routinely play three games in three nights -- or two nights and a day on a weekend -- and it's not uncommon for one goalie to play all three games. Allen did it often when he was in the minors. And every now and then, you see an NHL goalie play on back-to-back days, usually if the goalie is really hot or his backup really isn't. So you could see Binnington play back to backs if needed. It's easier to do if both games are at home. Playing a game, traveling, and then playing another game is felt to be a bit much. The game has changed enough from the "old" days, in terms of shots and intensity, that it's felt goalies need a mental break. Though a lot of goalies would be fine playing every night. Allen always maintained it wasn't a problem.
Haven't heard anything new since he spoke with his paper back home in Sweden about why he left Buffalo. He's probably enjoying his time off but will be probably be looking to get back in the game next season.
Kostin will get a good look in camp next season. Like Kyrou, he's still a kid (he'll turn 20 in May, on the same day Kyrou turns 21), and he's been playing against older players in the AHL, so every day is a learning experience. The Blues aren't rushing him but he'll get definite consideration next season. He's got seven goals and 11 assists in 50 games and is a minus-25, the worst on the team. So he's got some learning to do.
It's often called the Martin Brodeur rule because his play was one of the reasons it was instituted. A team would play the puck into the corner, Brodeur would skate over, get it, and fire it out, something he did better than anyone. The league didn't want that. They wanted forechecking battles in the corners, rather than goalies firing the puck down ice. Darren Pang, and others, have argued that the rule would be more effective if the zones were reversed and goalies could go in the corners to get pucks but couldn't stop them behind their net. Brodeur always thought it was a silly rule.
I don't rightly know the answer to this. Bill Armstrong is the current assistant general manager, as well as the scouting director, and if he was still around when Doug left, I'm sure he would get some consideration. But I don't know that he's being groomed for that job.
Berube has said he wants to get Del Zotto in a game soon. It doesn't look like it will be Wednesday in Anaheim based on what we saw in practice today, but Thursday vs. the Kings is always a possibility. Now that we're past the trade deadline, there's no roster limit, so they can keep everyone they want, as long as they fit under the salary cap. Del Zotto would have to be waived to be sent down, but they don't need to do that.
Stern, tight-lipped, though he seems to be lightening up in his media sessions and he's starting to laugh and make jokes when we talk. He still is a man of few words. His interview sessions last about half as long as Yeo's or Hitchcock's did. If I were playing for him or against him, I could see him being intimidating.
The trapezoid rule in a nutshell.
Advises. He's at practice most every day, at every home game and goes to road games when Armstrong doesn't make a trip. He's a voice in the room on personnel matters.
I don't think they've had someone travel with the team this season. If they have, it's been on a trip I wasn't on. It's not necessarily a special needs child. Two years ago it was a youngster who had lost some family members in a car crash, if I recall the details correctly. So it's not a one-time thing, but it's not necessarily an annual thing.
Two out of three would seem the minimum from this trip. I would think Binnington vs. Anaheim, then Allen vs. Los Angeles, unless they think they can get away with using Binnington twice.
They're hockey games. I say let people have fun. I say the same thing about baseball games. Throw your bat after a home run.
I'm not sure that Al wants to be a GM. As Brodeur found out, it's a lot of work. (Not that he didn't know that going in, but when you do it, it really hits you.)
Hull's title is now "Blues ambassador."
Last call. Anyone got anything else?
He talked about going home to Philadelphia over the All-Star break. With the amount of time he spent there in his career, it makes sense.
Like all teams, I'm sure the Blues would like to hire a coach and let him go for a while. But it doesn't seem to happen very often, here or anywhere else for that matter.
I'm sure he could if he wanted to. Though pistachios would be a tougher test.