Blues chat with Tom Timmermann

Blues chat with Tom Timmermann

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




    Greetings. Since we last spoke, I've been to Ottawa for the first time in my life. Got Blues questions? Now is the time, this is the place.
    Tom, is it safe to say, barring any unforeseen injuries, we’ve seen the last of Robby Fabbri?
    It would certainly look that way for this season, though all it would take would be one, maybe two guys, getting banged up and he'd be in. But as long as everyone's healthy, it wouldn't seem as if he would play. But he'll be around next season. The Blues aren't going to give up on him and there's an acceptance within the organization that after missing so much time, it would take a bit to get back up to speed. The shoulder injury was a double whammy for him.
    Happy Hump Day Tom and Blues Fans!

    What's the status of Sonny? It would be a shame to lose him to that cheap shot after all he has done for the Blues this year.
    Berube said that he was sore today but getting treatment. He was expecting him to play tomorrow, but said they'll see in the morning. Even if he can't go tomorrow, it doesn't look like it's anything that would be long term. 
     
    I was talking to Kyle Brodziak, now with Edmonton, yesterday, and he was genuinely happy to see Sundqvist doing as well as he has this year. Everyone likes Sunny. 
    after a shaky start to the year, some fans were calling for bouwmeester to be placed on waivers. now after several months of confident and superb play, a number of us want him back next year. any word on whether he's been offered an extension? do you see him playing in st. louis next year?
    I don't, only because the way he has played this season will probably encourage other teams to go after him, and they will offer him more money than the Blues will be willing to pay. With the young defensemen the Blues have in San Antonio, and the money they'll need to set aside for Pietrangelo and Schenn, I don't think the Blues would want to commit dollars and years to Bouwmeester. He'll be looking for a two or three year deal, and he's more likely to get that from someone other than the Blues.
     
    He and Parayko have become the team's shutdown pairing, two guys who can skate fast and have enormous reaches when you add in their sticks. They played almost every shift against McDavid and Draisaitl last night and shut them down. 
    Any chance the Blues rest some of their regulars prior to the playoffs?
    Not until they have clinched third place in the Central, and with Dallas two points back, that won't come until the very end unless the Stars hit some potholes. It's very likely the Blues would get Nashville in the first round, but if they drop to a wild card spot, then you're looking at Winnipeg or whoever wins the Pacific. It's going to be tough to get second now, but it's not out of the question. That's another thing they would chase.
    Tom, with only 9 games remaining should Binnington play out the reason of the season?
    Yes, though with two sets of back-to-backs left, Allen will get at least two starts. But Binnington's play, and the fact the team for whatever reason plays better in front of him, will probably keep him in goal. Binnington does need to watch his play with the puck. That's got him in more trouble than any of his play in goal over the past few games. Berube said this morning that's something that's got to be better and something they have talked to him about. He also stressed improved communication between the skaters and the goalie so he's aware of what's going on around him. And if the Blues get locked into a playoff spot, then Allen will get a game or two, depending.
    Why was Schwartz having trouble scoring before recently?
  • He wasn't getting around the net as much. He was shooting from further out. And the arm injury he had earlier probably took a little bit off his shot. He was putting a lot of shots straight into the goalie's midsection, seldom requiring him to do a whole lot. I ran the numbers a week or so ago and if had the same shooting percentage he had a year ago, he'd have been at something like 22 goals this season. He had one of the worst shooting percentages on the team. It was also clear he had lost some of his confidence, based on the number of shots he didn't take. He passed up on a good scoring chance early last night that had pretty much the whole arena urging him to shoot. If his confidence is up, that will be a good step.
  • What will be more critical to the success of the blues down the stretch and in the playoffs - health of our top 6 forwards or continued solid goaltending?
    The Blues have shown that when their Big Four -- O'Reilly, Tarasenko, Schenn and Perron -- are going, they have an offense that's tough to stop. For me, playoffs are all about goaltending. Get a hot goalie and you're golden. So if Binnington keeps going the way he has, and the Blues keep playing defense in front of him the way they have, that bodes well. Because good goaltending relaxes the pressure on the offense. It may be more agonizing to watch those games, but it's easier to win when you don't have to score six goals.
    The game Saturday night against the Lightning will be an interesting test for the boys. The Blues caught the Bolts during a time when they couldn't score (hard to believe but true), they had Stamkos on the second line to try and get a goal. If the Blues play well the upcoming playoff season could be very interesting.
    It's another interesting time to play the Lightning because, having clinched the Presidents Trophy, they have nothing to play for right now and with the playoffs still a ways off, motivation could be a factor. The Vegas game should be something, because the Golden Knights are playing extremely well right now.
    Just curious, any reason why Pietrangelo did not come out for the 3rd Star of the Game announcement?
    I don't know, but then, I'm usually in an elevator heading downstairs when that's happening, so there could be lions and tigers and dragons on the ice during the three star announcements and I wouldn't know about it. Pietrangelo was in the dressing room waiting for us when they opened the doors.
    do you see jake allen being a blue next year? he seems uncomfortable on the enterprise center ice but does well on the road. might be best for him to get a fresh start somewhere else.
    Unless Allen asks for a trade, I see him being around next season. As well as Binnington has played this season, the history of rookie goalies playing out of their minds is just erratic enough that I can't see the team going all in on Binnington just yet, but he's certainly going to be goalie 1A or 1B at the start of next season, but they'll want someone who has been down the road before to play alongside him. So if the Blues traded Allen, they would want someone somewhat similar to Allen in return. They wouldn't be trying to get a career backup like Chad Johnson, and they wouldn't be plunging into the free agent market for a big name. So unless there's another young-ish goalie who also needs a change of scenery, a move may be difficult. And Husso is hurt again and may be out the rest of the season in San Antonio.
    Any updates on Edmundson and Gunnarsson?
  • Gunnarsson said he had a good skate today and was feeling better, but still wasn't sure how long he might be out. Edmundson skated and seemed OK but I didn't get a chance to talk to him after practice. Berube said yesterday that Edmundson was coming along well. Blais said he was feeling better every day but wasn't there yet.
     
    It will be tough for Gunnarsson with an arm/wrist injury because he needs that playing in front of the crease trying to clear traffic. 
    How was Ottawa? What kind of career do you think David Perron would have had if Thornton had not mugged him?
    While I have now been to Ottawa, I can't really say I've seen Ottawa. For one, it was snowing, so everything, the sky, the ground, what I assume are trees, were white. Two, the arena is out in the boonies, so while downtown Ottawa may be historic and scenic, I was in an office park way out of town. 
     
    That will be one of those questions we'll never really know about Perron. Losing a full season plus when you're 22 and 23 hurts your game at the time and hurts your development going forward. He was saying last night that when he got to Pittsburgh, and things didn't go well, he thought his career might be over and he would be out of the league. (JThom is writing about this as we speak for tomorrow's paper.) I wasn't on the beat for the early years of Perron here, but it seems as if he's playing better now than he was the last time he was here. He's been very hard to take off the puck.  
    Assuming the Blues and Stars stay hot, who do you see making the wild card between Minnesota, Arizona, Colorado, and possibly even Chicago?
  • Arizona, though Colorado is making a case for itself. Every game the rest of the way for Minnesota is against a playoff team. For a team that's struggling, that's not good. Arizona has a reasonably cooperative schedule.
  • What do you think about the Blues trying to resign the Big Rig for next year? Maybe the last month or so has changed things.
    A month ago, I'd have put the probability at zero. Now, it's significantly higher. Berube said today that the coaching felt Maroon has been had bad luck all season, and that is finally starting to change. The guy keeps scoring goals. Jeff Gordon asked me on the podcast a few weeks ago about things the Blues needed down the stretch, and I pointed to Maroon scoring as one of those things. Maroon is at an age where he's unlikely to get a lot of offers around the league; he's part of that hockey middle class that is increasingly frozen out. To that end, the Blues may be able to get him at a cheap price, which greatly increases his chances of being kept. The Blues will need to clear a few roster spots for forwards like Kyrou and maybe Kostin next season. But right now, Maroon is a commodity unto himself. None of those other guys play a Maroon type game. I'd say it's still less than 50 percent he's back, but a long playoff run could change that, assuming he plays a part in it.
    Nashville or Winnipeg in 1st round. Who would you think the Blues would do better?
  • The Blues have played better against Nashville this season, wining four in a row, though it seems to me on several occasions they caught the Predators on the back end of a back-to-back and got Saros instead of Rinne, though the two have pretty equal numbers this season.
    I have liked the play of Del Zotto recently. When Edmundson comes back, is it just assumed that he will be the odd man out? I think he's the same player as Bortuzzo but with more offensive skill......
    When Edmundson comes back, he's in and Del Zotto is out. Whether they would keep Edmundson with Pietrangelo like they did before or let him ease back in with Bortuzzo on the third pairing, I don't know. The injury has led to Dunn being with Pietrangelo and logging more minutes and getting tougher assignments. It was interesting last night when we asked Berube about the Oilers wraparound goal, before pointing out what Binnington did or didn't do, he pointed out what Del Zotto should have done. The impression I got was that Del Zotto wasn't up to speed on the defensive system and did the wrong thing. So with a unit that has worked well together the second half of the season, I see that unit staying together. Del Zotto will be odd man out, and when Gunnarsson is back, he'll probably be another odd man out.
  • Hi Tom, I agree with D Matt, Maroon has been one of the unsung heroes of the team, especially recently. If you could get an assist for standing in front of a goalie and blocking his view, he would be in the Top 5 assist leaders on the team.
    There have been a few goals, and last night saw one of them, where we weren't sure right away if Maroon had touched a puck on the way in for the goal or it was just his presence in front that made something happen. That's something that was missing from the Blues earlier in the season.
    What’s the over / under the Blues will be able to resign Schenn? Will he sign early or wait until free agency and see how the market shakes out.
    I think there's a good chance for the Blues to sign Schenn, assuming he wants to. He's not going to get massive contract offers from other teams, so his next contract won't be all that different from the $5.125 million AAV he has now. He's not getting Tarasenko type money. So if the Blues make him a deal with enough years and a bit of a raise, that would seem to be a good situation for Schenn and the Blues could sign him before he goes on the market. If the Blues are going to try to sign anybody early, Schenn would be the guy. He checks a lot of boxes and the Blues know what they're getting.
    We talk about injuries to our forwards, which lead to some big scoring droughts, as determining factors that led to our recent mediocre play. Why does no one bring up the importance of Joel Edmundson? Last year, he went down, the Blues lost 6 in a row that pretty much cost us a playoff spot. I don't think it's a coincidence that him being hurt now also attributed to our recent record.....
  • It would probably be brought up more if the Blues didn't have guys that could easily step in. Edmundson has also had an up and down season, getting healthy scratched three times in January. But he was certainly playing well with Pietrangelo before he got injured and made Pietrangelo play better as well. As I mentioned before, it will be interesting to see how they arrange the D when he comes back. Do they put him back on the top pairing with Pietrangelo or keep Dunn there and put him on the pairing with Bortuzzo?
  • Do the Blues have THE best d-corps in the league? Obviously lead the NHL in scoring by d men and aren’t slouches on the defensive side either.
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