You would think if the Blues were going to get him a start, that would be a likely location. Berube isn't one to identify his goalie a day in advance, but Ottawa would seem to have Allen written all over it.
I don't think they can go with Jake only on the road. Seems like you can't go around being afraid to play him, and there are back-to-backs where the road game is the tougher team and you'd want Binnington there. If Allen is going to get 30 games, he's got to non back to back games, so they'll look at the numbers and find teams he's done well against, or times where there are three games in four days and give him the two on the end and Binnington the one in the middle. Owing to history, they might want to use him less in late December, early January. One thing working against Allen is that Binnington has bounced back very well from bad games. So there's a less of a cause to give Binnington a few days off if he has a bad game.
Bortuzzo has been fine and he sat out the past two games because they wanted to play Gunnarsson. Thomas skated in practice today in Toronto but Berube said he's not ready to get back into action. But it sounds like he's making progress.
Well, the ruckus at the end of the Dallas game started (or maybe ended) with Pietrangelo shoving Benn and then getting his stick in there, so I think that step has been taken, though I'd be surprised if you saw any change in Benn's behavior. It's not like he's going to suddenly become a Lady Byng candidate.
Yes, the difference is LTIR. The Leafs have $13 million plus of players who are hurt and can't play, so by putting them on LTIR, they're allowed to exceed the cap by a corresponding amount. Problem is when players come back, you have to deal with that. Also, to maximize the efficiency of LTIR, you want to be as close to the cap as you can before you start using it.
If that was the case, the deal would probably be structured with big dollars early and low dollars late, because in that last season, Pietrangelo would be 38 and I feel safe in saying he won't be the same player he is then that he is now. But it would serve to bring the AAV down, which is what's important. In effect, the Blues would be giving Pietrangelo something like a five-year contract and spreading it over eight years. But still, the AAV is going to be the cap hit, and if they do a shorter deal, it's going to be a higher AAV. I think that 8/$8.25 is a starting point. But a deal like that, and Schenn's deal, are kicking the can down the road and creating some potentially big issues in the future. But living in the present isn't such a bad idea, and the next four or five years are a prime chance for the Blues to win another Cup and having Pietrangelo around certainly helps that. One thing the Faulk deal does, as I think I said last week, is it takes some of the pressure off having to re-sign Pietrangelo. A new deal for Pietrangelo like that one would really have the Blues rooting for the salary cap to go way up and for the team's youngsters to be really good.
He can do it to keep the AAV down. As Armstrong said after the Faulk signing, it's sometimes a matter of the player helping the Blues in the early part of the contract and the Blues helping the player in the later part of the contract.
Pietrangelo does have a no-trade clause this season (and had one the previous two seasons as well).
Binnington's play in goal. The continued effectiveness of Sammy Blais. And in general, coming from behind in Toronto, and closing out the game.
He's looked fast, but not as productive as he needs to be. He's had only five shot attempts in three games, and only one shot on goal. He needs to do more. He and Sanford need to get their games going, because at some point, Kyrou will be ready to play and if one or the other of those two isn't putting up numbers, they're going to be taking a seat. The time is basically past for the Blues or Fabbri to say he's still coming back from the injury. He's got to do it this year.
The Blues can't offer an extension to Parayko until he enters the final year of his contract, so that's a problem for down the road, namely July 1 of 2021. (Players on one-year contracts can't be re-signed until after Jan. 1.) At that point, the Blues will take steps to re-sign him, assuming his game is still going strong.
He's certainly willing to shoot, and take one-timers, something the Blues often seem hesitant to do. He had five shots on goal in the Dallas game. He's been on the ice for just one opposing non-power-play goal so far, and it was the OT goal vs. Washington. One of the products of playing in Carolina was that you had to really go out of your way to see him play. He's fitting in well so far.
At the start of the season, Jim and I divide up the road trips. He has first dibs, though if there's a trip one of us really wants to make, that's generally not a problem. As for home games, the bosses do a work schedule so that we each get some time off during the season. Jim's on the road this week, so he'll have some days off when the Blues get back into town. I have never been invited to a team dinner or team events, unless it's something public like the Hall of Fame festivities yesterday. And I would not want to go to one. It would just be too weird.
Zone entries have long been an issue for the Blues on the power play, and I think you could draw some pretty strong correlations between how well they do and whether or not they won the faceoff. Once they get in and get set up, things can happen. But a lot of times, it takes them a minute or more to get it in and keep it there. Having four teammates standing at the blue line is one of those things they do when they can't get the puck in. I've never specifically asked about the strategy behind that, though I think the answer would be that it works enough that they're going to use it. A lot of times, it seems to me their zone entries work best in a scramble mode, with one guy building up a head of steam and plowing in.
Pietrangelo had a good shot at the Norris a couple years ago, when he got off to a quick start and put up some good numbers early. He may not have the offensive numbers to garner many votes now. He hasn't gotten a single Norris vote in either of the past two seasons.
I was surprised too. Still, I've made the case here before that there is a benefit to overpaying the above-average guys you already have on the roster because you're dealing with a known commodity rather than spending money on someone you hope will do well and fit in. I think one of the Blues' strengths this season will be that everyone knows everyone's game. That was a problem last season, with so many new faces, that the first few months were a bit chaotic, much to the dismay of Mike Yeo, who paid the price for the team's adaption issues. I think the biggest surprise on the Schenn trade was the years rather than the dollars. Eight years is a long time, but it had to happen to keep the AAV down. Also, as a colleague observed, a long-term deal for Schenn may make him less hesitant to go to the net and risk taking a puck that would cause an injury. that's probably something a player would want to avoid in a contract year.
I don't think trading Pietrangelo at this point would re-stock the farm system and it would greatly decrease the Blues' chances of winning this season. That would be a hit. Winning without him will be a lot harder.
The meter on my computer tells me some people have joined into the chat recently, so here's an invitation to ask questions. Please ask questions!