Hey there! It's not quite 1 p.m., but close enough, so if you have questions about the Blues, now is the time to ask them. Welcome
It does seem to be increasingly problematic. The players seem to look at it as an honor to go there, but it's not clear that the fan base sees it the same way. And, in the case of the Blues, there were only three American players there, MacEachern, Sanford, and Chris Butler. (Faulk, having not been on the team, opted not to go.) But the players I talked to all had a good time.
Kyrou will eventually get a look if the people currently on the team aren't performing, but he's still not on the active roster in San Antonio, so he's multiple weeks away at best from being in game shape, even with the skating he's been doing. Unless a dire situation presents itself, I see them letting Kyrou get up to speed in San Antonio before considering him for a spot in St. Louis. MacEachern's play won't matter, since they won't be looking at Kyrou for the fourth line. It's Fabbri and Sanford who need to be on their games.
I don't know if it's a hangover as much as their coming to the realization that everyone is going to be throwing their A game at them every night, and for 60 minutes. The Blues talked about that coming into the season but I think now they're seeing what it looks like. The White House visit on Tuesday was significant for another reason: It's the last Cup-related event on the schedule. Now, they can focus on hockey and officially put last season behind them. I wouldn't expect much more in the way of bumpier roads, but this team is seeing that it's going to have to be at its best every night.
Thomas said he hadn't thought he would be out this long, and the fact that the Blues brought him on the trip they were just on speaks to them thinking he was close, but he said he had to listen to his body to know when he was ready and he wasn't. Fabbri to me seems to be the likely candidate to come out, though at practice today, it was the same lines as in the Islanders game, with Thomas joining in as an extra. We'll find out tomorrow morning.
I don't know that I've seen pictures of any team with the prime minister of Canada, though maybe if a Canadian team won it they would do that. I've seen stories saying that the Toronto Raptors would meet with Trudeau, but I haven't seen any pictures to say that has happened yet.
Armstrong keeps a close lid on things. He said at the start of the season that after answering a question about Schenn and Pietrangelo that that would be the last time he would talk about it until an announcement about a signing or after they had signed somewhere else. And he was true to that.
The numbers made the case that Jaskin was an excellent defensive forward, but not an excellent offensive forward. Sanford is seen as having more of a two-way upside. But he's going to have to show it soon because there are players in line waiting to challenge him for a spot.
Steen, like many hockey players, seems to prefer to go toothless. I don't know that I've seen him wear a bridge at all, though I believe he wore one for his wedding. He told me last year he needs surgery for dental implants, but wants to wait until his career is over, which struck the team dentist as being an odd choice. And the lack of teeth cause Steen to have to have minor work done every year to keep his mouth in line.
It's been another slow start to the season for Schwartz. It would serve the Blues well if he didn't have the struggles this season that he had at the start of last season. Physically, there isn't anything wrong that we know of. That line has been interesting: Schenn is on fire, Tarasenko started to come around last game (Jim will have a lot on Tarasenko in tomorrow's paper) and Schwartz is in neutral.
Based at least on the questions in this chat, Sanford and Fabbri (and by extension Kyrou and Kostin) are the players of concern.
I don't have any ideas, but then, I don't see Tony to ask him. I thought I saw him at the victory parade. After that, I don't know how much I would expect to see him.
I'll take these two waivers questions at the same time. I think Sanford would get taken because of what he's done the past couple seasons. He's shown he can be an NHL player, and if you're a struggling team, he's probably better than some of the guys you have. Fabbri is a trickier matter. He's young and he's inexpensive, but he's also coming off two knee surgeries and hasn't made the case that he's back. For that reason, I could see teams passing on him. On the other hand, if he does come back, he comes with a lot of upside and could be a real steal. But a team that takes him would have to be committed to using him. And, with Sanford, on a decent number of teams, he would be better than some of the guys they already have. The risk of losing either of them to a waiver claim increases their chances of staying here, or, in the case of the team deciding they need the roster spot, being traded.
Brodziak was a great guy and I'm probably not alone in missing him in the Blues room. He was banged up at times while he was here and missed games from time to time, and I think some of them were because of back troubles, though I'd have to dig through the archives to be sure. He played a game that made that inevitable. He also played a style that made it possible for him to play for a long time with a lot of injuries because he wasn't quite a speedster.
I've got a few questions to go in the hopper (technically the "moderation hub") but I'll put out a call for questions now before it goes empty.
The last trip was the most distraction filled the Blues will have all season. Not just with the Hall of Fame trip and the White House trip, but half the team has some sort of connection to Ontario or Quebec, so there were going to be a lot more family and friends hanging around. It's early, and the team is still working out some kinks and, as said before, dealing with getting other teams' best games. Also, Thomas' injury and Sanford and Fabbri's starts have made the third line a lot less of a factor. If Tarasenko and Schwartz get their games going, a lot of things will look better. But the team has to be better on puck management, better on defense (lots of open guys in the slot), and better on playing closer to the net. They haven't had the zone time they had last season.