They're saving their flexibility for later in the season, when they can make a direct connection to the playoff race. The logistics of deciding to do a game in Edmonton on short notice, sending the whole production crew there, changing broadcast windows, would be tricky. Also, they have limits on how many games with each team than can show, I think 25 over a two-year period. So if they change a game, it has a snowball effect.
Players can be sent down, as long as they consent, for rehab stints if they've gone a long time without playing. The Blues did that a few years ago with Nate "King of the Healthy Scratch" Prosser. Bortuzzo is used to being a healthy scratch, so this isn't a problem for him. Fabbri's days in the press box watching would have to go a bit longer before he would entertain that thought. I think he'll get in a game soon, most likely after the Blues stop winning.
It's always a challenge when the puck starts flying and you want to win. And with O'Reilly, who plays on both special teams, if there are penalties to be killed or power plays to be whatever-ed, Berube is going to want him out there. The simplest way around this would be for the Blues to try winning a game by a couple goals for a change so Berube can keep rolling four lines.
He is NHL material and team is high on him. He's also 20 years old, is still adjusting to living in America, and the team wants him to be ready to go when he gets called up. If the Blues were in a situation today where they needed to call someone up from San Antonio to play tonight, Kostin would likely be the guy. If they needed to call someone up to be on standby and probably watch, they'd likely go with Walker or Nolan. This is Kostin's third year in North America, but in many ways he's still a kid.
Pietrangelo said in training camp that he wasn't going to talk about his contract situation, and he's held to that. Armstrong describes these discussions as finding a spot where both comfortably uncomfortable. So far, that hasn't happened. All things being equal, Pietrangelo and his family would love to stay in St. Louis, but also, if it's what was best for them, they could handle five or six or eight years living somewhere else. There will be houses available if he wants to come back.
San Jose is going to solve its goalie situation by acquiring Jake Allen? A trade of the goalie who ranks 51st in goals-against for the goalie who ranks 53rd? Seems like a lot of effort to go through. At this point in time, Allen has more value to the Blues as a backup who's been around, knows what he's doing, gets along with everyone and has shown he can be a No. 1 if needed than he does to any other team.
Considering how close they came to the Stanley Cup Final last season, they have come a long way. Not enough depth there and the goalie situation has been an ongoing problem.
I think I've seen sort of a 3 on 1/2, where one defender is getting back in the play and makes the other team have to at least think on the fly. But this was the rare time where it was so one-sided that the players were actually able to stop and pass the puck around before a defender got there. It kind of reminded me of the Last Puck drill teams do at the end of warmups, where a bunch of guys stand around the crease and try to score on the goalie. Just think if Markstrom had made a save on that play? That would have left a mark.
Sometimes back-to-backs make clear cut decisions on which goalie plays which day, like the Boston-Detroit back-to-backs. This one was going to be tough. But one thing about Jake Allen is that he's capable of some excellent play. He did that last season in Winnipeg. That one had the potential to be messy -- it might have been the first meeting since the Laine five-goal game -- and the Blues won 1-0.
Sources have been tight-lipped on that matter.
He and the Blues can't sign an extension until after Jan. 1, but I would expect that the real talks wouldn't happen until later in the season, when Bouwmeester decides if he wants to play another season. If the season progresses as it is now, I would think the Blues would give him another one-year contract. But the first decision will come from Bouwmeester on what he wants to do. Right now, he's on their shutdown pairing. He keeps himself in better shape than anyone on the team. The Blues wouldn't walk away from that, I don't think.
Well, it doesn't make ME nervous (other than the fact it makes writing every game story into a deadline ordeal), but if I were the Blues, or their fan base, I'd be concerned. I've said this for years, but I'm seldom impressed by a team's record in one-goal games or overtimes, Those games can go either way on the bounce of a puck, and no game is more random than hockey. Show me how a team does in games decided by two or three goals, because the really good teams at that are the really good teams. (Same with basketball; tell me a team's record in games decided by 10 or more points.) Other than the Columbus game, which was decided eight seconds in and before the Blue Jackets touched the puck, any of the recent overtime games could have gone the other way very easily. It doesn't take much for wins to become losses. So yes, while these points are good for the Blues to have, their method of acquiring them is not the optimal way.
Because to some extent the playoffs are at stake in October. One point separated the top three teams in the Central last season. Ten fewer points and the Blues don't make the playoffs. Friend of the chat Micah Blake McCurdy at hockeyviz.com projects the Blues finishing at 94.7 points (call it 95) and the cutoff for making the playoffs is at 93.3 (call it 93). So the Blues aren't looking at a lot of wiggle room. The West is going to be tight.
I'm not sure of the exact number, but it's probably around eight or so that are in the room, watching and counting and recording information. It's a pretty impressive undertaking.
That's what the next few months will determine. I would guess either Blais or Thomas winds up there when it's all done, and some of it will be determined by how well the other lines balance out. Thomas has been a good match with Bozak and Blais has done well with O'Reilly and Perron. I think when Kyrou gets here, he'll start on the Bozak line, which will open other things up.
I think they're catching some breaks and getting timely goaltending. Mirrors may have been a major offseason acquisition. They're outperforming their level of play. I'd still say the Blues have played only two games so far where they'd say, that was the kind of 60-minute game we want to play. Few things help a team as much as a well-timed save.
The way this team is currently playing, 2-1 and 3-2 games seem like the order of business. On the few occasions the Blues have had a chance to turn a two-goal lead into a three-goal lead and effectively put a game away, they haven't done it. They need to do it. One-goal games are inevitable, but a steady diet of them is a recipe for trouble. The Blues need to score more, and to do that, they'll need to shoot more. Thirty goals by Tarasenko lost is a lot, but that still means that in about 60 percent of games, he wasn't scoring, and the Blues didn't win those games 2-1. There are still goalscorers on this team. Jaden Schwartz has two goals. Colton Parayko has none. They need to get on the board more. I've seen it happen. Teams can win by more than one goal.
Right now, he does seem like the most indispensable player on the team.