Blues chat with Tom Timmermann

Blues chat with Tom Timmermann

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

    Tarasenko is still being paid, and his $7.5 million still counts against the cap. But under long term injured reserve, the Blues get to go over the cap by a certain amount while he is out. But when he comes back, they have to be back under the cap, and his $7.5 million is back on the books. According to capfriendly, the Blues have $5.2 million of space now, but if Tarasenko is back in the  regular season, and even if the Devils retain $2 million or so, the Blues still would have to clear a corresponding amount to make Hall fit. So then the Blues have to choose the $3 or $4 million to take off their roster. 
    There is one catch: If Tarasenko doesn't play in the regular season, the salary cap doesn't apply in the postseason, so then fitting Hall is no problem. But at this point in time, the Blues don't know that. 
    I think Sanford has played better of late, but he is so weak on the puck. I get he's still young and growing into his frame, but he's been in the league a few years now and should have developed some strength to win battles consistently.
    Sanford has played better of late, much better. And I think he's doing much better on puck battles. The Blues seem to be going in heavily on him, and he probably has as much at stake in the current state of affairs as anyone. He's one of the guys most likely to come out of the lineup when players are healthy again.
    Mr. Timmermann, are the Blues satisfied with what they are getting from De La Rose? I understand that Fabbri was never going to fit with Berube and was headed out sooner or later, but to me the return on the trade is a bit iffy so far.
    They would like more aggressiveness from him, a bit more offense. He's never going to be a big offensive guy, unless he's been terribly misused in his entire career, but the Blues think he has a bit more to offer. They have been reasonably pleased with what he's done and since he went back to center, his game has picked up. He said the other day that he has hardly ever played wing in the past few years, and feels much more comfortable at center. However, when Steen and Sundqvist come back, unless something else happens, de la Rose will be likely be taking a seat. I don't think his play has been at the level where they would keep him in ahead of anyone else when Steen and Sundqvist come back, unless they didn't like any of their options on fourth line center. 
    Fabbri has done well offensively, but some of the analytics seem to point to him not doing much defensively for the Red Wings. I was surprised the Blues got as much for Fabbri as they did. I figured they would get a draft pick for him. 
  • Mr. Timmermann, the Blues have a good problem with two goalies playing well right now. I hope it continues, but I wonder how long all parties involved will find the situation palatable. I suspect Allen stays this year, but would the Blues and Allen be eager to continue the highly paid back up arrangement next season?
    Allen played in a timeshare arrangement with Brian Elliott, so he's been through that drill before. I think he can handle that. Allen has been a Blue is whole career, so there's obviously some comfort here, and if the team is a threat to win the Stanley Cup, that's also a good reason to stay around rather than going to, say, Ottawa. From the Blues side, much will depend on where they feel Ville Husso is in his development and if he can be a regular backup/competent fill-in if needed. If that's the case, then the Blues can see about a trade of Allen, but the goalie market is fickle, and also a house of cards. One move somewhere can set in motion a whole chain of events. But going into the last year of his contract would be the time to move Allen.
    Blues play their 30th tonight and the NHL schedule has moved past the arbitrary Thanksgiving milestone where contenders are supposed to have separated themselves from the pretenders. Considering the team's great start, who's your Blues MVP to this point Tom?
    This is a tough call, because, as one of the early chatters pointed out, there's no big scoring star on this team. A year ago, Ryan O'Reilly was the obvious answer. This year, it's tougher. On the season as a whole, Pietrangelo has probably played the best on the team. The start of the season would have been a lot rougher without Schenn and Perron playing the way they did and winning them games. I'll go with Pietrangelo,but I would fully accept a case being made for Schenn or Perron.

    Any fear from the Blues organization that Perunovich wont sign his ELC after his Junior year at UMD? Had the pleasure of watching a bulldogs game this seasons and kept my eye on him. Reminds me ALOT of Shattenkirk. He is a very good puck moving defensemen and he was used almost exclusively on 5 on 5 and on the power play. I did not seem him on the penalty kill at all. What's your scouting report on him?
    I don't think there's any fear that he won't sign, unless Perunovich figures he needs another year. 
    Here's a story I did on him in prospects camp over the summer: 
    Said Blues director of player development Tim Taylor:

    “We hope he’s Torey Krug. The size is the first thing, but his skating ability, the way he thinks the game, he competes, we see that he’s a real good puck-moving defenseman.”


  • The recent uprising of kyrou and walker playing really well do you think there is any chance we turn our 4th line into a skill line and keep both of them up?
    Very possible the Blues fourth line does that. Early in the season, when it was Barbashev-Sundqvist-Steen, those were all guys who had played higher in the lineup at various points and while they could grind and bang, they had other skills as well. MacEachern is probably the only prototypical fourth line guy out there right now, and when this team gets back to health, barring other injuries of course, he's a guy that could come out. MacEachern brings a lot to this team, but not as much as a lot of the others.
    How great are the Blues defensive corps really? Seems like they must be one of the best in the league? Or is the defense dominance of the blues more attributed to some of the forwards, ROR, Schwartz, Schenn, Steen (When not injured), etc, etc?
  • The Blues' defensive corps is pretty darn good. For a six-man unit -- or a seven-man unit -- there are few if any better. Pietrangelo, Parayko, Bouwmeester and Faulk are all excellent defensive players, Dunn is still learning and getting better, and Gunnarsson and Bortuzzo don't drag anything down. The Blues have a lot of good two-way forwards, but Mike Van Ryn can use most of them in a shutdown role if that's what's needed.
  • Are the Blues now Australia's team?
  • I don't think anyone else can make that claim. Though I don't know how many people in Australia are watching NHL games.
    Mr. Timmermann, what are your thoughts on the news coming out about coaches in the NHL (Babcock, Crawford)? I think more accusations are likely against those two and other coaches as players come forward. In my uninformed opinion, I believe hockey in general, pro and amateur, has a tough guy mentality and an attitude of what happens in the locker room stays in the locker room. That is why coaches have likely been getting away with physical and psychological abuse for so long. No one said anything.
    This is, as has been noted, hockey's MeToo moment. The floodgates have been opened. Players will feel free to comment on what they have seen. Hockey and football are the sports most likely to have this because of the tough-guy attitude in the sport and the need to be secretive about it. Had Bill Peters been fired in Calgary because the team stunk, he would have gotten a job somewhere else. Now, I don't know that he will.
    why does it take you so long to answer????
    Excellent question.
    1) My answers are way too long.
    2) I've started reading over my answers to catch embarrassing typos and gaffes. 
    I used to be much better at this.
    Tom, I sometimes don't think Chris Kerber isn't the greatest announcer, but thought he made a good point in an interview recently. He noted that Binnington and Allen are making about $9 million between them -- which is actually quite reasonable for a NHL goalie duo. Plus, I believe both are locked in for next year, right? I am not opposed to trading Allen if you have confidence in whoever takes over as the backup and you get a good player in return but not sure I understand the fascination with getting rid of him. The Blues have a good thing going there and it's not hobbling the team financially. Keep riding that wave. Your thoughts, please. Seems to me you're going to find a better backup than Allen right now.
    OK, first off, I'm not exactly sure what that first sentence about Kerber means. A few too many negatives in there.
    Yes, $9 million for two goalies of that caliber is a good price. Chicago is paying $11 million for their's, just to find a quick example. To some extent, many Blues fans, at least in this chat, have been wanting to trade Allen for a long time. They wanted to trade him when he was bad. They want to trade him now that he's good. There apparently isn't a bad time to trade Jake Allen. The goalie position is weird. Only one plays regularly. But if that one guy gets hurt, then all of a sudden, the No. 2 guy is the No. 1 guy. I've said this for the past two years, but if the Blues got rid of Jake Allen, they'd want a replacement who was just like Jake Allen. He has shown he can be a winning NHL goalie. He can play very well. Why not keep him rather than roll the dice on someone else?
  • I would still put #90 as my Blues MVP this year. Even though his point total isn't gaudy, he does so much in every facet of the game that I believe he is their most irreplaceable player, even more than Petro and J-Binn, who both have legit claims to team MVP. O'Reilly is the motor that drives this bus. On a side note, I'm sure the Buffalo Sabres feel the same way about Tage Thompson and Vladimir Sobotka. Ha! Thanks for the trade, Botterill!
    I have a friend from Buffalo who still thinks trading O'Reilly was the right thing for the Sabres because he had quit on the team with his comments after his last season there. O'Reilly is second on the team in points with 26 (six goals, 20 assists), so he's made a definite contribution. But he'd be the first to tell you he hasn't played as well this season.
    Gordo claims Pietrangelo wants to stay here in the Lou. Call me koo-koo but if that’s true he would have signed that 7 or 8 year 8.5 AAV contract Army offered. Don’t you have any double agents in the Blues management? What’s the hold up? Is it dollars? Pietrangelo risks injury by playing now. What is your guess what the impasse is about?
    Dollars. The Blues have to convince themselves too: If we pay Pietrangelo what he wants, how does that affect everything else that happens down the road? If we sign Pietrangelo, can we keep Schwartz? What does that mean for Dunn? There are a lot of moving parts.
    Re: Yeo vs Berubue, what stood out under Yeo at the beginning of the year last year was how often defenders were so out of position and the opposition got incredible high percentage scoring chances. I mean, the Blues got wiped out a number of times early last year. Some of the players mentioned later in the season that Berube simplified things, and there's no question that positionally, they became a great team. Rarely were there moments when the opposition was left alone in front of the net or the slot. I think Yeo was whistling in the dark with is "it's not as bad as it looks" comment. It looked bad not because of the standings but because of the quality of play. The one thing in Yeo's defense is that it is clear in hindsight how compromised JBouw was at the beginning of the year and how good he was as the season progressed. Same for Tarasenko. None of that helped Yeo's cause.
    In camp last season, I thought Bouwmeester would be best off on the third pairing. After a while, even that looked too high. I don't know what led to the Blues using Bouwmeester the way they did early last season, but it was costly. Though the decision not to get rid of him proved wise, since Bouwmeester looked sharp at the end of last season and so far this season.
    Tom, during the Stars game last week Petro yelled at Benn "you're washed up". Petro was right about Benn (and Perry is washed up too). You have to give credit to Army for building with youth and not going out and signing yesterday's stars to perform today. Dallas will have to try and win the Taylor Hall sweepstakes if they want to compete for the cup this year.
    There's a very real shot that Hall ends up in the West, and in the Central. Colorado could take him on without having to free up any salary cap space.
  • There's also a new podcast out there, and you can listen to that after the chat.
    Thanks to the PD sports editor for revisiting tributes to Brian Burwell. I hope they do the same for Joe Strauss - the chatmaster! The tsunami was always appointment viewing. He would have shredded the person who just complained that you take too long to answer.
    A personal Bryan Burwell story: When I was covering SLU basketball, we were at the A-10 tournament in Brooklyn and were walking back to the hotel to write. (The Nets had a game and they kicked us out of the building.) As we walked back, people driving by stopped their cars, rolled down the window, and were shouting hellos at Burwell. I was suitably impressed.
    Andy, I am with you on Mr. Strauss. There are a lot of writers doing great work at the Post-Dispatch, but he was one of a kind! I miss his knowledge and snark.
    For a lifelong baseball guy, Strauss took his columnist duties very seriously and took great pains to learn more about hockey so he could comment on it intelligently.
    Good, but not great. All but one of his games have been on the road, so I haven't had the chance to scrutinize him as much and see him away from the puck. Only two shots on goal in five games, which is something he'll have to improve on. He has been physical: 11 hits in the past three games. At the start, he looked like a guy whose most recent action had been with a junior team. He's getting there, though he might see ice time issues coming up as Steen and Sundqvist return. Not sure if the fourth line is the best place for him, but there may not be any other options.
    The way this team has overcome adversity reminds me so much of how the team operated under Quenneville. It seemed then like they understood their system and roles so well that they could plug in nearly anyone at times and continue to roll. The same thing is going on now. That, I believe, speaks to Berube as a communicator. You can have the most sophisticated system around, but if you cannot get your players to execute it, it doesn't matter. Conversely, you can succeed if you can get your players to execute a simpler system at a high level.
  • The Blues seem a good match of players with coach. You need to play a certain way in the Blues system and right now, everyone seems bought in. And with how the Blues talent is right now, that's how the Blues have to play. They are not going to dazzle anyone with the beauty of their offensive playmaking. That they have scored as many goals as they have in recent games is quite surprising, at least to me.
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