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 a live chat starting at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

    As far as I know, there was no litigation that came out of last week's chat, and Jim Thomas insisted on going to Des Moines, so the powers that be have decided to send me out for another chat. So here goes.
    If the Blues play 500 or below hockey at the start of the season, say the first six weeks, do you sense Army will pull the plug on Yeo like he did to Davis Payne a few years ago and bring in a seasoned hand to coach the Blues?
    It would have to be a really ugly slow start for that to happen, with some awfully dumb decisions being made, which I don't see happening. There's the potential for the team not to win every game it's going to play at the start as they find their chemistry. But expectations are high. So the pressure will be there. But I don't see any quick decisions being made. Last year's team started great, then tailed off. Seasons have fluctuations. It happens.
    Sanford make opening night lineup?
    That's what training camp is for, to settle those issues. Yeo spoke highly of Sanford's head for the game the other day. He'll be one of those guys that will probably play in five of the seven preseason games as they scrutinize his play. After missing almost all of last season, he's a guy they may not want to have sitting around as a scratch at the start of the year, but, and this goes for just about everyone involved, they'll have to weigh the risk of putting him through waivers to send him down. With the number of forwards they have, statistically the smart call on anyone is to say no, they won't make it. But we'll see.
    TomTim: Do you see a Stanley cup in the Blues future?
    Well, eventually, they're bound to win one, aren't they? As I once wrote, every team should win once in 30 years, but if your year comes around and Roman Turek is in goal, you may  have to wait for another lap. Right now, winning out of the Central Division is going to be tough. Getting through two rounds of the playoffs there will not be easy, and if you get through, you may have nothing left.
    If both Thomas and Kyrou show they are ready and end up making the team... what do the blues do with players such as Jaskin, Barbeshev, Sundquist, Sanford, etc. Can they start in the AHL or will they be traded?
    I think Jaskin will make the team. He's a low-salaried veteran who is good defensively (though maybe not that good last night). I think they'll value his experience. After that, it's all up in the air, and Yeo said yesterday that what the fourth line looks like will depend on whose playing best. Barbashev is someone they could trade if he's not going to make the team rather than risk losing him for nothing on waivers, especially since they have plenty of centers now and he's not as essential there. On the other hand, lots of players move through waivers at the end of camp, so the chances are good of slipping someone through. Last year they kept Sundqvist around because they feared losing him if they tried to send him down. .I don't think that will be a concern this season and Sunny could be AHL bound if he doesn't have a strong camp.
  • If Allen falters will we see Husso? What are your thoughts on Husso? (We think if Blues tilt ice in Allen's favor (push offensive system) then Jake has a great season)
  • Lots of factors come into play here. Chad Johnson looked good last night, and if he's playing well, they can put the work on him while Allen finds himself. They really want Husso to get a full season in the AHL with him playing a lot of games. If Allen were to be hurt and be out for a long period, then I think they would call up Husso and play him, with the workload depending on how Johnson looked (and how Husso looked at San Antonio). I don't think they would shelter Husso like they did last year. Husso looked great in the preseason last year, and he told me today he felt he was even better than that in the AHL afterward. He'll be getting the full game tonight, so the Blues are giving him a real look. But Husso will start the season in San Antonio.
  • Any word yet on what injury(?) kept Perron off the ice recently? Or just some rest for a vet?
  • It's more than just rest, but it can't be too serious because Perron was a full participant in practice. Sounds more like soreness than an injury. For those who missed it, Yeo said that Perron would not be making the trip to Iowa today "to be safe." He missed the last half of practice on Monday, his group had Tuesday off, and he was out there today, on a line with Schwartz and Schenn in practice. Now they move Fabbri on to that line, or move Blais there and put Fabbri with Steen and Bozak. We have yet to be given the body sector for Perron's injury.
  • It looks like they're preparing Thomas to play with some of the fourth line potentials & Kyrou with top 6 guys.
    Do you think this is 1. Preparing Thomas for where he may be this season, and;
    2. Just giving Kyrou a taste of what could be when injury strikes and gets called up short term?
  • With the centers they have, Thomas isn't going to be centering Tarasenko or Schwartz any time soon, unless someone gets hurt. If they're playing him at center, it will be on the fourth line, so he'd be playing with that cast of characters. So it doesn't make much sense to play him with those guys now. He made a few passes last night that caught some teammates by surprise. He gave a great setup to Sanford that he wasn't expecting. And Kyrou isn't going to be playing with O'Reilly and Maroon in the season either, though there are some scenarios that could see him getting a third line spot. But you can never go wrong by looking at the path of least resistance. Kyrou doesn't have to go through waivers, so they can send him to San Antonio without risk of losing him and let him get game experience and be ready for a callup. Thomas may have an edge on making the team because his option is to go back to juniors. But, as I've said before and will say again, if he makes the team, he'll be playing.
  • Haven't been able to make it to the newly christened Enterprise Center yet, how are people liking the new amenities & seats for the upper deck?
  • People seemed happy at the open house, but  not many were in the upper deck and the new amenities aren't in full swing. I would think they would be popular because the building needed an injection of life.
  • How does it look like ROR & Bozak are fitting in with their new linemates? Any bromances forming a la Schwartz/Schenn?
  • O'Reilly seems to be off to a good start, and how he and Maroon fit with Tarasenko will be one of the closely watched events of the season. O'Reilly is already carrying on his Buffalo tradition of staying on the ice long after many of his teammates in practice, leading drills for anyone who wants to keep on going. He's just about the last guy into the dressing room every day. (Which, from a media point of view, isn't always a good thing. We've got places to go, things to do, blogs to post!) Bozak seems to be a mild-mannered guy who will fit in well. We'll get a better feel for on-ice chemistry once we start seeing him in games.
  • Tom - Not sure if you saw much of the game last night, but my son and I were there in Dallas and we both felt that Robert Thomas is far from ready to be an NHL center and Jordan Kyrou is more than ready to be an NHL winger. I get that Kyrou can go to the AHL and Thomas cannot, but I don't see how the Blues can afford a kid taking multiple lazy penalties a night over another one who can change the team's speed quotient so much. The scoring depth keeping Kyrou gives you over any of the other choices such as Blais, Sanford, et al is stark. None of the 3rd / 4th line possibles who played last night did anything, and Kyrou was dominant in the 2nd and 3rd on O'Reilly's line against either of the Stars' top 2 regular season D pairs. What odds do you give on the Blues sending Thomas back to junior and keeping Kyrou up, and if they actually do that, giving him top 6 minutes? The scoring depth gained by putting Tarasenko back with Schwartz and Schenn and Fabbri with Steen and Bozak (yes, putting Perron on the 4th line with Barbashev and someone else) would be unreal...thoughts?
  • Last year in the preseason, Thomas got clobbered on faceoffs. I forget the number, but he was around 25 percent. He was awful. He was overmatched. Last night, he won 5 out of 9. So people improve, and I think the team can teach him lessons about what not to do with his stick. Kyrou definitely shined last night. He was given a good opportunity and he took it, and now he'll need to keep doing that, and likely on a line with Bozak as the center rather than O'Reilly. He's got speed, and the NHL is all about speed nowadays. I think if Thomas has any kind of camp he'll make the team, and he'll get that nine-game look to see how he does in the real stuff before they have to decide on sending him to juniors or not. Again, the path of least resistance is starting Kyrou in the minors to get lots of games and lots of minutes, but if he continues to impress like he did last night, he may take that option off the table. If he does play and gets in the top three lines, it would move someone of significance to the fourth line, which would be interesting.
  • My litigation involving last week's chat is pending. Do you know of any talks the Blues had with Stastny to return before we beefed up down the middle?
  • I do not know of any, but the $6.5 million Stastny got from Vegas is way more than the Blues would have been willing to pay. I'm sure they called and said hi, but at that price, it wasn't going to happen
  • TT....didn't see much written about the game last night. Was wondering how Sanford looked?
  • I wasn't there, but he had some scoring chances that he didn't finish. But as I said before, he'll get plenty of chances and, as Yeo said today, it's one game for the files. He'll have more chances.
  • Trotz going to Islanders made a lot more sense when Tavares was still in the picture. Think he & Lou Lamoriello are regretting their decisions yet?
  • I think they had to know what the situation was when they got into it. The Islanders felt their best chance of getting Tavares to stay was with Lamoriello in charge, but they, more than anyone in the league, must have had a good idea of what the odds were. NHL executives aren't surprised very often. And Trotz has got a Stanley Cup and a nice paycheck, so he'll be fine.
  • Very surprised the Blues did not draft Alexander Alexeyev in this years draft. We never hear of a defenseman as one of our top prospects. Scott Perunovich looks like a PP specialist and maybe 5-6 D man if he makes the team. Who are the good defensemen in next years FA pool that the Blues can fill the holes of Gunnar and Bowmeister?
  • The big free agent signing for the Blues on D next season will be a big, long-term contract for Joel Edmundson. Assuming Vince Dunn makes progress, then you're looking at the last pairing to fill, and they won't have to throw out a lot of money there, especially if Schmaltz is still with the team. And there's always the chance that Bouwmeester comes back for a smaller contract.
  • It seems like I'm one of the few people around town that still believes J-Bo is a reliable middle pairing D, maybe top pair (when healthy) on a basement dwelling team.
    I keep hearing his salary is coming off the books & we'll let him go or trade as a rental, but is there a chance he takes a familiarity discount to stick around for another year or two & transition to a bottom 6 D?
  • At the start of camp, I was thinking this might be the year that we see Bouwmeester on the third pairing, in part to keep his minutes down. But he's been fine in camp so far and looked to be on the second pair the other day. (Things have been mixed up the past few days with games, which the Blues are keeping Bouwmeester out of to keep him fresh and look at other guys.) Bo's been around long enough to know that his next contract won't be like his current contract. He's made about $40 million over his career so far. He'd like to stay in St. Louis, and I think any offer from the Blues, in the $2 or $3 million range, would probably be consistent with what he's being offered by other teams. But all of that is dependent on how this season goes. He's going to be 35 next season. His body broke down, really for the first time in his career, last season. If he misses more games to injury this season, his value will go down. And the other factor is how the young Blues D develops. If Schmaltz and Walman and Reinke all look ready to go, then they'll win out.
  • Hi Tom. Can you give us a list of bottom six players who would need to clear waivers, and those who would not? It is just players on entry level contracts that don't have to clear waivers?
  • Waivers are a factor of how long it's been since you turned pro and how many games you've played. It's a sliding scale outlined in the CBA. (And it's different for goalies.) Kyrou, Sanford, Foley, Stevens and Blais are waiver exempt this season. Jaskin, Soshnikov, Barbashev, Sundqvist and Nolan would have to clear waivers. 
    On defense, Dunn is still waiver exempt, but Schmaltz is not, and that's something to keep an eye on. A former first round pick, Schmaltz might be an attractive waiver claim by someone if the Blues send him down. 
  • Think Carpenter's magic salsa is powerful enough to bump #91 up to 50 goals this season?
  • 50 still is an elusive number in the NHL. Not many get there. It would take more than salsa.
  • Is Bokk going back to Europe to play? If so, does that delay his ELC until he decides to play in the AHL?
  • Bokk has gone back to Europe, and his entry level contract will, as they say, slide. This won't count as one of his years, and his contract will not count against the team's 50-contract limit
  • I need to know who Tom Timmermann is. Please fill out this psychological test:

    I get upset when (Blues don't score more than 1 goal) (Blues lose in O.T.) (My wife burns popcorn) (Drivers run out of blinker fluid)

    You rarely laugh when (someone farts) (you get your paycheck) (Rutherford cracks a joke) (Watching the news)

    Blues win the cup and you (Party like it is 1999) (Hide in the trunk of the lead convertible) (Open up sports bar) (Author book. Title: My Cup Runneth Over)
  • I get upset when: it's a one-goal game with five minutes to play, regardless of who's winning.
    I always laugh
    Blues win the Cup and: I have no time off the entire summer
  • At the practice the other day, Fabbri looked scared to engage. What's the thought process in relying on a guy that's one more knee injury away from becoming Lt. Dan?
  • If Robby Fabbri is healthy and plays as well as he's shown he can, he's a quality addition to the team. Yeo said today "you can tell he's not clean, you can tell his confidence is not quite there, his timing's not quite there, which is 100 percent understandable giving the time he's missed. The tenacity is there, the speed, the puck pursuit is there. I think everything else will come along." He says it's been so long that he doesn't think about the knee, though if he can put that totally out of his mind, he's a better man than I. He's on a one-year contract, making less than $1 million, and he's likely to be playing on the second or third line. Seems like a chance worth taking.
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