Greetings one and all. Things are happening. People are skating. Meanwhile, coronavirus numbers are soaring in some places. So who knows what it all means. I guess we'll find out.
Had some corn on the cob.
They haven't finalized the protocols yet, but they would immediately test everybody on that team and who had been around them lately, try to figure out how those players got it, and then presumably go on with the playoffs. The problem would be if no one has left the "bubble," if four players have it, potentially a lot more people have it. Anyone testing positive certainly is out for 14 days, whether or not they have symptoms. I don't think you'll see the league setting a hard and fast number on how many positive tests would call the whole thing off.
Every game is basically a chance for him to make a better impression, and this will have the effect of being his second season with the Blues. One thing though that won't change is that his role is still undefined and where he fits in best remains unsettled. Once the Blues can settle on a regular role for him, his potential to flourish will improve.
It's sounding like they would take two months off, with the season restarting in January, though all the timing will be settled once they see when the season actually ends and how the virus is running at the time. They'll need at least one month to handle the draft and free agency and trades and other league business, and then probably take a month after that to regroup and then start training camps. So training camps could be running around Christmas. Starting the season during the holidays probably isn't advantageous, so they'll likely wait till that's past. We'll have a better idea once we see when the season actually starts.
It was looking like Las Vegas and Vancouver were the favorites, then Toronto made a late push and then Elliotte Freidman at TSN reported this morning that there was a hangup with Vancouver's bid and he didn't know if it applied to all the Canadian efforts or just there's. Edmonton remains a solid candidate and Toronto's plan, basically turning over the entire Canadian Exposition grounds to the league, is interesting. We were thinking we would know this week, but if there's a hiccup that needs to be addressed, that could slow it down. But we'll know soon.
Too soon to say, since the NFL hasn't had to do much. The NFL is going to have a lot of players to monitor, so that will be a tough one. The trickiest time for the NHL will be the next four weeks. Players won't be in the "bubble" during training camp, so the chance for getting the virus is better there. So players will have to be very careful. The NBA is committed to Florida, which is not a place to be right now, and baseball will be not be in a bubble, traveling from city to city, which has its own obvious problems. It would seem now that hockey and basketball, with their bubble plans, have the best chance for success. But we have to get there first.
Playing hockey is slightly more discretionary than going to war.
I think hockey players will be hockey players, and with games on the line, I think they'll be just as physical as before. So unless Bortuzzo decides he doesn't want to get physical, he'll be physical. And if it develops that the players aren't being as physical leaguewide, then Bortuzzo probably won't be playing. But once one guy starts slamming into people, I think you'll see other teams slam back.
Southern teams want that, so they can avoid conflicts with football which they think hurts attendance. But I think you'd pay for it on the other end with games going into July and August, which presents other problems. When the Rams were still here, the Blues season of being The Game In Town lasted from end of the NFL season to the start of spring training. Now they have the town to themselves from the end of baseball season to the start, so it would leave us with a very quiet November and December. And in Canada and the Northeast, they don't see any reason to change from the current format.
Maybe next season, but I think you'll see more of the status quo in the postseason. But it's also a long postseason. We could very easily see it at some point by accident.
Who would have thought Steve Ott would turn out to be the coach he was? Players rave about him and he could be a candidate for an NHL head coaching job somewhere soon. Thorburn certainly would have the players' respect. Remains to be seen if he would want the grind of being an NHL coach, which potentially means changing jobs on a regular basis, or something that would allow him to stay in one place and close to his family. He would be a natural for media work. Both funny and insightful.
I don't think we'll see anyone the remainder of this season that we haven't already seen. Mikkola remains intriguing and someone who figures significantly in the team's future, you would think. And Kostin is the main forward prospect at this point. I was talking with someone this week who was noting that when the game restarts, it's effectively next season after the long wait. So if you thought Kostin would be doing some things at the NHL level in the 20-21 season, he could be doing it now. So it's not out of the question for him to work his way into the lineup more. Same with Kyrou, who will get a full camp this time that he didn't get in the fall. As for players we might see in the future, it will be interesting to see how Toropchenko develops.
It won't hurt, but he's not the only coach with that attribute and in these playoffs, who knows what will be valuable. Time management might be a factor, and a lot will be determined by which teams stay healthy and, as always, which goalie gets hot. After the long break, if they play, players who were on a roll in the spring may not be on a roll in the summer. One thing that will benefit the Blues is that the concern that they've played a lot of games won't be applicable because they'll have had four months off. (For whichever teams get to the final, it could be a real factor in 20-21 with likely a shorter offseason.) But having a coach who's led a team to the Stanley Cup is not a bad thing to have.
Before I get back to questions, welcome to the later arrivals and the question bin is running low, so it's a great time to ask questions. And coming up after this chat, at 3:30 p.m., will be the announcements of this year's Hockey Hall of Fame class. No Blues, at least no players who played a lot with the Blues, are favorites this time, but with the Hockey Hall, you never know, this could be the time voters go for Tkachuk or Joseph.
The banner raising ceremony, of course, was a big deal and was fun to see. Zach Sanford's four-goal game was cool, especially considering the complex journey he's gone through. The All-Star Game was fun, probably the skills competition more than the games themselves. The comeback from down 3-0 vs. Chicago on Dec. 14 was pretty amazing.
Thorburn was always good, though a lot of time there wasn't a lot of reason to talk to him. On the other hand, if there was a day with an optional skate and not many guys on the ice, you could count on him being there. Same with Ryan Reaves. Among guys who played, Kevin Shattenkirk was insightful and witty and extremely cooperative. And incredibly well versed. You could talk to him about anything and he had an opinion, usually based in fact. Robert Bortuzzo is very good, and Ryan O'Reilly always finishes interviews by inviting you to stop by whenever you need something. Too bad he's almost always the last guy off the ice. And Ken Hitchcock was a delight, and he didn't mind talking.
As soon as they can. If the season starts around Aug. 1, and you figure two weeks per series, you're looking at mid October to finish. That first round may go a little quicker, so I think you're looking at late September, early October for it to start. If everything goes according to schedule.
Probably none, I would think. No arena conflicts or travel concerns to force them. I think you'll see a very regular, every other day schedule, unless TV gets involved on wanting certain things on certain days. I doubt you'll see two days between games very often. They'll want to get this going and moving as fast as they can. Every day saved is one less day to worry about. But under the circumstances, the union likely won't be a fan of back-to-backs.
No word yet as to how they'll handle the media and whether they'll allow them in the arena. I would assume that all interviews will be done over Zoom, and there won't be any one on ones, so the need to be there will be lessened. Me or Jim spending 2 1/2 months in a hotel by ourselves could be a lot. And it won't be cheap. Baseball is allowing reporters in the stadium, but they're not going to be in a full bubble.
Teams that had key players hurt and now back will be helped. So Columbus will be better, the Blues will be better with Tarasenko back, and Colorado should have everyone healthy. And the Blues and Bruins will benefit from the break to be rested after long seasons last year. Remains to be seen who it hurts. A team that was on a roll just before the break might not be able to recover that momentum. The Blues were playing well at the end of the 2018-19 season. Would the playoffs have gone the same way if they had to wait four months before the playoffs?