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

    Hey there. Jim's in Vancouver at the moment, which isn't too bad a deal, so you're stuck with me on the chat. The Blues aren't on the ice there until I think 2 p.m. St. Louis time, so if there's any news happening out of there, we won't know for a while. Anyway, we're a little early, but we might as well get going. Consider this bonus time. And if you ask now, there's a better chance I'll answer your question
    So far, this is shaping up as the easiest chat I've ever done.
    To fill time, I'll note that Vince Dunn got fined $1,942 for his crosscheck yesterday, while the guy who crosschecked him is getting a hearing with the player safety committee, which will no doubt cost him more money
    Who do you realistically see being named as the Blues head coach?
    If it was someone who was available right now, I would think that person would have been hired, unless that person recently lost a job and wanted some time off or that person was weighing to see what other jobs might come open and if there was a better one out there. Though Armstrong said they would consider everyone for the job, I would think with a team like this, you would go for someone with NHL experience. Beyond that, I don't really know.
    Are there any trades brewing?And,what the deal with Bergie?
    At this point, certainly everyone would seem to be fair game, though in this situation, Armstrong has to get a good return on any trade. This isn't like dealing an impending free agent at the deadline where you get a prospect and a draft pick. If you're going to trade a significant player, you have to get a significant player back, which makes the deal tougher to make. Unless the team goes on some remarkable run here, which seems unlikely, a trade seems inevitable. But getting the other team to give up good talent so far hasn't happened and with the team's still erratic play, I sense that Armstrong wants to make a trade to shake something up. But that hasn't happened, which must mean that all the offers haven't been sufficient.
    I'll answer the Berglund question separately, so I can get another question out of the in box
    Having covered Berglund, does this seem in character to you? Giving up that much money seems pretty crazy. Do you think he wants to go back to Sweden to play?
    Considering this doesn't happen very often, where a player and team mutually agree to end a contract the size of Berglulnd's, I'd say it's out of character for most anyone in the NHL. I don't know that he wants to go back to Sweden, but it sure seems like he doesn't want to be in Buffalo. And it's not like he grew up in Spain and moved to Buffalo. A Swedish winter should get you ready for Buffalo. And he's playing for a team that's doing pretty well. Maybe he misses St. Louis. Maybe he wishes Buffalo had more Swedes on the roster. The whole thing seems a bit odd. And yes, he's giving up $12 million, but he's earned $21 million in his NHL career, so that should soften the blow.
  • What do you think would be the most important, realistic move the Blues could make before next season to improve the team other than by hiring Coach Q?
    Well, if you could send Fabbri and Schwartz on a pre-emptive trip to Lourdes to keep them healthy, that would be a plus. If Jake Allen hits his annual December/January swoon, which usually happens right about now, then the team definitely will have to look for a new goalie. Three seasons of that would be too much. But acquiring goalies can be guesswork. Teams aren't giving up established winners, so you're looking at guys who are free agents coming off hot years and hoping they keep it going, or backups who are blocked. I think the right coaching hire, even if it's not Quenneville, would make the team improve and, as the team's play since Yeo was fired has shown, the problem seems not to be with the coach. They'll need an effective stay-at-home defenseman and a forward who can play well down low, unless, of course, Maroon finds his game and shows he's that guy. So much will depend on how this team closes out the season.
    Dunn on the 3rd D pair, but top PP time, is that also a fair representation of how he is playing, good offensively but still suspect defensively? I think the Blues were hoping he could handle the defensive end on the second pair in his second season.
    Dunn hasn't scored a goal since Oct. 22 and has 10 assists, so his offensive game could use some help. It's clear they still don't trust him defensively. There's been ample chances to use him on the top pairing and more often than not they've used someone else, though there's also the case to be made that for the Blues, having two offensive-minded defenseman on one pairing is asking for trouble, considering the number of odd-man rushes this team gives up. From a quick glance at the numbers, I'd say he's last -- or low -- among Blues defensemen in hits. While that stat can be very erratic and vary from building to building, he hasn't been credited with one in seven games.
    Las Vegas has played 4 more games than the Blues and they are 10 points ahead. LV is a wild card leader. Edmonton is 9 points ahead and has played 3 more games.

    If the Blues could win those 4 games they would only be 2 behind LV. I am trying to be optimistic here. Losing a few games late on the 3rd period hurt as well as a bad backup goalie.

    Well, if the could go on a hot streak and pick up 34 points in 20 games? They are not that far behind on the lost side.
    At this point, I wouldn't be too confident of the Blues winning those four games but yes, if they could, they'd be back in it. A hot streak would help, but with the Blues erratic play, a hot streak seems as likely as finding a yeti in your backyard. When the Blues were in Las Vegas right before Yeo was fired, he told me how the "optics" made the team look worse, that because they played fewer games, they were further behind in points than they might have been had they played three more games. And maybe that's the case. But until the Blues start winning multiple games in a row, making up those points will be tough. The reality is, the Blues have to win about two out of three games the rest of the season to get to the points level they'll need to make the playoffs. Two years ago, at the All-Star break, I think, Hitchcock told a few of us that the team needed to win two out of three road games the rest of the way to make the playoffs. We laughed (quietly, and after he left the room) because at that point, the team was terrible on the road, winning one out of three. They needed a total turnaround. Guess what? They did it. So anything, I suppose is possible.
    Did the Blues find the right Jordan with J Nolan on the 4th line. That line seems to have more of a purpose than earlier in the season. Its appears they are landing more hits, generating more turnovers, and more scoring chances while still playing limited minutes.
    The Blues have, in recent years, seemed to have found effective fourth lines. Who knew Oskar Sundqvist could score like this? Barbashev has long been thought to have an offensive upside and he's been showing it. Nolan doesn't play much, but even with limited shifts, he's doing more than Soshnikov or any of the other guys who have been used down there has shown.
    Mr. Timmermann,

    Am I understanding correctly that since Berglund did not submit his no trade list of teams in a timely enough fashion, the Blues were able to send him to Buffalo without his consent?
  • That is my understanding, though I have not been told that directly. Let that be a reminder to all of us to make sure to meet deadlines.
  • Are the Jekyll/Hyde Blues primarily going to ride the Allen wagon the rest of this year?
    By rest of this year, do you mean 2018? If so, yes. Berube said the other day that, with not many back-to-backs on the horizon, they would be riding Allen just about every game. I don't see Binnington starting before the back-to-backs early January, unless Allen has some horrendous outings. So far, Allen has played well enough to earn that, but this is the critical time for him. Late December, early January is his danger zone. I asked him about this the other day. He said he was feeling good.
    Did you ever see the puck cross the line on 2d goal last night? I certainly didn't. Happy, but shocked with the call.
    After the game, a replay emerged that showed the puck was way over the line. It was from a low angle on the side. The league needs to get better on getting views like that out in a timely manner. It was definitely a goal.
    Tom, I saw Mr. Stillman Sunday right after the game....he had the look of someone who was going to fire a person at the drop of a hat. His silence is troubling...has he made any statements eithe rin support or in disappointment of the team?
    He has not publicly spoken on the subject in any direction. Our columnist Benjamin Hochman asked, and he declined. And who can blame him for being unhappy? The team's play is not helping the bottom line at all.
    So what happens if you do not hit your Post Dispatch deadline? Traded to a different newspaper?
    I incur the wrath of the copy desk and my bosses and probably spend more time in the office.However, I have a no-trade clause.
    ok, both vancouver and calgary have benefited recently from playing the zombie blues. do you think we can catch them by surprise by playing ok? or do you think the season pattern holds and the blues take an off-night against one of these teams?
    I would think an off night seems inevitable, but even a good night might not help in Calgary. The Flames are pretty hot right now. That game on Sunday was going to be a hard one for the Blues to win even if they played well; playing as poorly as they did turned it into a wipeout.
    Why does everyone keep saying to “make a big trade” to shake things up? Values are low for everyone except O’Reilly, who shouldn’t be going anywhere. Also it would seem most players(except Berglund) , would love to go to a better team, which is almost anywhere? A trade for the sake of making a move would seem more hurried than. Bouwmeester breakout pass.
  • There is something called an "action bias," which makes people do things when standing pat is actually the better strategy. It's why teams make deals at the trade deadline, so it seems like they're doing something even if, in the long term, not doing anything is the better call. Something certainly seems wrong with how the Blues are constituted, because there's plenty of talent there that isn't performing well together. Sometimes you have seasons where everyone just plays poorly at the same time and that could be the problem: 15 off years. But if you want to salvage this season, a move could alter that chemistry and give the team a chance. And with the team having had back-to-back seasons like this, the problem may be that the talent, or how the team chemistry, isn't what it's cracked up to be. In that case, a change could help. For a while, I advocated standing pat, but I'm increasingly thinking something has to be done for the sake of doing something.
  • It is hard for me to admit/believe, but it seems JayBo has been playing better lately and jumping up into the offensive zone more. am I mistaken? If not, why do you think this is the case?
    Yes, it seems Bouwmeester has been playing better of late, and the fan base doesn't have that cringe factor every time the puck gets near him. He know doubt is feeling better physically better than he did at the start of the season, and one of the Blues' mistakes early may have been playing a not 100 percent Bouwmeester at the start.
    I've been watching hockey since I saw the Canadiens sweep the Blues in the 1969 SCF. Although he scored last night, to me it's pretty obvious that Tarasenko's shot is off. I'm sure the team and Tarasenko himself would deny this, but I think his shoulder is nowhere near 100%. The release is slower, the angle of his arm is different (more bent at the elbow) and it just doesn't have that devastating speed to it. He used to shoot the puck and you didn't see the goalie move until the puck was in the back of the net. So for those who think we should get rid of Tarasenko, I think he'll be back to a 40 goal scorer when his shoulder is 100% - perhaps not until next year.
    Experience tells me that players who are coming off injuries with offseason surgeries often need about half the season to get back to where they were before. Witness Bouwmeester. That could well be the same with Tarasenko, though he has maintained all along he feels fine. But any doubts in his mind about his shoulder could explain why he suddenly has shown a desire to become a playmaker. The problem for the Blues is, if Tarasenko isn't scoring 30-plus goals, that's going to put  a definite drag on the offense.
    I just want to point out that the evidence of the Yeti is much stronger than Big Foot. Some credible scientists think there's a pretty decent chance that some Yeti like creature exists in Siberia. I'm not making this stuff up. Seriously. So if there are any chatters here from Siberia, they may want to go ahead and glance at that backyard.
    I'm glad to see more yeti discussion in this chat. Tarasenko, it should be noted, used to play in Siberia when he was in the KHL.
    Too many men on the ice - who gets the blame for that? The repeated blunder only reinforces the perception that this team has no focus...
  • As my colleague Derrick Goold has pointed out, back when he and I covered the team in the Quenneville era, too many men penalties were thought to be a sign of a team not paying attention to the coach and it usually marked the end of the coach's time with a team. But the barrage of penalties under Berube speak to something different. Berube took the blame for last night's, but sometimes it's been guys coming off and then changing their minds, other times guys being slow in getting to the bench, other times they're bad luck with the puck being played directly to a guy leaving the ice. The Blues had one the other day where the guy heading to the bench could see that he couldn't touch the puck or it would be a penalty and he did it anyway. So I think in the Blues' case, it's definitely the players.
  • has seattle come up with a name yet? maybe the seattle sasquatch? or the seattle geoducks?
    They have not. They've got time and I'm sure will make it a big drawn out process. As an aside, I'll mention that when MLS was starting, the Columbus franchise had a name the team contest, and one of the candidates was the Crew. Though if you looked at the team's phone number prior to the nickname contest, it spelled out Crew. So either they were hedging their bets or they were confident of who would win.
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