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.




    I've become a realist about the Blues with more than 50 years of experience. Many of the local media think it's some controllable issue like effort. The team is "fragile." The bottom line is the Blues do not have enough talent to win. "Lose to choose Hughes (Jack)" is probably best for 2019-20 and beyond. Thoughts?
    I don't know that any team is inherently doomed. The Blues have had some good teams and had bad things happen. There are 31 teams in the league, so if there was a totally random distribution, in 50 years, odds are you won't more than one or two. The Blues have had some chances, for instance the President's Cup year, and they didn't do it.
     
    Getting Hughes won't be easy. Chicago and Los Angeles are very bad, and will have the best odds of drafting first. Right now, a website that tracks these things has the Blues at 7.5 percent to draft first, but even if the Blues had the worst record, they'd be only 18.5 percent to draft first. Now, the worst case scenario is the Blues don't make the playoffs but finish something like 11th overall. I don't think tanking is an option. 
    Just another observation - this time regarding Parayko. Glad to see him playing better of late. His detractors have been quite loud this season. IMO he joins a long list of defensemen who have nice rookie years and then seem to take a step or two back - Aaron Ekblad of Florida and John Klingberg of Dallas come immediately to mind. They have come back to look like the stars they were in their rookie years. Defense is just a hard position to learn. It takes a few years to figure it all out even if you seem to take right to it. Finding a guy with Parayko's size, speed, shot etc is not easy. He has the raw physical ability of any Dman in the league. Blues just need patience to get it all out of him. I hope fans and the Blues' FO realize this.
    Parayko had four goals in the first 10 games of his rookie season, which set an unsustainable target for him. People thought he was going to keep on going. It may have been the worst thing that could have happened to him expectations wise. Throw out those four goals and four to six goals a season is what would seem normal for him, but after that start, people thought he was going to be scoring in double figures.
     
    Still, he has a very strong shot and should take it more because it can make things happen. Berube has said they've told him they want him to shoot at least five times a game, and he has done that more often, but there are still times, like against Arizona when he shot once, that he's not doing it. He does seem to need a shoot, and shoot again, philosophy. This has been a big test for Parayko now with Pietrangelo out, where he's been called on to play first pairing minutes and match up with top opponents. He's done well, though with the money the team is paying him, he needs to provide a lot.
    This team is playing very soft. How can the players not realize that when they make some hits, they have played their best games this year? The effort or lack thereof is inexcusable.
    Every now and then, they start thinking they're artists and go for the beautiful play. The fact that Sammy Blais leads the team in hits, and he's spent half the season in San Antonio, is telling.
    Was there any conversation between Blues brass over the last off-season of keeping Hutton over Allen?
  • Hutton felt he had earned the chance to be a No. 1 goalie and wanted that chance. The Blues, no doubt, had internal discussions that decided that Jake Allen was their no. 1 goalie. Teams like Buffalo came along and offered Hutton No. 1 goalie money, and the Blues weren't going to commit that much money to the position. And the situation was complicated by, if they signed Hutton, they would have to move Allen, which wasn't going to be easy in last offseason's goalie market.
  • A lot of fans are blaming Army for assembling this team. I have not scoured the rosters of every NHL and AHL team, but it sure seems like this team has a ton of talent and much of it being proven talent. I did not hear many people complaining when the trades were made or when the signings occurred during the off-season. Seems like all observers agreed that Army made good moves this offseason. At what point does the GM take the fall for the performance of the team? It seems to me to be unfair and shortsighted if Army takes the fall in this case. What do you think?
    I made this point in the last chat I did, that people sure seemed happy with Armstrong's offseason moves in the offseason when he made them. The crowd at the Icebreaker event at Ballpark Village was a sign of that. When does a GM take the fall for the team's performance? The coach already has. Armstrong's leash is no doubt much shorter than it was before. As he said when he signed his contract extension, it doesn't mean you'll be here until the end of the contract, it just means you'll get paid. Armstrong will hire a new coach and, if next season isn't better, his future will be in serious doubt.
    There was a penalty in OT for oversized stick picked up by player who didn't have special permission to use it. Is there an advantage to having a larger stick?
    Well, there must be or there wouldn't be a rule against it. I don't know that it would have helped Tarasenko's shot -- he likely would have gripped down on the stick -- but it certainly would have extended his reach. Taller players are allowed longer sticks because it would be a disadvantage for them to play with a shorter one, and probably bad for their back too.
    Panger continues to rave about Steen in the broadcasts and I know he supposedly showed a lot of heart playing last year when he could barely put a skate on but how would you rate his play (particularly against this year's salary) although going down next year? Thanks
  • Steen played well before he got hurt. He was probably one of the better players on the team over the first month. Since he came back from at least one concussion, he hasn't been as good, which isn't surprising after being out for most of three weeks. If he can get back to that level he played at the start, that will be one of the things the Blues need. Is his salary worthy of being the third-best among the team's forwards? No, but there are situations that go into these things, like when a contract is signed or what a team's other options are. The tough part is that Steen's style of play says it's increasingly likely he's going to get hurt again, which will mean he's playing fewer games.
  • Is there enough goalie talent to keep expanding in the NHL? In baseball if there was expansion of 2 more teams the pitching quality is a factor.
    I've always been amazed that, in a sport like football and a country like America, that there aren't 32 excellent kickers, or 32 excellent quarterbacks. That doesn't seem like asking much, does it? But it seems the cutoff is somewhere in the mid-20s. Hockey players will tell you there are plenty of quality goalies in the AHL who just never got the chance to play in the NHL. Allen and Hutton both told me that last season. Maybe it's the motto of the goalie's union, though right now, it sure seems like there aren't 31 top-flight goalies.
    Note: The league reversed it's Over-sized Stick penalty after the game. This is totally whiny, but a blown call of that magnitude, that's not a normal "judgement call" of a player-against-player infraction is inexcusable. It's like the ref has just been waiting to make the call cuz he read it in the rule book...only he didn't actually understand the rule Thanks for the chat!
    Yes, as we figured out after the game, the rulebook says that the other team would have to challenge the length of the stick and the officials couldn't just make the call. And the league has said that situation is not what the rule is directed at, but rather a willful attempt to use a longer stick. So it would be illegal for the Blues to go to the stick rack and take Parayko's longer sticks. In any case, for the referee to make that call while play was going on was pretty surprising. There's a lot to keep track of on the ice and you almost have to have planted that seed in your mind that you're looking for that.
    For home games, particularly Sunday afternoon tilts, make the Blues wear their road whites so they think they are on the road. Or keep them in a hotel the night before to bring out their "road warrior" mindset. All I want is a good effort.
    by Barry - the ONLY Blues Fan in Orlando 12/19/2018 8:44:32 PM
    It's not so much the Blues being at home on Sundays as that they have done so well on Fridays, and this is the game that follows with the inevitable letdown for them. Never has one team been so put off by success as this Blues squad. But good news: No Sunday games until February.
    The Blues knew they were going to scratch Sanford on Sunday, so it was a way to get him in a game. Then they called him -- and scratched him -- because they wanted to have a spare forward for the western Canada trip, since getting a guy to Edmonton or Calgary on short notice from San Antonio can be difficult. With Kyrou, they probably figured they weren't going to play him either and they didn't need two guys sitting around. And the wingers most likely to be sat are Maroon -- and Kyrou isn't a candidate to play down low -- or Thomas, and sitting him would seem to defeat the purpose of calling a young guy up. And with the fourth line playing as well as it has, you can't move someone there. Also, Kyrou may be tearing it up in the AHL but he has yet to tear it up in the NHL, where he has one goal in 11 games and has five shots on goal in his past seven games.
    While it might be good news there are no Sunday games until February, the bad news is there are no more Friday games until March.
  • Yes, and the three February Sunday games are all the back half of back-to-backs. Those have proved tricky for the Blues this season.
    Tom, don’t let last night’s performance lull you into a false sense of security. This is not a good team. They lack consistency, leadership and heart. This core group of players have been given enough chances to show what they can really accomplish. At this point I don’t understand why Kyrou is playing in San Antonio and not with the big club. Play the kids, get them some experience. This is a lost season. The fans have reluctantly accepted it. Who do you see the Blues possibly moving before the trade deadline?
    I see them moving whoever they get the best deal for. If they're going to make a trade for the sake of making a trade, then the return is what matters. If they're really dissatisfied with someone, that's a different matter. Obviously, you'll get the most for a guy who has the most left on his contract, someone who's not a rental. With the talent the Blues have, they don't need draft picks, except as currency to acquire other players. Even with how this season has gone, the Blues still have to feel their window is now, not three years from now. If they're not getting Hughes, and there are no guarantees of that, no matter where they finish, draft picks aren't making next season's team's better, and they've got young guys waiting to move in anyway.
     
    I'm pretty sure I haven't been lulled into a false sense of security. As for playing the kids, I've always wondered: If the Blues could somehow call up the entire San Antonio roster right now, how many people would go to games? Not a whole lot, I would think. Yes, they would get experience, but the team would take a pounding. Even if you called up five or six San Antonio guys, played Kyrou, Sanford, Thomas and Kostin, plus a young defefnseman or two, how would that go over when they got pounded every night? Would they be benefiting from that experience?  
    Kyrou hasnt torn it up in the NHL? Great take, he plays 4th line minutes in the nhl and hasnt gotten an extended look. He didnt tear it up when he got to the AHL either. But he played with talent and got top minutes. Interetsing to just look at box scores and say someone isnt tearing it up. Look harder
  • If the coaching staff felt he was doing well in the NHL, they would be playing him more than they've played him. The coaches clearly aren't sold on him as much as you are right now and feel he would gain more by playing and developing his game in the AHL. He's 20 years old. This is his first year pro. It's quite possible he needs some time to develop some level of consistency in his game.
  • Have you talked to Yeo since he was fired? What is he up to?
  • Jim has reached out to him and Yeo has said he's not ready to talk yet. Beyond that, I don't know what he's up to.
  • Hi Tim, do you think Army was trying to send a message with Bergie being traded? Seems to me Blues players think they are safe no matter what. If Bergie didn’t meet that deadline I would be mad if I was Army and said “hold my beer watch this.....you’re off to buffalo”
    I don't know that he was sending a message as much as he was clearing a contract off the roster to make room for players who would make the team better. There was no way for the Blues to take steps they took in the offseason without getting the contracts of players like Berglund and Sobotka off the books. Buffalo graciously accepted them.
    "Even if you called up five or six San Antonio guys, played Kyrou, Sanford, Thomas and Kostin, plus a young defefnseman or two, how would that go over when they got pounded every night? Would they be benefiting from that experience? "

    To answer your question, I think there are two schools of thought and you hear both of them brandied about. First being, you don't want these young kids getting used to losing and have it seep into the game and impact their outlook. Second, is that these kids would benefit from learning what the speed and other differences between the AHL and NHL entail, and what they need to do to improve. Additionally, they have the opportunity to learn and grow from actual NHL players and apply what they've learned immediately. I've heard that second type of experience described as invaluable.
    I think the second type, playing and learning from NHL veterans, is a definite plus. The question, I guess, is what's the cutoff? I think having more than three guys, say Kyrou, Sanford and Thomas, with the Blues would dilute the experience, since that's when the losing factor plays in. The best situation may well be to call them up in small doses, see what the NHL is like, get sent back down and take that knowledge and work on it in the A, then get called up back and put it to use again.
    The truth about Kyrou is clear, hes a top 6 style player and he wont play here for awhile because this team always plays veterans. You know since all of our veterans are tearing it up this year and they are the best players for the spots.
  • Robert Thomas is playing and he can't but a drink. Vince Dunn played last year at 21 after one year in the minors. Fabbri played a full season at 20 (19 when it started). Parayko played after one season in the minors. Should Kyrou play this season? At the rate things are going, he'll probably get a chance. He's not getting it yet. But he's also not turning the team around with his arrival.
    Regardless of who you put in, this debate about playing young guys made me realize - Maroon has definitely made a case to be scratched with his play. the PP saved him early on but not that part of his game is failing him as well.
    His goal last night was his first point in 10 games. His spot in the lineup certainly seems tenuous. He's also been called for a penalty in three straight games and four out of five.
    I've heard all the rhetoric from the players, but i'm curious what you, JT and other media personally think could be the reason this team comes out SO flat after big wins. It is mind boggling
    I've started and stopped writing this answer several times, because the answer is so hard to put a finger on. To some extent, I think with each win they think they've solved the problem, and then think, hey, we've got more talent than that team, and don't approach the game with the energy they should. They may well have bought into the rhetoric about this team and, as someone who wrote a story before the season saying they were going to be good, I apologize for my role in all this.
    Is it harder to find stories when a team is so bad or when a team is so good? Seems like monotony would creep in quickly regardless.
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