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.




  • Since Steen has been hurt a fair number of games, would you know what the Blues record is this season, with and without him? Thanks for the chats
    Quick math says 5-5-2 with Steen out of the lineup, which would mean 15-15-3 with him in the lineup. So I'm going to say there's not much difference.
     
    The Blues lost their first two games when Pietrangelo came back in the lineup and people were saying how he shouldn't be playing because the team was better without him. The team is 5-2-1 since then, and Pietrangelo has been in every game. People haven't been saying that much lately.
    TOm- the way Jaybo is playing now and fact is he is a fa dont you think the Blues must trade him. A desperate team that need a top4 d might five a late 1 or a 2 for him dont you think ? such as Toronto?
    The Blues have seven experienced defensemen and, assuming all are healthy, will be rotating healthy scratches the rest of the season. As the trade deadline approaches, continuing to do that would not be smart, especially with the guys waiting in San Antonio who could step in if someone got hurt after the trade. The most likely trade candidates are, naturally, the impending UFAs, Bouwmeester and Gunnarsson, so one or both is a likely trade candidate. The way Bouwmeester is playing should make him an attractive candidate for a trade, and while he has a no-trade clause, a chance to go back home to Calgary would be something he might be in favor of.
    Still waiting for Scheen to wake up in the new year, or for that matter Schwartz. Has the coach suggested why he continues to play them together beyond citing previous year success? I was expecting another first line center performance from Scheen for contract reasons if nothing else, and a top line performance from Schwartz if not another MVP caliber year, I still don’t get the absence of more success, any thoughts?
  • It seems like Schwartz's game has started to pick up, even if he's not scoring goals and the amount of shot attempts he has since his last goal is simply mind-blowing. (Another member of the Blues' beat corps texted me his prediction that Schwartz was finally going to score last night.) The success of O'Reilly and Perron may have made Schwartz and Schenn a combination to keep together. Sometimes if you take apart a line that works, instead of getting two lines that work, you get none. I think right now Schwartz and Schenn are getting credit for past successes and the feeling that, boy, this can't go on forever. Schwartz may also be in that spiral where he's had some great chances to score, they haven't gone in, and the frustration level is going up. But I do think he's playing better of late.
  • Tarasenko has seemed to rediscover his shot. What will it take to get Schwartz, Schenn to refind their games?
  • See below (or above, depending on when you're reading this). The struggles of Schwartz and Schenn has to be considered one of the main reasons for this team's struggles.
  • Happy Hump Day Tom.

    How the boys' fate has changed lately! When you have a goalie that can dependably stop pucks and control rebounds the boys up front can blossom. Binnie (my nickname for him...they all have to have one) had been doing this all last year and this year....why didn't' Army see this kid had what it takes? And while Jake is flopping like a fish on the deck letting goals zip by him. Even Jeff Gordon said last year Binnie's stellar play didn't indicate his ability to perform on the big stage. I don't think the team and some sportswriters know talent. This is the same team who let Ben Bishop go five years ago. While I'm at it Army is just now bringing up the forwards who are lighting the lamp nightly on the farm. Time to shine Army! The team is bringing it!
  • The nickname is Binner.
     
     
  • Any idea why it seems like Blues goalies only prosper when there is a significant threat at backup? Halak\Elliott, Elliott\Allen, Allen\Hutton, and now Allen\Binnington. Seems like most the successful playoff teams have "the guy" with your typical backup.
    I don't know if I'd label Binnington a significant threat. I'd be really surprised if after this season, the Blues said we're letting go Jake Allen and making Jordan Binnington our No. 1 goalie going forward. (Though as the previous questioner said, sports writers don't know talent.) But competition is always a good thing and Binnington is hot right now, so I think the Blues will stick with him as much as they can, though the way Allen plays on the road, a platoon system could be in order. Binnington at Enterprise, Allen on the road.
    Do you or JT ever get the chance to catch a Rampage game to see the prospects up close?
    We have not. The schedules don't synch very well and, the way Blues keep getting hurt, sooner or later all these guys pass through St. Louis anyway. Though I do remember back when Hitchcock was coach, the Blues were in Columbus and their Chicago farm team was playing in Cleveland, so the whole coaching staff got in a car and drove a couple hours to watch them play. I think I covered the U.S.-Mexico World Cup soccer qualifying match that night.
    Thoughts on the divisions breakdown once Seattle takes the ice? Arizona was a victim or circumstance and I feel like they missed an opportunity to "fix" the East. I know they did it to keep some rivalries, but geographically makes little sense.
    Not to make this all about me, but an extra trip to Arizona is something I'm all in favor of.
    Last week on Net Front Presence JT mentioned that he noticed the Blues don’t play the kids a lot compared to other teams. I’ve noticed that too. Any reason(s)?
    When I covered St. Louis University, from time to time I'd ask Majerus why he made some coaching move, why someone didn't start or why someone had so few minutes. He'd look at me with the disdain he kept for questions like that and say, "Tom, it's because I'm fixing games."
     
    His point, of course, was that he wasn't fixing games but was doing what he thought gave his team the best chance to win on that night (or maybe the next night). The Blues have a strong incentive to win now rather than win later. They need to the revenue of getting to the playoffs. They have a window that they think is open now (well, maybe not right now after the way this season has gone) and will stay open only so long. The Blues are very much a live in the present team, right up until they're not. 
     
    Though I'd also say that the Blues do play kids. Thomas is a teenager. Dunn is young. Fabbri played when he was young, as did Parayko and Edmundson. The Blues see a value in letting a player like Kyrou, who is 20, develop in the AHL and gain confidence while using a more experienced player in the NHL. I haven't done the math, but I suspect the teams that play more young kids -- and we're not talking McDavid-type young kids -- probably don't do as well as teams that play less-young kids. If anyone's got numbers on that, I'd like to see them.  
     
    Also, it's a two-part deal. Armstrong decides who's on the roster, Berube, for now, decides who plays. For a long time, Armstrong thought it was better for Kyrou to be in San Antonio. Now, with limited options, Kyrou is in St. Louis, and Berube is deciding that the team is better with him playing less. So it seems to be something that is not limited to just one person in the organization.
  • A question that is a bit different from standard ones...
    How do you see the sports journalism covering the Blues in the future? It is not that I want you, JR, Godro, and TT to retire, but I wonder are there any promising young reporters around (perhaps students) that can take that job in a number of years?
    If yes - who they are? Have I missed anyone? Where can I find their articles?
    The sports journalism world is changing and I have no idea where it's headed. I don't know that anyone does. When I started, you worked your way up: I started by answering phone calls at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, then worked on the copy desk, then covered high schools, then covered USC football and basketball, then covered the NBA Clippers, and then the paper folded. It doesn't seem to work that way any more. (Well, the paper folding part does.) I don't think the Post-Dispatch has had a prep writer move on to a beat in decades. So I don't know where my replacement, many, many years from now, will come from. You're not missing any youngsters around town covering the Blues, at least not from an up-close perspective. You're more likely to see that on a college beat, where a student newspaper also covers a team. Journalism schools like Missouri are filled with promising writers, though for the life of me, I can't understand why they want to do it.
    Are there stats for odd man rushes? Seems like the blues give up a lot of goals off the rush and don't even get a shot on net when we have them. Like a percentage of for and against
    That's one of those ones at the start of the year that I wish I'd tracked. The league doesn't track them, and I don't know if analytics sites do because it's not something shows up in the play-by-play. The Blues have gotten better at it. At the start of the year, it seemed like most of the goals by the other teams seemed to come on odd-man rushes; now, the number seems to be far less, and in the past few weeks, the number of odd-man rushes for the Blues is going up. As for actually scoring off them, that's the next step. How often do you see the Blues make a pass that lets a guy shoot into an open half of the net? The answer seems to be not many.
    How many GM's are wishing they would have grabbed Robin Lehner; he has been outstanding this year.
    A lot but was there any reason to think he would play like he has?
  • I’ve noticed a part of the fan base has taken delight in making fun of some players physical appearance. Sundqvist’s teeth/mouth, Binnington’s nose. Really!? What’s up with that? Maybe they should look in the mirror.
  • This is something we should never do.
  • On the Rampage: there are so many no-name players (besides several well-known Blues prospects) there. I mean, who are all those players, like Perfetto, LaLeggia, Olsen, Lofquist, etc? How have they formed that team?
  • All AHL teams are like that. (Or, at least I think they are.) You have a mix of young prospects and guys who have been around for a while and are extending their careers and hoping for a chance to do well and get back in the NHL. Some are under contract with the Blues, others are under contract to the Rampage. LaLeggia, for instance, used to be in the Edmonton system and after three seasons in the minors, wasn't re-signed and signed a minor-league deal with the Blues.
  • Not sure I understand a previous comment from Jon. I'm pretty sure all teams in the Eastern Conference are located in Eastern time zone and all teams in the Western Conference are located in Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones. Wondering what there is to "fix" in the East. Seems to me the is NHL is better at geography than the other pro sports.
  • There always seems to be a desire to put Detroit back in the Central, which does seem to have a certain feel to it and was a good rivalry back in the day. But the Red Wings hated it because so many of their games ended up starting later because they were one time zone over.
    Yes - by "technically", I meant the availability of that option in principle. I think if they can do that - why not, at least temporarily? That would send a greater message to both of them (and the rest of the team) than scratching them healthy.
    Why do you think that would not be a good asset management? We need younger players to develop at the NHL level, and if Steen and Bozak (or whoever else) do not meet certain expectations from them - then why not to provide them some possibility to reset in the minors?
  • Well, you run the risk of having another team claim them, and then you've lost them for nothing in return (as opposed to trading them and getting something in return). And it's not as if Steen or Bozak are having bad seasons; Bozak is having a pretty typical Bozak season, and Steen was playing pretty well before he had the concussion. (He has not played as well after that.) I think most teams would be of the mind that you can send a perfectly good message to a veteran player by scratching him rather than sending him to the minors. 
     
    As for young players developing in the NHL, that's a great idea if you think you have nothing to play for this season. The Blues think they do. They want to make the playoffs, and they apparently think their chances of doing that are better with Steen and Bozak in the lineup than with Klim Kostin.
  • Then why bring Kyrou up at all? He’s. He isn’t a fourth line player and it doesn’t make sense. Just keep playing Sanford and get no production from the wing on that line, again 4 points in his last 24 games. Disconnect between Army and Berube?
    I wouldn't say it's a disconnect. It would be a disconnect if they called Kyrou up and Berube didn't play him. Armstrong decides OK, let's give Kyrou a look at the NHL level. Berube puts him in a game and says, hmm, I like what I see or don't like what I see. Let's play him more or less. I think the best thing for a young player is to come up to the NHL, play the game, learn what he has to get better at, go down to the AHL, work on that, and the next time he gets called up, he's a better player. In some cases -- see Sammy Blais -- it may take a lot of times. Sanford has been a case of that, even if he's not a big point producer. Some guys are ready to jump right in. Kyrou is 20. Give him some time. Players get better over time, and a little seasoning never hurts. I don't think the Blues are wasting the prime of Joran Kyrou's career.
    Do you have any more update/info (besides that "standard" explanation that he had been seen out of shape) why the Blues terminated the contract for Dmitry Sergeev? Didn't they see his progress at all?
    Well, in line with that (if it's true): Do you know that he finally ended up EVEN not in the KHL (he failed a couple of potential signings therte), but in Kazakhstan League?
    I haven't spent any time thinking about Dmitry Sergeev, though I see now that he's played four games in Kazakhstan this season. If that's the best he can do, then they may have been right in not expecting much progress from him.
    I saw on Twitter earlier today where Bruins Coach, Cruce Cassidy has made David Backes a healthy scratch for tonights game vs Philly. He’s also been dropped down to the 4th line when he has played. And Bruins owner, Jeremy Jacobs said after the first season that they over paid for #42. This only confirms the right decision was made by Army to let him go.
  • Long contracts for all but very young players can be very risky. They can even be risky for young players. Forecasting that far out isn't easy, and when they're older, those last few years can be really dicey.
    In your discussions with NHL insiders/ reporters/scouts have any names been mentioned as possible coaching candidates for the Blues? And I think the Blues should wait until the end of the season to make a decision. I think Q is a good choice but my concern is he doesn’t play the kids. Another good choice is Jon Cooper, assuming he doesn’t re sign in TB. Your thoughts?
    I haven't heard anything. If the coach Armstrong wanted was currently available, I think he would have been hired since the longer you wait, you increase the chance of someone else hiring him, or at least driving up the price. You certainly get a clearer picture of who's out there at the end of the season. I'd be surprised if Cooper doesn't re-up in Tampa Bay.
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