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.

    Bouwmeester and Gunnarsson for starters. Maroon's play has come on, so that will be a decision for the Blues. He's also entering that hockey middle age where it gets tougher to get a contract if you're not a high end player. That opens up two defense spots for sure. At forward, they'll want to find an opening for Kyrou and maybe Kostin. Blais continues to make a valid case for himself too. MacEachern's unexpected level of play takes a spot that otherwise would have been open, which could make someone somewhere on the roster a trade candidate.
    How bad are the Blues financials in your opinion? We always hear how little corporate support they have and how much the bottom line depends on a playoff run. Is this team in constant financial peril year to year with profits only gained for the owner when the team is sold?
  • I don't think anyone is ever going to get rich owning the Blues, or for that matter selling the Blues. Whenever the team has been for sale, there has not been a long line of potential buyers throwing sacks of cash around. I wouldn't say they're in financial peril, but every playoff game helps. It used to be said that every postseason game the Blues played was worth $1 million. I've been told that's not the case any more and the number is lower. The number of years the Blues have been in the black over their existence is likely very small.
    I disagree with your assessment of Fabbri's improvement. The door has been thrown wide open and he doesn't seem to want to go through it. Too many fly bys and still backing down from contact. On the other hand Blais seems to be blazing through that open door and making it tougher to be sent back down - especially after that shootout masterpiece. Do you really think he is back to SA as soon as anyone is ready to come back?
    I wouldn't be surprised if Blais is in San Antonio tomorrow. Or maybe later today. I asked Berube about him today and he said Blais keeps getting better but is still learning what it takes to be an NHL player. He is making it tougher though. What Fabbri's missing right now is that final touch. Lots of chances but he can't get it in the net. Fabbri gave me a look a few weeks back when I asked him about avoiding contact. He said that the hits column is not something he looks at and is not part of his game, though it was noticeably missing from his game after he came back from his shoulder injury. He's starting to have more hits in his game again.
    I'm really struck by the similarities between the Preds and Blues this season. Nashville started the year off by being on fire during the first 20 games, but have been .500 over the last 40 games. The Blues did the same, but in reverse. The Jets have .500 for much of the new year, but few in the national media think the Note has any chance of advancing to the 2nd round. Tom, do you think we're too heavily influenced by how a team starts to season when developing the narrative of whether they're any good?
    I often think about how we would look at teams or players if we viewed their seasons in reverse. If the Blues season ended today and the Nashville game was Game 1 of the season, fans would marvel at their amazing start and then be infuriated by how they finished the season. Armstrong said yesterday that he wasn't surprised by how the team is playing now as much as he was surprised by how they played at the start of the season. Stories start and take shape and sometimes it's tough to shake them. I remember being in Las Vegas this season and Yeo telling me how the team wasn't really as bad as it seemed on paper but the "optics" were bad because the team had played fewer games than others, which was one of the reasons they were so far behind in points. (And the lopsided losses didn't help either.) We will never know if this team would played this way if a coaching change hadn't been made. A regression to the mean seemed likely. The problem is, when a team is playing sub-.500 hockey, it's really tough to say, give them time, it will even out eventually.
    I’m a big believer in history being a predictor of the future. Look at 2016: Penguins start the year rough, fire their coach, have a great second half and win the Cup. 1982: Cards bring in a rookie (Willie McGee) and he propels the team on to a Series win. Different sport, yeah, but same concept. This year, the Blues have both things going on. Tell me, should I wake up from this dream? Loving the dream, hating the prospect of being wrong…again!
    I would never tell someone to wake up from their dreams. And, as president Lyndon Johnson would say, never pass up a free lunch or a chance to go to the men's room. I could be wrong on this, but I'm going to guess that the vast majority of teams to win championships in most sports haven't fired their coach midseason and it also helps to be a really talented team. Sports history is littered with teams that have had youngsters come out of nowhere and propel them to great heights.
    As Robert Browning wrote (I think), "A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?" So keep on dreaming. Stranger things have happened. 
    I don't follow not giving the keys to JB. He has done above and beyond what has been asked. Are we just jaded hockey fans waiting for the wheels to fall off? On the extreme what if this kid is Albert Pujols and Jake is his Bonilla. I just don't get it. He passes every test. He wasn't some nobody floating in the minors. He has always had skill, but we've refused to put him in a position to succeed, yet here he is our "White Knight".
    In 1980, the Los Angeles Dodgers closed their season by sweeping a three-game series with the Houston Astros to force a one-game playoff for the NL West title. The Dodgers had used basically every pitcher they had to win those games and for the playoff game, manager Tom Lasorda had two choices: The one starter he had left, Dave Goltz, or a rookie who had come up late in the season and had done well out of the bullpen: Fernando Valenzuela. Lasorda went with Goltz and the Dodgers lost the game, which I watched from the front row of the second deck at Dodger Stadium. Valenzuela went on to have an incredible rookie season the following year.
    So I know first hand that a rookie like Binnington can come in and be a savior. But experience also says that, at the goalie position, play can fluctuate widely. Heck, Jake Allen made the NHL's all-rookie team at goalie twice. Twice! Now, the Blues have shown a tremendous amount of faith in Binnington this season -- they would be stupid not to -- and when the playoffs start, Jordan Binnington will be your starting goalie. And he could very well be the starter next season. But saying, OK, we're set now for the next five years is not a bridge I think the Blues are ready to cross yet. 
    which goalie in the west scares you the most? who do you see as the most capable of stealing a series? i would say rinne, if not for his playoff struggles. fleury maybe too. i'm not scared of mike smith or martin jones at all. what do you think?
  • I think most Western Conference teams would say right now the goalie they're most scared of is Binnington. If Anaheim made the playoffs, I'd be afraid of John Gibson. But among teams that have a chance at getting in, Bishop, Rinne and Fleury would top the list, in that order.
    Not that you're not hanging on my every word, but here's Jim's report from today's practice. You can save it and read it when we're done. 

    Perron, Schenn continue to make strides

    stltoday.comBoth veterans practice Wednesday at the IceZone; Berube says it's possible both could play Friday against Carolina.
    What would it take to resign Schenn to a new contract and do the Blues have the flexibility to sign him and Petro?
    I haven't seen any expectations on how much the salary cap might go up next season yet. The Blues will have $8.3 million come off the budget with Bouwmeester and Gunnarsson departing, and their replacements, assuming they're from within the organization, will be making about the minimum wage. Edmundson and Binnington will get raises, which will take some of that money. The Sundqvists and Barbashevs of the world will also be getting raises. I don't know that Schenn's contract will go up that much. He's already making $5.1 million. The Blues aren't going to be paying him $7.5 million like Tarasenko and O'Reilly get. So even with a modest rise in the cap, I think they can fit them in, unless someone starts playing out of their minds and warrants a big raise or draws massive offers from other teams. As always, term will be a factor.
    Happy Hump Day Blues Fans! and Tom.

    I can see a Cinderella story unfolding in the gateway city. Call me crazy, but with a hockey team that lays it all out every night and a goalie who can't lose....I anticipate getting cup finals tickets to see our boys in Tampa Bay. I have never seen a team so dead at the end of 2018 revive itself in 2019. This could be the beginning of something big. With this franchise snake bit for so long I can see 51 years of anguish going the other way. Could we be the 2016 Cubs?
    by Barry - Happy Blues Fan in Orlando FL 2/27/2019 9:11:08 PM
    Sure, why not? But hockey is hockey. All it takes is a bounce here or there and everything goes out the window. Adapting a line I wrote many years, but with 31 teams in the league, each team should expect one title every 31 years. But if when your year comes up, Roman Turek is your goalie, you may have to wait another 31 years.
    Part of the reason to let gunnarson and J-bo go in the offseason is to let young guys come in and see what we have in them. Might we let Petro go and hand the keys to Parayko after next season. Because Petro is making a couple very bad decisions per game. Very lazy plays like he doesn't care anymore. I know you saw those last night.
    There's nothing wrong with having two really good defensemen. Maybe even three or four. I don't see the Blues moving on from Pietrangelo and just let him hit the free agent market and disappear. As with any negotiation, the length of the deal will matter. Are the Blues prepared to give him the years he wants? 
    I would strongly challenge the statement about lazy plays and that he doesn't care anymore. That is totally wrong. 
    Tim, What's your stance on the current playoff format? Yes get some good early divisional rivalry series, but also some of the better teams are out of the mix earlier. Blues likely looking at a 1st round series vs Nashville or Winnipeg.
  • OK, first, it's Tom, though my father and all his brothers were always called Tim by their wives, which made it awfully confusing at family gatherings. 
    I'm torn on the playoff format. I like the rivalries and intensity that are formed by play within the divisions, but after a while, I get sick of going to the same cities and seeing the same teams. On the other hand, a first-round series between the Blues and Vancouver would be a nightmare for travel. But last season, with the level of play in the Central, it gave Vegas an edge in the Western final because the Central playoffs had been so taxing. 
    Now, if I didn't have to worry about travel, I probably would be more in favor of a straight 1 through 16 seeding, or at least a 1 through 8 in each conference. It's a shame to see good teams going out in the first or second round. So as long as I'm covering hockey, I'll say keep it how it is and as soon as I stop, I'll say go through 1 through 8 in each conference.
    The thing I'd really like to see is a 2-3-2 format rather than a 2-2-1-1-1. Having covered baseball playoffs and hockey playoffs, baseball is so much simpler. Those last three games of a hockey series can be a grind with all the travel.
  • Hi Tim, based on how Tarasenko is going, how much of his slow start was due to his shoulder recovery compared to his being with ROR?
  • I was starting to wonder if this was a running gag with the Tim stuff. (There's at least one more in the queue addressed to Tim.) 
    I think a large part of it should be placed on his shoulder. There's a difference between your shoulder not hurting and your shoulder being 100 percent. At least, it seems there should be. I'm not an orthopedic surgeon, as you may have surmised. But it seems like even once a player gets back on the ice, they need another few months after a surgery to get back to where they were before, whether the problem is physical or psychological. 
    Tim- what gives with the Blues playing "Country Road" at games? I don't get the connection, this isn't West Virginia, and most of the Blues fans do not have "mountain mamas"
  • Seems to me they just started playing it one day and enough people knew the lyrics that they sung along even after the music was shutoff. It also now seems to have become the arena version of Gloria. I suspect it's here to stay, at least until people stop singing along.
  • Yeah I thought it would be funny to say "Tim" after the earlier guy did!!
  • I have been called Tim Tommermann more than a few times.
  • What progress has the NHL made in developing a more protective helmet/.......surely there must be some advanced prototypes out there.
  • Have to admit I don't know the answer to this one but it probably follows the NFL's progress, or lack of progress, on this matter.
    Back checking is winning hockey. Which is what the Blues are doing very well right now.. It clogs up the neutral zone and leads to instant offense going the other way That's what San Jose did to us when we made the final 4. Is it buy-in or do some teams just not emphasize it that much
    Back checking is strongly emphasized everywhere. Coaches love it. So it's a buy-in from players that makes it work.
    Wait, it's not Tim Tommerman? Sorry for getting it wrong all these years.
    And there's two N's at the end of Timmermann. Or Tommermann.
    Binnington's interviews are becoming quite the spectacle to behold.
    Binnington likes giving it back to his interviewers, which requires us to stay on our toes and give it back to him. The one thing is that he is so deadpan, it sometimes takes a while to figure out exactly what is going on and whether or not he's serious.
    Trust me, I've gotten used to it.
  • I think that moving on from Allen has less to do with Binnington seen as a savior, and more to do with the fact that he has shown nothing but inconsistency throughout his career. I don't see Binnington having to be a great goalie, he just has to be better than Jake to justify moving Allen if you can. I actually think that at this point management is doing Allen a disservice by keeping him here. I think both he and the team would benefit from a fresh start. There's too much baggage for him to succeed here. In the meantime, bring Jordan along and hire a less expensive 1A or 1B to join us next year.
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