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.




    With the back-to-back games this weekend, there's a solid case to be made for Allen playing at Carolina on Friday and Binnington playing in St. Louis on Saturday. The fact that Allen has at times drawn very negative reviews from the home crowds makes it a tough situation for him. There are two camps on Allen: Love him or hate him, and nothing he does seems to sway anybody. Playing well doesn't seem to change the detractors, and playing poorly doesn't change the supporters. He has played well lately, which is impressive since he plays so little. That can't be easy. By all indications, he gets along well with Binnington so that relationship makes for a good situation.
    Any chance a AHL team moves to KC?
    The Blues were hoping that would happen a few years back, but it didn't, and that led to last season's minor-league fiasco. The problem then was getting the necessary ownership group in place. So first, that has to happen, then you need a team that doesn't like its current situation.
    Wait, I thought this was Jeff Gordon leading this chat. LOL
    In a Gordo chat, I'd be providing better insight on the Selke, or fourth-line wingers in Edmonton.
  • At some point does Bettman get involved in the Ottawa ownership situation if they continue down this path (i.e. pretty much unwilling to pay their stars who want to stay there)? Crazy to think that was a team that recently was in the Cup Finals
  • Probably not. I could see him getting more involved in their arena situation. The NHL has had some odd ownership strategies over the years.
    Blais running over Gaudreau. MacEachern crashing and banging on the boards. Barbashev improving every game. Sundqvist having a helluva season. Thomas showing he will be THE man sooner than later. Kyrou and Kostin hopefully not too far away from coming up and staying on the roster. Stone wall Binnington, wow. Safe to say the Army naysayers can take some time off, eh.
  • There have been fewer calls for him to be fired lately. My contention all along, and I think I said this in earlier chats, was that everyone thought he had put together a good team in the offseason, and if everyone thought that was the case, it's hard to say, "What was he thinking?" when the team struggles.
  • We got Schwartz and Steen off their schneid.. Now its time for Maroon, Thomas and Fabbri to light the lamp
  • Schwartz and Steen may be off the schneid, but the Blues need them both -- or at least Schwartz -- do it more often. I thought moving Schwartz to the ROR-Tarasenko line would get him going, because it had gotten everyone else who had been there going. We haven't really seen a jump there and ROR and Tarasenko have two points between them in the past three games. Thomas at times seems almost as snake-bit as Schwartz. He has great chances, sometimes of his own making, but can't finish them.
    What does the forward depth look like for next year, as far as who might be under contract, free agents, able to play in minors, etc? Will this year's group stay mostly intact? Or some moving on/chances of trades to keep freeing up time for the younger guys? Would the Blues have to look at moving some of the younger depth (guessing not the Thomas's or Kyrou's, but more the Blais's or MacEachern's) to help with depth in other areas?
    Maroon is an unrestricted free agent after this season. Earlier in the season, it was a cinch he wasn't coming back next season. His play of late has improved, but will that be enough to sway the front office to keep him? The next month may determine that. 
     
    Fabbri, Sanford, Sundqvist, Barbashev and Blais are all restricted free agents. The Blues will retain all of them; Sundqvist has earned a decent raise, Barbashev a smaller one. (Nikita Soshnikov, currently in San Antonio, will also be an RFA. The Blues would no doubt try to keep him as a depth forward.)
     
    I have to confess I'm not positive on who would have to clear waivers to go to the minors. Right now, it's Thomas (though he can't go because of his age), Blais and MacEachern. Kyrou and Kostin should be waiver exempt next season, so they could bounce up and down. 
     
    They probably need to open at least one spot, for Kyrou, and maybe another for Blais. Kostin's play will determine where he goes. That's where training camp will come in. Does one or more of these guys beat out Sanford or MacEachern? Going into camp this season, Barbashev and Sundqvist seemed to be headed for San Antonio. Instead, they've become valuable pieces and Jaskin was shipped out. That's what will likely happen next season. If there's someone who they don't think is going to make the team and they risk losing to waivers, they'll try to trade them. 
     
    Thomas and Kyrou are essentially untouchable. 
    ya Schwartz hasn't been what i thought either on that top line. What about Perron ROR and Tarasenko. Then Schwartz back with Schenn. Perron and Ror are so good at holding on to the puck and both good passers. Tarasenko wold benefit and
    I suspect down the stretch we'll see all possible combinations of lines at some point, whether because of injury or performance. There has been a feeling that Schenn has benefited from playing on the wing rather than at center.
    I'm with you on holding the phone on Binnington. Blues fans have been down this road many, many times before (He's the answer. Oh. whomp whomp). Give him a shot next year, but let's not give him 5 years at $4.5 million just yet.
    As for the offseason, are there any free agents coming this season that have caught your interest as a potential fit for the Blues?
    With the current roster and salary cap situation, I can't see the Blues going into the free agent market in a big way unless they were to decide to cut ties with someone who makes a lot of money. The Blues went out got the players they wanted last season, and they've got enough young players waiting in the wings. The Blues need those players coming up from the AHL because they make relatively small salaries so they can pay the higher paid players. They'll need most of the money saved from saying goodbye to Bouwmeester and Gunnarsson to pay for the players due raises. And if they were to open up space by trading someone making a big salary, they'd have to be getting someone worthy of big money in return. So I just don't see them being major players on the market next season. Now, a Maroon-type who signs for $1 million-plus could fit in.
    Hi Tom, It really shows the state of things when the focus of questions is starting to shift to how deep of a play off run and what off season moves are we going to be making. While I think Schwartz's overall game has not tailed off it seems clear he is still squeezing the stick. What's your thought on how to get him a cheap goal or two to elevate his confidence? I remember stories of Scottie Bowman talking about Federov and how wonderful he was in the newspaper to boost his confidence one year. Any out of the box thoughts?
    Certainly two empty-net goals hasn't done it for him. You can't say Berube or other Blues haven't done their best to build his confidence. Bozak told me in Anaheim when the win streak began that he felt bad about not passing to Schwartz on every possession because he wanted Schwartz to have as many chances to score as he could get. He also felt that once Schwartz started scoring, more would follow. That hasn't happened. Schwartz at this point is going to have to create those goals himself. He's going to have to put in rebounds. That's the most likely way for him to score goals, and that's he usually does it. At every home game, when they put up the fan poll on which Blue is going to score first, Schwartz is routinely in the top three. So a certain percentage of fans still believe.
    Any thing else before I return to real life?
  • OK, thanks for stopping by this week. Who knows what will be going on next week when we meet again. If you haven't listened yet, this week's podcast is online, Jim's posted the blog for this morning and is busy writing two more stories, and we'll keep on doing that. Enjoy!
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