Hello everyone. Big news today for Doug Armstrong, being named GM of Team Canada for the 2022 Olympics. It's not for certain yet that NHL players will be in the Olympics, and it's certainly a sign that it's headed in that direction. It's also a feather in the cap for St. Louis. Without the success of the Blues, this probably doesn't happen.
As for the Blues, they're going along great. We're about 1/5th of the way through this fast-moving season. With that, we'll take your questions.
I think Dunn is one of those players who's more highly-regarded outside of St. Louis than within the market. There are a lot of teams that would covet a guy like him. Just surf the web for Vince Dunn trade and you'll see. For example, I got a call from a writer from Winnipeg that day (the day he was benched) saying the Jets were looking for a No. 4 defeseman. Armstrong is unpredictable in a lot of ways but if the club stays in contention throughout the season, I don't see the club attempting to trade him _ if they do _ until the end of the season. Keep in mind that Gunnarsson's contract is up after this season and I don't see the Blues re-signing him. And they could lose a defenseman in the expansion draft. So they're not quite as deep there as you think.
Thanks. First off, I'm grateful to management at the Post-Dispatch for continuing the commitment to travel to all games. There are other media outlets asking for you money who are not making that commitment. As for special teams, they had been trending up in recent games. But Tuesday they went 0-for-5 on the PP and 1-for-2 on the PK. So there's still work to be done here. I think the PP will get going; they seem to be moving the puck around better. The PK, in my opinion, needs to be more aggressive. Both in terms of denying entry into the zone and getting out on people once the other team enters the zone.
Sanford and Sundqvist are getting time on the penalty kill; Hoffman does not. Granted, Hoffman plays on the power play, but he's on the second unit _ which doesn't get as much time _ and the Blues haven't been drawing many penalties. And Hoffman's on the third line. He'd be getting another minute or so if he was on the second line. In order to thrive under Berube, you've got to play defense and battle for pucks. I think Hoffman is learning this.
Like most coaches, Berube is hesitant to change lineups while the team's winning.. Mikkola certainly looks like a plus on the penalty kill, with that long reach of his. But I don't think that fact will necessarily hasten Dunn's departure. There are about 250 to 300 defensemen who play each year in the NHL. Over the last two seasons, only 16 D-men have scored more goals than Dunn. That's a valuable commodity to have, particularly without the goal-scoring of Pietrangelo from the blue line no longer around. If anything, Mikkola's play is keeping Bortuzzo and Gunnarsson out of the lineup.
I don't know much about this club, but would like to know more. They appear to be a loose conglomeration of Faulk fans around North America. But no, I don't plan to become a member. I will admire them from a safe distance instance.
Entry seems to be the biggest issue. It seems that usually once they're in the zone, they maintain good possession although not always dangerous shots. I still thnk they'll come around as they work in new pieces. And they had been trending up recently until Tuesday's 0-for-5.
It looks like Bortuzzo is ready to return. But I don't see Berube changing the lineup until the Blues lose a game or two. I'm not sure who comes out. As for Parayko, unless there's an injury issue there that needs some rest, you don't take him out. So by the process of elimination then, it could be Mikkola.
You know, he did miss some practice time earlier in the season for "maintenance." He didn't seem like he was skating as well as usual in the first week or so. Didn't see many _ or any _ of those patented end-to-end rushes. The last time we talked to him _ on the last trip _ he said he was fine. His issues the past couple of games are puck management and exit passes in his own zone. Those to me would seem to be more of a judgement thing rather than an injury related. So I don't know.
Yeah, like most scorers, maybe Hoffman is the streaky type. And maybe this will get him going on a good streak. Funny you should mention Blais. A couple of us were mentioning in the press box last night at Enterprise that Blais' play could make it tougher for Bozak to get back in the lineup when he's healthy.
As Tony La Russa used to say, they're men not robots. So they're not always going to be at their best night in, night out. I thought they might be a little sluggish Tuesday after the trip out west. They didn't get back to St. Louis until after 2 a.m. Monday after a back-to-back, and then had to play the next day. But Hoffman's goal seemed to get them going and they certainly didn't seem sluggish in the second period and much of the third. But your overall point is well taken. They started very slow Sunday in Anaheim, and only the work of Ville "The Kid" in goal kept them in that game early.
I think the main thing is confidence. Also, Faulk has a more defined role this year.. But it was interesting to see him get in that fight with Stone (a response, of course to the hit on Bozak). Because Faulk isn't really a fighter. He's had six in his career. And he's also been either the team leader or shared the team lead in hits in the majority of games this season. Again, Faulk wasn't really known as a physical player. So in a sense, I guess you could say his game is evolving. I also think, not having to play in the shadow of Petro helps. Again, it was easy enough to assume last year when the trade happened that it was a response to lack of progress in the Petro negotiations. We'll see if he can keep it uip.
This question got posted twice. I've answered it below.
I think he's starting to get there. But he's a scorer. That's what he does. And if he's not scoring goals, he's not doing his job. Hoffman talked last night about the adjustment process; he said he thinks he's making progress. But keep this in mind. He does a lot of damage on the power play, and he's been on the second unit most of the young season, which hasn't gotten nearly as much time on the ice so far as the first unit. So unless, he works his way back onto the first unit, his scoring totals may continue to be depressed.
Sounds like you took his departure personally.
He's been OK. Scrappy. Good skater. Over-passes once in a while. But noverall a good passer. Yeah, his numbers should go up as the power play improves.