Hello one and all. Well, tonight could be the night the Blues clinch. But they will be minus some bodies with Dunn, Krug, Blais and Tarasenko out with various ailments. I guess I jinxed Blais with today's article. Well, let's get at it.
I'm sure they'll have a tribute planned for the captain. If not before the game then during a timeout during the game. Just in case, I'd get there early if you have tickets.
Barry, was that you with the earlier question? Sorry about that. Most of the time I don't look at the name under the question. Not sure if the Blues will boost attendance for the playoffs - assuming they get in, which seems a pretty safe assumption now. To my knowledge, they've been holding at 4,100 for a while. And it's not "largely" up to the city. It's totally up to the city. They have to approve any attendance plans presented by the Blues. Hope you're well. . . .
I don't think we'll ever see another Hull and Oates. But Kryou and Thomas certainly are dynamic and exciting, and adding Hoffman to that line certainly adds a hammer. As long as they're producing, and playing at least a modicum of defense, I can't see Berube breaking them up.
Berube said after the morning skate today that he thought Kostin was actually arriving in StL today.
I don't know how to handicap it, but they would both be valuable guys to have for a team just getting started.
When Krug returns, I'd say they go with Krug-Faulk, Scandella-Parayko, Mikkola-Bortuzzo. Yeah, I'm going with Mikkola over Walman in your scenario - and it's a tough call. But I do so because of what you mentioned - Mikkola is bringing some sandpaper lately - he's more physical this time around than I remember in previous stints. Lately, he seems to be involved in a few net front scrums with the opposition - so he must be aggravating people. As for your overall defensive point, they are settling in to a degree. But they've still got a ways to go in terms of reaching the team's usual defensive standards IMO. And I wouldn't get too excited over shutting down Anaheim. They're one of the worst offensive teams in the league.
I'd have to look at the free agent list to see what power forwards might be available. Do you really want to risk exposing Tarasenko and face the possibility of getting nothing in return for him? I don't know about that. If you don't re-sign Schwartz, would you consider trying to re-sign Hoffman?
I have seen nothing on that. In fact, I've seen nothing definitive on when the playoffs will actually start given all the postponements. Vancouver is playing makeup games all the way until May 19.
That's a good question. I'll have to try and remember to ask that question. They certainly are noticeable at about 4,100 - more noticeable to me in fact, than just about any other place I've been in the Division. And I've been to every division stop - although Anaheim and LA had no fans when I was there earlier in the season. (Although LA will have fans when the Blues play their on May 10.)
While I appreciate the team's resiliency in regrouping and (apparently) making the playoffs, I think this season still goes down as a disappointment if they don't get out of the first round. Remember, this was a team that finished first in the Western Conference last year, and did so without Tarasenko for the last 61 games, and without Bouwmeester for the last about 11. The falloff on defense has been the most noticeable thing about this year. The Blues currently rank 21st in goals-against per game at 3.06. Do they miss Pietrangelo that much? If the Blues get bounced in the first round, I think Doug Armstrong needs to evaluate if the Cup-contending window is still open with this group, or is it closing earlier than he anticipated. All that being said, I think the last thing you want to do is overreact after a season like this with all the pandemic-related issues.
All hockey teams are pretty secretive. It's pretty amazing to me, especially considering the gambling affiliations the league and all major pro sports have these days. Gamblers need to know at least some basics about injuries. And even if that wasn't the case, why not use a system similar to the NFL - you know Jones (ankle, questionable) or something like that. Not sure if Parayko will need back surgery - Armstrong mentioned some time ago that back surgery would be an option of last resort. I will say this: Parayko looked as free and easy on the ice Monday as I've seen all year. He was skating well, running into people on a couple of occasions, he even unleashed a "real" Parayko slap shot I think for the first time all season. I think that's a good sign.
If I'm Seattle, I would go for one of the defensemen, either Scandella and Dunn. (Saying that, I'm not entirely sure how it works at this point on Dunn, since he's scheduled for restricted free agency.) As valuable as Sundqvist is, he does miss some time with injuries. That may cause Seattle to look elsewhere. And remember, you can only lose one player in the expansion draft. So the Blues, in theory, could lose Mikkola. Or they could loses Sundqvist. But they can't lose Mikkola AND Sundqvist.
Yes, the Blues have lost more "man games" to injury I believe than any other team in the league except Chicago - a non-playoff team. But I don't think Berube gets much love in coach of the year voting. The team isn't that far over .500 in points, and they've had most of their top players back for some time now.
To my knowledge, the salaries are not prorated. But portions of that salary will be deferred into future seasons.
Tough question. I think I put Dunn back in the lineup _ for either Mikkola or Walman. I thought Dunn's defense had improved prior to the injury. And over the long haul - I repeat, over the long haul _ it's tough to get by without his offensive contributions, either on the power play or 5-on-5. The Blues were either first or second in goals by defensemen the past two seasons. They are tied for 20th this season. Walman looks like he has the potential to replace Dunn offensively, but until he starts popping in a goal now and then, I don't think you can say that's a given.
They don't play the rest of the division nearly as tough as they play the Blues, do they? And although they do have a similar style and approach as the Blues, they don't have the Blues' offensive firepower. (Not that the Blues are a juggernaut.) But I don't know the particulars of this current swoon - you know, if they've had players injured, etc. Maybe someone more familiar with the Coyotes can help us out there.
I would protect him. And I think the Blues would too.