I think he's looked better in his two games this year than he did in his one last year. Still not getting a lot of ice time when he's out there, so the coaching staff is taking it slow, but I think he's showing he could be a contributor at this level. But he'll be a bottom six guy, not a top six guy. Nice screen on that Sanford goal in Game 6.
I don't think there will be any moves to change the atmosphere of the team. If there are any moves, they are to get the team cap compliant.
One of the reasons Vegas did so well in its first season is team's got too cute on trying to save certain players and made deals with the Golden Knights that ended up helping them put together a good team. Armstrong has pretty much said they're not going to do that. They accept the fact they are going to lose a player they would like to keep, but they also realize that it will only be one. The only strategic move thrown out in the past is whether the Blues could leave Faulk exposed and his contract would scare the Kraken away, but I think that's pretty much off the boards now. If Faulk were exposed, he would be gone.
A lot will depend on what the world looks like in June. If they have made it that far safely, they will continue as it is now. If not, they will consider options. The players did not like the bubble, and it is a big expense.
When the Blues practice at Centene during the week, there usually aren't many people around. There was one day when they had a Saturday practice, and the place was crowded for youth games, and just walking through the lobby made me nervous. And that was nowhere near a packed high school gym.
He certainly could, because he's a hockey lifer, but that's also why he could say, you know, I've made a lot of money (about $55 million), I'm hanging out with the family.
I've only read the highlights. In the Blues organization, Doug Armstrong and Berube do the speaking for the team. The only time we would talk to Bill Armstrong was around the time of the draft. And since he lived in Rhode Island, rather than St. Louis, we didn't cross paths with him all that much. I might run into him in the press box for a game in Boston, for instance. When we did talk, he was always pleasant and cooperative. I had talked with some of my Arizona brethren about how he was doing just a few days before that story came out and they said he had been good to work with, available and helpful. Being the GM in a market like Arizona requires you to be out there more than you would be in St. Louis. So yes, that was surprising to hear.
Yes, though they likely won't be able to offer as much money as some other teams can. Unless they can win him over and sign before he goes on the market and the bidding begins, it could be tough. But who knows how the flat cap works out, or what the market for Hoffman looks like after this season.
I do they think they have another gear. This team is in some ways like the 2018-19 team that won the Cup. They have a lot of talent and haven't put it together yet. The Blues have certainly not played their best yet. Faulk and Kyrou are big plusses. Krug has been a push. Parayko has been subpar because of the injury. O'Reilly hasn't really hit his stride. Thomas showed early promise, leveled off, and then got hurt. The calming presence of Bozak has been gone. All sorts of factors at play here. I would feel safe to say they're not as good as the 18-19 team, but that team set a pretty high bar and losing Pietrangelo sends a jolt through the system. If they get it together, anything is possible. But this is going to be a weird year.
Only three games, one of them a 6-1 loss, so too soon to say.
Yes, the Blues will attempt to re-sign Binnington. They will likely attempt to do it before he goes on the market. Whether that means they do it in season or not is another matter.
Binnington has saved the Blues, or kept them in games, a few times this season. Husso is still learning, but I think he'll get there.
What you see is what you get with Gunnarsson. A healthy scratch or two isn't going to change that. And he leads the team in healthy scratches anyway with seven. Statistically, last season wasn't a great one for him either, though he had a lot of injuries. Right now, he's a veteran presence who the Blues can play after he's been sitting for a while and who knows what he's doing. But with the team's contract situation, and his contract situation, he's going to be on the roster at the expense of Mikkola and Walman this season. That's the way the NHL works.
I'm still in Arizona, but I saw no reports of Tarasenko being on the ice today in St. Louis with the team. He skated with the team on Friday in Arizona. That's a first step. He's probably a couple weeks away at best from being back. He's had three shoulder surgeries. That has to be a concern, because that's a joint that gets looser with multiple surgeries, so even without contact, he's at greater risk of re-injuring it. And just with the normal course of how injury rehab goes, I would expect him not to be back at his A game until next season.
We're more than halfway through, so a Hello to the late arrivals here. And, for those who may have missed it, you get Tom today, not Jim because I'm stuck in Phoenix with nothing else to do. Now, back to the questions.
That's the hope. Get the season done in July, have something resembling a normal offseason, and then get back on to a regular season. If it starts late that also puts NHL participation in the Winter Olympics in jeopardy. But the world will have to cooperate and the U.S.-Canada border will have to be open.
If Sanford keeps struggling, maybe that happens at some point. But right now, Berube is using Sanford on both special teams, and that makes him tougher to replace. It also means they like what he can do.
I'm not a big poutine guy, nor have I sampled it in every Canadian arena. Though I also see you can get it at Enterprise Center now. I'm not sure what St. Louis poutine is like.