He says he is, but he's probably not at 100 percent. He took a few maintenance days a week ago, and has looked a tad slower. But we're fast approaching the point where no one in the league is 100 percent. But there doesn't seem to be anything major bothering him.
Scandella has a great demeanor off the ice, and I could see that extending on to the ice as well. He quickly became very popular in the room (back when I could go in the room and see these things). He said he felt quite comfortable when he got here as well. And being a good player really helps you fit in too. He's done that. He's been a good fit on the left side for what the Blues want to do.
Haven't heard yet. Much was still up in the air after the game yesterday.
I think it might change as we get some stratification in the division, if some teams settle at the bottom. They'll be the ones getting swept. But if its a five or six team race, I do think you'll continue to see a lot of splits and it will be the teams that can figure out how to win that second game that comes out on top. Right now, that team is not the Blues.
Yes, this is the Justin Faulk the Blues hoped for when they signed him to that big contract. And he's proving that while not playing on the power play, which was supposed to be one of his big things. He's been a plus on both sides of the puck, and he earned bonus points last night by going after Stone after the hit on Bozak. He appears to be playing with a lot of confidence and Berube is giving him all sorts of ice time.
Right now the Blues are getting better results than they've deserved. There's ample reason to think they should have lost last night and lost the first Kings game. The offense hasn't found its gear yet -- the Blues are generally right around 2 expected goals per game -- and their defense, particularly the goaltending, is saving them. But we've seen this club bring in some new faces and have trouble getting their act together, and we also know how that ended. The defense should stay good and eventually the offense will get up to speed, I would think.
The Blues sent their message to Stone last night, and if they start going after him again and again, that's not going to play well. They won't shy away from hits on him, not they would regardless, but they can only do so much before it starts hurting the team. But this is something that is to be expected this season; memories won't need to be as long, since that next matchup won't be too far away.
Their standard identity of being a team solid on the forecheck and good defensively, but one that still commits too many penalties. The team is turning the puck over way too much, and not getting to the net as well as they should. They have bent but not broken so far.
I would suppose he would have to. The Blues don't have the option of bringing in their minor league staff like Vegas did, so you might see someone like Al MacInnis on the bench. I'm not sure how many people are in the Blues Tier 1 group that are allowed in close proximity to the team. Armstrong has taken to watching Blues practices at Centene this season from his office there, which overlooks the rink. Last year he did it from the stands with the rest of us. So he's keeping his distance.
By the way, Jim reports from Las Vegas that Bozak isn't on the ice and Blais has taken his spot on that line with Thomas and Hoffman.
And Dunn was skating with Mikkola. So make of that what you will.
In a situation where they had to use someone who was Tier 1 and who hadn't had close contact with the coaching staff, I suppose anything is possible.
Blais brings a lot of things that line could use now. De la Rose has had just one practice with the team before today, so if he's needed, the games in Anaheim could be a better fit.
O'Reilly is historically very hard on himself, and it shows up more now because as the captain, he's pushed into speaking more often, and especially when things aren't going well. (It's standard practice, especially with the Blues, when the team has a bad loss that it's the captains who come out and talk to reporters.) I'm sure there is pressing being done by O'Reilly, who probably feels more responsible than ever for how this team does. He doesn't commit many penalties, but those he does usually come early in the season.
Neighbours has a way to go and he may not end up getting in many games this season. Perunovich will depend on how the defenseman situation sorts out. At present, when Bortuzzo is healthy, he's 10th in line on the blueline. If the Blues make a trade, and someone gets hurt, all of a sudden, he's real close, and if he finds his way onto the 23-man roster, chances are they'll get him in a game. So his chance is much closer.
Five delay of game penalties and two too many men penalties are definitely self-inflicted. There's been a lot of stick penalties, and while not all have been warranted, most of them are. (Scandella's cross check last night was roundly disagreed with by the Blues. Krug's interference call in Kings 2 seemed marginal.) And they haven't done as much to force other teams to commit penalties on them. The Blues have yet to have more power plays than their opponent even once this season. If the Blues can limit themselves to having to kill four penalties per game, that will be progress.
It would be easier to answer if I knew what the world will look like in 2022. Still a bunch of logistics to be worked out on that, and in many ways life would be simpler for the NHL if the league didn't have a two-week Olympic break midseason. But I know I want to see it, so I hope it happens.
They would say a prayer for Ville Husso. If it's only going to be a couple weeks, that would probably preclude them from going out and trying to acquire someone. And for the record, Husso has shown he can be a very good goalie. He hasn't done it yet, but I've seen him play some very good games in goal. Admittedly, they were preseason games, but he showed some skills.
Still undetermined. League hopes that by the end of the season, teams can play games with some number of fans in attendance in their own buildings. And they hope the Canadian border is open because at some point some team has to cross it.
There are some similarities to the 2018-19 season out here, with some key new faces on a talented team that has a shot at the Cup and a team that hasn't totally gotten it together so far. Blues haven't looked great in a few of their wins so far, but they're getting the wins, which should count for something.
A veteran backup to play instead of Husso? In that case, the Blues were going to be giving up on Husso, because Armstrong said he was pretty sure they couldn't pass him through waivers to send him down. I think the team had felt they had invested enough in Husso over the years, and had seen enough of him in the minors, to think he earned this chance. Plus, his salary is low, and they needed that for their cap issues. The Blues wouldn't have been able to sign a veteran backup for the $750,000 they're paying Husso.
Jim also reports from Las Vegas that Bortuzzo is back on the ice, in a red jersey, skating with the taxi squad.