Chat all things Blues with Tom Timmermann at 1 p.m. Wednesday

Chat all things Blues with Tom Timmermann at 1 p.m. Wednesday

Get your questions ready and join in at 1 p.m. Wednesday for our weekly Blues chat.

    What's weird about the current situation is that the Blues were facing two games with Colorado and two with Vegas, two of the best teams in the league, so losing four in a row to these guys is hardly shocking. But what it's done is run out the clock. Getting a couple points out of these four games would have been a big deal, which is why that second loss to Colorado was so painful. Take it to overtime and you've got a point and anything can happen. But they got nothing. 
    Hard for me to know what to make of the team falling apart when Tarasenko came back. Just when things should have started to get better, they got worse. But also, just because he wasn't playing doesn't mean he wasn't in the locker room. He was around these guys home and road for several weeks before he got back on the ice. It wasn't like he parachuted in. 
    Are Joel Hofer's crazy good numbers an accurate refection on his skills or is the competition making him look better than he is? When does he become part of the Blues goaltending equation?
  • The Blues are very big on Hofer and think he can be really good. Goalies peak at different ages, so it's hard to say if he's an early developer or not. He needs a few more seasons, especially this season is pretty much a lost one for him. Husso's got another year on his contract. After that, we'll see, but the Blues probably aren't going to rush him.
    Does it seem like the Blues players are all reading the same talking points about their dismal performance of late. Do they get these from a NHLPA rep or are they from Blues organization? We've heard what a "great group" is in the room and how "we just have to keep working" but where is the passion and the edge needed to pull out of this funk? We need two players per shift to push to change our lack of momentum.
    The problem is there is a finite number of things you can say in these situations (and a finite number of ways we can ask the questions), especially if it's the same thing over and over again. And in hockey, especially in the Zoom interview format we have now where everything someone says is said while a team employee is watching you, players are cautious and very reluctant to throw a teammate under the bus. And players wouldn't be where they were if they weren't more confident than the average human, so they really do have the feeling most of the time that change is right around the corner. OK, maybe not in Detroit or Ottawa. Also, if "working harder" isn't the answer, than the answer is "get rid of guys" and that's a dangerous stance for some players to take, because it could be them.
    So blues have been absolutely atrocious. Do you think they will fire berube if they lose tonite? Also do you think they will trade or expose Vladimir Tarasenko because he hasn’t helped much?
    If you were going to fire Berube after a loss, I don't think it would be a loss to one of the best teams in the league. When Yeo was fired, it was after a loss to the Kings. (Though the quality of the loss could be a factor.) 
    As for Tarasenko, being traded or exposed has to be more likely than it was a month ago because of how things have gone. Again, very few players are untouchable at a time like this. But he also has a no-trade clause. 
    I wouldn't be too quick to kick Husso to the curb. I mentioned the other day that in Patrick Roy's fir year his save % was .875 and his GAA was 3.36. Husso's save % is .883 and GAA is 3.58. I'm not saying Husso is the next Patrick Roy but you gotta give goalies time to develop.
    Husso has played well at times and certainly has in his developmental seasons. A season of getting used to the NHL could be a good thing. Binnington's rookie year really was an amazing season; not everyone is like that. Husso has played well enough in his pre-NHL days to make a claim to being an NHL goalie. Right now, he's not helped by having a very loose defense in front of him.
    What do you think are the chances of the Blues resigning Jaden Schwartz in the off season?
    Schwartz is the kind of player that coaches value because of how much work they do, even if they're not putting up big numbers. So he's a guy Berube, or any other coach, would want to have around. So he's a key component. A month ago, I'd have said the chances are good. Now, probably not quite as good because it could be a chance for Armstrong to make a change the look of the team. But Schwartz is one of those guys that is hard to replace because I don't know that the Blues have another guy in the system who can do that type of stuff. Schwartz isn't going to get a big raise from the Blues, so that will be a factor as well. Is there more money to be had elsewhere?
  • Yikes! Seems like they might expose him in the draft then. He better shape up and put himself in gear. That goes for everyone on the team as well. Do you think by trade deadline we will acquire anyone??
    I don't think they would get anyone who would play this season. They are definitely sellers at this point. This team isn't one acquisition away from contending for a playoff spot. If they could get a decent prospect, that would be a good step.
    When it was announced that Binnington signed the contract extension, i was against it. For me, it was identical to the Jake Allen contract, which hurt the team for years. Binnington never was a top prospect. He had 1 magnificent season, & we owe him a big thank you. But you don't give a six year contract to somebody that had one good year. Your opinion please ?
    Goalies are the most unpredictable part of hockey. Goalies can be good, right up to the point where they stop being good. The best thing would be if you could keep signing goalies to one or two year deals, so you don't get stuck with someone, but at some point, you risk losing a good goalie to another team and then what have you got? You're overpaying someone on the free agent market or taking a chance on Ville Huso. The Blues have committed to Binnington more years and money than, I think, any goalie they ever have. (Contract figures are a bit vaguer the further back you go; certainly it's the most in the Armstrong Era.)
    The Blues felt he had one great year, the Cup season, and one good year, last season, which ended with a bad postseason. This year has been a subpar season. Armstrong's feeling was they had a goalie who won them a Cup and should be pretty good more often than not. It took a six-year deal to make that happen. It is clearly a bold move. There's a Latin proverb: Fortune favors the brave. (Or bold. Or strong. The translation varies.) That seems to be Armstrong's strategy here. 
    I don't see Chief losing his job and he shouldn't. I do put some of the blame on Army. He got rid of Joel Edmundson because he dared to go to arbitration, now Eddie is leading the league in +/-. Then Army got mad when Petro wouldn't sign and immediately signed Krug to show the league he didn't need Petro. Krug may be too small for Chief's game plan. I thought Krug would help the power play, maybe he will perform better year two like Faulk has. I thought it was interesting Chief let his assistants run Tuesday's practice, maybe Chief is learning who he should replace?

    What say you?
    When we asked Berube about his watching the team's battle drills from a distance he said he wanted to see how players reacted to the situation, and then said he wouldn't get into specifics. That he didn't give a blanket endorsement could mean there were a player or two he wasn't high on, or by being vague he creates that air of mystery that puts everyone on edge. Bortuzzo and Hoffman look to be out tonight. Did he not like their practices, or was he really impressed with Blais and Walman and Mikkola and wanted them to be in? 
    Here's Jim's report from the morning skate:

    Blues Game Day: Hoffman, Bortuzzo look like healthy scratches tonight

    STLtoday.comBerube says only that he has some decisions to make prior to game time against Vegas.
    What's the new identity for the Blues going to be? I think their old one was very much based on having big, rangy defensemen -- Pietrangelo, Bouwmeester, Parayko. Their D could play aggressively in the o-zone secure in the knowledge that a partner could get back quickly and defend the rush. That drove their possession game. The general culture of everyone being defensively responsible was easier to maintain when you had that much o-zone time.

    Now that identity is gone and with Parayko's problem back probably won't return.
    As long as Berube's around, he's going to want that identity of being a solid forechecking team to be the same. The defensive losses of Pietrangelo and Bouwmeester would be tough for anyone to take, and a subpar Parayko makes it even worse. The next-man-up strategy goes only so far when you take out three of the top d-men in the league. The size of those three helped eliminate a lot of problems, and Mikkola is another big guy who can step in, but ultimately, the Blues want to do the same thing, only with shorter players.
  • Hi Tom. Since we are definitely sellers, who do you consider untouchable? To me ROR, Schenn and Kyrou on offense and Faulk, Parayko, and Krug on defense. The regression of Thomas over the past two truncated seasons has been the most disappointing to me. Your thoughts. Thanks
    That's probably a reasonable list. Thomas could be close, certainly his hand injuries have complicated his development. He's still only 21 and younger than Kyrou, so there is still going to be some growth in his game. He's got the potential to be a top two center, and that's not something that comes along all too often, so I wouldn't be quick to give up on him. Binnington is untouchable, though he's also untrade-able with that contract right now. Though he's not on the roster right now, Perunovich might be someone that the team would have no interest in trading.
    I am not sure you can lay blame on any one piece of this puzzle - the scorers aren't scoring- the defense has lost key players, Binnington has not been Binnington, the schedule is a grind, and injuries. I do think some of the younger players like Thomas and Kyrou just aren't panning out as expected. Wasn't there something written the last time Sunny was hurt that the Blues winning percentage with him was much higher when he is in the lineup. I think the big problem is in the defense. Petro left, lost Gunnarson and Parayko and you don't know if Parayko will ever be the same.
    This has certainly been a group effort. You can't blame anyone, but it's really hard to praise anyone either. In the Stanley Cup season, at the start, most of the team was below par except for O'Reilly. Is there anyone you would say that about this season? Various players, Kyrou, Faulk, Perron, have looked good at various times, but no one consistently.
    One of the few times I was surprised by an answer came when I asked Berube last season as to whether it was a coincidence that the team went on a big winning streak right when Sundqvist came back and he said, No, it's not a coincidence. But even he didn't have that kind of impact this season when he was in. 
    It's hard to minimize the losses this team has had on the blueline. I've said all along that to replace what the team lost with Pietrangelo would be a group effort, and about the only thing that has happened to make up for the loss was Faulk playing better. The others who had to do things to take up the slack, Parayko, Dunn, Krug, haven't, for a variety of reasons.
    What happened to January Kyrou? Guy was looking like McDavid's younger brother out there, now he seems lost in the mix like everyone else.
    Teams started saying, watch out for No. 25, more, and Kyrou reverted to some of his older habits. I think it's hard for younger guys to find that consistency. He did show the upside of how good he can be, but he's got to bring his game to another level to do that every night. And it becomes harder when the other team is looking for you. (Or, as they say in hockey, circled your number on the board.)
    Can you give an update on the Blues record with and without Sunny? Is he really that much of an X factor?
    This season, they are 15-10-2 with him in the lineup, which would make them 1-6-4 without him. But there are a lot of factors coming into play this season.
    Mr. Timmermann,

    Whipped by Vegas three in a row, and tied with the Sharks in the standings. Is that what the Blues really are- not in the same class as Vegas and about as good as the Sharks? I have been expecting them to get it together at some point, but I no longer believe they will this year. Could this lead to bigger changes to the roster or staff in the offseason?
  • So far, we know the Blues aren't as good as Vegas or Colorado and Los Angeles and are about even with Arizona. They are better than San Jose and Anaheim (well, until a couple weekends ago) and the jury is out on how they compare to Minnesota.
    For the Blues to make the playoffs, they will have to really get it together, going 13-5 or 12-6 the rest of the way. They are winless in seven in a row and have two wins in their past 14 games. So, you're talking a big turnaround here.
    Which means we could see bigger changes in the offseason, to players or staff. Because something isn't right. 
    Why can't Parayko be more of a physical presence? With his size if he could just be a little more "nasty" he'd really be an elite player. Seems he's more in line to win the Lady Byng award than the Hart or Norris trophy.
    Well, for starters, Colton Parayko is a really nice guy. If the Lady Byng went to someone who was exceedingly polite, he would get my vote every year. I can picture him and O'Reilly standing in a doorway, saying "After you." "No, after you," for 20 minutes.
    Now, this does not prevent him be a physical presence. He has been a physical presence. He's not going to go cheap shotting guys, but he has thrown his body around because, while he's a nice guy, he is a hockey player, and he's a big one too. This season it's been hard for him to be a physical presence with his back injury, but he can do it. So I wouldn't minimize his physicality. But I think he's always going to do it in moderation.  
    Could Bortuzzo and Hoffman have been traded? No way Bortuzzo didn't show up during the battle drills.
    A Bortuzzo trade seems awfully unlikely. Walman's consistently been getting playing time, and let's not forget, there was a point in time where scratching Bortuzzo was the norm. We could be at a point where instead of Gunnarsson and Bortuzzo taking turns, it's Walman and Bortuzzo. Or Walman and Bortuzzo and Mikkola. Walman could have looked good in the battle drills too
    One final thought, I think this Blues team is still reeling from the Bouwmeester incident. Stuff like that can upset a team's chemistry for years afterward.
    I think they're feeling the effects of not having Bouwmeester. A simpler transition away from him would have been good. There was always the chance that last season would have been Bouwmeester's last anyway.
    Hi Mr. Timmermann,

    Thanks for chatting again. With regard to Dunn and the expansion draft, since he's a RFA, doesn't that make him ineligible? I think he could get an offer sheet from Seattle just like from anyone else, but wouldn't the Blues need to get him signed to expose him? Would there be any point to doing that, such as to try to protect another player by hoping Dunn is picked?
    The Blues only wouldn't have to protect him if they didn't give him a qualifying offer, if I'm remembering the rules correctly. Which would make him a UFA and free to sign anywhere, which I don't think really gains them anything.
    Happy hump day Tom. Remember, we won the Cup!

    Hmmmm...the Florida Panthers get rid of Hoffman and now they are #1 in the Central. Maybe the guy is a lazy malcontent? Time to trade him now before we get nothing at the end of the season.

    Binnington is fine, he doesn't have the defense in front of him like he did in 2019. Too many small d-men.
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