Chat some Blues hockey with Jim Thomas during his live chat at 1 p.m. Wednesday

Chat some Blues hockey with Jim Thomas during his live chat at 1 p.m. Wednesday

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

    Hello again everybody. Looks like the NHL is creeping ever closer to a return to play, Dmitrij Jaskin keeps scoring goals in the KHL, and the Blues (like most of the NHL) lost money during the pandemic according to Forbes. What's on your minds today?
    Howdy. If you had to play prognosticator, give me two current Blue Notes you see NOT playing for StL 2021-22
    Steen, Bozak and Gunnarsson are among a handful of Blues whose contracts are up after the 2020-21 season. Pick two of those three. In fact, all three could be gone.
    Looks like Jaskin struck again in the KHL. His 24th goal of the season gave Dymamo Moscow a 3-2 win over Dinamo Minsk today.
    Where would you like to see the Blues placed. _ in a western division with the California teams,, Colorado, Vegas and Dallas? Or in a Central Division that might include Chicago, Detroit and Nashville, but also Tampa Bay and Florida?
    Contracts not withstanding and playing by the rules of the roster -- meaning only the folks that we have. If you were "King of the World" and given free reign, how would you staff the team for an average game, day in and day out? (Offensive and Defense pairings, positions, and the like...).
    OK, this is assuming Tarasenko and Steen are still out and Dunn re-signs;. .
    Forwards
    Sanford-O'Reilly-Perron
    Schwartz-Thomas-Schenn
    Blais-Bozak-Kyrou
    Clifford-Barbashev-Sundqvist
    Defensemen
    Scandella-Parayko
    Krug-Faulk
    Dunn-Bortuzzo/Gunnarsson
    Goalie
    Binnington
    Your lineup doesn't seem all that far-fetched. Sanford on the top line is an interesting look considering where he started last season. Not that he wasn't good, but he really did seem to grow in many aspects of his game. Opening alongside O'Reilly and Perron fits.
    Well, I guess you could list Schwartz-Thomas-Schenn as the top line. Sanford did his best work with O'Reilly and Perron last year, so it makes sense to have them start out the season that way. I guess the biggest stretch is having Kyrou on the third line. But I like his speed, and I think he needs to play. Now the biggest change might be when Tarasenko comes back. I think you have to start him out with Schwartz and Schenn. So what do you do with Thomas? Do you drop him to the third line with Blais and Bozak (thus dropping Kyrou to the fourth line _ not ideal _ or out of the lineup altogether?) Or do you try him on a line with O'Reilly and Perron, dropping Sanford to the third line _ again probably at the expense of Kyrou? I think both Berube and Armstrong want to see Thomas get top 6 minutes this season. To do this, Thomas needs to continue to improve on defense and needs to shoot more.
    Hi Jim. Great news on the season. I honestly thought we might not get one. So if they go with a full SC playoffs the season would end in late June? Also now that there is a season do you think we see some clarification on Alexander Steen? Thanks
    I think mid-July is more likely _ just before the Olympics start. If you squeeze in 56 games in 3 1/2 months, you leave a cushion of one or two weeks for any games that must be rescheduled due to COVID, and then you allow two to 2 1/2 months for the playoffs.
    Starting to just look like a couple of Oakville guys chatting in here today. Should have just met up at Garvey's!
    Yeah, a very slow start on the questions today. But it usually picks up as we go along. And think about it _ we've gone 9 months with only six weeks' worth of Blues hockey season _ from July 13 (start of training camp 2.0) to July 21 (when the Blues lost Game 6 to Vancouver in the Edmonton bubble).. Maybe most Blues fans are finally out of questions.
    And as to the previous questioner asking about more info on Steen, yes, the hope is we will get more details on Steen's status once camp starts. But you know how the NHL is about injury info _ easily the worst in pro sports _ and that's been especially true during the pandemic.
    Hi, Jim. Even with several vaccines on the way, and from what I read they'll be available to everyone by early spring, it doesn't appear governments will back down on restrictions. With that said, do you think the Blues push back the Chris Pronger jersey ceremony to 2021-22 season so fans can be in attendance? Same goes with a potential Pietrangelo return and a video tribute. Those guys deserve to have fans there and fans deserve to pack the place for them. To me it makes sense so they can get the ovations they deserve.
    Also, in regards to your poll, I voted for ads on jerseys. I used to work for a junior hockey team and we'd sell ad space on the jerseys to businesses. Great way to get money and expose the business. Now, obviously the level of hockey is different. In junior hockey, we needed all the money we could get. NHL isn't as desperate. Still, I think a name bar at the bottom of the jersey wouldn't be so bad.
  • I accidentally punched out two questions at once _ on ads on jerseys, and postponing ceremonial nights for Pronger and Pietrangelo.
    First on the ceremonial nights, I think what you're suggesting makes all the sense in the world. . Even with limited fans in the stands, it wouldn't be the same for Pronger's jersey retirement. Push it back a year and let him experience the full adulation of 18,000-plus fans at Enterprise. As for Pietrangelo, if the Blues are placed in a realigned Western Division, they probably will get the Golden Knights in St. Louis four times this coming season assuming there's no "bubble" set up. My question here: would it seem awkward to do nothing even with limited or no fans in those circumstances? Now if the Blues were placed in a Central Division, you wouldn't have to worry about it this season _ at least not in the regular season _ because the assumption is that there will be no games played outside of the division in the regular season.
    As for ads on jerseys, I know it's pretty commonplace in the European leagues, but I guess I'm old school on this. I'd rather not  have any ads. And I say, just tough it out _ the revenue (or at lest most of it) should come back post-pandemic. But if you have to go that route, your idea of a single bar at the bottom of the jersey would at least be somewhat palatable.
    Hi Jim: does Armstrong sometimes use the media to communicate his roster/playing time preferences in an unusual fashion or is that pretty much par for the course for GMs? I believe he's referenced Kyrou a couple times.
    I'm pretty sure anything he's mentioned to the media already has been discussed with Berube. He has also said on more than one occasion that he picks the roster, but the head coach decides who plays and how much.
    Hi Jim: Brett Hull was named the No. 1 STL sports personality of the last 50 years at the Jack Buck Awards banquet. Thoughts or confirmation he's alive?
    I was a little surprised to see it was Hull and not a Cardinals players, seeing that this is after all St. Louis. But Hull is a very fitting choice, obviously. Bob Gibson's last good season was in 1972 (19-11/2.45 ERA). Lou Brock played through the entire '70s, but that's the very beginning of the 50 years. I haven't looked at the list, but Ozzie Smith maybe? Isaac Bruce? For all their great work Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk weren't here all that long.
    As for Hull sightings, anyone know if he was at the banquet last night? I know it was limited seating.. Was he at the grand opening of his restaurant in Wentzville a few weeks back? I was invited but didn't attend. (I'm low-keying it during the pandemic.)
    So, what is the NHL waiting on? This ain't getting any better, at least for the next 2-3 months. A Christmas miracle?
    I wouldn't be surprised if we had an agreement on return to play by the end of this week or early next week. The economic impasse basically put things in stalemate mode for 2, 3 weeks. Now, if I understand it right, the league (meaning owners) have just decided to pass on the economic discussion and will abide by the CBA agreement of last summer. So I think things should start moving now.
    Hi Jim - an NFL question - just saw that Farr moved back to LA. Is he going to work with the Rams or just another opportunity?
  • Farr's been away for some time. He's part of the Rams' broadcast team in LA, and does some social media work for the team as well as far as I can tell. I miss D'Marco. He was a fun guy to be around.
    Is there any chance of a Dunn trade? If so, would it be a package with a Blais, Kostin or Sanford for an offensive winger, or solo for a prospect/draft pick?
    With Armstrong, you never say never. But I have a hard time understanding why it would be a good thing to move Dunn. You've just lost offense _ 10-plus goals a season _ in Pietrangelo. Why would you move another 10-goal defensemen in Dunn. I think he's one of only 17 D-men in the league who have scored more than 20 goals combined over the past two seasons. And he's still young and cheap labor as an RFA.
    Whether you package Dunn or move him solo, I don't think extra draft picks is what you're looking for _ not for a team that wants to win now and still feels the window is open to compete for the Cup. 
    Now saying all that, I see that Pacioretty could be on the market in Vegas. At 32, he should still have a couple, three good seasons left and he's under contract for three more seasons (counting '20-21).. The problem is, how do you come up with $7 million of cap space, especially this year, to squeeze him onto the roster?
    Mr. Thomas,
    It's easy for me to say no to advertising on uniforms because I don't have to pay the bills, but I would sure hate to see it, even if it was just one small one. It would never stay that way.
    Once that snowball starts rolling downhill, it's only going to pick up more and more ads. Some of the Euro league sweaters are so overrun with ads that there's no room left for a team logo. Awful.
    My thoughts exactly. If they could work out an agreement where it would be inobtrusive and only be for a season or two while the league re=establishes itself post-pandemic, I might say OK. But if it's successful the NHL probably would want to continue the practice. Isn't that the way it almost always goes?
    Mr. Thomas,

    Good for Jaskin that he's doing so well in the KHL. Two things come to mind for me: 1- the KHL is a step or two down from the NHL, but 2- also, he's probably a better hockey player now than he was in St. Louis. I don't think he's an NHL all-star by any means, but maybe he could be a more valuable NHL player than he was before. Have you had any contact with him since he left? I wonder if he would be interested in a NHL return, or if he's content to star in a lesser league.
    You're right. The KHL is the second-best league in the world, but it's not the NHL. The wider ice and less physical play obviously suits Jaskin, who I noticed is sporting a mustache these days. Interestingly, Jaskin is leading the KHL in hits (124 total, or about 4 per game), so he hasn't been a wallflower. Obviously he's a big star in Russia and is getting 20 minutes a game. (His NHL average was 11:55). So he's a big fish in I guess the second-biggest pond in the world.
    I tried to arrange an interview a week or so ago with Jaskin, but haven't had any success. The last time I talked to him was during the '18-19 season, when he came here as a Washington Capital.
    Happy Hump Day Jim.

    My fellow chatters may have already discussed this, but below are my suggestions for the Blues to raise money to replace lost ticket sales:

    - Charge a high, premium price per home game to allow a fan in full equipment to sit on the bench during warmups.

    - A higher premium to sit on the bench during the first period. Dressed in full equipment of course.

    - Premium pricing for a fan to sit in the area, home and away, with the TV and radio talent.

    - Advertising inside the blue and red lines. Text only.

    - Advertising around the circle at ice ice to include text and small graphic.

    - a company's logo in all four faceoff dots.

    - A premium price for a fan, three each game, to ride shot gun on the Zamboni.

    These are all serious suggestions, what do your think?
    Barry, hope things are well in Orlando. (An aside, FIY: I met Barry twice at the arena in Tampa before Blues-Lightning games.)
    As for your ideas, obviously you'd have to sign a waiver to ride the Zamboni _ it's actually not a Zamboni, but a different brand at Enterprise _ or sit on the bench. I've seen some fans actually sitting on the bench during pregame at several home contests. I wonder if they charge them? And I'm not sure if there's enough room on the bench to have a fan sit there during a game. It's pretty tight there as you know.
    Not sure how much things like that would help financially.
    As for your ads on the ice idea, I think this would be easier to stomach than ads on jerseys, just as long as it's not too obtrusive.
  • I'm not a big fan of advertising on sweaters (jerseys if you like), but I don't see a way around it. Advertising on the ice too (No Attorney ads please!). The owners have to find a way of generating revenue to make up for the lack of ticket sales. I outlined some ideas in a previous submission to you in this chat, some you might say are crazy, but these are crazy times.

    Question: Do the owners have to share in this revenue generated from advertising based on the CBA? If not I'm sure the players won't like it but they have to ask themselves do they want to earn a living playing hockey or get a real job. These are tough times, requiring out of the box thinking.
    I'm not sure if the ad revenue you're talking about would go into the 50-50 players' split with the owners (teams) or not. But you're right, these are unusual times. And better to put up with something like ads on the ice than, say,, an increase in ticket prices or higher concession prices, parking, etc.
    Mr. Thomas,
    Have you seen the Jordan Binnington Hallmark Christmas ornament? I'm not trying to make a pitch for Hallmark, but I ordered one and it's pretty neat. If anybody has a Blues fan on their list and need a good gift idea, I can vouch for the ornament!
    I have only seen the ornament as depicted on social media. Glad you like it.
    I like the red jerseys. What three Blues players are most likely to surprise you with their play in a short season in 2021?
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