Well, this should be fun. Bobo's here, where's all the ballplayers?
This is a crisis for sure. I am slow to push the panic button in general, but there is no mistaking the gravity of this situation. If the next game isn't night-and-day better, then the gap before Vegas arrives could offer a logical time for change.
He'll be on the long list of whipping boys today. But I'll say this: There are not a lot of Mark Messier's out there. How many truly amazing captains are there in the NHL? Players are all their own entities, their own little companies with their own interests to take care of. Real leadership is leading by example, not speeches. And, yes, Pietrangelo needs to do more on that front -- as do all the other veterans.
Coaching changes are far more common. And sometimes new coaches want to create a blank slate and let players earn their roles. But singling out a player for the team's failure? Presumably the next step would be trading that player, given the potential for increased division in the group.
Haven't watched any NBA this season, but there is crazy talent in that league. You have huge guys playing like guards -- knocking down three-points, attacking off the dribble and racking up assists.
I don't need to see all the dancing and flying through the air, so I'll be a classic old sportswriter and pick The Boss in '09. Nothing fancy there and he didn't make me feel old, like The Who did.
Ah, but remember how Backes took the fall for the Blues taking that first-round powder against the Minnesota Wild? Fans demanded his removal as captain. Easy scapegoat. Pick a veteran on this team and you can argue that he has to show more heart, toughness and team spirit.
Trading away good players during a tough team stretch is always a bad idea. Ask Ron Caron, who did that regularly back when it easier to trade guys in the pre-cap area. Yes, I believe a coaching change in the near term is possible. As for the team core, it is changing -- O'Reilly, Perron, Bozak and Maroon are key adds to the group. Sanford, Kyrou and Thomas didn't play here last season. Schenn and Dunn are in Year 2. That is a LOT of new blood.
That is the price tag we have all been predicting, thanks to the market Stanton set with his deal. Most teams will pass on that bidding, but I bet he gets close to that. Somebody will pay for talent and disregard the fancy stats.
The Harper camp is playing this smart, right now to the preemptive polite farewell to Washington. No noise coming from that group. But I'm guessing if the Cardinals offered him $350 million he would listen.
The bidding on Parayko and Tarasenko would be high. But, again, trading top players when the team is tanking is usually a massive mistake. In the case of these two, finding players of their ability is difficult and both are locked into reasonable contracts.
The Cards have spelled out their gameplan. This is a 100 percent chance they will add left-handed relief help one way or another. The team needs another middle-of-the-order bat, preferably at third base, and it will explore both trades and free agency on that front as well. While the team is set at most position, there is a sense the team is willing to trade a presumed starter if the right opportunity arises.
I don't see this as a tactical issue. I see it as execution and effort, or lack thereof. As for the too-many-men penalties, that mostly falls on the coaches for bad bench management. But the coaches would also like the players to see where the puck is before opting to come off for a change. Some of these blunders are stunning.
Actually, we started with a bunch of Blues questions. It will be a long day for those boys today. I don't expect any of them will be spared.
Price is interesting, even with his ginormous contract, now that he is winning games again. But I can't see the motivation for either team to make that trade at this point.
This is a different world. The days of effective browbeating -- or even a drunken late-night team fight -- are long gone. The whole pride in the sweater thing faded away. Believe me, a lot of people in the industry yearn for the old school culture where hockey players always had each other's back -- or else.
I expect some changes for sure. This team has a lot of proven talent and a lot of young guys trying to get minutes. But, again, I would expect the team to try a new coaching voice before shopping any cornerstone players.
It would be nice to see the Blues settle on a lineup, allow players to settle into roles and see if chemistry developments. The constant shuffling doesn't help. But with Yeo coaching for his job, he has less than no patience. So if things don't turn immediately, I could see a coaching change to hit the reset button. At that point, assign roles and challenge guys to meet them over the next several weeks.
Parayko did a Larry Robinson when he drilled Mark Scheifele to the ice in Winnipeg, clearing him from the crease with prejudice. All that got the team was a penalty. Bench Pietrangelo? I don't see that make the team better with both Bortuzzo and Gunnarsson shelved. Berube is the obvious interim coach choice. I'd be surprised if Robinson would want back in as a head coach even temporarily, but maybe he could step in and help Berube.
The biggest name in Nationals shortstop Trea Turner. Now he has even more leverage to command a monstrous long-term deal. Surely the team was going to consider that anyway, since Harper's exit appears most likely and Turner would become the cornerstone.