Join Blues beat writer Jim Thomas for his live chat at 1 p.m. Wednesday

Join Blues beat writer Jim Thomas for 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, it's JT here on the chat today. Let's get right to it.
    Good afternoon, do we have any update on Logan Brown? I know he hasn’t been skating wondering if there was any more information
    Nothing new on Logan Brown. Haven't seen him around the team.
    Happy Wednesday Tom. Thanks for your time today.

    First the good news: We won the cup in 2019 (it still makes me happy when I think about it).

    Now the bad news: Chief wants to play a heavy dump and chase/cycle style of offense but the team isn't built for it anymore.

    Think about it: Army let go one of the team's best in David Perron, our future (Thomas and Kyrou) are two young 20 somethings who want to skate and shoot not forecheck and cycle. The defense are all puck movers who are below 6'2" and shorter. Even Colt 55 doesn't want to hit and be heavy.

    Let's face it. Its time for management to decide who they want the Blues to be and retool toward that goal.

    What say you?
    Barry, it's Jim Thomas today on the chat. Sorry I missed you in Tampa.
    Berube has nothing against skill, trust me on that. But he does like at least a modicum of defense to be played. It is true, however, that this team hasn't really zeroed in on its identity yet. And one-fourth of the way through the season, you start to wonder if it's going to happen. Armstrong can afford to be patient, at least for a while.
    Thanks for the chat, Jim. Always interesting.

    Some good points you guys made on the podcast this week. It's true that the Blues can't make three passes in succession. It's as if players are intentionally passing into the opponents' skates, shins and sticks. They were much better at passing in 2021-22. Makes you wonder what teams have figured out about the Blues to disrupt their passing and, as a result, their offense?
    As I said on the Net Front podcast - and thanks for listening - it's easily the worst passing Blues team so far that I've seen in my six years covering the team. The game gets noticeably faster every year, and I'm sure that could be a factor. To your point, it does make you wonder if the Blues are a little too predictable in terms of their outlet methods and lanes.
    Thanks for the chat and answering a couple questions! Tucker looked pretty good when he was called up and might be ahead of schedule. Looking to next year would anyone take scandella off our hands? Coming off a lost season would we even be able to trade him?
    How hard is it for defensemen to play their off sides? When Parayko and Bortuzzo were both out Faulk was our only right shot on the blue line.
    Even taking into consideration Tucker's limited minutes and limited exposure (to top 6 forwards), I thought he was pretty impressive during his brief time up here. With the current configuration on defense - no Scandella or Perunovich - Tucker looks like he's played himself up to the No. 8 spot. In other words, the first guy up from the AHL if one of the current D-men is sidelined for any kind of lengthy period.
    He's gotten himself on the radar and looks like he could be a 5, 6, or 7 defenseman at the NHL level.
    As for Scandella, maybe he's easier to trade with just one year left on his contract, which will be the case after this season. And you're right, since he will have missed all or most of this season, the return won't be, uh, bountiful.
    As for D-men playing their offside, it's not always easy. But Mikkola has had experience playing the right side. And Perunovich played the right side almost exclusively in college. 
    To balance out the “trade everybody” comments, what’s your view of the new Retro Jersey?

    Personally, the backstory of this design is intriguing, especially since there was only one prototype Jersey made (and still in existence somewhere, I think).

    For what it is worth, I feel connected to the pre-1967 design and was a great marketing choice to promote (providing one knows the history of the prototype design)…….and yes, I spent the coins to get the Retro Jersey!
    I'm not really into all these alternate and retro jerseys. They're money-making vehicles for the teams. And that's OK. I know there are a lot of fans that like the variety. But if you're talking about the yellow uniforms - I'm not a fan. And I don't think some of the players are either. I believe it was Schenn who said it looked like a Nashville Predators uniform.
    Watching the Blues play Buffalo, and Dallas, two teams with youthful exuberance--we look like "Disney's Dancing Grandpas On Ice!" Ottawa would skate rings around us too. The Bruins and Rangers probably give a good haul for ROR. He's been great it will be sad to see him go but what choice do we have?
    I don't think Dallas skated rings around the St. Louis. They checked the hell out of St. Louis and played good defense - that's what Dallas always does. They don't give you much open ice. And they do have some young, exciting talent up front in Robertson and Hintz.
    Buffalo, on the other hand, put on a skating clinic against the Blues. They have five top 10 picks on their roster from the 2017 draft up to now. In comparison, the Blues have had five top 10 picks - TOTAL - since the 1988-89 season.
    When you're out of the playoffs as consistently as Buffalo is - 11 straight seasons - you accumulate lots of high-end talent in the draft..
    When you're consistently in the playoffs and in the hunt like the Blues - you don't have that benefit. Sooner or later that will catch up with you. The decision Armstrong has to make is if that time is now with the Blues.
    We'll see what happens with O'Reilly. I do agree with you that there will be some interest in him. But I think there still could be a window where he could return to St. Louis if the cap goes up by $4-4.5 million.
    Do you know anything about Tanner Dickinson? Been radio silent about him. Know he was injured during off season
    NO, I'm sorry I don't have any update on him. I know you've asked this before. And I keep forgetting to check into this. Although I do try to keep up with the prospects, he has not been high on my radar.
    So like I’m probably one of the biggest buchnevich fans in the planet… lmao like personal collector of his but how do you feel about him this year. His game has definitely improved for sure! If you pass by him he may know me if you mention me as the kid who’s obsessed with him lollll jk jk. Met him a few times ip.
    Yes, he's playing well. That early season injury set him back, but he's on his game now. I saw him in the locker room today. Had I seen this before practice ended, maybe I ask him about you.
    It was a close game for 2.5 periods Monday. Dallas was so good at taking away the middle of the ice. Shouldn't a team like the Blues be able to exploit a tight Neutral Zone check with stretch passes and stick handling. Our team is built for the transition game starting with Binner and strong skaters on the blue line. I wont mention the speed and passing we have at the forward positions. Not complaining but I just kept expecting some 2 on 1's at least.
  • Again, Dallas doesn't give you much time and space - period. The stretch passes - and the Blues in general try too many of them IMO - weren't working Monday, and haven't worked for much of the season. I wouldn't necessarily say the Blues are built for the transition game, either. Players like Kyrou, Thomas and even Schenn are good in transition.
    The O'Reilly line is more of a possession, grinding group.
    The Blues seem like the Blues of old. Not bad enough to fall completely out of the playoff picture but not good enough to really believe they can compete against good to great teams.
    Yeah, I'd say that's a pretty good synopsis of where the team is at right now.
    You know the Stars got Jason Robertson I. The 2017 draft I. The second round. They drafted better than us. I don't know what the fuss is about Neighbors. He's a 3rd or 4th liner. He's not quick and offensive enough--he'll be pretty good but not like Thomas and Kyrou worked out. Right?
    Yeah, and the Blues got Jordan Kyrou in the second round. So what's your point?
    So do you ever talk to Vladi? Where is he at? Definitely wants to test UFA? Would he be open to signing long term? He's only 30 not easy to replace at all. Why do t you just ask him point blank "would you stay if you got a contract extension you liked?"
    Apparently, you haven't been keeping up. Tarasenko has made it pretty clear he doesn't want to be here.
    Haven't talked to him in a while. He usually leaves the locker room well before it's open to reporters after practices and morning skates. 
    The pointy is Heskinen and Robertson are all stars at 23. Hintz is 26. Wyatt Johnston is 19. Dellasandria is 21. The Stars are hitting on their draft picks. We are NOT. Bokk, Kostin, Neighbors. We could have picked Robertson who leads the NHL in scoring with Kostin's pick tight? We hit on Thomas and Kyrou Dallas hit on like 6 guys!!
    You're being pretty selective in your argument. I'll give you Kostin. But the Blues got Justin Faulk for Bokk (part of a package). I'd say that worked out pretty good for St. Louis.
    It's also pretty funny that you're ready to proclaim Johnston and Dellandrea stars after just six and seven goals respectively. And Neighbours a bust after two goals. Really?
    And you're forgetting about Blues players such as Snuggerud (leading top-ranked U. of Minnesota in scoring), Bolduc (on a better point pace in the "Q" this year than he was last year); Leo Loof; or Joel Hofer. Maybe you should wait a couple of years before passing judgement.
    To be a consistently winning team you can’t give up 15+ shots a period and it seems the Blues do that once a game, better team keep shots for a game below 30. Too many games the Blues don’t hit 30 but their opponents do, including a dominating period like the first against Florida. Why are we seeing such inconsistency in Berube 4th year coaching a Veteran laden team.
    I don't think Berube is out there playing defense.
    But you're right - way too many shots on goal allowed per game. The Blues have been outshot maybe two-thirds to three-fourths of their games this year. Not a good sign. Have no reason why.
    With the Leddy signing the Blues we’re supposed to have solidified their D for not just this season but for a few years. However, the slide and inconsistency since 2019 continues, even in their 7 game win streak GA were a bit high. Why have they struggled, it’s been blamed on Bouwmester retirement a few years ago, Binner at times being inconsistent, Parrayko’s back, forwards, and who knows what other reasons. At some point you are what the numbers say your are, but why?
    Yeah, they never really have replaced Bouwmeester. And overall, the play of their top four defensemen has been disappointing. To the point where I had someone in the league - who's very familiar with the Blues - tell me a few weeks ago "how can all four of (the Blues') top four defenseman be playing poorly at the same time."
    If that's true about Vladi it's too bad. I mean he wanted out I before last season and Army exposed him to Seattle. So if it's true what you say then do you know of what teams he would accept a trade to? If it's true then there is no reason not to trade him ASAP right? How is Army playing this?
    Like he's always played it. You're not going to just give away Vladi. And if you think the team can be a contender, you don't trade him.
    Having watched a lot of Blues hockey this year and in recent years, what is the team identity Jim Thomas believes the Blues should play to?
    Play smarter, tighter hockey. Don't overthink things Cut down on the home-run passes - those stretch passes that have a low-percentage success rate need to be minimized. sometimes it's better to skate out of the zone with the puck, than attempt to pass it out through a lot of bodied.
    Be more aggressive on offense. Put more pucks on net. Get more players net front. I believe it was Gretzky who said: "You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take." The Blues have too many players that defer.
    Lots of naysayers here in the chat today. The Blues are 11-11, not where we'd like to be but not out of the race by any stretch. I look around the West, and I think it's wide open. I don't see any great teams. Dallas is right up there in the standings. I was at the game on Monday, and it was a much closer game than the final score showed. The Blues easily could have won that game if Buch had been able to finish a couple of his chances. And that was without our No. 1 center. Winnipeg is second in the division and has only won 8 of 21 games in regulation. Vegas is (as expected) a much improved team, but their goaltending is unproven to put it lightly. Do we really think the Blues couldn't win a 7 game series with Seattle? I do expect Colorado to move up the standings as the season goes along, but they've had their middle six hollowed out by the salary cap.

    My point is, I don't see a juggernaut in the West. I know we're still close enough to the Cardinals latest October disappointment that a lot of people here will roll their eyes when I say just get in and anything can happen. I don't think that's true every year, but I think it is this year in this conference. Is this a reasonable glass-half-full assessment or do you think I need to put down my blue colored glasses?
  • I think you make a lot of good points. We were talking about this on the NetFront podcast. With the possible exception of Vegas, there doesn't seem to be a powerhouse in the West this year. To a degree, the East has dominated the West in games between the two conferences, and that has kept the Western teams bunched up in the standings.
    So that's all true.
    The disappointing thing is that after the seven-game winning streak, some of the old bad habits have cropped up again. (As if the winning streak never happened.) The lack of consistency and the wide variance in play by the team from week-to-week has been exasperating for Berube.
    J.T. Do the Blues have a museum? I have a 68-69 Blues yearbook I got as a kid back in the day that I would like to donate to it.
    No. But I wonder if they will have something along those lines when they start the new Blues Hall of Fame. So hang onto that program.
    Jim: Why didn't Seattle want Tarasenko and want team would want him now in a trade? Thanks
    Well, at the time of the expansion draft, Tarasenko had played only 34 regular-season games combined over two seasons with just seven goals combined over two seasons. He had shoulder problems and was asking for a trade. So a better question at the time, might have been why WOULD you want to claim Tarasenko? He seemed like damage goods at the time on more than one level.
    Since then, he scored 34 goals with a career-high 82 points last season. He's off to a slower start this year, but is still on a pace for 20 goals and 60 points. So he should have some trade value, particularly for a contending team that needs a little more scoring punch.. 
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