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 one and all, and happy holidays. Let's get right to it, shall we?
    Glad to have you back on the chat this week JT. Love the Net Front Presence podcast, which have been generally depressing lately. Just curious...do less people listen to the podcasts during negative stretches with the team? (Same could be asked about online readership and chat participants.)
    Unless it's a trainwreck situation, when local sports teams are losing - not just Blues, but it was true with the Rams and I'm sure our other big beats - when the team loses less people are reading. Not sure if that holds true with the NetFront  podcasts. But thanks for listening. We try to be fun, informative and honest.
    Are you in Edmonton or is someone else covering this trip?
    No, I'm sitting here in the lobby at Centene after Blues practice. Tom Timmermann is on this trip - at least the Edmonton, Calgary portion. I pick things up in Vancouver. I believe Tom said this is his first time covering a game in Calgary. I usually take all but about 8 or 10 of the road games every year.
    You guys (you, Tom and Jeff) have made comments previously about players who you either enjoy speaking with, or you simply respect them for their accessibility, honesty, and accountability with the press. (Perron, O'Reilly, etc..) With that in mind, what about #91? He seems to avoid you guys like the plague, and sometimes when you do interview him, specifically when things aren't going well, he seems irritated. Fans love him because he wears his heart on his sleeve, but I could say where he might not be one of those enjoyable interviews for you guys.
    I do enjoy interviewing Tarasenko, because he's usually a straight shooter. He lets you know what's on his mind and he speaks with pride and passion. I respect him as a player and a person. But if you're wearing an "A" on your sweater, you have a leadership role. And part of that leadership role is speaking to the media - and not just when things are going good.
    We need more Vladi. I told him earlier in the season that he needs to speak to us more often.
    Jim, did you receive a question from me today? I wrote it over an hour ago and I'm not sure it went thru, I have been having problems logging into the PD website,
  • Barry, I'm not sure. There were at least 10 questions in the queue when I started the chat, and I haven't been able to get to the bottom of the queue. What was the question about?
    The similarity between our record at this point and our record in 18-19 is striking yet we aren’t nearly as far behind now as we were then. Tis the season to BELIEVE!
    I'm not saying it's going to happen. In fact, I don't believe it will happen. But I felt the same way at this point of the 2018-19 season. Last year was an exception because Colorado was so good, but just get into the playoffs and just about anything can happen.
    Hi Jim,
    Thanks for doing this.
    Tarasenko has been strong all season, in my opinion. He's been noticeably physical, defensively responsible, and scoring -- though not at the clip he and we would like. Is he playing for a free-agent contract, exhibiting leadership, or both?
    He's played well lately. But I don't think he's been as engaged over the course of this season - so far - on a night-in, night-out basis. The way you tell if Tarasenko is truly engaged  is if he's going to the net and he's hitting people. (Maybe not 5 hits like he had against Nashville, but still playing physical.) I don't think he's done that enough this season. Again, the last few games have been an exception, and I'm sure that's what you're referring to.
    Hi Jim,
    Thanks for doing this.
    Comparisons to 2018-19 are tempting to keep hope alive for this team, but the big difference is the earlier team had a first D pairing of Pietrangelo-Bouwmeester. We have nothing close to that now. Seeing Parayko's pathetic effort in OT on the winner was sickening, and I like Colton and am generally a big supporter of his play. But that was really, really bad.
    Does it come down to competitiveness? Just being willing to do what's necessary to win?
    Actually, at this time in the 2018-19 season, Bouwmeester was still the No. 1 whipping boy for Blues fans. And the Blues were allowing a whopping 3.31 goals per game in mid December of 2018. And keep in mind scoring was down in '18-19 leaguewide compared to how it is now. And people were questioning if Pietrangelo had what it takes as a captain.
    Obviously, that improved dramatically shortly after the calendar turned to Jan. 2019.
    I have always bee open-minded about Parayko, and I think he plays better than generally given credit for. But it's hard to defend what happened against Colorado. He's a big man, you simply can't let Rantanen get to the net in that situation, with the game on the line.
    Any word on whether Buchnevich and Brown are on the road trip?
    Buchenvich is fine, Brown needs some practice time but did accompany the team on the trip. Here's an update I posted just before the chat:

    Jordan Binnington's fine, Pavel Buchnevich's back as Blues start long trip

    STLtoday.comReturn of Buchnevich leads to more line changes as Berube looks for more scoring punch.
    Reading the quotes from Army in your recent article--they were alarming! " we did something s in the offseason that we thought would have a positive effect but it hasn't worked out that way"

    Are you kidding me? Jimmy you thought the Blues were worse off going into this season and I definitely did. Army took a team strength goaltending and made it weaker. Chuckie sideburns is doing well for Washington for the same AAV we're paying Griess. Don't even mention the NHL leader in shutouts and a nice.918 save pct Villie Husso. Binner has a .890 save percentage. With Husso Berube could play the hot hand. Army is losing it--what was he talking about?
    Roy, you must improve your reading comprehension. The Armsstrong quotes, as stated in the story, were from Dec. 2018.
    The reason the Blues didn't sign Lindgren is he was able to get a multi-year deal with Washington. The Blues didn't want to do this because it would block Joel Hofer. If Lindgren was willing to sign a one-year deal, he might be here. But he was able to get a multi-year and in hockey that's guaranteed money.
    As for Husso, we all know he was regarded as the better prospect at one time over Binnington. We get that.
    Husso may turn out to be the better goalie. But the Blues were hemmed in by Binnington's contract - and I don't blame the Blues for signing him to the deal because he'd just won you the one and only Cup in franchise history - and Husso was still very much unproven on the NHL level. When Husso's contract was up, the Blues simply couldn't afford to keep both goalies.  And even if they could, why would Husso stay and compete with Binnington when he knew he could get much more playing time in Detroit. That's it..
    Your continued inability to understand this is why TomT banned you from asking any more Husso questions.
    Every night there are new line combinations which makes me check the bench for LaRuissa. How do the players feel about the new partners every night and if you haven't heard from them on the subject how do you feel about the changing lines. (injuries aside) My feelings are likely evident while unimportant.
  • Players like continuity. Unless a line is really struggling, they like to be with the same guys on a nightly basis to build up chemistry. But they also realize that when a team is struggling, that there will be changes to try to find something that clicks.
    Saying all that, yes, if I were Blues coach, I would probably change lines less often.
    P.S. - If you read the story I currently have posted on Stltoday.com, you will there are two more new line combinations in the works for the Edmonton game.

    Jordan Binnington's fine, Pavel Buchnevich's back as Blues start long trip

    STLtoday.comReturn of Buchnevich leads to more line changes as Berube looks for more scoring punch.
    Is the Blues defense THAT bad, have there just been too many defensive lapses, or are the d-men getting no support from the forwards? I see a lot of passes right at opposing players with no Blues around. Blind passes are not working, that is for sure. Seem to have noticed Kyrou doing more defensively that he has in the past. It's going to take the team effort like with Nashville. Keep doing that and keep checking tightly, play with an edge so to speak, and the results should come. Berube speak I guess. Rant over.
    As I wrote in today's Blues article, the play of the top 4 defensemen has been underwhelming. An NHL  team executive told me during the Blues' eight-game losing streak - who knows the Blues well - that he couldn't believe all four top defensemen on the team were playing so poorly at the same time. That's improved to some degree since then. And obviously the checking of the forwards has lagged at times as well, which has hurt the defense. And let's not let the goaltenders off the hook. After a pretty good start to the season, their play has lagged. The Blues are allowing an astounding 3.72 goals per game this season. If that doesn't improve dramatically, even in these high-scoring times - this team is going nowhere.
    Happy Wednesday Jim. Thanks for the Blues chat today.

    After the Colorado game Sunday afternoon Tom Timmermann was one of several journalists interviewing Tarasenko in the Blues locker room. Among Vladi’s comments was the quote “I know the guys want to be here”. If I had been there I would have interrupted Vladi with “DO YOU WANT TO BE HERE?” No one did or followed up with Vladi after he finished speaking. This was the perfect opportunity to find out what Tarasenko is thinking in terms of his future. He himself opened the door to the question. I yelled the question at my computer screen when I watched the interview the first time. Did you think about my question when you watched the interview? There had to be five to eight hands with iPhones recording Vladi’s thoughts and no one including our intrepid reporter thought to ask. Is the media afraid to ask tough questions for fear Tarasenko won’t grant another interview? Or do you think no one thought to ask? What an opportunity lost!
    Barry, actually it was me who asked the question. In fact, of the four questions asked Vladi - I asked three of them. I think there are some local media who are intimidated by Tarasenko. I'm not one of them. As for your question, I asked him about it early this season. You must have missed it.
    In the game versus CO, why didn’t Parayko just just tackle Ratanen?
    With 7 seconds left, it would not have mattered if he got a penalty. This happens far too many times with him. If he’s not going to be physical, which he never will be, then he should just be a rushing D. He skates well enough.
    We thought the same thing. That late in regulation, just take the penalty.
    Tom,
    the last few weeks, Kerbs has mentioned on the broadcast the topic of O'Reilly's ;minutes. During the skid (after the 7 game winning streak) he noted that 90's minutes were down almost 2 minutes a game and Thomas and other centers were getting key faceoffs late in the game in trailing situations. Heard him recently on the broadcast, either Colorado or Nashville, not sure, saying his minutes were back up towards the top and he likened that as one of the catalysts of their better play. My question to you is, do the game logs mirror that, and have you noticed him more involved in late game closing situations?
    Yes, O'Reilly's minutes have spiked over about the last eight games, but not really at the expense of Thomas. O'Reilly is however taking more faceoffs lately.
    The flashes of brilliance peppered among the countless periods of futility seem less reminiscent of the 2018-19 team and more like the Blues of the 70s, 80s, and 90s that disappointed us time and again despite their annual trips to the playoffs. That being said, something about this team feels almost more lackadaisical in approach and resigned (to losing) in nature than those teams. When that kind of mindset takes over is there a real way to coach out of that, or are new faces needed here and new scenery needed for some old favorites?
    I'm not sure if lackadaisical is the right word. But something has been missing, although not so much in the past couple of games.
    Did ya get a chance talking with buch abt his biggest fan lmaooooo he’s due to come back tomorrow right!?
    Evan, have not talked to him lately.
    Jim, thank you for your time. I've read this season has a particularly strong draft class, it feels like perhaps the best thing the Blues can do is cut bait and reload with talent. I personally don't think the team is talented enough for a 2019 esq turnaround. But my opinion means very, very little.

    Even with Bedard as the crown jewel, and the lottery being so balanced, is there a "that's enough" point? I'd bet some of the more talented members of this team could fetch a excellent draft pick package.
    I do think there will be a "that's enough" point, I just don't think it's now. The Blues have 14 home games over a 19-game stretch in January and February - I think after that stretch, if something's going to happen, it's going to happen then.
    As for the "cut bait and reload" theory, are you willing to do so at the expense of three, four, five, six seasons without playoffs? Be careful what you wish for.
    Hey Jim… congrats on winning the what should be the warmer portion of the road trip. JR doesn’t go on every trip, so if he’s not there is it just you asking all the the post game questions? I didn’t watch all the post game stuff from the last trip, but it must have been brutal trying to come up with new ways to ask “why do you suck” ;)
    Yes, frequently the Post-Dispatch is the only independent media traveling with the team so unless there's a writer or two from that city attending the Blues press conference, it's just me asking the question. And yes, there's occasionally a game where you don't necessarily have a lot to ask.
    Who do you think is the team MVP so far this season...the player having the most positive impact on results?
  • Right now, I'd say Pavel Buchnevich, although he has missed nine games due to injury.
    Thanks for hanging with us, JT. We appreciate you.

    It feels to me like the Blues need the closest thing to a Darian Hatcher that the modern NHL offers.

    1. Who would that creature be, and what are the chances the Blues can acquire him?
    2. What would it take to turn Mikkola into that creature?
    Not sure you need a guy who's going to have 100-plus penalty minutes in one season - not in today's NHL. But Mikkola does have a physical nature to his game and isn't afraid to drop the gloves. He does take some silly penalties however, which he needs to cut down on.
Powered by Platform for Live Reporting, Events, and Social Engagement