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.

  • Sorry we're a little late. Practice didn't start until noon today, and just back from interviews. Both Thomas and Buchnevich didn't practice today and are out Thursday in Chicago.
  • As many of you know, I'm retiring at the end of this season. I think I may get another chat or two before I fade off into the sunset. But not sure. In any event, thanks for your participation in the chat over my six years on the hockey beat - and on the Rams chats as well for those of you that follow football. Forty-eight years at the Post-Dispatch have gone by quick. You'll be in good hands with Matt DeFranks.
  • JT I have truly enjoyed your time as a beat writer for the Rams and Blues and wish you all the best in your impending retirement!! Thanks for all your excellent reporting! I assume this might be one of your final chats.

    With a disappointing season winding down I find it ironic that the Blues aren’t giving steady and consistent playing time to Logan Brown to determine if he has any future with the club as he has been a healthy scratch more often than not. Or is his lack of playing time indicative that decision has already been made? Thanks and I look forward to your response.
  • Well, Brown will be in the lineup on Thursday due to the injuries to Buchnevich and Thomas. But no, it doesn't look good for Brown going forward. For all the emphasis on laying a foundation for next season and looking at different players, it is noteworthy that Brown isn't playing much. He simply has to be more aggressive along the walls and in the corner, and establish more of a net-front presence (you know, like the podcast!) on offense.
  • Congratulations on a well-earned rest.
  • The plus/minus metric in hockey is a flawed measurement except on the extremes. Consider that of the league's top-50 scorers (Jordan Kyrou is 42), only 13 have red numbers. Kyrou's minus-35 is the worst. It's not easy to be a minus-35 when you're putting up nearly a point a game yourself. How explain a player who makes amazing plays at one end of the ice struggles so away from the puck or in the defensive zone?
  • A couple of things here. For one, 11 of Kyrou's 33 goals are on the power play, easily the team high. And goals either for or against on the PP/PK don't count on a person's plus-minus total.
    Also, the Blues have given up a ton of empty-net goals - I'm sure Kyrou has gotten at least some ice time in those situations - and those do count on plus-minus.
    But your basic point is valid. Minus-35 is a huge number. It's the worst in the league. Kyrou simply has to dedicate himself to playing more of a two-way game. He played only 13 minutes last night and Berube said part of the reason for that low playing time was defense - or lack thereof. Berube said Thomas' ice time was down (16 minutes) for the same reason.
    Kyrou has been in a little stretch lately where he's just floating out there on the ice, thinking almost entirely of offense. And over the course of the season, these things have happened all too often.
    But really, Kyrou isn't the Lone Ranger here. The Blues ledger for the season includes seven players who are minus-17 or worse - two of them no longer on the team (O'Reilly and Tarasenko.)
  • Hey Jim, thanks for the chat and all the great reporting you do!

    From what you’ve observed do you see Jordan Kyrou as the kind of player who strives to be great? The kind of player who will always work to be better and raise his game and skills? Stay after practice, use the off-season to work on things, etc. Or the type of player who relies on his talent and doesn’t have that kind of single minded focus?
  • I think he's a pretty hard worker. But he obviously needs to work harder on defense.
  • Happy Jim Thomas Day! Good to have you back at the Blues chat desk.

    Wow, what an entertaining couple of games. Army knows how to retool with two castoffs their old teams didn't want. What can Army do in the summer to get some defensemen? It seems we have the scoring, with d-men look out!
  • Well, I think it's d-men and goaltending. Both have to be better. I think the goaltending will be better just because Hofer will be on the scene all year. And if Binnington is struggling, Berube won't hesitate to play Hofer - whose credentials at this stage of his career are more impressive than Binnington's were at age 22. Obviously, that wasn't the case this year in terms of using Greiss.
    I think ideally, Armstrong would like to move one his top four. Krug seems to be the most logical at $6.5 million and currently playing on the third pairing. There's a thought here that Perunovich can do a lot of the things that Krug currently does. But keep in mind, Krug has a full no-trade.
    So it won't be easy. But I think it's awfully optimistic to thing the defense can be dramatically better if it returns intact on the blueline.
  • JT-Any hunch as what position Army is looking for at pick 10 in the upcoming draft? I would guess a center would be preference unless someone else is head and shoulders better.
  • Agreed. Although a part of me wonders if the Blues would consider a defenseman there. They could use some youth on the backline and use a top-4 type in the system. But I think in general, you're drafting for value more than need - and the higher you're drafting, the more that should be the case.
  • Was Torey Krug that much better than Vince Dunn two years ago when the Blues left Dunn exposed? Man, I'll bet Armstrong would like to have that one back.
  • Good point. But hindsight is 20-20. Looking back on it, it looked like that was the only way the Blues could go in terms of who they exposed on defense. I think the one you can second-guess more is trading Walman to Detroit. Walman never really got a chance here.
  • Jim, I want to THANK YOU for your kindness you showed me and my son when we attended Blues vs. Lightning games a few years ago. Those games were a blast and will be remembered by me and Ryan.

    Who is going to ask Chief all the questions during post game interviews? I don't hear any other voices asking questions except yours. I did hear Matt ask a question once when both of you were peppering Chief with questions. Chief's going to miss you.....and we fans are going to miss you. THANK YOU for your "hall of fame" 48 year career where you daily brought the inside of the game to us football and hockey fanatics. Well done!
  • Barry, the pleasure has been all mine. Have enjoyed seeing you a couple of times on those trips to Tampa Bay (and you with your son the one time). And obviously enjoyed your participation in the chats over the years. You've routinely asked good questions.
    I would say 80-90 percent of the time, the Post-Dispatch is the only St. Louis media on the road (other than the rights holders for radio and TV). We take great pride at the P-D in being at every game - preaseason, regular season and postseason. Home or away. No one else comes close. And it's a considerable financial commitment to do so.
    Any way, with me retired, you'll be hearing at lot of Matt DeFranks on the road.
  • Is there anyway of getting rid of Bingington? Or making him the backup goalie?
  • I don't think Binnington is going anywhere. As I mentioned in an earlier post, with Hofer on the scene next year, I don't think Berube will hesitate to use Hofer if Binnington is struggling. That wasn't the case this year with Greiss. (It was the previous year with Hofer.)
    It's been surprising to me that Binnington's play hasn't come under more scrutiny this year. A lot of the St. Louis media have given him basically a free pass. I realize the play around him has been shoddy much of the year, but he's simply got to be better. Only six goalies in the league are making more money. When you're making that type of money in goal, you should be making everyone around you better. And bailing the team out more often than once every few weeks.
    He simply has to be more consistent.
    And don't take it from me. When asked a week or so about Binnington's play this season, Berube said: "Up and down." That tells you all you need to know.
  • Hi Jim,
    Thanks for doing this.
    Did anyone ask Jake Neighbors how he stayed on his skates after that first right from Burroughs? Give the kid credit -- he battled back gamely and held his own.
    If you weren't able to ask Jake, did anyone else comment on the scrap?
  • Funny you should mention that. A few of us did talk to Neighbours about the fight today, although not specifically about staying on his skates after that first right from Burroughs.
    Neighbours was a little surprised Burroughs wanted to fight because he didn't think his hit on Bear was dirty.
    "Not really. I didn't think the hit was big enough. If the guy's looking for one, he's looking for one."
    And this is what he said about Burroughs:
    "Obviously he's a known fighter. He's had a couple fights, known to do it quite often. I think they were probably watching me closely, but I thought I did alright."
    And I asked Vrana about the Neighbours fight last night after the game, and here's what Vrana said:
    "He plays hard. We like that here. He fought tonight and it takes balls to do that. Drop the gloves. You know what I mean? It does take balls to drop the glove. For him, showing up, sending a message like that, it’s pretty impressive."
    I put the binoculars on Schenn right after the fight ended, and he was beaming. He looked like a proud papa. He has given Neighbours tips on fighting in the past.
    "We've definitely talked about fighting," Neighbours said. "He's had his fair share. Definitely talked to him about it a couple times and I think he enjoyed that one. "
  • JT I am not trying to pit you against Gordo but I agree 1000% on your take that Walman didn’t get a fair opportunity with the Blues. When I mentioned it to him he unequivocally stated that Walman had every opportunity but just didn’t show enough. In my opinion he is a younger/cheaper (excellent skater with hard shot) version of Nick Leddy. Walman is playing on top D pairing and now considered a core part of their team. Had that trade not been made the Blues would have had that cap space to utilize elsewhere (Perron or someone else) and the team would look quite a bit different. Thanks for the chance to comment.
  • Hey no worries. That's the beauty of hockey and the beauty of sports in particular - it's OK to disagree. The Blues thought Walman was way too inconsistent when he was here. But I just don't think he got much of a look. And I think Walman has a much better shot than Leddy.
    Walman, by the way, would bug reporters whenever he could - off the record - about his lack of playing time when he was here.
    In case you didn't see it, I caught up with Walman in Detroit last week. Here's the story:

    Ex-Blue Jake Walman making the most of opportunity with Detroit Red Wings: Blues Extra

    STLtoday.comJake Walman struggled to get playing time in St. Louis, but he's getting top four minutes on defense in Detroit.
  • Just wanted to pass along a comment about Darren Pang. We had the chance to meet him at last night's game and, wow, what a kind and considerate person. He just seems to be a sincere and nice guy, willing to talk to anyone and shows an interest in others. Had to share this with the chatters. Panger is a class act.
  • Jim if Army packaged the lower two first round draft choices is that enough equity to trade for a top young controllable Defenseman? Or would teams require more? Thanks
  • Sorry, I posted 2 questions at once here. FIrst on Panger. He is a true man of the people. He gets it. He always seems to have time for a hello or more - whether he knows you or not.
  • Article in Athletic a couple days ago on the 10 most under rated defense in NHL. Walman and Dunn make the list. With the Blues defense such a mess, did the team just miss something with these two
  • Again, I can totally see why Dunn was exposed considering the makeup of the club at that time. I didn't think Walman was given much of a chance while here.
  • And I forgot to answer Arnold's question. Sure. I think for two late first-rounder you should be able to get a good young defenseman. As to who that is, I'm not sure.
  • Hey Jim, I haven't been in these chats for a while, I just read you are retiring. Can you share with me, I won't tell anyone, some of your plans post STL PD?
  • Don't worry about not being in these chats for a while. Neither have I! And that's largely because I do the lion's share of the traveling on the beat, and am frequently in the air or sometimes at a skate during chat time.
    What I plan to do in retirment.
    - Go to the gym 6 days a week. I gained 25 pounds when I got COVID for 5 weeks in September of 2020 and haven't been able to lose it.
    - Walk the dogs every day. Dogs are truly a great gift to humans.
    - Have talked about writing a book with Mike Martz.
    -A little more travel. I have a son that lives in D.C. Would like to catch an Army football game every year in person. Talking about making a family trip to Albania, which is where my late mother is from. Have lots of cousins over there.
    - My wife is a dog groomer - a very accomplished and popular dog groomer - and I may go to work for her once or twice a week washing dogs.
  • Hi Jim,
    Thanks for doing this, and for all your great coverage this season.
    Is it just me, or has Jordan Kyrou been noticeably worse in turning the puck over of late? Never the strongest in terms of puck possession, especially along the boards, he has looked incredibly soft and seems to lose every puck battle. He also tries a lot of ill-advised passes that result in easy turnovers.
    He's still scoring and creating chances at times, so some will say you have to take the good with the bad. Perhaps this is the inevitable result of tighter checking on a 30-plus goal scorer.
    To me, if he can't improve on his ability to retain puck possession, he will be a liability for a team that needs to decrease the goals against, no matter how much he scores.
    Your thoughts?
  • You've noticed that, too? It comes and goes with Kyrou in terms of puck possession and turnovers. As hockey-writer-turned-soccer-scribe Tom Timmermann used to say Kyrou is a "high-event" player. Sometimes it's very good and sometimes it's bad. He's gotta get better - more consistent in this area - no doubt about it
  • Retiring!!!?? Congrats Jim and enjoy it.. You've certainly earned it!!! :)
  • 48 years is enough. When I started out, we were using typewriters and there were copyboys and copygirls. Thanks.
  • So you're retiring after the Blues season? When is the roast? I've got material.
  • Roy, if there was a roast you would definitely be invited.
  • Blues seem to have made some bad deals for defensemen and now it is difficult to get out from under that as no other teams wants to take on the bad contracts for a guy like Krug either. Any legit chance we get better on the blueline thru a trade or free agency this summer?
  • As you noted, it's not going to be easy to move any of the top four D. But if there's a way to get it done, I think Armstrong will get there.
  • Hey Jim.. Good afternoon... Is anyone bummed like I am at this winning streak? The season's lost, let's lost 10 in a row and get a top 5 pick!!!
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