Join Blues beat writer Tom Timmermann for his live chat at 1 p.m. Wednesday

Join Blues beat writer Tom Timmermann 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.

    Greetings one and all and, for the first time in this chat in many months, we can actually say the season has begun. The Blues will be on the ice shortly in Las Vegas for their morning skate, so I'll probably be slipping in some updates from Jim, who is on the scene. In the meantime, let's get to the questions.
    With Sundqvist coming back, do you think we could trade Clifford for a late round draft choice? That way we would have room to keep Neighbors and Kostin on the roster. Not to mention a little bit of cap space. We always have MacEachern as a call up if necessary.
    That's getting a little ahead of the game. Who knows what the state of the team will be when Sundqvist comes back. Hockey players get hurt. It's going to happen. If Clifford brings the Blues a draft pick, it would certainly be a late round one. And it remains to be seen if Neighbours stays around.
    Kostin needs ice time over Neal...I feel BERUBE has something against Klim...Would love to see an all Russian line of...KOSTIN...Tarasenko...Buchnevich...Love your work Tom...You don't sugar coat things that need fixing on the Blues...GO BLUES👊👍
    I've mentioned this before, but back when I cover SLU, someone asked Rick Majerus about why he wasn't playing someone very much and he said, "It's because I'm throwing games." The point, of course, was that he's not throwing games and, in fact, his livelihood depended on him doing the exact opposite of that. So unless there's some really deep-seated animosity, if Berube is not playing Kostin, it's because he's not seeing something he wants to see, or because there are other better options. Kostin is going to get his chance with the Buchnevich suspension. In the long run, they are probably better off playing Kostin over Neal, but even Kostin admitted he didn't have a good camp, and the team showed a lot of confidence in him -- or concern over what sending Kostin down would say to him -- by keeping him on the roster rather. They clearly valued him more highly than they did Logan Brown, who they were willing to risk losing on a waiver claim to keep Kostin around. 
    Your all Russian line is going to need a center. 
    Tom - only two games in so way too early for any legitimate assessments. BUT its a weekly chat so why not? The scoring is coming in droves so far, but the defensive issues persist. Letting up 7 goals in two games is a bad look, but not as tough to swallow when we've scored 12 over the same span. We aren't hurting for physicality so far, but an effective defense takes more than that. Where do you see our biggest defensive holes and are they likely to be long term issues?
    Yes, we're only two games in, but at least now there's something to analyze.
    I guess if there's something good to say about the defense, it's that it has had its weakest moments only after the team has taken a sizable lead. Giving up three goals to a depleted Colorado team is one thing, but giving up four to Arizona, which is not very good, is not a good indicator at all. Still too many shots around the net, still some awkward moments clearing the zone. The penalty kill has been better, though the first few seconds after it, not so much.
    The team hasn't handled its leads well, so it's a breakdown on both ends of the ice. Once moving ahead, they have given up sustained offensive pressure on the other end, which has led to increased zone time for the opponent at the other end. Not good. If the other team is in your zone for that much time, you're going to give up goals. 
    So far the offense has looked really good; if the Blues expect to make it far in the playoff's we are going to need shut down D. The first 2 games our guys have done a bad job of clearing out the rebounds and letting guys camp in front of the net.
  • The heat charts for shots in front of their own net are very red. Way too many shots there. There have been a lot of shots in the slot as well. Parayko and Scandella are logging heavy ice time. They're the shut down pairing on defense, though they're going to need help.
    When Buchnevich returns from his two game suspension do you think Chief should make him a healthy scratch for a couple of games to reiterate the point he cannot take dumb penalties like the head butting incident or just let it slide and wait for the next major infraction?
    If Berube was going to start sitting guys for taking dumb penalties, in past years, he wouldn't have been able to get 18 skaters on the ice. How often do you see Perron take a penalty in his own offensive zone? Way too much. Buchnevich will be back on the ice when he comes off suspension. I think Berube realizes, as much as anyone, that hockey players at times get a bit carried away. I'm sure the topic will come up with Buchnevich, and the $140,000 fine won't go unnoticed by him, especially since if he does something like that again, the fine will be probably double that.
    Hi Mr. Timmermann,

    I have more of a comment than a question, but I just want to complain a little, if you will indulge me.

    The lack of logic in NHL suspensions is well documented. They just gave two games to Pavel Buchnevich for headbutting. I was watching that game. He did it, but that was after getting two pretty stiff cross checks from Crouse. What's dumb is that if Pavel had reciprocated with his stick, he would have received two for slashing. If he had punched Crouse in the face, it would be two for roughing. A headbutt is a match penalty for intent to injure and a suspension. A punch to the face isn't intent to injure, just roughing. "I punched him, but I didn't mean to hurt him." That makes sense only to the NHL.
    Yes, he would have better served by throwing a punch than head-butting, though if he had sucker punched him and caused an injury, he'd have heard about that as well. The league has eight fouls in the "Physical Fouls" category that get special attention: Boarding, charging, checking from behind, clipping, elbowing, head-butting, interference and kneeing. So yes, a good solid cross check would have gotten him two minutes. Something for all of us to keep in mind as we go through life.
    I'd like to see Neighbors stick around for the year. He hasn't looked lost out there, in my opinion. Do you see him going back to Jrs or sticking around?
    Neighbours is the one guy who we get to make a decision with limited information, because he's basically got nine games. Right now, we have to look at his game in relative terms because he is still very much learning. He has not played in this kind of situation before. It is all totally new to him. The first few days on the job are never easy and I think he made a sizable jump between Games 1 and 2. His offense has been way better than his defense. His ice time has been limited, though he has gotten some time on the penalty kill, which shows some confidence in him. The Blues' ninth game is on Nov. 4, so we have till at least then to get a feel. Right now, I'm leaning toward him staying around, but we'll have to see how these next seven games play out.
    I'm sure Berube & Armstrong are not running to the microphones to share their deepest thoughts but have you seen any signs of the team considering moving Thomas back to the wing? He's been better than last year so far but he's still missing defensive assignments & his face off number are just not good.This suspension may be the perfect opportunity to give him 2 games there & see if simplifying his game helps it to improve.
    Right now, I think they're going to be sticking with Thomas at center, in part because if they don't, I don't know if any of the options, Barbashev or Bozak on the third line, are overwhelmingly better. Thomas was way better on faceoffs in Game 2 and the Arizona game was better than the Colorado game, though that shouldn't be a big surprise.
  • Neal will be in for Buchnevich tonight, and Binnington will be in goal.
    It seems like games so far this year in the entire league have been high scoring affairs. Have you noticed that, and if true, how do you think the Blues will hold up in high scoring affairs this year?
    Going into the season, I'd have told you that the Blues weren't going to win many games where they gave up five goals. If it turns into a slugfest, they're in trouble. So in the first two games, they've scored five and seven goals. I don't know that that's a sustainable number, and I don't know any good reason why scoring should have jumped up like that all around the league. It's not like the cross checking crackdown is going to bring those kind of results or that penalty minutes are way up. That scoring has been up -- or, at least, there have been a bunch of games with noticeably big numbers -- may be just an early season anomaly and we'll have to see if it has legs. The Blues aren't expecting their defense to give up that many goals.
    Hi Tom

    Offense looks great, the defense and particularly some of the forwards playing a full 60 minute game needs work. With that said they are 2 - 0. Does Barube stay with the group that has won so far or does he bring in Mikkola & Clifford?
    Seems like not tonight for Mikkola and Clifford. It was an optional skate so we don't have a full picture of the team. Berube wouldn't say what line Neal would be on. I think we'll see those two when the Kings come to town for two. And who knows, maybe Husso, though the Blues have back to backs on their next road trip.
    I thought we'd see a motivated Tarasenko but from what I've seen, he's not been sharp. Do you agree or am I expecting to much? I know it's only been 2 games, so lots can change.
    Better on offense than defense. He's had four shots on goal in each of the first two games, and probably should have had one along the way. He didn't get a whole lot of ice time in the first game, just 12:57, and the team hasn't had a whole lot of power play time. I don't think motivation is going to be an issue -- being unmotivated does him no good considering his situation. He still is a guy that hasn't played a whole lot lately and it may take him a little while to get going. He hasn't really gotten to the netfront much, which is one of the things they've been looking for from him. Again, it's early and these two games may well not be representative of the season as a whole.
    What do you think about the 2 game suspension for Buchnevich.... seems a little excessive to me considering he was getting cross checked to the face. I am guessing because he was a repeat offender this caused a more harsh sentence.
    Two games is about what I was expecting. (I've got texts with a colleague to support that.) Head butts that draw blood are going to get you a suspension, And doing it directly in front of an official should get you a suspension for being that unaware. Head butts are something the league frowns on, more than it does slugging someone
  • I know it’s only a handful of games into the season, but I really like looking at the standings right now. COL, VGK, TB, BOS, NYI all out of playoff spots. BUF, DET, SJ haven’t lost a game yet. The start of the season has been pretty crazy. We all know these anomalies will shift within a week or two, but it’s certainly been fun to watch. Who’s start has surprised you the most?
    I did not see Buffalo starting 3-0. I don't know that I saw Buffalo winning three games in the first month of the season. And while I thought Montreal last season was an anomaly in the postseason, I did not expect an 0-4 start from them. But these things will likely turn themselves around. Buffalo is not going to make the playoffs. Tampa Bay will.
    The Blues get leads but the Defense is not a shutdown type. Why? Wrong personal?
    They've done this in past seasons. Get ahead, they kind of go on cruise control, and pretty soon are playing for their lives. Just looking right now on some numbers on hockeyviz.com: When the Blues are up one goal, their opponents expected goals are 11.6 percent below league average. When the Blues go up by two goals this season, opponents expected goals are 37.5 percent above the league average. When up three or more, opponents expected goals go up 41.4 percent. While some increases in this are fairly normal -- it's what they call "score effects" -- that's a pretty staggering difference. They need to keep that intensity they were playing with when the game was tighter going. You would think by now they would have learned that, that more goals help their cause, but they have not. In both of those games, once the other team started scoring, you could feel the momentum shifting. And against Vegas, even a big lead isn't safe because the Knights can score a lot of goals pretty quickly if they want to.
    Hello Tom, thank you for the chat-o-rama! It’s great to follow a team where both the head coach and team management both want to win and are willing to pay for it.

    We are witnessing October hockey…no hitting or back checking. I don’t think we should make too much of the Blues offensive success or it’s poor defense. The real season starts in January, but puke up the points now while you can. But it’s fun to watch. What say you, oh wise one?
    In a division where not many points are going to separate teams two through five, every point the Blues can put away now will come in handy later. Two points in Colorado that you weren't expecting, two points that one of the other teams in that mix doesn't get, could be the difference between fourth and second this season. The Blues' game plan is predicated on forechecking, so that's something the Blues need to find because that's how they play.
    Who do you think is under more pressure to win the Cup, Vegas or Colorado? Vegas has only known winning, but they strike me as a franchise that got drunk on its early success and overvalues the glitzy moves. Which is great now, but may also cause a quick implosion whenever the run ends. Colorado built methodically over a near decade of low finishes and high draft picks. But their main core guys are all moving quickly through their primes. Both could win cups over the next few years for sure, but nothing is for sure in when it comes to NHL Playoffs.
    Both? Lots of pressure on Colorado because they have a team that can win a Stanley Cup and probably should, though hockey's myriad variables can get in the way. And this Colorado team can't stay together much longer with their cap issues. Vegas has had one solution for all its problems: sign a high-priced player. That's why everyone thinks Eichel will end up there, though how that's going to work since Buffalo has reportedly said it's not going to retain any salary is beyond me. But expectations may be higher in Colorado than in Vegas. But it's still a lot of pressure on both.
    What is the nature of Perron’s ink jury. And don’t say “lower body”. Is it knee, hip, bone bruise, what is it?
  • Then I'll say nothing, because I don't know. But he will be in the lineup tonight.
    Seeing NHL games on TNT and ESPN is a refreshing change from trying to watch the league on the community access channel than was NBCSports. With this major step forward in terms of visibility, have you gotten a sense from insiders that the NHL may final be poised to raise its profile to compete with the NBA in terms of popularity?
    At this point in time, it's going to take more than a change in networks to compete with the NBA. In fact, I'd say that nothing will do it. You have vast swaths of the country where people just don't play the sport. Growing up in Los Angeles, I had a backboard and net above the garage. So did half the houses on my street. There was one hockey rink within 25 miles of my house. And that applies to a whole lot of cities. Basketball is an easier game to play on short notice. More people know basketball. Basketball is always going to be more popular in America.
    Do you think Tom Stillman and the Blues would fire Louie if he pulled the same stunt as the Coyote's mascot shoving a cake into the face of a Blues fan in a Blues jersey the other night?
    Allow me to introduce you to the concept of the stooge or plant. And I have seen Louie shove any number of pies into the face of any number of fans wearing other team's jerseys.
    Why is Perunovich in the AHL? He could be our best Defenseman right now! He plays right side and left. He can spell Bortuzzo for now. Trade Krug, Walman , or Scandella. Or two of the three! Perunovich is one of a kind!! Hockey IQ and instincts are off the hook!
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