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.

    With no time to spare, it's time for this week's chat. The Blues will be on the ice at Staples Center in Los Angeles at 1:30 St. Louis time for their morning skate, so we'll probably have some mid-chat updates, but in the meantime, here we go.
    Is there any indication of what Armstrong would be looking for in return for Tarasenko? We know he doesn’t want to retain salary, but do you expect he’d be shooting for a top pairing left handed defenseman? Or does Armstrong seem more interested in restocking the prospect pipeline? Or maybe something else?
    Certainly no indication from him. If a trade was made at this point in time, there would almost certainly have to be offsetting salaries. Only a handful of teams in the league could take on a $7.5 million cap hit, and most of those that can aren't the kind that would reap any benefit of acquiring Tarasenko. So at this point in the season, if the Blues aren't retaining money, they have to get one or more players back whose salaries come close to $7.5 million. A case can be made for an offensive player, since Tarasenko's departure would create a hole, or a defensive one, though right now one would think they're content with how things are going. (Though why a team would be trading a high-priced forward for Tarasenko would be an issue.) This would change as you get closer to the trade deadline, and would change again in the offseason, when draft picks would be more of a commodity, as would freeing up cap space. The Blues could certainly use some of those. I think a deal that brings a viable asset to the Blues would be what Armstrong wants most.
    Have you heard what the lines are going to be tonight?
    I have not, but we should know when the Blues are on the ice in a few minutes in Los Angeles. Yesterday in practice, it was:
    Kyrou-Schenn-Perron
    Barbashev-Thomas-Tarasenko
    Saad-Bozak-Buchnevich
    Kostin-Joshua-Neighbours
    Neal wasn't on the ice at this time, getting his mouth fixed after he got hit in the face. Assuming Saad is cleared to play, I would think Neal might go in the Neighbours spot. We'll know shortly.
    Tom, thank you for the chats!
    While I respect the intensity and passion in Binningtons game, his recent stick swinging took it to another level. It seems to reflect an early season trend of reckless and selfish behavior on the team.
    Buchnevichs head-butt forced lineup changes. Faulk taking the instigator fighting Kadri set the tone for the PK a in game that might have been won.
    Also, if Binnington does this stuff to fire up the team offense, a goalie change is another tactic coaches use even if the goalie is playing well. Why not make Binner serve his 10 minutes? I’m sure Borts was thrilled to sit out for 10.
    When you’re 6-1 these things tend to get overlooked but things can change in a hurry. Chief doesn’t appear to be concerned, am I making too much this?
    I think some Blues are getting a bit overemotional at times, but I don't know that it's to the point of being reckless. Can't fault Faulk for wanting to get his own piece of Kadri (well, I suppose you can fault him, though I would argue that was probably the best Blues penalty kill of the season on that penalty).
    Binnington was reckless. He often does things solely for an audience of his 19 teammates, though I think against Colorado, he wasn't doing that and got carried way, at least initially. The stick swinging could have been disastrous if Kadri had moved, or Binnington let go of his stick, or there was someone he didn't see skating by. His initial response of getting involved in the scrum that started it all was unnecessary. 
    I think Berube has gotten the point across, be emotional, but not too emotional. 
    Having skaters serve goalie penalties goes back decades. That's not going to change, and no coach is going to voluntarily take out a goalie in the midst of a tight game. Just not going to happen. 
    When is Bally sports going to allow digital subscriptions through their app since they continue to disconnect from the online tv services?
    No time soon. Major League Baseball is balking at the idea of a separate streaming service, saying that entities like Bally don't have the digital streaming rights, and if baseball feels that way, I suspect hockey will too. So it's not going to happen this season, barring some major change.
    Any word on when the Captain will be able to return?
    No definitive word. Assuming he was symptomatic, that's at least 10 days he has to be out, so he could be available to play against Anaheim on Sunday, though he may have been on the ice only one or two days by then, and the Blues might want him to get more skating time in. So if not the Anaheim game, the Winnipeg game on Tuesday. Berube seemed fairly confident he would be available on this trip.
    If he was asymptomatic, he could be back at any time once he had two negative tests. But the Blues have not said with any of their COVID players whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic. 
    So as expected, these are the lines:
    Kyrou-Schenn-Perron
    Barbashev-Thomas-Tarasenko
    Saad-Bozak-Buchnevich
    Neal-Joshua-Kostin
    On defense, Bortuzzo is back in for Mikkola:
    Scandella-Parayko
    Krug-Faulk
    Walman-Bortuzzo
    Binnington will be in goal
    And on the power play:
    PP1: Krug-Perron-Tarasenko-Schenn-Buchnevich
    PP2: Faulk-Thomas-Kyrou-Saad-Neal —Barbashev rotating in with Saad at bumper spot
    Tom,

    Non Blues related question...Have you been following the lawsuit against StanK and if so what are your thoughts on it?
    I've been following from a distance, so I can't offer much detail. What I would like St. Louis to get is a cut of the NFL's TV money, sort of like the Spirits got when the ABA folded. If St. Louis got 1/33rd of the NFL TV and streaming revenue going forward, that would be a nice handy paycheck to get once a year. I think the idea of the NFL giving St. Louis an expansion team is ridiculous. That's just not going to happen.
    Breaking news from Los Angeles: Robert Bortuzzo just said that he bought a Pelolton, but returned it.
    Berube said Saad has looked good in practice, and Saad said he was good to go, so he's in. Watching his minutes will be a big part of it. Having him on the third line will keep that in check.
    You think Neighbors will stay up? I am not sure how much he can learn in juniors
  • Before I answer that, Berube just said he thought Neal lost four teeth yesterday, but he wasn't sure how many real and fake ones he had to begin with.
    I have thought the Blues were leaning toward keeping Neighbours, but the way the numbers are shaping up, maybe not. It's possible Sundqvist will be back before Neighbours gets to Game 10 now, and at that point, roster space will start to get tight. His numbers have been improving, and while he's still below average on offense and defense, he's a lot closer to average than he used to be. If Neighbours goes back to juniors, he would have a chance to play for Canada in the world juniors, and that's an experience the Blues organization likes. Otherwise, he probably doesn't have a whole lot to learn from juniors at this point.
    What about a three-way trade for Tarasenko? Team A gets Tarasenko in exchange for draft picks, a prospect, and a salary of someone not earing it, which the Blues trade to Team B (a rebuilding team) for an experienced defenseman earning 4 or 5 million who won't really help the rebuild.
    A two-team deal has been hard to figure out, so a three-team deal would be even harder. I suppose anything is possible though. Lots of moving parts in the modern NHL.
    So, with Neighbors play in the Colorado game and sitting out for now two games, it seems more and more likely that he will be sent out once the 9 games are up. I thought prior to that that he would stick around for the season prior to that. Do you read that situation the same? Also, isn't he still too young for the AHL so he would have to go back to his OHL team? Not sure how much good that would really do him at this point.
    Neighbours is too young for the AHL, so it's NHL or juniors at this point. See the answer above (or below, depending on the time of day) for the answer to the other part.
    Tom - A lot of questions about the Blackhawks scandal. Hard to believe smart men chose to prioritize winning versus protecting their players from criminal behavior. Did Quenneville's actions (or inaction) impact his Hall-of-Fame chances?
    Well, first off I'd say it's not hard to believe smart men chose to prioritize winning. I think history is full of that, of taking the easy way out and ignoring wrongdoing. 
    As for Quenneville's Hall of Fame chances, I think he'll still get in. It probably delays the process by a few years, and right now, we don't know for sure if he's ever going to coach again, and they would probably wait until they knew he was retired. It's conceivable that the next time we see Quenneville somewhere in a public setting is his Hall of Fame induction. But I don't think anyone will be in a rush to make that happen. Hockey Hall of Fame selection is done by a small committee of voters, who meet and do it in secret. That probably works in Quenneville's favor. 
    Might the blues be more inclined to keep Neighbours all year because of all the Covid cases? Seems like if they’re on the fence about the decision that could be something that pushes them off.
    The COVID cases could be a factor, but so far, in what we've seen with Saad and what it looks like is happening with O'Reilly, the cases have been minor -- Saad said today it was like having a cold -- so if guys are missing four or five games at a time, they should be able to dance around that. But if the Blues were to get with a bunch of guys testing positive all at once, like the Sharks or Blackhawks have had, there could be games where the Blues have no choice but to play Neighbours. So far, that hasn't happened.
  • Surprised to see Caufield sent to minor by Montreal. Do you think Neighbors is staying for the Blues. His Corsi numbers are not great
    Neighbours' numbers have not been great in most games. His Corsi percentage is 38.0, which is the lowest on the team. Looking at hockeyviz.com, his isolated impact on offense is 3 percent below the league average in expected goals, and he's 10 percent above the league average in goals allowed (which isn't what you want), but those numbers are a lot better than they were earlier in the season. So he's making progress, which is what you would expect. 
    When the Blues get Sundqvist back and if they still like what they see from Neal, there just may not be room for Neighbours (though always keep in mind: players will get hurt). And if it's a situation where he's getting nine minutes a night, than he might be better playing 20 minutes elsewhere. 
    The longer this chat goes on, it seems I'm growing less and less convinced they keep him around. 
    I do not care for the way Army and Berube are holding back Scott Perunovich. Obviously he's a unique talent and we won't know how impactful he will be until he gets 20 minutes a night in the NHL. The kings need D man make a trade! Clear a roster spot for him. Waiting for an injury is not proactive. Trade Walman and Scandella. We should not have signed Krug with Perunovich in the pipeline. If I'm Perunovich's agent I would demand a trade.
    Slow down. The guy has played six professional games. He has played six games in the past two years. He is not Bobby Orr. The Blues have plenty of offensive defensemen. If you're waiting for him to get 20 minutes a night in the NHL, that may take a while.
    At some point, someone on the blue line will get hurt, and Perunovich will get called up. His time will come. It doesn't need to be this week.  
    The players that knew about the abuse (rumors current and former made remarks on the ice) will they face any sort of punishment or is the league trying to get past this issue as fast as possible?
    No punishment likely other than what they get in the court of public opinion. Beech said players (and media) knew about it. So far, I haven't heard any player (or media) acknowledge knowing about it until the next season. Unless someone comes forward, or Beech names names of players he heard say things, there's not going to be the weight to do anything about it. And a lot of those players aren't in the league any more anyway.
    As always, thanks for the chat. Any update on how/what Carl Gunnarsson is doing? If he has retired from playing, maybe coaching or scouting?
    The last I saw of Gunnarsson, on social media, was he was heading back to Sweden. When we last spoke, he said he was going to take some time being a dad. He'll probably get back in the game at some point in Sweden. If anyone has heard anything else he's doing, pass it along.
    Kostin does have some good stat numbers and the line with Kostin, Johnson and Clifford the other night had the shots and the numbers. Do you think Kostin has earned a spot in the lineup?
  • Kostin, Joshua and Clifford were the best line against Chicago. Again, when the team is at full strength, he might be the guy who gets crowded out. If everyone's healthy, the Blues may be looking at a fourth line of Sundqvist, Barbashev and Neal. I get the impression Kostin still hasn't won the complete confidence of the coaching staff, as evidenced by him playing less than 10 minutes in each of the past three games. 
    I think right now, he's earned a spot on the roster, though not necessarily in the lineup when the team is healthy. 
    Tom, in your earlier reply about Neighbours, you mentioned a few analytics - like Corsi, impact on offense. Are those the best statistical determinants when evaluating a player's on-ice performance?
    I think they're a better measure than a lot of other numbers. Obviously you have to look at everything in context, but Corsi is a measure of puck possession, and it seems like you would want to have. Impact on offense isn't the only thing. You also have to consider impact on defense, because sometimes you have good defensive players who are bad offensive players and you have to weigh your decision accordingly.
    Tom,
    Thanks for taking the time to do these chats.
    Can you share with us what a typical game day schedule looks like for the players? From the time they get to the rink to the time they go home. Does the team provide any meals?
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