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. It's a bit early, but I haven't been able to get to all the questions the past few weeks, so I thought I'd start digging in a little earlier. (And we don't have a podcast taping at 4, so I can go a little bit over.) Jim is in Vancouver, where the Blues are about to take the ice for their morning skate, so we'll probably have some updates between 1:30 and 2 as to how the Blues are lining up, though coming off a win, I wouldn't expect much to change. The past week hasn't been a great one for the Blues and the Central Division race is getting a bit murky. And it looks like there are questions. So I'm going to get started.
    Do you think the Blues malaise over the last month can be greatly attributed to mediocre goaltending (especially to start games)? We're not seeing bad goals.. a la Jake Allen but saves that should be and have to be made to keep the team in the hunt till they gain traction. With management seeming to have settled on Husso as the #1 is there a time and way to replace Binnington w Lindgren who not only was great while up but has continued to excell?
    I think the bigger problem is not scoring goals. As we saw Monday, good goaltending makes a lot of things look better, but the Blues are just creating situations where those goals can be scored by the other team. In the five games before the Vancouver win, the Blues scored three goals in the first period, two of them in the Washington game. So there is a need for earlier offense. Good goaltending is essential, but you can't expect these guys to be saviors. 
    As for replacing Binnington with Lindgren, there is not a way to do that short of trading Binnington to another team, and if that happens, it will be in the offseason. But that won't be easy. Any team acquiring Binnington would, because of that contract, be making him their franchise goalie going forward. That's going to be a big commitment for some team to make. 
    If the Blues just squeak into the playoffs as a wild card and get knocked out the first round would that be considered an unfulfilled season? The team has had success this year vs the Wild and Preds so a 2-3 matchup with either seems the way to go. How many points do you project the team needing to get there and do you see them doing it?
    Certainly for a team that has spent to the cap and recently won a Stanley Cup, a first round exit would not go over well, and one could expect Armstrong to do some roster re-arranging if that happen. I think 97 or 98 points puts them in, and I think they'll get there. But a wild-card spot is not going to be a good place to be, since it means playing Colorado or Calgary. I think the Blues can finish ahead of Nashville, which has played more games than the Blues. The game in Nashville on April 17 could be very significant.
    Happy hump Day Tom.

    Is Chief loosing his grip in the team? He keeps telling the boys to forecheck, be physical and basically play a dump and chase game but they won't. What do you think are the reasons the team won't play the way Chief asks? Is Chief tired of asking and now is waiting for the off-season when Army to get him the players who will play his game?
    I don't get that feeling that Berube is losing his grip on the team, but if the Blues don't make the playoffs, or lose in the first round again, that's not the best resume line for Berube. You can see indecision in the Blues' game, which often happens when things aren't going well. If you're not sure that the other guy is going to do what he's supposed to, then you don't do what you're supposed to do because you're trying to do everything yourself. Pretty soon you haven't hit the guy you're supposed to hit and it's a two-on-one and the puck's in the net. I think the Blues have the kind of players Berube wants. Kyrou may be the only guy who is not a classic Berube guy, and he's so talented that Berube can live with that for the most part. The Blues need a few games in a row where everything clicks. Maybe more than a few.
    Tom-
    In Bortuzzo hurt, just getting old, or did Chief really just want to give him a day?
  • A combination of things. Coaches want to get their seventh defenseman or 13th forward in a game every now and then so they don't become fixtures in the press box like Nate Prosser or Brad Hunt back in their days. Borutzzo is the easy guy to sit, since he's done it so much over his career. So it gets Bortuzzo a day of rest for his body, which he pretty much puts out on the line every game, and it gives Rosen a chance to play. All part of the process. It was the same with putting MacEachern back in.
  • What does Berube have against Binnington? At this point Husso has cooled off, and Binnington can't play out of whatever slump he is in from the bench.
    I don't think he has anything against Binnington. He wouldn't have his current job without Binnington. But for Berube to keep his job, he needs to win games and make the playoffs, and Husso gives them a better chance of doing that. If this were November or December, Berube could let Binnington play his way out of a slump. That option is not quite as strong in March or April. The Blues are only a couple extra losses away from not making the playoffs.
    Do you get the sense that guys are playing timid because they don't want to get hurt before the playoffs? Injuries have been a pretty big problem for this team over the past couple seasons so just curious if you think that's playing into their March slump. It was a solid effort the other night against the Canucks, though, which hopefully can start to build some momentum for the guys.
    I don't think they're being timid about not being hurt, because at least in the conversations we have with players, they aren't thinking they're a playoff lock right now. The gaps are getting tighter, and a hot streak for Winnipeg or Vegas can change how everything looks. I think they're timid because they're doubting themselves as a team,
    It was nice to see Tarasenko get his 500th point as a Blue. I am hoping that all the turmoil over the last summer about trading/demanding a trade is over, I would really like to see him stay as a Blue note. Your thoughts if all this has smoothed over.
    Armstrong sure talks like it's smoothed over, but I guess I'm waiting to hear Tarasenko say directly he doesn't want to be traded. Don't forget that Tarasenko has one year to go on his contract after this one, and if Armstrong thinks he won't re-sign when he becomes a UFA, this offseason is prime time to try to trade Tarasenko regardless of how he feels. And that would especially be the case if the Blues don't make the playoffs this season.
    Boy, the love affair between Blues fans and Tarasenko is so obvious. Assuming Armstrong decides to keep him, and even offer him an extension (and possibly the "C") do you think there's a chance Vladi could decide to try and retire as a Blue? If he does, and if he keeps up this value to the team...I could envision "91" being retired with a statue in front of Enterprise Center. Your thoughts on his status, and possible future with the team?
  • Fans at Enterprise Center love it when Tarasenko is the first star and gets interviewed after games. They react to him like no one else. I really don't know what the future holds for the Blues and Tarasenko. I didn't think he'd be here now, yet he is. I have felt since this all began that there was no way he would re-sign as a free agent, and I'm still inclined to believe that. He certainly has done nothing to drive down his price on the market if he were to become a UFA after next season. Would he get a C in a world where O'Reilly was gone? It's possible they could lean toward a younger player like Thomas in that situation. If he were to finish his career with the Blues, No. 91 could well be retired. Though as Pronger said, not may players spend their whole careers with one team any more.
  • Sending Binner down gives the Blues I think 1.2 million in additional cap space. He can be sent down. Fans want what's best for the team no one cares about a bad contract. He needs to be sent down he's lost his confidence and we cannot afford to have him in goal during this crucial time and the playoffs.
    Sure he can be sent down. In practice, I doubt that will happen. From the responses I get, people do, in fact, care about bad contracts, and what's best for the team is to have Binnington playing well, since him not playing well creates a $6 million hole in the roster and I don't know that a month or two spent in the AHL is the work he needs. He's going to be in goal during this crucial time. He's going to play either Friday or Saturday, and then again the next three weekends when the Blues have back to backs. When given the choice between a guy who won a Stanley Cup for them a career minor-leaguer in Lindgren, the Blues are going to choose Binnington.
    Good afternoon, Mr. Timmerman.Thank you for your time and the chat. I think Armstrong will regret the Leddy trade, especially given the lack of young defensemen like Walman in the Blues' system. Leddy just doesn't seem like the difference-maker to get the Blues in the Stanley Cup finals. Am I wrong?
    Well, short of acquiring MacKinnon or Makar, I don't know that there was going to be a difference maker that was going to send the team to the finals. After players the Blues couldn't get, like Giordano, were off the board, I'd have been OK if the Blues stood pat at the deadline. But there's also the feeling for GMs that they've got to do something. Walman was running out of chances to play. When Perunovich is healthy, he's going to play, and Mikkola projects in the top six. At that point, Walman is No. 8 on the depth chart, and they can't keep carrying him on the roster as a healthy scratch, and if it's tough to find time for the seventh defenseman, it's even harder to do it with the eighth.
    Jim is reporting from Vancouver, where the Blues are finishing up the morning skate, that Bortuzzo is back in and Rosen is staying in, so Mikkola is out.
    Forward lines look the same
    I think the frustrating thing about watching Parayko is he’s a player with the size and skills and ability to make his presence known on the ice just about every second he’s on the ice, yet there are so many games where it’s almost like he’s a ghost on the ice. He blends in. A fast skating 6-6 bull that blends in. I wonder what kind of effect that has in his teammates. We’re only human. You work with a dude who can dominate, but doesn’t, and doesn’t willingly, I don’t know how you can put on A on his chest and say he’s a leading example of the leadership, desire and fortitude of your franchise and get championship results. Isn’t this a pivotal time in Parayko’s tenure in St Louis? And if he folds when the pressure is on down the stretch this year, can Armstrong keep him on the roster for 22-23 and expect to have the leadership and character in place to win a championship?
    Definitely a pivotal time for Parayko, though less so since he has signed his contract extension that goes into effect next season and has a full no-trade clause. We were talking about this the other day: If the Blues don't make the playoffs and Armstrong feels he has to shake up the defense, what does he do? Only a few options there. 
    But also, Berube still gives Parayko all the tough matchups, all the tough minutes, and I'm not sure who right now I would put in those positions if Parayko was gone. He is well-liked by the staff, though that one goal against Carolina seemed to sum up a lot of what people think is missing from Parayko's game. Hit the guy! Knock him off the puck! But the Blues' defense as a whole has issues; it's not just Parayko. Parayko is still an above average defenseman, though it's easy to think he should be a lot farther above average than he is. 
    Hi Tom, thank you to you and JT for doing these each week. Do you think, as long as injuries don't grow in numbers, that Army would prefer to keep Brown at 29 games to keep the 4th round pick in the draft? Blues scouts seem to do a pretty good job and who knows who that potential 4th rounder could become one day. Also, busy night sports wise. US Mens National team to qualify for World Cup and Blues hockey. Going to be a late night!
  • Busy night indeed, though made a bit simpler since the U.S. men's team just has to be sure not to get blown out, which doesn't seem very likely.
    The Brown situation will probably take care of itself. For the time being, MacEachern is in his spot, and if the line continues to look good, they'll stick with it. Once Bozak is back, he'll play and Brown will sit. And if the Blues really need him to play, they'll sacrifice the fourth-round pick. Brown is at 25 games. Bozak is expected to miss at least nine more, so a lot rests on how MacEachern plays. 
  • Do you know if JayBo is still living in Alberta? I’m thinking maybe the Blues bring him in this weekend to offer some words of wisdom to Parayko… or at least tell his D partner how he needs to play to bring out the best in Colt55
    As far as I know, yes Bo is still in the Calgary area, and I wouldn't be surprised for him to drop by and visit the team, though the Blues also have got several other people currently on the payroll who are more than qualified to impart Parayko with some advice.
    Is Tarasenko a cancer when he's not playing hard? If he's floating and being cute w the puck does Buchenvich, Barby, Kyrou and Thomas follow that pattern. OR, Perron, Schenn and Saad always seem to play Berube style. Has this led to a division in the locker room?
    Heavens no. Tarasenko's teammates like him and respect him (and much to our surprise, haven't found him a distraction at all this season) and being cute with the puck is not something they're picking up from any one player. Kyrou and Thomas are capable of doing that all on their own.
    What's going on with Gordzonga? I asked you this already but you censored! He's not been writing and missed his Friday chat. I had withdrawals! Tell us what's going on please! You owe it to us your paper does as well!
    Actually, I have a button that would allow me to censor you and I haven't used it. I just haven't answered your question, like about a dozen or so others currently in the queue. It has now moved to the bottom of the stack.
    Why does it appear that some players are going all out and others don’t? What can be done? Can you send players to the minors? Beyond frustrating to hear the same crap game after game about “how we have to work harder”. Thanks
    Most players can not be sent to the minors, at least not easily. Right now, Toropchenko is the only player on the roster who would not have to go through waivers to be sent to the minors. So if the Blues wanted to send a "message" to anyone on the team, they would risk losing them to a waiver claim, and the list of guys the Blues could slip through waivers is very small. So it would be really bad resource management. It's a reality of the cap era. A GM puts together a 23-man roster and other than some finagling at the edges, that's pretty much who you've got. 
    So coaches have to get those players to play to the best of their ability. I don't know that Blues players aren't going all out, but they are not playing the style of play they need to play to be successful. 
  • Keep up the great job, Tom, thanx. The Blues talk about the style they need to play to win, especially in the playoffs, which is how they say they won in 2019. Truly tho, do they keep not playing that style because the players they have now, as good as they are offensively, just don't fit that pattern? Do they just go back to what they are and lose anyway? And Krug was playing great: How long till he's 100%? By the playoffs?
    Krug's not playing today, and since they didn't practice yesterday, we don't know if he's on this trip. He doesn't appear to have been on the ice for the skate. I'm sure Jim will be determining that shortly. Krug is being called week to week, and this begins Week 2. With a month to go in the season, it seems the Blues expect to have him back in the regular season, but if he's got a broken bone in his hand, which seems the most likely problem, it will depend on the healing process.
    On a pure talent basis, I think this team would be competitive with the Cup team. This team has got a lot of grinders. A few of them are a few years older than they were back then. But this isn't a team with a bunch of Kyrous. I think there's still a lot of Schenn types on the team. 
    Have you or JT seen Krug since injury? Is he wearing any protection on his hand/wrist?
    I have not seen him at any of the games since the injury. A lot of times, we see injured guys in the press box, but they don't have to go there and can watch the game from anywhere.
    A censor button? Who do you think you are Dr Evil? Don't be a commie Tom.
    Actually, I misspoke. It's a "Ban" button.
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