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

    Good afternoon everyone. We're in kind of a slow spot right now on the Blues front, but we're getting coaching hires other places, awards were handed out last night, and the Stanley Cup Final moves on. If you've got questions, I'm here to try to answer them.
    I was rather surprised by Jeff’s column today. Are there a lot of EJ Blues fans out there? I was mad when they drafted him (I wanted a forward). I got even more mad with the golf cart incident. Then never saw much in his game. He’s definitely right up there with Stan & Kadri on why I’m rooting against the Avs.
    I guess I could make that a poll question as to how St. Louis fans feel about Johnson. His time in St. Louis came in between my two stints covering the team, so I never really got to know him. There is always a clamor among St. Louis fans to bring back former Blues (or Cardinals), and I have to admit I haven't heard anyone say that about Johnson, but Jeff interacts with fans a lot, so he probably has a good idea of how people feel Johnson. That's one of those turning points in team history, and hockey history. What if the Blues took Toews instead of Erik Johnson? If the Blues could re-draft, that's what they'd probably do. Also, if they could turn back time, they wouldn't go golfing that day. But I don't think that he's unlikable in the way that Kroenke is unlikable.
    Happy "Hockey Hump Day" Tom. Thanks for once again sitting in the "Gus Kyle memorial chat chair" located in an undisclosed location.

    When did the Avalanche become such a dirty team? We all know "public enemy #1" Kadri took out Binner to win their series, and it worked. Now they are actively crosschecking and tripping the Lightning's best players into the boards in an attempt to knock them out and win the series. I know hockey is a rough game but don't these guys have any shame? In 2019 the Blues played a hard game but didn't do the stuff the Aves are doing. I know Barry Melrose isn't going to call them out, heck he did this and worse but he was a fourth liner. Tom, please agree with me the Aves are pond scum!
    Sorry Barry, but the Avalanche are not pond scum, though I guess pond scum is in the eye of the beholder. They're a very talented team, and every postseason has varying levels of outrage of calls or lack of calls. In the regular season, Colorado was 12th in penalty minutes and 12th in majors, so they were up the top half but also in the middle third when it came to penalties. Postseason penalty stats skew easily, but if Colorado is playing dirty, the refs don't seem to be doing anything about it. They're 13th out of 16 in penalties per game played. 
    Though they do have Kadri. Can't argue that. Though he hasn't been in the lineup lately. 
    I recently saw an article regarding goalie targets for the Toronto Maple Leafs and it listed both Binnington (via trade) and Husso (via signing) among the options. If the opportunity presented itself, do you believe Armstrong would trade Binnington and resign Husso?
    An interesting question, and I don't really know the answer. A lot would probably depend on what the return was. If the return was going to be great, I'm sure he would make the trade. But I don't think he would trade Binnington just to unload him. I continue to think that with Binnington's big contract, not in dollars but in years, that will make it tough for another team to trade for him because that's a lot of goalie you're committing to, and if he doesn't work, especially in a place like Toronto, that next trade is going to be harder because now you've really got damaged merchandise. But if Binnington was going to agree to a trade, Toronto would be a good destination, since it would be home for him. Husso would be cheaper for Toronto and you would probably get him with a shorter contract than the five seasons Binnington has to go, and there in the end may not be a whole lot of difference between the two.
    has this past season taught us anything regarding Klim Kostin and Scott Perunovich?
    Posted By stebo | 6/22/2022 1:26:20 PM
    Pardon the glitch. I published this question, then my screen said it showed up twice so I deleted one but it apparently showed up only once, so I had deleted it entirely, so I had to copy and paste and now I'll answer the question
    I don't know that we've learned a whole lot about Perunovich because he just didn't get much ice time because of injuries. He's played so little hockey in the past three seasons that he has plenty of catching up to do. We have seen that he can run a power play well and he's actually been a better on defense than thought (though his minutes have been well sheltered) and he has yet to find himself on offense at five-on-five. 
    As for Kostin, we've learned that the Blues like Toropchenko more when it comes to Russian wingers. There has not been the consistency to Kostin's game that the coaching staff wants to see and it looks like it's going to cost him. I don't see the Blues putting Kostin and Toropchenko in the lineup, and Toropchenko is the winner right now. Kostin took a few too many silly penalties, and took himself out of action too much. There were a lot of times you just didn't notice him. 
    Hi Tom — Why do teams continue to hire retreads who have never led any of the teams they previously coach to a Stanley Cup?
    I think one of the reasons is that NHL general managers realize that a lot of teams (including their own) fire coaches way too early. When Larry Pleau fired Joel Quenneville, he knew he was firing a really good coach, but in that moment, he felt that was what he had to do to get the Blues to the playoffs. So a lot of these coaches, such as DeBoer, aren't bad because they've been fired, and aren't bad because they haven't won a Stanley Cup. Quenneville won his first Cup in his 13th season as a head coach and with his third team.
    Now, I'll also say, it's often a lot safer for a GM to hire someone who has coached before because he at least knows what he's doing and there's a school of thought that coaches do better in their second job because they have learned from the mistakes of the first time. And there's a risk to hiring a first time coach because if he doesn't do well, it's all on you. 
    A big test will be whether Mike Yeo ever gets another chance at being a head coach. 
    CoziTv is supposed to have the remaining Calder Cup games. Kmov 2 (4.2) is coziTv -do you know if we will get the game tonight?
    I don't know, but I don't think we will. The game airing in Springfield on the Cozi station there is like if Channel 11 here was broadcasting a SLU basketball game. Channel 11 may be a CW affiliate, but that doesn't mean every CW affiliate would or could air that game. If they are picking it up, no one has told me (or anyone for that matter) which is something you would want to do because it's not like that a channel someone routinely turns to to see what's on.
    Is the Calder Cup available to watch online? When is the next game?
    The Calder Cup is available to watch online through AHLtv, which requires a subscription. Game 3 is tonight at 6 p.m., then Game 4 on Friday, then Saturday, Tuesday and Wednesday for the remaining games. 
    For those not paying close attention, Springfield and Chicago split the first two games. 
    Tom, I agree with Kerry, I'm not a Johnson fan either and an happy he was shuffled off to Buffalo, I mean Denver. We are fortunate to have traded Johnson and a couple years later were able to play Petro in his place. Hey, it was getting close to deadline and Gordo had to write about something. Johnson is the only guy on the Avalanche who doesn't elicit dry heaves with Blues' fans.
    This makes it 2 votes against Erik Johnson, 0 for him.
    Did the Bkues have a peak year, Faulk, Barbashev, maybe Perron and Tarasenko top ticking their numbers with lower results likely ahead? Kyrou and Thomas are the only obvious player who maybe in an upward trajectory of note.
    Ivan Barbashev's shooting percentage this season was off the charts, and is not something he's likely to replicate. He went from being a below-average finisher to one of the elite in the league. 
    With scoring being up everywhere this season, you have to look at some of these increases on a relative basis, but for Faulk, Perron and Tarasenko, their scoring was consistent with their careers. I notably said before the season that Tarasenko's days as a 30-goal scorer were over and was proved wrong, though I'll say that had I known scoring would be up across the board this season, I might have rethought that. But guys who would have been 25 goal scorers in a normal year became 30 goal scorers. Schenn was another guy who had an inordinately high shooting percentage this season and would be primed for a reversal next season. 
    I think a lot of pundits around the league under estimated the Blues this season. Seeing how the Av's have steam rolled their other opponents and how the Blues had them against the ropes, until Kadri's cheap shot; it appears the Blues were one of the only teams that stood a chance to beat them. If Binner did not get hurt; I think the Blues push them to 7 games, if not beat them.
    The Blues very nearly forced a Game 7 with Colorado, and if that had happened, anything can happen. But like the rest of you, I watched this Blues season, and there were times when they were easy to underestimate because they didn't play all that well and you never knew which team you were going to get. Really good teams don't have such drastic ups and downs. Or at least they shouldn't. 
    If the Blues had somehow beaten Colorado, there would be a good chance they'd be playing in the Stanley Cup Final right now. 
    In the case of Chucky Sideburns, any chance he gets any looks as a starter or signing as the backup in St. Louis his best option. I know he is UFA. and he is having a better playoff than Hofer. Do you think he tests the market or just sign to be backup to Binnington
    Lindgren has done better this postseason than Hofer, and the Blues goalie situation is going to be tricky. Lindgren isn't going to get an offer like Husso will get, but if he gets a team offering him a one-way deal at something above the league minimum, that will appeal to him. The Blues would only re-sign him if they don't re-sign Husso. I would think the Blues would want to have one of them signed before free agency begins.
    Walker’s wife posted a sweet video of him & his daughter when he returned home on IG. His hand/wrist looked to be on a cast… any idea of the injury? I never really heard much about end of the season health issues for the team
    Armstrong didn't answer a question about injuries at his end-of-season press session, saying that all the medical exams hadn't been completed, so all we knew was what we heard from the players themselves. Usually the team has announced any surgeries that would cause a player to miss time the following season, and that hasn't happened. Walker played right up to the end, so if he had an injury, it was something he was playing through.
    Is there a lot of Russian people in St. Louis? You wrote that the Blues have the highest percentage of Russians in the league. Just wondering why they would like it here. Maybe they all hang out together? There's another one coming from Springfield Alexandrov?
    I don't know that there are a whole lot of Russians in St. Louis who don't play hockey. Often a preponderance of players from a certain place is a reflection of a team's scouting staff. If the Blues have a scout in Russia who is adept at finding good talent, you end up with a lot of Russians. The players have alluded to a comfort factor that comes from having other Russian players around, and when the Blues got Buchnevich, he said he quickly heard from Tarasenko. The adjustment can't be easy, so having someone who speaks the same language has to help. Barbashev has certainly learned a lot from Tarasenko. 
    Alexandrov is Russian but was born and raised in Germany. He's had a good season in Springfield. 
    The Blues need another forward to scrap besides Schenn. Any idea who might be available?
    On the existing roster, I would think Toropchenko would be a candidate for that, same for Walker if he were to stick with the team all next season.
    If you play 1/2 the games of the NHL season or 1 game in the Finals, you get your name on the Cup. Do you know who gets designated winners of the Calder Cup? Will guys like Toropchenko, Walker or Brown be considered “winners” of the cup having spent a chunk of the season in Springfield?
    Looks to me like there's room for no more than 30 players on the Calder Cup. Personally, I would consider myself a Calder Cup winner only if I appeared in the playoffs for the eventual champion, but this is a reality I will not have to confront. It would just seem odd for Logan Brown to say, "I won the Calder Cup!" when he hadn't played for them since November. It looks like the number of names on the Calder vary widely, so there may not be a hard and fast rule.
    Tom, I have to agree with Barry, Colorado has been pretty dirty in the playoffs. You can't use penalty minutes as an indicator, Kadri didn't get a penalty when he ran Binnington.
    If we assume the Blues can make the playoffs then looking at their fourth line compared to other cup contenders may be informative. It seems like the Avs and Tampa are utilizing a good amount of veterans with a mix of grit and speed. Can/should the Blues do something similar?
    When the Blues won the Stanley Cup, their fourth line was Steen, Barbashev and Sundqvist, and I often said, in this very chat, that the Blues were at their best when Sundqvist was on the fourth line because it meant they had healthy forwards ahead of him. This season, the Blues had a fairly effective fourth line of Bozak, Toropchenko and Walker down the stretch. Bozak doesn't figure to be back next season, so I don't know who the veteran forward in that grouping will be, and I don't know that they'll go out and get someone just for that purpose. But it would be easy to see Barbashev going back to being in that group next season.
    Torts signed a four year deal in Philly. How many cups will he win? I say 2. I’m guessing you and Gordo with be sick the day he comes to town.
    I'm going to say two is high.
    Should the Blues play Neighbors a while in the AHL for a third line call up and let Brown, Kostin, and/or Torp prove they either are or aren’t top 9 forwards? Dominating against professionals in the AHL should be a good learning experience while determining the value of the others seems beneficial.
    Neighbours play will determine much of that. While there is certainly much that can be learned in the AHL. The Blues sent Perunovich there until he pretty much made the case he was ready for the NHL and they couldn't keep him there any longer. Though if Neighbours is playing well enough to be an NHL player at the end of camp, the Blues could be inclined to let him be that. (Perunovich's situation was complicated by him playing so few games the previous two seasons and the team having a bunch of other defensemen.) Brown showed progress this season, Kostin didn't, and Toropchenko made a huge leap. I don't think you can get all three of those guys enough time early on to make a decision, and I think Kostin is someone who could be moving on soon since his roster spot is pretty much taken by Toropchenko.
    Great job, most interesting and informative, Tom. How fast might the Blues turn to speed and skill? For example, how quickly might Perunovich be worked into the lineup next year? How fast will they bring Bolduc along, etc? With Neighbors coming and other breakthrough young players, who will see their time cut? Thanks!
    They already are moving to speed and skill, along with the rest of the league. I don't know that the team will go there as much as other teams have, just because of personnel they are committed to, but that's where the game is headed. Barring a bad camp, Perunovich will be a top six defenseman next season for the Blues and will run one of the power play units. Bolduc is a year away. (By the way, he was with Springfield only for their games against Laval in Quebec in the previous round and isn't with Springfield any more.) How the ice time sorts out will depend on what the final roster looks like. Hard to see a spot of Bozak in the mix right now, and what happens to Perron will be a key point.
    Though I hope I am wrong, I just don't see Logan Brown as a top 9 type forward. Too slow and not competitive enough. What is your take?
    Right now, I can see him as a third line forward. Being competitive is something you can change, so that can happen and his speed has been OK for me. The problem is, right now, would I play him ahead of any of the Blues top nine forwards? Probably not. So that's the battle for him.
    My two cents on our goalies: Don't trade Binnington, his performance in the playoffs showed he still has the magic to steal games. Let Husso walk and promote Chuckie Sideburns as the backup. Chuckie stole game one for Springfield, he's ready. Or Army signs Husso then puts him in a trade for a big shut-down d-man.
    Sign and trades aren't that common in the NHL. Usually it's trade and sign, as with Faulk or Buchnevich (who had years to go on their contract). If the Blues want to keep Husso and sign him before free agency begins, they almost certainly will be overpaying him.
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