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.

    Here we are. Six days of training camp. Three games. Two injuries. Ah yes, it's hockey season. The Blues are off today, their first off day of camp, so while they take a breather, let's dive in to the question pool.
    Hi Tom, If not ROR, WHO? I think this is the most interesting question for next year. I guess we could go with Thomas Schen and maybe Brown becomes the real deal.
    Yeah, if the Blues don't re-sign O'Reilly, they will need someone like O'Reilly, a top-line center who is good defensively and on faceoffs, and if you think you can pick one of those up cheap, well, guess again. So that's ample reason for the Blues to keep the guy they already have. If O'Reilly were to go elsewhere, I don't see the Blues going with Thomas, Schenn and Brown. I think they would be active in trying to get someone else.
    The NHL's expectation is that next season's salary cap will go up by $1 million to $83.5 million, so that will create a bit more room, and in the year after that, they expect it to go up to $87.5 or $88 million, which would provides a lot of room. But even with that extra $1 million next season, that will be a tight squeeze for the Blues. But it's in their best interests, it would seem, to make it happen. 
    Did you watch the game last night? I watched it live when Perunovich got hurt. The Chicago broadcasters totally missed it, but I saw him get checked innocently along the boards behind the Blues net. He immediately dropped his stick and grabbed his hand/arm and headed to the bench. At this point, Armstrong and company have to ask the question..."is this kid brittle?" I know they hope he is a cheap, hopeful option regarding their Cap situation. But, he just keeps getting hurt. Tough call whether to keep hoping he turns it around or not.
    I did watch the game last night. I don't know if that's a case of Perunovich being brittle. Sometimes body parts just get caught in positions they're not supposed to go, and it doesn't matter who you are, something is going to give. Armstrong and the team have a lot of expectations for Perunovich -- people in this chat routinely suggest trading Krug because he and Perunovich have the same skill set -- but the team also is at the point where they need to see something from him. "You can't make the club from the tub," as Armstrong said at the start of camp. We don't know yet the extent of the injury so we'll see if this one more installment in the so-far unfortunate career of Scott Perunovich.
    I don't see Neighbors making the team. Where is he going to play that's best for his development? He can play top line and PP at Homer Simpson's hometown Springfield. On the Blues playing him 4th line is not going to be enough playing time for a developing player. Leivo is in his prime still a good veteran add. That's the move.
    I think Neighbours is going to make the team and be on the third line. I think he has a bigger skill set than Leivo does. From Berube yesterday on Neighbours: "He finds a way to get things done whatever way you want to shape it. He’s involved physically around the net and makes little plays all over the ice. He’s very highly competitive player." Which is not to say I don't think Leivo won't make the team or help if he did. The only way Neighbours doesn't make the team is if he has a terrible camp. So far he hasn't.
    It looks like Armstrong's decision to keep Leddy is already paying off with the apparent serious injury to Perunovich... Is their depth going to be enough this year, though?
  • If the worst fears on Perunovich become a reality, all of a sudden Calle Rosen is the seventh defenseman and Steven Santini is in the wings. Kessel is a guy to watch, though he'll benefit from more AHL time. But his chance may not be too far away at the rate the Blues defensemen are getting hurt. Though also, the Blues are probably one injury away from looking to pick up someone off the waiver wire when teams start sending players down.
    Where I live they had this concert with all these bands that were"one hit wonders"! Made me think about Binnington! His stats don't lie since 2019 a steady decline. If he has a bad year maybe this Russian kid can do a Vasilevsky impersonation? Where's Villie? Oh yeah....
    Jordan Binnington was great in his rookie season. Phenomenally great. One of the best seasons you'll ever see for a goalie. If he had better seasons after that, he would be the greatest goalie ever. He has not. His next season wasn't all that bad, until very late in the season. He was playing good enough to start last season that he was being talked about for the Canadian Olympic team. In his first three seasons, his goals allowed were lower than his expected goals allowed. Last season he was pretty close to even. If he has not been great, he by no means has been bad, other than that midseason stretch that earned Ville Husso $4 million. 
    Goalies are very hard to figure. Long contracts for goalies are a risk. If the Stanley Cup season was Binnington's  "Come On Eileen," then that will be a pretty good legacy to have. But there was only one way to go from there. But his decline from season's 1 to 2 was not precipitous at all and while I wouldn't expect him to match that rookie season again, if he matched his sophomore, or even parts of his junior season, that would be a big plus for the Blues.  
    after three preseason games who are your favorites to fill the open roster spots?
    From where I sit, the only open roster spot is the 14th forward. Right now, Leivo has the lead in that race, but Bolduc will be the wild card. If he shows well, they could give him a nine-game NHL run, fully expecting him to go back to juniors but knowing that he will benefit from having had that experience. If they decide not to do that, right now Leivo is the guy, especially since he's on a one-way contract. Though as he said the other day when that was mentioned to him, "I had a one-way last year and spent the season in the AHL." 
    I'm fully expecting Brown and Neighbours to make the team, and if Perunovich is out, Rosen will step in to that spot.   
    Kostin looks good! Can he and Neighbors both make the team? If it's a choice I rather have Kostin.
    The Blues opening night forwards would look to be, assuming they carry 14: O'Reilly, Tarasenko, Schenn, Buchnevich, Saad, Kyrou, Thomas, Barbashev, Acciari, Walker, Brown, Neighbours, Kostin, Bolduc/Leivo. The question will be if there's room for Kostin when Toropchenko comes back. Because when Toropchenko comes back, he's playing.
    Tom, Did Perunovich injure the same wrist he had surgery on last year? What can you tell us about the extent of this injury?
    The Blues are off today so we would get an update today only if it was something major, and even then they might wait until tomorrow. He had surgery earlier this year on his left wrist.
    How does the Enterprise Center rank amonst the other arenas in the NHL?
    Well, I got stuck in an elevator at Enterprise Center last season for over an hour, so that's one category where they lag. 
    I don't experience an arena in the same way a fan does; I usually see the top floor and the backstage area around the dressing rooms. If I walk around the concourse, it's usually when the building is empty. 
    I always like Xcel Center in St. Paul. That has a very good feel to it. Enterprise isn't as new as a lot of places, but the recent improvements have been a big help. WInnipeg's building is nice. Haven't been to Seattle, or the new Edmonton building. Detroit's new place, from what I've seen, is quite lavish. It's in the middle of the pack probably, but a lot of these buildings are a lot alike. 
    I don't believe there has been a time I've gone to Anaheim that I have not gotten lost trying to find the dressing rooms, and I've gone there a good amount of times. 
    Acknowledging the small sample size, any preliminary comments on Zherenko's play last night? On Neighbors? On the O'Reilly/Kyrou chemistry?
    The fist couple of minutes for Zherenko, I thought he got quite the test and he handled it very well. May not have looked really fluid all the time, but he got the job done. I think Neighbours has looked good and I don't think O'Reilly or Kyrou will have any trouble developing chemistry with each other. O'Reilly is an instinctive player who should work well with Kyrou's improv skills. It may take a while to match the O'Reilly-Perron chemistry, but these two should work out well.
    Are any of the forwards working on perfecting their "one-timers" in camp? This shot made Perron effective on the PP, Steven Stamkos has made a career with this shot from the circle. If Tarasenko would get bettter at this shot he could score 50 goals.
    We discussed this on the podcast last week, with Gordo noting that if Tarasenko hasn't mastered the one-timer by now, it's not going to happen. Guys work on one-timers all the time at the end of practice, as part of the goalie drills. But it's hard to say any of them are devoting any special attention to it. 
    Among forwards on last season's team, Perron led in slapshots with 32, then Tarasenko, Buchnevich, Kyrou and O'Reilly were all bunched together around 20. The Blues' power play would really benefit from someone doing what Perron was able to do last season. 
    Soccer related question...I started following soccer (mostly EPL) when Kroenke and the NFL said STL will not support another major league franchise aside from the Cards and Blues. Thus, I am super excited about St. Louis City SC. St. Louis City SC2, their developmental team, has a chance to win the first ever championship in the MLS NextPro league. Do you think their success is a little tarnished because of the involvement of available first-team members, or can we look at this season as another magical story in St. Louis' major leagues sports lore? It has been a heckuva story either way!!!
  • Pardon me while I answer a soccer question.
    There was a point late in the season when City2 was playing upwards of six first team guys from next season, and my thought was, there's no reason this team should lose again. But they've been cautious with minor injuries to those guys, so they have been using no more than three of them, and mostly the youngest guys from next season. So a lot of this has happened with the second-team guys from the start of the season. And while City2 has benefitted from having pretty much the same team all season, City2 hasn't had the luxury of having actual current first teamers move down into their lineup to play. City2 was able to attract better players than they might have in the future because they could offer an easier pathway to the league for some guys, but it's been a pretty good run for these guys. Nothing to tarnish it all. 
  • Back to hockey. (Though soccer questions are always welcome.)
    Any surpises in camp so far?
    If there's been a surprise, it's that the competition has been pretty good for the few available spots. No one has really played their way out of contention so far among the collection of spare forwards. And all the goalies have looked good so far for guys just starting the season. Leivo has probably made the best case for himself.
    SORRY TOM.I see my dad is still on the Husso rant. He has a hard time letting things go. If we had signed Husso and not Leddy we would really be short on D. Poor dad doesn't understand that Husso wanted to be a starter and that wasn't happening here.
    The NFL is getting rid of the Pro Bowl, and just going with a skills contest. Should the NHL get rid of the All Star Tournament? Will they?
    If the NHL was still playing the traditional form of All-Star Game, then yes. Having covered a few of those, thereby being obligated to watch, it was like hockey with all the best parts missing. The three-on-three gives a little flash, and the skills competition can be fun. They won't get rid of it because it provides a chance for everyone in the league to get together at midseason and have a party. Sponsors can have receptions and reward employees and show off stuff and feel like they're getting something for all the money they're giving the league. The game may go away every few years if the league gets its dream of an in-season World Cup tournament, where it can its best players in international competition and in the season, when they're in shape. But I don't think they'll want to do that every year, especially in Olympic years, so you're going to get 3 on 3 hockey for a while.
    I know we've only had 3 pre-season games, but do you have a guess as to who makes the roster, and what the 3rd-4th lines will look like at this point?
    Berube himself said yesterday that what the O'Reilly line would look like would depend on what the other lines, especially the third line, looked like. I think the fourth line will be Walker, Acciari and Kostin (until Toropchenko gets back) and Thomas will play with Tarasenko and Buchnevich. Then it will be a question of whether Saad or Schenn is on the O'Reilly line, and whichever one isn't falls to the third line. And the other question there will be does Logan Brown play his way into the lineup, most likely as third line center. If that happens, then it gets complicated with Schenn/Sadd, Brown and Neighbours? That would force Barbashev onto the fourth line, probably at the expense of Kostin. Brown's early play has increased the likelihood of that situation, though Berube seemed pleased with the first half of Brown's game with Dallas, not quite as much with the second. "Got to play 60 minutes," he said.
    Oh yeah!? The move was to sign Leddy and Husso. Scandella was gone one way or another. I see Florida who signed Tkachuck for 9.5 M still have 14.5 M in goaltending! But Army can't sign Husso and have 10M in goalie pay. It was a MISTAKE!! PS my son smokes pot all day and plays video games!
    Really hate to see family's airing their dirty laundry like this.
    Can Colt 55 play a meaner game? Has he shown any aggressiveness during camp and games? His personality isn't one to be nasty but he could be a Pronger clone if he would,
    He's not a mean guy, though that doesn't mean he can't play a mean game. He's a hockey player, though I think if Lady Byng voters looked at how gentlemanly someone was rather than how few penalty minutes a guy had, Parayko would win every year. But I digress. He's not going to start running guys, if that's what you're looking for. He's still the best defensive defenseman the Blues have, and he was telling me he his back was feeling fine the first day of practice. Mikkola was praising the calming influence he has gotten from playing alongside Parayko, with his coolness in pressure situations. Parayko said the big thing defensively -- he said for the team, but by extension for him -- was aggressiveness. So he does want to be more aggressive this season, which may make him look meaner.
    Happy Wednesday Sports Fans. Thought I was jump on the chat as we Floridians wait for Ian to blow and go away.

    I didn't see the game last night, who looked good with O'Reilly even strength to replace Perron? Just looking for your opinion from this one game sample.
    Stay safe Barry. I see Ian just made landfall and is headed your way. 
    Jim was at the game and would be a better judge, but the bulk of the team's offense came on the power play. Nothing really stood out 5 on 5. The team had 0.7 expected goals at 5 on 5, so it's tough to get too excited about anyone. I think Saad-O'Reilly-Kyrou will work out fine, but let's face it, almost any left wing would do well with those two. It is, as we say, prime real estate. 
    Hey, we're a little past the halfway point, but I'm running low on questions, so we actually might be a lot closer to the end. So welcome to all those who have jumped over the boards recently and if there's a question you have that hasn't already been addressed, the door is open.
    Is karma catching up with the Vegas Golden Knights?
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