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.

    The contracts to Faulk and Krug would look a lot better if the cap had gone up as expected. But it hasn't, so it's going to put the Blues in a bind. I think it was after the Krug contract was signed that Armstrong said these contracts might be bad at the end, but that would probably be the next GM's problem. The flat cap has caused problems for a lot of teams, not just the Blues. The Thomas and Kyrou contracts will probably look great in their final seasons because the cap will go up, but the defensive ones, especially factoring in the players' ages, are going to be tough to work around.
    Mr. Timmermann,

    The choice in the offseason was Leddy over Perron. With the benefit of hindsight, was that the right choice? I'm not sure the D could be a whole lot worse without Leddy than it is with him. I'm not implying he's to blame for all the problems the Blues have, but his skill set is somewhat redundant with Faulk and Krug present. David Perron, meanwhile, is having yet another very solid season.
    At the time, I felt it was the wrong choice, especially after seeing what Perron signed with Detroit for. Leddy is miscast as being on a shutdown defensive pairing; that's just not his thing. I appreciate the risks involved with giving a multi-year deal to a player of Perron's age, but it seemed worth the risk. 
    The one thing that may have factored in the decision was the status of Scandella, which we didn't know about at the time. I don't think the Blues were positive either about it at the time, but if they had an inkling, it may have been a possibility. At the time, I wrote that signing Leddy meant another move was almost certainly in the works, which obviously didn't happen. If the Blues had Perron but didn't have Leddy, they would be better off at forward and the team's third defensive pairing would be Bortuzzo and Tucker. So having Leddy may turn out to be a good thing. 
    A good young forward Vrana not getting claimed is very telling. He has another year after this one at 5.2 Million. He's young. There were only 6 teams that had cap space to claim him. Not one did. Teams don't want that 5.2 hit. Giving this situation how is Army going to move a contract? It's unlikely teams want any Blues player with multiple years remaining and who is over 30. I think your timing to switch over to soccer is spot on. Realistically it's hard to see any kind of overhaul not contractually possible.
    The question is always which teams need to get to the cap floor, or which teams are so deep into a rebuild that they can take a bad contract in exchange for something good in return. So is Anaheim or Chicago willing to take on a big contract next season because they need one. But yes, those teams are usually looking for short term help, so a Krug or Parayko contract won't be as desirable as a Scandella contract. 
    And let the record reflect that I left the SLU beat to come to the Blues after they had just gone to the NCAA tournament three straight seasons. They were 27-7 my last season on the beat and 11-21 the next season. As Joe Strauss once said to me as I was covering a Cardinals game going into extra innings on deadline, while he sat next to me just watching, It's all about timing. 
    Hey Tom-- I wonder how Tarasenko will be remembered for his time here in STL??? Stanley Cup winner, offensive gifts, ability to take over a game, mecurial, intermittant 100% committment??? I will go with what Brett Hull said and what people seem to never say, certainly the media--'If Vlady was playing hard at least most of the time, he'd be scoring 40-50 goals a game, not 25-35.' I think he's been sheltered from real criticism, plain and simple.. That's why I love what Brett Hull said..... HE would know about full on effort when it counts, and being a leader... Thoughts?
    They'll remember the good times, the Stanley Cup win, the big-goal scoring seasons, the end-to-end dashes. Some will wonder what may have been had he not had his shoulder troubles. 
    He got 40 goals one season, just missed in two others. I don't know how realistic it was for him to get a whole lot higher. Not a lot of players were doing that at the time, and they were all seminal talents. 
    Happy Hump Day Tom. Thank you for your years of chatting with the best group of chatters in the NHL.

    Was last night the "Tuesday Night Miracle"? Or maybe we got a glimpse the Blues may not be too bad off when we lose Vladi and O'Reilly? Maybe O'Reilly been slowing his line down.

    If the Blues can start playing something close to team defense our boys may still have enough offense and team character to be a winning team (but not a cup contender).

    I see a retooland not a rebuild. What say you?

    Again, THANK YOU Tom for your years of being our eyes and ears for Blues hockey.
  • I think to be a "Miracle" you have to have a big comeback. You can't lead from the start and hang on. But it was as unexpected a win as the Blues have had this season. Maybe it has been O'Reilly and Tarasenko that have been anchors ont the offense, but I think ultimately, if the team can play .500 hockey over January, it will be an accomplishment.
    Armstrong has shown ability to pull rabbits out of a hat before. Can he make an O'Reilly type deal to unload an unwanted contract and pick up an asset? Is there a Buchnevich out there that some team is figuring they won't be able to re-sign and they can pick up for a limited outlay? That's what the Blues are going to need in this offseason. If they can do that, it will be a retool.  
    "Mental toughness" is a word generally thrown around to describe teams which tend to overcome obstacles and play at a consistent level needed to win (games and championships). I understand that the players on this team all get along on and off the ice. That doesn't seem to be a problem. But, based on my definition of "mental toughness", how would you rate the Blues? If you rate them poorly, how can that be improved to move them up from a .500 team? (BTW - in general terms, I would rate Berube pretty high in the "mental toughness" category, so I don't think that is a concern with the Chief.)
    One thing we saw earlier this season, and less lately, is the Blues giving up an early goal, or a bad goal, and that was that. They were done. Next thing you knew, there were three goals in five minutes and they weren't coming back. That may meet your description of mental toughness. We've seen less of that lately. Bad goals happen in hockey, and you have to deal with them. There were a couple times last night I was expecting the Blues to fold after Toronto got within a goal. And they responded. So that's good. The Blues have done better at that, and it has gotten them to be a .500 team. Problem is, to make the playoffs, they've got to be better than they are now. To make the playoffs, the Blues are looking at winning two out of three games the rest of the way. It's going to take more than mental. They need 56 points in their final 44 games to get to 95 points, so not accounting for ties, that's a 28-16 record.
    I guess I'm curious why we (all of us, fans, writers) are still talking about Parayko in terms of 'potential upside.' He's going to be 30, isn't he 'is what he is' at this point-- good defensive defenseman, Very hard shot with very iffy ability to locate, overall 'hockey IQ' is probably moderate at best. Does not play physical even intermittantly, which could create a lot more room for himself and others on the ice. Sadly, this guy has nearly all the tools, the skating, the strength, reach, shot... But doesn't appear he has the will to elevate his game and bring all those things together...
    Parayko has at times been an elite defenseman in the league. He has not recently. His back problems no doubt played a role in that, though there was some slippage in his game before that. But he's more likely to become an elite defensive player than, for instance, Faulk, who at his best has been an average defensive defenseman (but an above-average offensive defenseman). So when I say Parayko has a potential upside, I'm saying that Parayko has played at a high level, as recently as just before the pandemic, and it is possible to return maybe not to the highest level, but to being very very good. 
    I've said it seems weekly in this chat: Forget about Parayko as an offensive player. He showed promise early, but really, not since his second or third season, has he been anything more than average. I'll use the analogy I've used many times before. Dmitrij Jaskin scored a bunch of goals in his rookie season and everyone thought he was going to be a solid offensive talent. But that season was an anomaly, and it blinded everyone to the fact that Jaskin was a very good defensive forward because all anyone saw was a disappointing offensive player. Parayko is a good defensive defenseman, probably the best the Blues have. (Calle Rosen has put up good numbers this season, but the two play in very different situations.) 
    And as Berube said about Parayko earlier this season, he kills plays, not players. He uses his hockey smarts to stop plays without slamming a guy to the ice. If he goes, Blues fans will miss him. 
    Now that you won't be covering the Blues full time anymore, do you have any favorite off ice moments, interviews or the like that stand out? And what will you miss the most as you transition to St. Louis CITY SC?
    The best moment was covering the Stanley Cup season, obviously. I've been part of our Cardinals coverage for two World Series titles, but I was always a peripheral player there. The players didn't really know me. It was different covering a Blues  team from start to finish that season and seeing all the ups and downs. And the parade was something. A colleague took, unknowingly, a picture that showed me chasing after the fire engine Jake Allen was riding on during the parade. Had he taken the picture a second later, it would have shown me doing a face plant on the street near Union Station as I unsuccessfully tried to jump on board. (Lesson about boarding a moving vehicle: be sure to grab on to something with your hands when you jump, because if the vehicle is moving, just getting a foot on board does not guarantee you will stay there.) In my fall, I rammed my shin into the bumper and had a bruise there for about six months. Of course, little did I know that I needn't have rushed to get on Jake's fire engine, because it made so many stops along the way. (Also, I'm not sure when Jake realized I was riding on his fire engine, though he couldn't have cared less.) My assignment that day was on the ceremony at the Arch grounds, so I was able to ride along and take in the sights. I remember someone putting down a Rams blanket in the middle of Market so the parade could ceremoniously run over it, and all the arms sticking out of the parking garages by Busch Stadium.
    Carl Gunnarsson was a favorite interview. I was talking to him once about whether the A's on jerseys were for assistant or alternate. He said assistant. I said the NHL rule book said alternate. He loudly declared, "F--- the NHL." I told him a lot of people disagreed with it being assistant. "F--- the people." he said. I liked Carl. 
    Still think your letting Tarasenko off the hook.. The guy has maybe the best wrist shot in the NHL.. At least top 5/10. He has great strength.. Good speed. But he refused to learn a 1 timer till last 1+ years. And what no one mentions, his effort is at times below what is needed from one of your team leaders.. If Tarasenko had O'Reilly's work ethic, he'd have been in the 40's in goals more than 1 time. And he would have been captain, not O'Reilly.......I'm not mad at the guy, I'm just pointing out he's not what he could have been, and that's not about the era he was in. It's that he didn't bring 'It' every night. And no one seems to ever want to talk about that piece, because we are too busy mythologizing the players we like, etc.....
    I'm just very reluctant to say, about anybody, that they don't bring it every night. Any one who has made it to the level of the NHL is an extremely competitive person. And I hardly think I have ever mythologized Tarasenko. 
    Yes, he could have had a better one-timer. So could a lot of other players. Who on this Blues team has one? It's been one of the problems with the power play in the post Perron era. 
    Tom, I wanted thank you for the Blues chats and your great work !! Good luck with StlCity.
    Thanks. Training camp starts a week from today.
    Mr. Timmerman, glad you are taking up the chats for the MLS league, missed out on season tickets, but a Christmas present from my kids was, they are buying my ticket and all four of us are going, also got a sweet Pink pull over. Do you know much about futball. If not i know you will study and be a very good beat writer,
    The last thing I did in Los Angeles before moving to St. Louis was cover the Galaxy in their first season. I've covered four men's World Cups, one Women's World Cup. Getting up to speed on MLS will take a bit of work. There's a lot of teams and a lot of players.
    Regarding the kits (jersey) for Stl City, if you compare our jerseys to the jerseys of Inter-Miami...powder puff pink....I'll take our reddish pink jerseys...aka City Red any day! Just MHO.
    Please, call them jerseys. I'm strong opposed to the British-ization of our soccer vocabulary. It's a field, not a pitch.
    I would also like to thank you and say "good job" for your Blues articles, the chats, and your "presence" on the Net Front Presence podcast. I know your roots are not in St. Louis, but you fit in quite well...hard working, respectful, thoughtful, honest, while not taking things too seriously. Thanks again, and I really hope you start up a soccer chat. Hope to see you at one of the City games! God bless!!
    Thanks! My mother was born and raised in St. Louis, my father across the river in Clinton County, where Timmermanns are all over the place. So I missed by a couple years being born in St. Louis (or, more likely, in Illinois), but I was certainly raised by St. Louisans, and I have a grandfather in the St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame. 
    We'll have to wait and see on the soccer chat. The weekly schedule is already full so we'll have to figure out a way.
    Tom, I will miss you in chat and Vladi on the ice. I guess what he would have been without the shoulder issues and the captaincy controversy will always be a "what if". I agree no one brings it every night and maybe expectations are higher for some over others. I do think the Blues have an uphill battle to remain competitive for the next few years with their salary cap issues and lack of young players. Good luck with soccer
  • Thanks. The Blues are certainly entering a time of change and it will be interesting to see what the next few seasons look like. I don't think they'll be anywhere close to being how bad they were in the Checketts Era. Even in a rebuild, the Blues have enough pieces to be competitive -- unless the D all gets old at the same time -- though the Cup window looks like it has closed. So if those 2005-2008 seasons are the measuring stick, I think they'll be better than that. Of course, it was those seasons that made possible the big seasons that followed. The challenge will be for Armstrong to navigate through those seasons and come out better on the other side.
    I wasn't referring to you specifically... Others just say the most + things about Tarasenko, or others. But at some point we are talking journalistic objectivity here, right? Report what you see? I think seeing a habit that yes, isn't horrible or terrible in any real world way, but in the hockey world, it seems pretty obvious that Tarasenko didn't give full effort on many occasions.. Right, and other guys 'take nights off.' Yes, they do. Tarasenko, I think, did it more.. I don't know, I watch every game, I'm pretty sure that is what I've been seeing these years... Thanks Tom, appreciate your thoughtful and fun banter.. We'll miss you.. Good luck on your next adventure..
    I think we see it in Kyrou from time to time, that defensively, he's not getting back hard enough, or not winning puck battles. For a lot of guys, it's just something they've never had to do, or they think at some level that being really good on the offensive end is their main responsibility. 
    And thanks for the warm wishes .
    Anyone who suggests Brett Hull gave it his all more so than Tarasenko didn't watch Brett play. He was fantastic but also a pouter who quit on many plays and was not great on d
    Alas, Hull played in an era before analytics and advanced stats. But he sure scored goals.
    LOL. I was going to just say the same thing. Since when did Hull give it his all every night and Kyrou rarely plays defense. His job is to stand at the redline
    And, in a rare case of perfect timing, we've hit 4 p.m., our traditional closing time, and I've exhausted all the questions or comments in the file. Not sure when I'll be back, I think Jim is here next week and I'm sure Matt will be jumping into the fray soon after. We're recording a podcast tomorrow, my last Net Front Presence for the time being -- they're already working on a new graphic without me in it -- and after that, I leave you in the capable hands of Jim, Matt and Joe Lyons. Since the start of the 2001-02 season, the Blues beat has been covered by Derrick Goold, Jeremy Rutherford, Jim Thomas, Dan O'Neill and me, (and now Matt DeFranks) and it's been an honor and privilege to be part of maybe the best (and probably the most interesting) 20 years in the franchise's history. Goodbye for now, though I'm sure I'll still tweet random Blues observations and I'm sure my byline will end up on a Blues story again at some point. And now it's on to soccer. And I've just learned I've got a Cardinals story to do on Sunday. So thanks to everyone, and see you soon.
    Let me try and set you up with a softball regarding the upcoming Stl City SC soccer season...for those who are not currently soccer fans...why should they get excited about soccer (while understanding it is obviously not a requirement to follow soccer)?
    I think when seen in the proper environment, like it will be at CityPark, it's fun. There are moments of exceptional brilliance. What some players can do is spectacular. And City plans to play a style that should be pretty entertaining, attacking and attacking, not sitting back. And the crowd is into it unlike any other sport.
  • OK, now I'm leaving. Thanks again everybody. It's also hard to explain what the three hours in the chat are like from the other end. You never know what's going to happen. Take care.
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