Join columnist Jeff Gordon for his live St. Louis sports chat at 1 p.m. Friday

Join columnist Jeff Gordon for his live St. Louis sports chat at 1 p.m. Friday

Bring your Cards, Blues, Mizzou, SLU and MLS questions and comments, and talk to columnist Jeff Gordon in his weekly live chat.

    Bobo's here, and, as one would expect given the circumstances, we have some ballplayers. So let's go!
    Good afternoon, Mr. Gordon. Thank you for your time and the chat. I don't profess to be that knowledgeable about Blues and hockey (for instance, I don't understand ROn's obvious man-crush on coach Tortorella), but it seems to me that this Blues team is "soft." Guys like Thomas, Kyrou, Krug, Leddy, Parayko, and Mikkola don't seem to play with much intensity or physicality. I have a lot of respect for Army, and I think he's done a great job up to this season. After all, it's up to the players to perform. But, did Army misjudge the talent on his team? Did he underestimate the value of Husso and Perron to the team? Did he make a Matt Carpenter/Dexter Fowler-type mistake in handing Thomas and Kyrou $60 million-plus each so soon? Should he make a move like sending Mikkola down to the minors or trade someone in an attempt to shake up the team? What's your opinion? Thank you.
    First up, Mikkola is easily the team's most physical defenseman. He delivers big hits in addition to blocking lots of shots. He plays with an edge. His shortcoming is failing to make consistently good plays with the puck in his own zone. 
    Husso? He knew how good Ville was, but he made the commitment to Binnington and Ville wanted a chance to play more and making at least co-starter money.
    Perron? Yeah, I believe everybody would agree that letting him go was a mistake.
    Leddy? While the Blues needed to invest more on the blue line, the team needed a defensive-minded addition to the blue line. Leddy played fine for the Blues last season, but he has been miscast with this team.
    Thomas and Kyrou are the future. They're it. Maybe Zachary Bolduc pans out, but that's an if -- and there are no other scoring line forwards in development. So Armstrong locked in Thomas and Kyrou, who will be big assets for the long haul.
    Gordo,
    Is it time for the Blues to move on from the Chief? He seems have lost control of the team. They are not playing with any force or intensity. What gives?
    The Blues are in no hurry to fire Berube after giving him an extension. I believe Doug Armstrong was crystal clear about that. This team finished well last season and started well this season until the losing streak. 
    I believe the more likely scenario is that Armstrong expedites the transition to a young nucleus led by Thomas and Kyrou. We knew the time was coming anyway. Armstrong was hoping for one more run with this group. If this team falls too far off the playoff pace, Ryan O'Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko -- two guys with expiring contracts -- could hit the trade block.
    Very smart by Missouri to sign Coach Baker to a 3 year contract. That also tells me drink will be back for year 4, that is good. Changing head coaches after year 3 would not make any sense. I know it is a very small sample size but Mizzou basketball last night was like last year, horrible shooting from the 3 and to many turnovers. I am sure they will get better. The 2 bigs played a total of 4 minutes, so it is obvious we will play small ball.
    I agree on both points. Earning a (barely) Top 25 victory on the road was huge for Missouri and Eli Drinkwitz. That proved that the team has stuck with it through exasperating losses and kept giving max effort for the coach. Blake Baker did a terrific job blending in newcomers and getting results this season and that extension was a pro-active move.
    Missouri's basketball team is primarily a mix of guards and wing/small forward types who can spread the floor. I believe it will shoot better than in the exhibition game, most nights anyway, simply because Isiaih Mosley will be taking more shots. 
    Ah, but who will defend the post? One of the players with much experience at that, Ronnie DeGray, did not get off the bench against Wash U. If Kobe Brown has to do all the post defending, he will spend the season in foul trouble.
    Binnington’s continued antics (e.g., bumping into Sorokin after the 2nd period) are an embarrassment to the game and franchise. I hope he eventually does it to the wrong guy and gets his butt beat.
    Yeah, he does need to remember that he is a under-sized goaltender. There are some big, strong fellas in goal these days and he's not one of them.
    I told you back when Perron signed with Detroit that the Blues will miss him more then they realize, and you dismissed my point. I told you he was as much the captain of this team as anyone. They need leadership more then anything. Still holding out for more info?
    As I noted earlier, letting Perron go was a mistake. But . . . if the team is so fragile that it can't play without him, it's better to know that now before the franchise invests any more money in the current cast of veterans. This run for this group of veterans was going to end at some point. Maybe the end comes a bit sooner than feared.
    Has Jim Edmonds been dropped from the announcer's crew? He wasn't active at season's end.
    I do not know what Bally Sports' plans for next year, or even if the current company will exist as we know it today. But it's worth noting that Jim got married in late September in Italy. so he had a full calendar the season wound down.
    Gordo -

    Wondering if you concur with the analysis coming from the team in respect to why the Blues are struggling? Is it really just simply a lack of focus and energy? It sounds like your typical company line, "it's just not working right now", but there has to be a real logistical answer to why this team is struggling right?
    As I noted in a column on STLToday.com today:
    The modern game is played at breakneck speed. Sustaining constant pressure at that pace -- as the Blues did while making their unlikely Cup run -- requires persistent effort, physical sacrifice and lockstep coordination.
    And, of course, a team needs red-hot goaltending that can steal games when all else fails.
    The Blues feature none of that these days.
    That sums it up. This is not Xs and Os, it's effort and on-ice coordination.
    In TT's chat he asked me for my prediction and I posted I didn't think the Blues would make the playoffs. I didn't think the wheels would fall off this early in the season. You always say that trades won't happen until the trade deadline. Don't you think some teams want to do something before their season is lost? I would trade ROR asap. Get a nhl ready young player and high draft pick. Possible! Likely? Unlikely?
    As I noted earlier, if this team falls further off the pace, Armstrong will be done investing in the veteran players. That means guys with expiring contracts, Ryan O'Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko, will be skating with sales tags on their helmet since they won't be coming back anyway. But given the salary cap constraints faced by almost every good trade, trading for pricey players early in the season is very hard. Armstrong hasn't shown much appetite for taking back dead or dying money in a trade.
    Berube is faltering. Torts is flourishing. I predicted both of those things. You owe me an apology.
  • Don't hold your breath.
    Gordo,

    Boy does it seem like the Blues are in a tough spot. They could lose 3 out of the next 4 and really put themselves in a deep whole to get out of. Then you look at what they have to trade to start a rebuild, and it's not promising. Their farm system is towards to bottom of the league, so its not like they have prospects close to making any sort of impact. How do you see this playing out?
    I don't see any rash early-season moves because, frankly, they are rare in the salary cap world. So the Blues will get sufficient opportunity to get back in the chase for a playoff berth. But barring a dramatic turnaround, Armstrong will start mapping out a retooling on the fly. The 2023 NHL Draft is deep and he has the assets to gather a few high draft picks and add some badly needed prospects to speed the the transition to a younger team.
    Jeff, Can we begin to hope in an upward trajectory for Mizzou football?
    Coach Drink has earned an opportunity to salvage this season, which is huge. And that victory at South Carolina prevented the season from becoming a complete disaster. Locking in the defensive coordinator was a big step in firming up the program's stability. There are still questions to ask about how the program will move forward in this new NIL/transfermania environment, but I believe the word "hope" is appropriate.
    I remember when the Blues drafted Tage Thompson you said his size made him very interesting. Did you ever think he would turn into Brett Hull? The kid is a beast!!! Bad luck for the Blues. Blues are experiencing some kind of curse like the goat in the bar that cost the Cubs 100 years of futility. Are you aware of any medicine man putting a curse on our Blues? Too much bad luck!!!!Could it be Voodoo?
    No voodoo, just something that happens to most Cup winners. Tage Thompson always had a great shot, he just had to get his game up to the NHL speed. That is very common for bigger forwards who are used to exploiting their reach advantage rather than moving their feet.
    I think Vladi is a keeper. He shows up when most do not. He will play well as he ages because he took 2 years off line Perron. He's strong and built to last. I trade ROR make Vladi the Captain turn the roster over with 3 good trades. If you give him 9 million AAV for 5 years and the C he would stay.
  • Like I said earlier, I believe the Blues are likely finished investing in these veterans. And Tarasenko gave zero indication that he wanted to finish his career here. The only good news in the Blues scenario is that they don't have any truly horrendous Erik Karlsson-like contracts to work around. If this team does retool, guys with no-trade protection would consider waiving that protection to go to a contender. So if the Blues decide to trade some of their players with remaining contract term they would be able to do so. That could speed the process.
    Jeff,
    What pitcher(s) would you like the Cardinals to target?
    Fans clamor for true ace, but there are precious few of them heading into free agency. If Clayton Kershaw wants to pitch one more year, I figure that would be with the Dodgers. Justin Verlander and Jacob deGrom could get $40 million-plus on their next deal and, like Max Scherzer, each comes with the sort of risk that only the biggest spending teams take. I'd go for Carlos Rodon, but I doubt that John Mozeliak wants to gamble $30 million a year on him. I would expect the Phillie to pay up to keep Aaron Nola. Nathan Eovaldi could be a right-priced fit, but does he really move the needle? The same goes for Sonny Gray and Luis Severino, who are in the next tier down from Rodon.
    Sign Turner
    Trade for Murphy
    See you in Jupiter!
    For all the reasons we outline every week, shortstop seems like a less likely place to add offense than the outfield/DH slot. The keystone of Tommy Edman and Brendan Donovan/Nolan Gorman could hold the seat warm for Masyn Winn. While the Cardinals expect Jordan Walker to make it big, the rest of the outfield
    Happy Friday BoBo! Brian Walton was talking about how good Clint Coulter in Memphis was hitting. He is listed as a corner outfielder and Catcher. Do you know if he's a legitimate Catcher or if his glove plays better in the corner outfield? Is there a chance he could jump Herrera next year? Or would he just be an emergency catcher at the MLB level?
    Coulter is an interesting story. Once upon a time he was drafted 27th overall by the Milwaukee Brewers. But that was 2012. The man has played 830 minor league games without getting a sniff in the majors. He broke in as a catcher, but shifted to mostly outfield work after three years. He has bounced around the minors and even spent a season playing Independent baseball. He can hit, like you say, and he a handy guy to have at Memphis to support the prospects. But he will turn 30 next season so it's safe to say he has no place in the Cardinals' long-term plans.
    Gordo, I am not sure where Mo is going to get that 3rd bat, ideally LH. The free agency market is slim. Pederson will likely stay with the Giants or go back to the Braves. Contreras is a plus if they get him but is not to that level, I don’t think. Any targets out there?
    The Cardinals will explore the trade market and we have little idea what that looks like right now. We assume the Pirates will trade Bryan Reynolds because they trade everybody at some point, so that is one guy who draws heavy speculation. He could be an ideal fit here.
    Don't you think a team like Ottawa who lost center Josh Norris would jump at the chance to get ROR? They have good prospects and cap space. Several teams in that category.
    If the Blues end up trading Ryan O'Reilly, I'm guessing the buying team would be a true Cup contender looking for a matchup piece to get over the top. Ottawa misses Norris for sure, but that team moved Shane Pinto up into a scoring role and kept the offense going. If that team makes a trade, it better be for defensive help.
    The Blues have had a great decade or so. I was at the game last night, and they just were not as good as the other team. Salary cap and aging catches up to all teams, The Black Hawks and Kings won the cup, but the long contracts to keep players to compete ends up dragging you down. Keep Berube. We just will have to rebuild around Binnington, Kyrou, Thomas and Neighbors. One bad year will get us draft choices and I suspect trading Taresenko and maybe O'Reilly and Barbeshev at some pint can make us younger. We need a better defense.
    I can't argue with any of that.
    I know there is panic in some people's eye, but when the Blues won the SC they had the worst record in the NHL the first week of January. The season before I believe the Blues won 9 straight during their first 15 games. They didn't make the playoffs. DA traded Stasney before the deadline for a 1st.
    This season could still go either way for sure. But the unsettling part is how fragile the group's psyche is right now. Who knew these guys could become so lost so quickly? That does raise fundamental questions for Doug Armstrong to ponder.
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