Hello again everybody. Good to be back on the chat after a lot of time on the road. Critical time obviously in the season. Let's get to the questions. . . ..
That's a good question, and I think all questions should be on the table given how this team has underachieved so far this season (even with all the injuries). Among the players that have been on the team for a while, I would say no. For others who are newer to the team, I'm not sure.
If you stopped the season at this point - and this was your snapshot of the 2020-21 Blues, I think the answer would have to be yes. Even with all the injuries _ and they had 7 players and $30 million worth of payroll on IR for a while _ I would say they're just not that good. But let's see what the final 21 games brings us.
I learned very quickly on this beat to expect anything from Doug Armgstrong. But what exactly does Taylor Hall do for you? I haven't paid much attention to Buffalo this season, but hasn't he pretty much washed out in Buffalo? Wasn't he underwhelming in Arizona. The Blues have 20-goal scorers up and down their lineup - 7 forwards who have had at least one 20 goal season. Vegas has six such forwards. Colorado has six. Boston eight. So the Blues have proven scorers - granted some of them have been hurt for a while. But they have plenty of scorers; the problem is that most of them aren't scoring right now.
There isn't nearly as much interaction during the COVID era. So the answer here is no.
He's a senior advisor to GM Doug Armstrong. In other words, he has Armstrong's ear.
That's a good question. But I have seen some stuff about it on social media. Maybe as he's about to catch Goridie Howe it will get more headlines. One other thing: with teams playing only the same seven division teams over and over (or six in the case of the Canada division) I think there's less awareness in general as to what's going on around the league as a whole.
The short answer about life on the road: Not too exciting. Then again, as I get older - I find myself getting less exciting. In other words, I do less and less when I'm on the road. I try to get hotels within walking distance of the arenas, and have been really successful on that front. So I get a litte exercise that way. I'm getting carry out and delivery. Occasionaly, weather permitting, I'll eat outdoors on a restaurant patio.while I work on the blog. As you may know, I had COVID basically for the entire month of September and a little bit of October, so I remain afraid of going into gyms. The walks to and from the rinks have to serve as my excerise for now, utnil I get vaccinated. Each area has its own COVID regulations, some stricter than others, so it took a while to get used to those. In San Jose, for example, I had to get tested (swab) every time I entered SAP Center for practice or a game. (Unless it was a morning skate/game day, in which case just one test in the morning.) San Jose, Vegas, Minnesota all provide meals. Colorado provides water, soda, etc. and snacks (chips, etc.) Anaheim, just water. Los Angeles: nothing. Haven't been to Arizona yet, but I think Tom T said they provided meals.
He's looking better than I thought he would at this stage. He's had a lot of chances the last few games. But he's had a couple of defensive miscues, and been knocked off the puck a few times too easily than he should've been. But overall, better than I thought.
Again, I'm a victim of paying less attention to the rest of the league than probably I should due to the Blues' all-West Division schedule. I lover the trips the Vancouver, the city, the game-day atmosphere, some of the young talent on that team. The fans in Winnipeg are tremendous. Love that atmosphere. And there is something special about seeing a game in Montreal.
At last check I think plans were still being formulated. But I would doubt we'll see anythng large-scale if it's a public ceremony in this pandemic age.
Well, until last year, Parayko had missed only six games in his first four seasons and never more than three games in any one season. Last year, he missed seven games with an upper-body injury and the Blues went 4-1-2 in those games - so they didn't miss him much. This year a different story. They are 10-5-2 with him in the lineup; 6-8-4 with him out of the lineup.
Sure they do. But if I were a betting man and had to throw $100 down - I'd say, no, they don't make the playoffs this year. I also thought they were finished in early January of 2019.
Certainly lately, the Blues aren't getting inside enough. And if they haven't gotten the message on that by now from Berube, they never will. Sanford, Schwartz, Thomas are just a few of the players who have been known to score on the inside. But they're not the only ones.
I think the idea was to make them a more skilled, up-tempo team this season - because on paper, they were a more skilled, up-tempo team. But at the same time not straying from their defensive principles, forechecking and physical play. In part because of injuries, they've never quite gotten there this season.
I'd say the biggest change here is on defense, where you've lost guys like Pietrangelo (6-3, 210) Bouwmeester (6-4, 215); Edmundson (6-4, 227) and replaced them with Krug 95-9, 186), Faulk (6-0, 217) and Scandella (6-3, 212). Obviously, you're also missing Parayko (6-6, 230) and replacing him with either Walman (6-1, 170) or Mikkola (6-4, 185). Faulk is sturdy and rarely gets outmuscled, but at 6-0 he doesn't have the reach of some of the others. Krug is feisty and willing - his heart is in it - but sometimes he just gets outmuscled. Defensively, I think it has more to do with being positionally sound and poised, than usuing speed.
Hoffman and Bozak have contracts that expire at the end of the year. I can't see Bozak coming back at his current contract terms _ $5 million a year. And that's if the team wants him back. And I don't see Hoffman coming back at all. I'm keeping Perron - I've seen no fall off in his play. Clifford has one year left on his deal and as a fourth-line guy who plays only about 10 minutes a game, it's not really a big deal in the grand scheme whether he stays or goes, although he does bring a physical element.
Well, it certainly would help. But even without him, the ship should be in better shape than it is now.
Early in the season, Binnington was winning games for the Blues and stealing points. He's not really doing that at this point. He hasn't been terrble, but he's just been OK. The general lack of defensive support and loss of some shot blockers as you say hasn't helped, but he's won only two of his past 12 games (2-7-3) with a 3.23 GAA and a .884 save percentage. Those aren't winning numbers. I do think he's given up some weak or soft goals lately. Both the Kaprizov goal in Minnesota and Manson's OT game-winner for Aneheim were on the near post side. You just shouldn't leave a crack there. Those are the exact type of goals many would complain about with Allen.
I don't think there's been a disconnect. In the final analysis, Armstrong picks the players, but in consultation with Berube, who decides how they're deployed and how much they play. If only the Blues had a big rightnanded defenseman who can be a shutdown type. Like Parayko!