Hello again everybody. Jim Thomas It's been a couple weeks since I've been on the chat, but ready for your questions Blues fans. What's on your mind today.
Interesting question. No, it's never really been laid out. In the NFL every year, a few officials would stop by Rams Park (or Macomb when they trained up there) and answer questions and go over rules changes. Nothing like that really happens in the NHL. But those are all good questions. Sounds like it would make for a good story.
Yes, it is a slow start. When.he had the 4-point game against Ottawa on Oct. 10 (empty-net goal, plus 3 assists) I think we all assumed O'Reilly's back. But he's simply not getting the shots on goal (or overall shot attempts) that he did last season. He hasn't had more than three shots on goal all season _ and those 3 SOGs came in the season opener. And he hasn't had more than four overall attempts (shots on on goal, plus shots blocked, plus shots missed.) So part of it is he's just got to be a little more selfish _ look for his shots more. I don't think there's anything going on injury-wise.
If you're talking by the numbers, you'd have to say no. He's at 2.66 goals against and .912 save percentage _ both respectable numbers, but certainly off his pace down the stretch in the '18-19 regular season. So far this season, he's given up a couple of goals _ near side _ where he wasn't quite flush to the post and the opposing shooter took advantage of that narrow opening. But I think you've also got to factor in the looser-than-usual play of the Blues defense so far this season. The Blues play a more structured style than a lot of teams and I think it takes them a while to hone in on their game. We saw the same thing last year, only the Blues were giving up 4 goals a game early. They're giving up a shade over 3 goals a game now.
P.S. on the earlier Ryan O'Reilly story. Tom Timmermann will have an O'Reilly story in tomorrow's Post-Dispatch.
Appreciate that. I believe we were the only media outlet to have anything on that. I think in general, player-only meetings can be beneficial. But the more you have them, I think there might be diminishing returns. The one thing that was surprising about this one is that it came so early in the season. But I thought Pietrangelo had a great answer on that, saying they have high expectations for the team and were determined to get off to a better start this season. (As opposed to last year.) They wanted to stop the mini-skid right then and there.
I'm taking a 5-10 minute break to make a cameo appearance on Net Front Presence podcast. So thanks for your patience. Load up the que with questions. I always try to answer each and every question. Be back soon. . . .
Binnington has a very good sense of humor. And he has a great poker face. I think I know how to read him pretty well, but it's still tough for me to read him sometimes as to whether he's joking or not. He's different. (But then, aren't most goalies a little off?) P.S. _ Most of the players call me JT but Binnington's about the only one who uses it when asking questions.
A little add-end on Binnington. I mentioned on Twitter about a week back that he was wearing these very dark blue (almost black) pads in practice. Giving him kind of a Darth Vader look. Well, he's going to wear them in a game, perhaps as early as Thursday against the LA Kings. He was waiting for a new stick (also very dark blue) to arrive so he can use them both in a game. Well, the stick has arrived, and he used it in practice Wednesday.
Have not heard of any talks with Pietrangelo. I'm told his agents are of the "slow-play" variety _ not necessarily the type to strike a deal quickly. As for contract terms, I'm far from the expert on this. I'll say $8 million a year if it's a longer-term deal (seven or eight years, and frontloaded a bit), And $9 million if it's shorter term _ 5 years or less.
I don't know if I'd place him above Pietrangelo or Parayko, but he's definitely top 3. I think the last two games have been his best. He's a good passer. And w/that huge (Tarasenko-like) lower-torso, he's tough to bump him off the puck. He's starting to get some assists _ three in the last four games, and I think it's only a matter of time before he starts getting a goal here and there.
Looks like Sammy Blais will be out of the lineup against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday because of a thumb injury after taking a slash against Colorado. Based on what we saw in practice Wednesday, it looks like Sanford will be his replacement. And not Fabbri, which is telling in itself. But LA plays a heavy style, and Berube may want the bigger body (Sanford) in the lineup for that reason. As for Allen, he gave up a bad goal against Ottawa _ when the puck bounced over his stick behind the net _ and the team didn't give up. They rallied for a 6-4 win. Yeah, you could make the case that happened against Montreal, I get that. I don't think the Blues will be in any hurry to trade Allen. If Allen's play doesn't pick up, I think they still want to see more out of Husso in San Antonio. (And yes, Husso's off to a good start.)
I noticed that too. And was told that yes, that's the case. (they're using the pucks with the sensor.).For a minute there, I thought I was watching a baseball game where it seems like every time a pitch or foul tip hits the dirt, the ball's thrown out of play.
I don't know who initiated it. But I would think it would probably come from the captain. And yes, I think it's good for the players to self-police if you will at times to make a course correction.
I don't think the Blues have consistently maintained two of what we're told are Savard's basic tenets _ move the puck quickly and get the shot off quickly. Would like to see more one-timers; other teams seem to always do this more than the Blues both in power play and even strength situations. Too much "dusting off the puck" before shooting. However, I have seen the Blues working more on one-timers in practice than they did last year. I appreciate the diligence and patience to look for a great shooting lane and get off the best shot possible. But sometimes it's just good to get the puck on the net. It can lead to good things _ witness the Tarasenko goal from a tough angle in 5-on-5 play against Colorado.
You could be onto something with the rookie refs. But in general, there always seem to be more penalties early in the season, then it kind of dies down. Berube made it pretty obvious he didn't like some of the calls in the Colorado game. I tried, but couldn't get him to elaborate postgame.
I think there's more of a quiet confidence on this team, certainly as compared to last year at this time, based on what they accomplished in the playoffs last season. Last season, they were still figuring out their roles, what with half of the forward lines consisting of new players. This year, the only lineup concern has been figuring out where to play Faulk and who to pair him up with. The Blues have a clear picture of what their identity is as a team, and what their game should look like. Again, that wasn't the case for much of last season.
No, I don't think they're close to a decision on him. And they really don't have to be. I don't think there's any reason to rush things. Especially considering the Blues have had very few injuries issues so far. Keep in mind, you're only top 9 option currently at San Antonio probably is Klim Kostin (at least until Jordan Kyrou gets up and running). I actually thought Fabbri had been playing OK _ maybe a little better than OK _ in recent games.
True, it is five in a row. But of the four wins last year, three went into extra time _ two overtimes and one shootout. So those are razor-thin games. I will say this, though. The Blues seem to do a pretty good job of limiting the MacKinnon line. (And yes, I know that MacKinnon got a PPG Monday and Rantanen missed most of the game after that foot/leg injury.) But last year, the Avalanche didn't have much depth behind that line, so the thinking was stop MacKinnon's line, you stop the Avs. This year, they have more depth, thanks to some offseason moves (Burakovsky, Kadri, etc.)
No doubt. And I'm sure they Boston fans will be fired up as well. But even if the Bruins win 10-0, it won't get them the Cup, right?