It's the Friday edition of the Blues chat, coming to you live from RAINY Anaheim. I would complain, but here that folks back in St. Louis are getting ready for some more bad weather. This winter has been unreal. OK, without further interruption, we bring you the Ryan Miller, er, Blues chat...
Well most fans would consider this question an interruption, so I'll keep the answer short. I bought a lovely new home for my family and I got lots of rest for the Blues' final 25 games and playoff run.
He is with the team on its three-game road trip, but to my knowledge, he hasn't resumed skating yet, so he's not expected to return soon. I stayed at the same hotel as the team in Vancouver and did see Sobotka rehabbing his broken kneecap in the pool. The last I heard was that he was going to start skating next week. How long after that he can be ready is not yet known.
I think everything is based on what happens with Miller. I believe that trade is the Blues' No. 1 goal. If it happens, I wouldn't expect too much else. If it doesn't happen, the Blues would like stick with Halak and perhaps have a Plan B as far as tweaking any other parts of the roster.
Elliott has gone long stretches without play and it hasn't affected him in the past. The Blues need the points and feel that Halak gives them their best chance. I thought he was pretty good in Vancouver, especially coming off a disastrous Olympics. I know you weren't asking this, but the Blues can't be overly cautious with Halak in regards to keeping him healthy for a trade. The trade may not happen. They need to keep him playing and perhaps it helps his value if he's playing well.
They may have some interest, but I'm with you, I don't think it's an upgrade at this point in his career. True, Brodeur's playoff experience would be tremendous, but I don't know that you can say Brodeur's current performance gives you a better chance than what Halak could do. To me, it's either get Miller or stick with Halak.
I was in Vancouver for all of the Kesler talk. Despite what he's saying publicly, the word is that he wants out of Vancouver. Will the Canucks trade him? It's possible. Kesler is great value under his current contract. He makes $5 million and I think he has one more year left, if not two, on his deal. So the Canucks would be silly to trade him when he's so cheap unless the deal is great for them.
I'm sure he's not thrilled about it, but what is he to do. He's done an admirable job playing well amid the distraction. When I saw that he can't control the speculation, some people respond saying that he can control it by performing. Well, that's true, but if the Blues have made their minds up about pursuing Miller if he's available, there's nothing Halak can do tonight or tomorrow to change their minds. He just has to do his job, which he has been doing, and see how the cards unfold.
I don't think that's it. Cole has been given a good opportunity this year. Cole played when Leopold came back from the finger injury. Then, Colaiacovo sat for 17 straight games. Does that show that Hitch doesn't like Cole? Wednesday's game was about getting Colaiacovo back into a game. Hitch did say yesterday that he thought Colaiacovo played well, so maybe we'll see him again tonight against Anaheim. I'll be heading to the morning skate after our chat today and find out then.
Smith, 31, just signed a long-term deal taking him through 2018 at $5.6 million per. Bobrovsky is only 25 and just signed through next season, so that would make a little more sense. But I've read nothing about him being available.
The rank SECOND in the NHL in goals per game (3.26). Wednesday's shutout was the first of the season. What more do you want?
It's a mystery to me why Shaw doesn't get more attention around the league. He had the cup of coffee as head coach of the New York Islanders and has been in St. Louis ever since. He's been bypassed in St. Louis at least twice when the Blues made coaching changes. It didn't help his cause being on the staff when the team was looking for somebody to come into the organization and be a different voice. I know Shaw is comfortable here, and loves working with the defense. They gave him the title of "associate head coach" last year, so that was a bit of a boost. But again, I'm not sure with all of the coaching changes in the NHL, why he hasn't gotten more of a look.
Nope, can't take me out of Jeffco.
I think he will be because....A) Buffalo wants to trade him. B) There are a limited number of teams interested. Other than the Blues, the word is Minnesota and Washington. The Wild need more than a goaltender, so why would they outbid other teams. Washington is a wild card. Armstrong has a history of getting his man, and the Blues have the resources to make it happen. Plus, the Blues probably give Miller the best opportunity to win and re-sign, so that would seem to make it lean in that direction as well. The Sabres are on the record saying that Miller has been a "good solider" and they want to help him.
Thanks for a brief reprieve ... It should be an entertaining game tonight. The one thing that obviously sticks out about teams like Anaheim is they're big and skilled and, in the Ducks of the case, fast too. What I'm looking forward to is seeing the Blues play in a close game with these teams. In their two meetings with Anaheim, the Ducks have led 4-0 and 3-0. That changes the game entirely. So the Blues have to avoid getting behind early, and then they have to be able to show that they can compete and rise to the occasion against an opponent that has had their number. In December and January, they had the excuse that it was still early in the season. They don't have that excuse any more.
Yeah, I think it was "Extra" that interviewed Oshie here yesterday (By the way, I didn't see him, but Gene Simmons was at the rink too. Someone said he owns an indoor football team called KISS that plays here). Anyway, back to Oshie. He does seem to genuinely want to put the Olympic headlines behind him and concentrate on the Blues' season. No one is really talking about it anymore around the locker room, so he's probably excited about that.
It doesn't show that for any team in the league. It is what it is.
I don't know that it helps the Blues land a game, but the notoriety certainly won't hurt.
To me, Allen and Jaskin are probably the only two untouchables. I wouldn't trade either, even if it were in the Miller deal. As far as a top five, I'd probably go Jaskin, Allen, Rattie, Edmundson, Schmaltz.
The Blues are in a season-long 0-for-23 slump. The power play was pretty bad for the break and a little better Wednesday in Vancouver. Hitch is concerned, but not overly worried. You're likely not going to operate at 25 percent like the Blues have at times, but you can't have these types of lulls either. They lost 1-0 to the Canucks and went 0 for 3 on the power play, so you could say that it cost them. A lot of the games down the stretch are going to be decided by special teams. Tonight will be interesting from that perspective. The Ducks are good, but their PK is average, ranking 13th in the league.
Yesterday, Hitch was leaning toward mixing them up again. He said Wednesday's lines were just OK. I will be heading to the morning skate in about 10 minutes. You can follow me on Twitter (@jprutherford) to get the lines when I tweet them, or read my blog on stltoday.com shortly after practice for a more in-depth look with comments.
Vanek is out there and the Blues have had interest in the past, according to reports. Again, its hard to pursue a deal like that when you're putting your eggs in the Miller basket. Remember, it's not only about this year. You can trade for Vanek but if you can't re-sign him, it doesn't make a lot of sense to give up the farm. He will command a big salary.
They're considered good prospects, but it's too early to tell right now. We need to see them in the American Hockey League.
I'm always checking on the possibility of that, but it doesn't often mesh with their schedule with games and travel. I will keep you posted though.
You'd have to trade some more salary. The Blues will be about $1.7 million under the cap at the deadline. Miller's hit is $6.25 million and Halak's is $3.25 million. That's why prospects and picks by themselves won't do it.
Gordo types faster and answers more questions, so he'll probably win.
Rattie is playing well, but as the old saying goes, 'You have to give up something to get something.' That's why trading for Miller is intriguing. You can sign him in the offseason as a free-agent. But if the Blues trade him and give up a player such as Rattie, it show how much they think they need a solid goaltender for this year's run ... and how they want to go in a different direction with the goaltending next year.
Anything is possible, but I think Hitch likes Bergy on the wing and was trying for a different look with Backes.
I don't think either one, but with the Blues scouting Buffalo recently, I'd say Ott before Callahan.
Thanks for the questions. Time to head to the skate. Again, follow me on Twitter or check out the blog later. Have a good day!