A Blue Day For St. Louis

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A Blue Day For St. Louis

Post by AaronRStanley » Mon May 30, 2016 3:52 am

Sportnet Live Coverage of the St. Louis Blues end of season press conference is back. Gord Stellar, Nicholas Kapreyos, BJ Stoke reporting live, as the press conference is about to begin.
GM Jared Gaskin is making his way to the podium, he will read a brief statement, before we get to questions from the media.

GM Gaskin: “After a disappointing finish to last season (losing in the Western Conference Finals), the Blues organization changed our focus from winning the Cup to developing the future of the franchise. Ivan Barbashev and Robby Fabbri were the 2 points of focus, and we tried to get as much talent around them in order to aid them in their first NHL season.

I will say, I was shocked that Fabbri scored 36 goals, because I didn't think he had it in him. Despite the two rookies playing as well as they did, the team didn't quite perform as well as I had hoped, only placing seventh in the conference and then losing a 3-1 series lead in the first round of the playoffs. There were some ups and downs, but going into next season, we feel that we have a realistic chance at making a run for the Cup again.”

Sportnet's Nicholas Nicholas Kapreyos. How did the team take losing a hard-fought series to the Wild to be bounced out of the playoffs?

GMG: At first it was very tough especially to the young guys in the locker room because we were so close but everyone has moved on and we are working on improving for next season.

TSN's Robert MacKenzie. Speaking of moving on, several veteran members of the team remain unsigned. Are you planning on moving the core leadership of the team to the younger group that you brought in this year?

GMG: Jordan Leopold actually informed us in August that he would be retiring at the end of this season. As for the other guys, we are still negotiating. We are close to a deal with Mason Raymond but we will do what's best for the organization when it comes to re signing these guys.

Alliott Freedman from Sportsnet, who do you see replacing those minutes in your bottom six forward group and amongst the d? Planning on doing any shopping in Free Agency?

GMG: On defense, it will definitely be Darnell Nurse picking up more minutes. We are currently preparing him for a big increase in TOI. Also, Jordan Schmaltz could possibly make the roster, but he is currently dealing with a fractured skull and we expect him to be dealing with that all summer, unfortunately. On offense, we may have to do some shopping in July to pick up some third or fourth line depth. Something to look forward to is Glenn Gawdin. He had a great year in the WHL this season, finishing first in points with 84, and third in goals with 39, so chances are he cracks the line up.

Followup, with that much youth jumping into the lineup, any concerns on your part or the part of the coaching staff about a potential fall-off, and out of the playoffs?

GMG: Darnell, Ivan, and Robby already have a season under their belt and they have seemed to gel so I'm not concerned about those three. Glenn will have veterans surrounding him to help aid his development, so I only expect to build on what we had this season.

BJ Stoke, rumours are coming out of Philadelphia that you've made a trade, sending Joel Edmunson to the city of brotherly love. What made him a bad fit for your team?

GMG: Joel Edmundson is a talented guy, with a big frame, but I think he has a much better chance of succeeding somewhere else because he wouldn't have seen much ice time here and due to him not being waiver eligible, he would have been sitting on the bench on game nights, which isn't good for him.

Anyone else that aren't a good fit for the Blues?

GMG: I would say Justin Braun, but let me say that it's not that he isn't a good fit, but the problem is he wants more ice time that simply isn't available right now. I would love to keep him here and he would love to stay here, so we just have to figure something out. I have confidence that he will remain a Blue.

Gord Stellar of Sportsnet. Moving on, you're in your second year at the helm, and saw a rather significant drop, across the board. Goals for, points, wins were all down. What in your opinion caused this, and how do you plan to get this team back into the playoffs, after seeing your team dropping from finishing first in the West to seventh?

GMG: To be honest this drop off caught me completely off guard and I found 2 reasons on why we weren't doing as well. I think one reason was the transition from not having Alexander Steen's leadership in that locker room anymore. I addressed the locker room about this and I asked everyone including the rookies to become more of a leader. I really believe next year will be different in terms of who our true leader is. The other thing I noticed was that our goaltending numbers were unacceptable. I also addressed this and we have recently fired Jim Corsi, our goaltending coach, and we have offered a contract to someone who will take over. This will shake things up for Jake Allen and Anders Lindback and we should see a big improvement from last season.

What specifically will your new goaltending coach be working on in order to strengthen the goaltending?

GMG: Jake Allen and Anders Lindback will both be working on their positioning and recovery. I think Jim Corsi's presence got stale fast, because he had poor man management skills. Our new goalie coach, who we will announce soon, is determined, strict and he knows how to get this job done.

One last question, BJ Stoke again. Where do you see your team finishing next year, and do you see yourself having a strong shot at the Cup?

GMG: I have confidence that we will improve next season. We added Tyler Myers at the deadline, Fabbri and Barbashev now have a year under their belt, Tarasenko is taking up a leadership role by leading by example, and I really expect our goaltending situation to be so much better than last year. I'm really excited for next season and if all goes well I expect to have a strong push for the cup and better competing in the Central division.

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