The Blues open camp today, and that’s good. I’ll be more excited when they open the regular season on Oct. 14. For the time being, I’ll roll four lines on my own.

First line: I don’t know who the Blues are. They aren’t the 2019 Blues. But then again, the 2019 Blues weren’t the 2019 Blues until the turn of the year, with 45 games left in the regular season. The point: there’s time for th3 2021-2022 Blues to establish an identity.

Second line: The NHL’s Central Division is a hard and hazardous neighborhood. Loaded with potential playoff teams. The Arizona Coyotes appear to be the only soft entity, but the Blues turned into the 1974-75 expansion Washington Capitals around the ‘Yotes, so who knows?

Third line: The collection of forwards is deep. Impressively so. Looking forward to watching Brandon Saad and Pavel Buchnevich. I hope that Buchnevich can make an easy transition to St. Louis after being on one team (NY Rangers) during his NHL career. I’m curious to see if James Neal has any speed left in his legs, or goals left in his tank.

Fourth line: Which raises a question … does Klim Kostin actually exist? If the purported power forward doesn’t make the big club and get lots of ice time this season, when does his day come? We just hear so much about this dude … have been hearing it for years … he’s the Blues’ version of Matthew Liberatore.


First Line: Ken Hitchcock is back with the Blues as a coaching consultant? He’s smart, relentless, a future Hall of Famer, and 69 years old. GM Doug Armstrong says that Hitch is no longer interested in coaching.

Second Line: We’ll see about that if it’s January, and coach Craig Berube can’t get the Blues to play Craig Berube Hockey for the second consecutive season. Actually, it’s been longer than that. The Blues didn’t have much interest in playing Berube Hockey when they entered the bubble during the pandemic for the 2020 postseason.

Third Line: Don’t misunderstand; I like Berube and hope he wins so much that no one will yap about making a coaching change. But NHL teams sack coaches more often than LSU dumps football coaches. And in that context, Berube is Ed Orgeron.

Fourth Line: Doug Armstrong sure likes to stir the pot.


First line: The capricious Vladimir Tarasenko is in camp and apparently in the best shape of his life. Great.

Second line: I don’t know if he’s in the best shape of his life mentally. Where is his head? At this point, that’s a bigger problem than his thrice-repaired shoulder.

Third line: And Tarasenko still has the same agent, a dude who basically destroyed any chance of getting his client traded this past offseason by declaring war on the Blues and damaging Tarasenko’s value — which gave NHL general managers even less motivation to acquire the former elite goal scorer.

Fourth line: I mean, if I was running an NHL hockey team I’d be really, really fired up about trading for a guy who (1) has $15 million remaining on his contract; (2) has played 42 games — including postseason — since the end of the 2019 postseason; (3) hasn’t reestablished himself as a goal scorer; (4) has undergone three shoulder surgeries; (5) sulked and pouted last season (6); didn’t give anything close to a maximum effort last season; (7) wants to be babied by the coach or he’ll act like a baby; (8) has an agent that leaks assorted bits of anti-Blues nastiness to The Athletic and other media platforms; (9) signed off on a campaign to rip the Blues’ doctors; (10) lacked the common sense to make a diplomatic, behind-the-scenes trade request instead of throwing metaphorical grenades. Yeah, I would really covet the costly services of that guy.


First line: Torey Krug wasn’t as bad as some say during his first season with the Blues, so I’m more than happy to defend the defenseman.

Second line: the Blues have many defensemen. But do they have enough defensemen to get the team closer to the late-2019 level? Not saying these guys should be held to the Pietrangelo-Bouwmeester standards. That’s unfair. But the Blues D-group must be better this season.

Third Line: I’m enjoying the Scott Perunovich hype. Let me know when he becomes a regular on the blue line.

Fourth Line: Somewhat of a Blues note here … I’m interested to see what Vince Dunn will do for Seattle; the mobile defenseman was undervalued here.

Heck, I didn’t write anything about Robert Thomas, Jordan Binnington or Colton Parayko.

No worries. I’ll be back soon to roll more lines.

Thanks for reading …


Bernie invites you to listen to his opinionated sports-talk show on 590-AM The Fan, KFNS. It airs Monday through Thursday from 3-6 p.m. and Friday from 4-6 p.m. You can listen by streaming online or by downloading the “Bernie Show” podcast at — the 590 app works great and is available in your preferred app store.

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* All stats used here are sourced from FanGraphs, Baseball Reference, Stathead, Bill James Online, Fielding Bible, Baseball Savant and Brooks Baseball Net unless otherwise noted.