Doug Armstrong, the general manager of the St. Louis Blues, isn't the type to tell the media a lot about what he's really thinking. Sure, he's good for a quote about the good and bad things that are going on with the team, but they're never the type of quotes that make waves. Yes, the Blues' power play needs help. No, there's no reason to panic about the recent injuries. Yes, we're all happy with the goaltending situation.
But every now and then, the good GM slips up and starts to use General Manager Code when he's talking to the media. When that happens, thankfully, we're ready for him. It's been a while since we've fired up the old GM Translator 2000 EZ (best money Brad Lee ever spent on the GT tab), but the man they call "Army" made us go get the thing out of the closet, plug it into the three-prong adapter and fire that bitch up.
Talking with the P-D's Jeremy Rutherford this week, Armstrong had a few things to say about the Blues and their attitude about the upcoming trade deadline. Here's what he said and here's what he really meant:
"Obviously our team needs to play to the level that they're capable of playing. There are a number of players on our roster that aren't having the season that they had a year ago. But I think it's too easy for everyone involved to look for someone else to come in and fix the problem, when I think the answer is right down there (on the ice). And I'm very comfortable that they think the answer is right down there too. We need players that we know can produce offense to produce offense."
GMT2000EZ: Hahaha. Thanks for the softball question, Jeremy. This team is obviously a shrine to my GM Skillz. The good guys are good, but some of the good guys aren't playing well. Some good guys are injured. See what's happening? We're still winning. When some good guys go cold, other good guys will get hot. When other good guys get healthy, some other good guys will get hurt. This is a machine, baby. And I am the maker of the machine.
The season is going to end the way it's going to end. There's no guarantee that you bring in a player, and all of a sudden you're going to become the high-scoring Detroit Red Wings. Those players aren't out there. We need to see what these players can do when the game is on the line.
GM2000EZ: Fuck Detroit. Seriously.
You're always looking to see if you can improve your team. But I like this group and I like the depth that we have here. We'll keep our ears open as we get closer to the deadline. But we're like two-thirds of the NHL, we work under a business framework and whatever deals we make have to fit into that plan.
GM2000EZ: Watch me do some crazy shit, yo. Remember how we weren't going to make a trade because we liked our group and suddenly Chris Stewart
and Kevin Shattenkirk
were here? Remember how we were "in negotiations" to re-sign Chris Mason
and then we acquired Jaroslav Halak? Watch. Just you watch.
The ownership has been strong. They increased our budget by 10 percent to start the season. That's helped. That let us bring in the depth of a (Jamie) Langenbrunner, a (Jason) Arnott, (Kent) Huskins, (Scott) Nichol. So, I think ownership has been strong and we understand where we sit.
GM2000EZ: Let's see. The new owners are a beer distributor magnate, a U.S. Senator, a rental car magnate and another self-made bazillionairre. Yeah, I wonder where we sit in terms of budget. We're sitting on top of a giant pile of cash, yo! Just tell me to go spend some. Just tell me. Tell me. Tell. Me.
You can't every time a player has a bad stretch, move them and think that's going to solve your problems because sometimes good players have bad years. To become a team, you have to go through the good and the bad times with players to gain their trust … and that's how they gain their teammates' trust, working through these things.
GM2000EZ: Hey, message board dummies: Chris Stewart isn't going anywhere.
I've never been a big proponent of a lot of change. If you see something that needs to be addressed, you address it.
GM2000EZ: I don't like a lot of change. I just like change when I'm ripping off the other guy on the deal. You know how sometimes you're negotiating with a guy and you realize, "damn, this guy has no idea what he's talking about," and you're all, "No, man, I just feel like you're screwing me on this deal. If you really want McClement too, then I'm going to need a defenseman back to fill in on the back end. Why don't you throw in that Shattenkirk kid and I'll flip you a first rounder for your second rounder," and you just know dude is gonna fall for it? THAT'S the kind of change I'm down with.
These players are still young. I understand the patience necessary to go through it. You look around the league, my belief is the worst trade you can make is on emotion and with a short-term outlook. The best part of these guys’ careers is just beginning. We’re going to have these guys for a long time and if we want to string them up every time they go through a bad stretch, then we’re never going to be a good franchise.
GM2000EZ: Hey, Greg Sherman, how ya doin'? You know, that kid Stastny of yours sure makes a lot of dough. Too bad he's not doing that well this year. You know, he just seems like the kind of guy who could benefit from a change of scenery. I know that because I have a guy like that too. Hmm. I just wish that there was a way that we could make a deal that might help both of us, you know?
It was built to be a hardworking, competitive team that has to be comfortable playing in tight games. Some of the teams that are ahead of us in the standings are playing the majority of the games and winning in shootouts. Well, that equation leaves in the playoffs. Our shootout record hasn’t been good, but if we’re fortunate enough to make the playoffs, we don’t have to worry about that. So I like the way we’re set up.
GM2000EZ: Whoamygawd. I don't want to put words on your paper for you, but I'm pretty good, right? I mean, this team is the best you've seen since like, when, exactly? Yeah, that's what I thought. Oh, and you know what else?
There's no guarantee that you bring in a player, and all of a sudden you're going to become . . . high-scoring.
GM2000EZ: Just you watch me, yo. Just you watch me.