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  • Miklasz's interview of Mark Sauer

    LINK

    With the Blues struggling to make the NHL playoffs for the 25th consecutive season, it seemed to be an appropriate time to discuss the state of the franchise with Mark Sauer, the team president and CEO.

    First, a synopsis:

    Sauer defended the firing of coach Joel Quenneville. While declining to offer specific criticism of Quenneville, Sauer said it was "time to turn the page." But Sauer added that Blues management deserved "poor grades" for its work this season. Sauer defended his decision to reward embattled general manager Larry Pleau with a two-year contract extension earlier this year, explaining that Pleau and director of amateur scouting Jarmo Kekalainen will play vital roles in carrying out the franchise's new philosophy after the NHL players and owners agree on a new collective bargaining agreement. Sauer described owner Bill Laurie's frustration with the team but adamantly defended Laurie from criticism.

    Sauer elaborated on the judgment to give head coach Mike Kitchen a contract through the 2004-2005 season, with a club option for 2005-2006. Sauer all but ruled out the Blues making a major trade that would shake up the team at the cost of adding significantly to the payroll. "There won't be any swashbuckling moves," he said. And Sauer criticized Blues players for their performance.

    Miklasz: The Blues seem to be stuck in a holding pattern. What's the plan for the future?

    Sauer: "This has been a very tough and disappointing season for the Blues. It comes on the brink of negotiations on the collective bargaining agreement that will likely change the way this league does business. We think the key to success in the NHL, especially going forward after the CBA, is to develop your own players, and develop lots of them. We have hockey personnel in Larry Pleau and Jarmo Kekalainen who have track records indicating success in drafting and development. We're confident going forward. The track record warrants Larry taking us into the future. I feel strongly about that."

    Miklasz: If you're going to go with a youth movement after the new CBA, then it doesn't sound as if the Blues are likely to add salary now. With the team struggling mightily down the stretch, can we expect to see any of the blockbuster-type deals that brought Keith Tkachuk and Doug Weight to the Blues in exchange for prospects and draft picks?

    Sauer: "We cannot give up high draft choices and mortgage the future any further. We've done that in the past, and at least to date it has not been sufficiently successful. We have to learn by our mistakes - and our successes. And we've had success in developing young players. We're going back to that."

    Miklasz: Does that mean Laurie will stop spending money on free agents?

    Sauer: "We have to wait and see what the new collective bargaining agreement looks like and go from there. The Lauries up to this point, their financial commitment can't be challenged. We just have to do a better job of managing their expenditures."

    Miklasz: Quenneville had a good overall record here but was fired. Why did you retain Pleau, and give job security to Pleau, who put together this disappointing team? Shouldn't he be blamed as well?

    Sauer: "You have to look at Larry Pleau and any general manager over a matter of years. We've had a lot of success, and Larry has developed a lot of players here. And he's acquired a lot of good players. And going forward, the development piece is even more important than ever. And that's just one of the reasons why it makes sense to go forward with Larry under a new CBA. Let's never forget the won-loss record of the St. Louis Blues since Larry got here. (Going into Thursday's game vs. Edmonton, the team's record under Pleau was 289-195-71). Don't get me wrong. The organization, including the front office, has not had a good year at all. We're accountable to ownership for the disappointment to date."

    Miklasz: Back to trade speculation. If the Blues fail to make a major trade, won't that have a demoralizing effect on the players? Fans, media and players live in the moment, and the Blues need help now.

    Sauer: "They are entitled to live in the moment. And that's what makes it fun. But it's our job to not only seek success in the moment, but seek success for quite a while, looking forward. That's our job and I think we've done a good job on that over the past several years, though we didn't do a good job this year. But again, we have the people who will give us that success in the future."

    Miklasz: When you fired Quenneville, Laurie was attending a Missouri basketball game in Columbia. That added to the perception that he doesn't seem as interested in the team as before.

    Sauer: "That's an unfair characterization. Bill Laurie goes to virtually all of the home games and some of the road games. He was at our training camp every day. He follows this team closely. He's in daily contact with the general manager. After Kitchen's first game as head coach, Bill called him in Colorado and chatted and discussed the team's performance. As an ex-athlete, Bill isn't intrusive with the players. He's very into the business of the NHL and wants to fix the game. And he's going to hold us accountable for providing a first-class product, on and off the ice. He's very passionate about it. We're lucky to have Bill and Nancy Laurie as owners. They're funding enormous financial losses. We owe them much, and we owe them a better team. Because they've given us the resources, to say the least."

    Miklasz: What is Laurie's opinion on the current state of the Blues?

    Sauer: "Bill is very upset with the team. He had high expectations. He's very, very passionate about the Blues. He's very proud of the Blues. He wants to deliver a better hockey team to his fan base."

    Miklasz: What about the players? Quenneville took the hit, but how responsible are the players for the mediocrity?

    Sauer: "I'm very disappointed in the performance of the players, as a group. There's no sugarcoating that. In my role, I don't talk about specific players. But they have to do better. Much better."

    Miklasz: Let's turn to Kitchen. He's never been a head coach so why sign him to a deal that takes him beyond this season? Why not let him prove himself?

    Sauer: "We're really pleased to have Kitchen as a head coach. We've known him for 6-plus years and he's first rate. The players respect him. He's had a hand in developing younger players. He's had a major hand in the success we've had over the last six years. He's well respected throughout the league. We're in good hands. We wanted to solidify that position with this contract and we absolutely did the right thing. We absolutely have the right man."
    RIP Chris Jones 1971-2009
    You'll never be forgotten.

  • #2
    Anybody want to argue that Sauer shouldn't be fired also?

    Anybody?
    And, frankly, it has never occured to me that "winning" a debate is important, or that I should be hurt when someone like Airshark or kah, among others (for whom winning a pseudo debate or declaring intellectual superiority over invisible others is obviously very important) ridicule me.

    -The Artist formerly known as King in KC

    Comment


    • #3
      Not only should Sauer be fird, I should go and punch him dead in the face. Bust his fucking nose.

      How in the world does he expect fans to accept that bullshit he's spewing?? It leaves me dumbfounded.

      Kudos to Bernie for some good, pointed questions. Bernie's done a much better job reporting on the Blues this seaon than in years past.

      Comment


      • #4
        Blah, blah, blah, blah.......

        I think Sauer is shooting for the "talks most, says least award."
        LONG LIVE THE NOTE!

        Comment


        • #5
          Gee...who would have ever thought that Sauer would
          have run the Blues in the ground?

          He did such a great job running the Pirates and Cardinals
          during earlier "run them in the ground" efforts.

          The Blues are getting exactly what they deserve.

          Comment


          • #6
            The only person who talks more and says less is Pleau. Did you hear him talking to Dan McLoughlin (sp) ? What a schmuck (Dan too)

            Pleau and Sauer obviously have the same public speaking coach. The other person we need to hunt down and kill is the head of Blues Public relations, who obviously thinks it's ok to spew this crap to the fans.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Bluenotebacker@Mar 5 2004, 08:18 AM
              The only person who talks more and says less is Pleau. Did you hear him talking to Dan McLoughlin (sp) ? What a schmuck (Dan too)

              Pleau and Sauer obviously have the same public speaking coach. The other person we need to hunt down and kill is the head of Blues Public relations, who obviously thinks it's ok to spew this crap to the fans.
              Well I don't know if they deserve to be killed.

              A nice "Sicilian message" may be appropriate.
              LONG LIVE THE NOTE!

              Comment


              • #8
                Sauer will be fired before Pleau.....but only by a matter of days
                Official Lounge Sponsor of:
                MIGOTS!, TJ Oshie, David Freese, Sponsoring Softball Players, Trout, Bon Jovi, Cold, hard facts, rigidly defined with mathematical precision, The abortion boat, which traveled to Poland in 2003 and Ireland in 2001.

                Former Lounge Sponsor of:
                The Hebrew Hammer, BBZ, Foods that start with the letter 'Q', Paul 'Visor' Mitchell, FBBHOFer Brett "William" Wallace, BBFHOF, THE LALPHABET: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N I Z M N O P Q R S T U V Z T U V X Y X Z, The Return of MarkD.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I believe all 3 needed to go, but Quenneville deserved it the "least" of the three.

                  Of course, he went first.

                  The Curse continues.
                  And, frankly, it has never occured to me that "winning" a debate is important, or that I should be hurt when someone like Airshark or kah, among others (for whom winning a pseudo debate or declaring intellectual superiority over invisible others is obviously very important) ridicule me.

                  -The Artist formerly known as King in KC

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    In Bernie's article, Sauer defends Pleau on player development and drafting.

                    What?

                    OK, I'm trying real hard to come up with a list of players who are currently having a GOOD impact in the NHL.

                    Jackman
                    Backman
                    Handzus
                    Nagy

                    There may be a couple more, but it's simply not good enough for 7 years.
                    LONG LIVE THE NOTE!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      What's really interesting is that Sauer has never won anything. I have NO idea what the Blues were thinking when they hired him.


                      Of course he has no idea what he's talking about.
                      Official Lounge Sponsor of:
                      MIGOTS!, TJ Oshie, David Freese, Sponsoring Softball Players, Trout, Bon Jovi, Cold, hard facts, rigidly defined with mathematical precision, The abortion boat, which traveled to Poland in 2003 and Ireland in 2001.

                      Former Lounge Sponsor of:
                      The Hebrew Hammer, BBZ, Foods that start with the letter 'Q', Paul 'Visor' Mitchell, FBBHOFer Brett "William" Wallace, BBFHOF, THE LALPHABET: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N I Z M N O P Q R S T U V Z T U V X Y X Z, The Return of MarkD.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DC Santana+Mar 5 2004, 08:20 AM-->
                        QUOTE(DC Santana @ Mar 5 2004, 08:20 AM)

                      • #13
                        DC,

                        That looks much like Walt Jocketty's list.
                        And, frankly, it has never occured to me that "winning" a debate is important, or that I should be hurt when someone like Airshark or kah, among others (for whom winning a pseudo debate or declaring intellectual superiority over invisible others is obviously very important) ridicule me.

                        -The Artist formerly known as King in KC

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Originally posted by Bluenotebacker+Mar 5 2004, 08:48 AM-->
                          QUOTE(Bluenotebacker @ Mar 5 2004, 08:48 AM)
                          Originally posted by DC [email protected] 5 2004, 08:20 AM

                        • #15
                          Originally posted by Damtoft@Mar 5 2004, 08:49 AM
                          DC,

                          That looks much like Walt Jocketty's list.
                          Shameful, simply shameful.
                          LONG LIVE THE NOTE!

                          Comment

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