Chat with Pierre LeBrun
Based in Toronto, LeBrun joined ESPN in September 2008 after spending 13 years with The Canadian Press as its national hockey columnist. LeBrun was also a contributor to Rogers Sportsnet and a regular guest on CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada."
Send your questions for now and join LeBrun in The Show on Thursday at 4 p.m. ET!
Pierre LeBrun (4:01 PM)
Ok boys and grirls, let's rock and roll
Big Fil - Ottawa, ON
Hi Pierre, Do you think the Habs will make a run for Sundin despite the acquisition of Lang? Is it unrealistic to think a 3 way trade would unfold and see Sundin land in Montreal?
Pierre LeBrun (4:03 PM)
Big Fil, wish I had a clear answer for you. Gainey made a public statement after getting Lang that he was done with Sundin. His team is off to a great start. I don't see the Habs as a fit right now
I have heard a lot of rumors of Kovalchuk being dealt before the deadline, any truth to these rumors? If so, where would the most likely destination be?
Pierre LeBrun (4:05 PM)
Chris, I spoke with Thrashers GM Don Waddell last weekend about these rumours and he said they were totally untrue. Kovalchuk has another season left on his deal after this season. I suspect if Wadell is going to trade him it's goin to be in the off-season or early next season. Then again, if they don't win a game soon and the season goes to hell in a hurry, maybe Waddell should re-consider and get himself a deluxe rebuild package in exchange for Kovalchuk. Food for thought.
Machine Gun Matt
A sports fan's question: I live in the Bay Area. My favorite teams are the Raiders(2-6), the Warriors(2-3), the A's(75-86), and the Sharks (11-2). The past few years, all of my teams have choked in the playoffs. Will the Sharks end up braking my heart?
Pierre LeBrun (4:08 PM)
Matt, keep your chin up! I picked the Sharks as my Stanley Cup winner in September. Call me crazy but I like the additions of Blake and Boyle - experienced Stanley Cup winners _ plus Red Wings know-how in new coach Todd McLellan. This team was already knocking at the door. Sometimes you need to get knocked down a few times... The Shars have a real shot in my opinion
Gracie, New Haven CT
So I couldn't help but notice that Tim Thomas was left off the all star ballot. Seems like a huge oversight, particularly with the likes of DiPietro and Toskala on there
Pierre LeBrun (4:09 PM)
Gracie, you're 100 per cent right. Tim Thomas just continues to stop puck and doesn't get any respect. His technique is mocked by many and I think that's why many don't take him seriously. He did play in the all-star game last year I believe so he's not too hard-done by...
Jorge (Chicago, IL)
Why Wrigly Field over a larger venue better for spotlighting the Blackhawks and Wings for this years Winter Classic, say Solider Field, The Michigan Stadium?
Pierre LeBrun (4:10 PM)
Jorge, this all started with talks of staging the last-ever event at Yankee Stadium. Those plans were hitting major hurdles and the Blackhawks swooped in to steal the game. Wrigley Field was their answer to Yankee Stadium.
Pierre, were you growing concerned that the Mullet would want his job back at the network, if he could not pull off a few wins with that talented club before Xmas?
Pierre LeBrun (4:13 PM)
Travis, the Lightning signed Barry Melrose to a sizeable deal so I think they'll give him a solid chance before they fire him. By the way, I also had a mullet 20 years ago. Go Carleton
Sids not a kid anymore
I've heard rumors of a Staal Letang and draft pick for Kovalchuk. I know Jordans still in a slump but do we deal him if this trade is possible
Pierre LeBrun (4:14 PM)
I will say this. It would not surprise me if Jordan Staal gets dealt if not before this year's march 4 trade deadline then after the season. He's an RFA July 1 and the Penguins can't afford to pay three centers tons of cash. He's the odd man out in my estimation. Plus this could be Ray Shero's chance to find a winger for Sid.
Can Drew Doughty win the rookie of the year seeing how he is a defensemen?
Pierre LeBrun (4:15 PM)
No question, especially with the rookie points leaders right now not really being the sexy names we anticipated. Remember that a few years back Blues defenseman Barret Jackman beat Henrik Zetterberg for the Calder (oops). So it can happen. And Doughty has been tremendously impressive.
Trevor from Bowmanville Ontario Canada
Hi Pierre, The Montreal Canadiens are fairly solid at the defense at 1-3 with Markov, Komisarek and Hamrlik. Many feel that they need to improve at the no. 4 position, which up to now has been a rotation. Would you agree? Who should they target? And does the CBA allow the team to bring in highly touted prospect Alexei Yemelin after the KHL season ends if they have cap space (this year)? Thanks Pierre, Trevor LeClair
Pierre LeBrun (4:21 PM)
A note to everyone _ i can't get to all questions so I'm skipping some that are similar to those I've already answered. Sorry for those I skip ! Trevor, I think the Habs were hoping Ryan O'Byrne would take a big step this season but Carbonneau showed his impatience by already scratching him once. So yes, I would think Gainey might make a move there before march 4. As for your Yemelin question, the rules keep changing daily with the chaos over there in Russia. I have sent an email to my pals at the NHLPA and if they get back to me within 30 minutes I will post what they told me.
Can the Ranger's decline the man advantage going foward? How does a team that is so good defensively play such poor defense on the PP?
Pierre LeBrun (4:22 PM)
Rich, that won't last. Not on a Tom Renney team.
Jason (Buffalo NY)
Do you believe Ottawa has a legitimate shot at landing Tavares with what weve seen from the Lightning so far? If not will we see Ottawa make a move with their two picks? Thank You Pierre.
Pierre LeBrun (4:23 PM)
Believe me, there's lots of pressure on the Senators to make the playoffs, not sink to a lottery pick, If that happens heads will roll. Problem with Ottawa continues to be the same story _ goaltending. Not good enough.
johan (stockholm, sweden)
What's your opinion on how Zetterberg is matched in Detroit Red Wings? I mean, he came out of spring as the MVP of postseason and is now playing seccond fiddle on PPs. Dats and Hossa are Babcock's boys and it shows. Hoss should play on second line while Z, Dats and Homer line ought to stay intact. In my opinion, this would never have happened Yzerman.
Pierre LeBrun (4:25 PM)
Johan, I disagree with you. In fact, Yzerman sucked it up plenty for team success in the mid to late 90s and focused on being a better defensive player in order for the Wings to become champions. The Wings have long been the role models around the NHL for star players checking their egos at the door and doin whatever it takes to win. That's why their Cup champions. Zetterberg is one of the best players in the world and he's happy to do whatever it takes to stay on top. Believe me.
The Pens rank 27th in 5 on 5 scoring. Should they be in pursuit of a top flight winger (Gaborik, Kovalchuk, Havlat)?
Pierre LeBrun (4:26 PM)
Peter, yes they should be. But their salary cap situation is an issue. They need to move some serious cash before they can make that kind of move.
Do the Rangers need to aquire a finisher? It seems they are drawing plenty of chances but can't put the puck home. Gaborik?
Pierre LeBrun (4:27 PM)
Rich, the Rangers are in the same boat as Philly and Pitt. Very little cap room. I know the Rangers spoke with Mats Sundin recently. But they would need to move some bodies to make that happen. Plus 10 other teams want Sundin anyway. Gaborik is an electrying star but he's making $7.5 milion this season. Rangers would ahve to move bodies.
Do you see the Hurricanes trading for a forward? And what are their chances of making the playoffs this season? Even with all of their injuries they have been playing good so far.
Pierre LeBrun (4:29 PM)
Tyler, I blogged about the Canes last Friday. They are a tremendous story right now, fighting through all those injuries and getting wins. They've got a shot and compteting with the Caps for the division. Cam Ward has been great. I'm not sure Jim Rutherford is shopping too hard right now for a big-name forward because his hands are tied by his payroll budget. Not the cap, but the amount of money he's allowed to spend. Picking up Michael Ryan was a move though !
Hi Pierre, What's with the lack of NHL power ranking updates? There have been 2 full weeks with no updates... and the late update (Oct. 23rd) wasn't even up to date in terms of games played at the time. What gives?
Pierre LeBrun (4:31 PM)
Paul, I don't do power rankings but I will pass this on to my boss. Thanks
Josh (Oklahoma City)
What will Mark Parrish do for the Stars?
Pierre LeBrun (4:32 PM)
I was talking with Stars coach Dave Tippett yesterday and he said Parrish is a welcome addition because they've been searing for a right-handed shot on right wing for some time. Plus, Mike Modano is a big fan of his. But honestly, he'll probably pop in 10-15 goals
What do you think of Kyle Wellwood?
Pierre LeBrun (4:33 PM)
Mike I think Kyle Wellwood has monstrous talent. But the kid battled through a pair of sports hernia surgeries over the last two years and it affected his weight and conditioning. He appears to finally be in shape again and he's looking great in Vancouver. Good spot for him, too, because he'll get a chance to be a top-six forward on a team craving offense
Brian Fox (Valley Glen,CA)
Do you see the Kings making any moves soon? We really need it!!!
Pierre LeBrun (4:34 PM)
The Kings have some interest in Gaborik but only if they can sign him first. Otherwise, they are preaching patience in this latest rebuilding phase. But I have to say, the pieces are starting to look good. hang in there !
Which new coach has the done the best job so far?
Pierre LeBrun (4:35 PM)
Easy one Terry _ Todd McLellan. The Sharks are on fire. They've been disciplined and organized and look like a Cup contender.
With Brodeur down, do you think Fleury comes out on top as the best goalie in the East?
Pierre LeBrun (4:37 PM)
Great question Peter, was just thinking the other day what Brodeur's absence would do to the Vezina Trophy voting. His reign willfinally end. In the East, I think Lundqvist is the man, nominated the last three years for the Vezina and he looks great again thiss eason. Fleury, Carey Price and Ryan Miller other contenders.
Paranoid Sabres Fan (Attica, NY)
Thus far, has there been anyone in the national league better than Thomas Vanek?
Pierre LeBrun (4:38 PM)
The guy has been dynamite, eh? Funny how not having all that hype and pressure of a big, new contact can help a player relax. Best thing the Sabres ever did was match that offer sheet from Edmonton. Well worth it.
Brady - Chicago, IL
Any hints to where Shanahan may end up? What's the buzz?
Pierre LeBrun (4:39 PM)
Philadelphia, New Jersey, St. Louis, Chicago are among the teams that have some level of interest. But I suspect other teams will enter the fray over the next seven days. Stay tuned.
Rumors of Sundin going to the Ducks. How could they even make the dollars work on this one? Are there any scenarios you can see where it would even be possible?
Pierre LeBrun (4:41 PM)
Brian Burke met with Sundin on Tuesday. But keep in mind Sundin has also met with Rangers and Canucks and several other teams will also get an audience over the next few weeks. A dozen teams in total I suspect. Ducks, as you point out Billy, are up against the cap. So they'd need to move some bodies (Morrision? Marchant? Kunitz?) in order to make room. I also think that if Sundin joins a cap-challenged team like Anaheim or Philadelphia or the Rangers, he'll take less money than if he goes to vancouver or Toronto where they have lots of cap room
Pierre, sorry our roster doesn't have rookies that are "sexy" enough for you, but Brassard and Voracek are legit Calder candidates.
Pierre LeBrun (4:42 PM)
ha ha ! I planted that seed well Jeff. Wanted to see if we had any love for the Jackets in the chat today. Great hockey market, hope you guys make the playoffs one day, those fans deserveit. Watched those kids again last night, they were imnpressive. And how about Steve Mason? There's the future right there
puckheadjones raleigh nc
Pierre, i was impressed with the Leafs this week especially the play of Mikhail G and Nick H. With that said, it appears that goaltending is an issue in Toronto. What does Ron Wilson do to get the defence and goaltending up to where their offence has been?
Pierre LeBrun (4:43 PM)
I disagree. I think Vesa Toskala is a fine goaltender. He's not playing at his best right now but I think he's fine. Least of their worries.
Jonathan (Wellesley, MA)
Speaking of Bruins being snubbed from the all-star ballot, does Phil Kessel deserve some consideration for the year that he's having so far?
Pierre LeBrun (4:44 PM)
No question. The kid is having a breakthrough year. Good to see.
Jonathan (Wellesley, MA)
Is it time for the Bruins to be considered legitimate cup contenders? They are off to a hot start, Phil Kessel has emerged, Patrice Bergeron looks like his old self, and Marc Savard continues to prove himself as one of the elite play-makers in the league. Are the Habs looking in the rear-view mirror?
Pierre LeBrun (4:45 PM)
One step at a time. They are indeed impressive this year. Peter Chiarelli has done a real good jbo there. But I think Montreal and Buffalo still rank ahead right now in the division. But the Bruins are playoff-bound for sure
What's the deal with Brent Johnson getting so many starts, when his numbers aren't really any better than Theodore's?
Pierre LeBrun (4:46 PM)
It's called, ''Hi, my name is Bruce Boudreau and I have zero confidence in my No. 1 goalie right now."
Edmonton, alberta OILERCOUNTRY
Hey Pierre!! What is your feelings on the oilers this season going with 3 goalies and do you feel Roloson is the answer in the net and where do you see this team heading this season in terms of a possible playoff contender??? Thanks Pierre :)
Pierre LeBrun (4:47 PM)
Love the Oil ! I still think the Oilers would move Rollie for the right offer. You can't keep three goalies all season long, not healthy. Although they can send Deslauriers down for an AHL conditioning assigment at some point. Dont' froget that.
Pierre, Trade suggestion Robbie Lu (Roberto) for Carey Price and a quality mid-level talent such as Lang to even out the salary cap. Roberto puts Habs over the top playoff wise, I bet to at least the finals and Carey goes back to the west coast, the move makes sense and is a homecoming of sorts for the goalies.
Pierre LeBrun (4:49 PM)
Travis, I think Mike Gillis showed us what he thought of Roberto Luongo when he named him captain even though it's against the rules. He is doing everything he can to keep Luongo happy and in a Canucks uniform
jaya (san jose, ca)
why does nabokov never get any respect from the vezina voters? he leads the league in wins and did the same last year!
Pierre LeBrun (4:49 PM)
Actually he was nomined for the Vezina last year along with Brodeur and Lundqvist. By the way this is the only award voted on by NHL GMs. But they thought enough of Nabby last year to include him in their top three.
Joe - Dallas, TX
Any sleeper suggestions for Fantasy Hockey?
Pierre LeBrun (4:51 PM)
Apparently Dustin Boyd is centering Iginla's line tonight in Calgary if you need a quick fix. Not sure how long that wil last though.
Why has nobody offered me a contract? At least a third of the NHL teams have serious goaltending issues.
Pierre LeBrun (4:52 PM)
Jocelyn, you should have stopped more pucks last year in Buffalo
Eoin (Yonkers, NY)
Hire me to be your proofreader. Je parle francais aussi.
Pierre LeBrun (4:53 PM)
I try to type fast so I can get to more questions. Sorry for the typos folks !
Another thing, what you think about young guns line with Pavelski, Cheechoo, and Setoguchi? I'm really amazed at their poise right now and they are scoring a lot. It seems to be a line not talked about much, but I think its arguably the best second line out there right now.
Pierre LeBrun (4:54 PM)
They are impressive Tim. And it shows you whathappens when you improve the puck-moving ability on your blue-line and guys like Boyle and Blake are getting the puck up accurately to those forwards.
Whats with the attendance in Jersey. I love Parise. Exciting team to watch.
Pierre LeBrun (4:55 PM)
Good team, great franchise, terrific GM, strange market. Always has been. Maybe the Rangers just have too much of a market share on both sides of the Hudson.
How do you think the Caps will end up with the goaltending situation? How far do you think they will go this year? Do you think theres a possiblilty they will look to move Theodore for another goaltender if Theo doesn't pick his game up? I know this is not likely though.
Pierre LeBrun (4:56 PM)
Thomas, they gave Theodore lots of cash. They need to be patient before pulling the plug there.
Pierre, why do goalies make better sportscasters, look at any hockey show on a french or english channel and think about what I asked. That includes Jocelyn on french CBC channel nightly.
Pierre LeBrun (4:57 PM)
Maybe because of all the time they had during their playing careers to just watch the game unfold in front of them? Can't imagine there'd be a better seat in the house.
Pierre LeBrun (4:57 PM)
OK puckheads, gotta run. Let's do it again next week. Yes we can !