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 (4:03 PM)
Welcome back everyone, let's get the show on the road here.
this may be a bad thing to ask with the kid just coming off a hat trick but I've been thinking about it for a while. I've heard for a while that the Hawks need another center and I've heard a lot of talk about the penguins wanting to to get one of the elite wingers that have been available, Gaborik and Kovalchuk. Most of the analysts say Pit would have to send back Staal and a first round pick. Moral of the story, Pitt would have to add to the Staal package. Could the hawks get Staal for someone like Havlat and then a first round pick? Maybe, Havlat, #1 pick, and Beach? I've heard in the past that the hawks don't want to add anyone that is going to want to get paid since they're waiting to break the vault for Toews and Kaner, but I really think this would be a huge opportunity to jump at. I also saw on ESPN that the hawks have been talking to the senators about Jason Spezza. I know so little about players not on the hawks. Can you tell me a little bit about him? He seems real young and with loads of talent. But I also assume he'll be due for some $$$ too.
Pierre LeBrun (4:06 PM)
Great question. I also wonder how Pittsburgh can afford to keep all three guys _ Crosby, Malkin and Staal. But it doesn't necessarily have to be a question Penguins GM Ray Shero has to answer right now. Staal is a restricted free agent July 1. Shero can decide how to proceed after the season. In the meantime, it doesn't stop the Penguins from maybe trying to sign Staal to an extension which I suspect may possibly happen at some point over the next few weeks or months.
Craig (Norwich, CT)
If/when Ron Francis gets inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, will it be as a Whaler or as a Penguin? Thanks.
Pierre LeBrun (4:07 PM)
Craig, Ron got inducted last November. He was part of the Big Four with Mark Messier, Scott Stevens and Al MacInnis. Unlike some other sports, the Hockey Hall of Fame doesn't ask a player to choose a team go in with. You just go in as yourself
Austen (Louisville, KY)
Hey Pierre, any new news on the contract talks for Zetterberg?
Pierre LeBrun (4:08 PM)
Not haven't check on that this week. I know the Wings and his camp were supposed to talk again this week. They're at the point where they are exchanging solid, long-term proposals. But who knows, soemtimes that means they're close, other times they get stuck at a number. No way of knowing how long this will go but I think they will for sure sign him
Tim Thomas is getting a lot of the credit for the great streak the Bruins are on. Who, other than him, is most responsible for the outstanding play of the entire team?
Pierre LeBrun (4:10 PM)
Drew, let's first give some credit to the GM, Peter Chiarelli, who has assembled a rising young team. And the coach, Claude Julien, who has the Bruins playing a real responsible game. Player wise, Dennis Wideman has really stood out on defense for me. Marc Savard, Phil Kessel and rookie Blake Wheeler look grreat up front rightnow. But this is a balanced lineup that doesn't depend on one player or one line to get it done
I noticed the kings have been playing alot better lately with Ersberg in net, what's your take on them?
Pierre LeBrun (4:12 PM)
They are going to get there, but not this year. Lots of young talent here. Never mind all the young offense they've got, but how about Jack Johnson and Drew Doughty on your blue-line for the next several years? Problem remains in goal. I don't believe in Ersberg nor Laberbera. We'll if Bernier can do it next year.
Pierre who are your early season award winners?(Hart, Vezina, Calder, Norris, etc)
Pierre LeBrun (4:12 PM)
Alfred, we're going to post our early season award winner sometime next week. Make sure to look for it!
Jeff (St Louis, MO)
Some reports suggest Brendan Shanahan will sign with an NHL team this week. Which of potential teams need him the most, what are they expecting from him, and do you see him as capable of meeting/exceeding those expetations?
Pierre LeBrun (4:14 PM)
Clearly St. Louis needs him the most. They're so banged up. The Hawks could use his experience. Not sure why the Flyers are so interested, goals aren't their problem. Shanny is a little slow now but he can still pop you some goals and he's a great dressing room presence
Is Alex Semin and Ovechkin the best one-two punch in the league? And is Semin the league MVP so far?
Pierre LeBrun (4:14 PM)
Right now there is no better line in hockey than Backstrom centering Semin and Ovechkin. No question.
As a kings fan I think Drew Doughty is awesome he plays well beyond his years and gets tons of ice time, rookie of the year?
Pierre LeBrun (4:15 PM)
He'll be a candidate if he keeps this up. The writers, including me, vote for this award and we know how hard it is to play defense at 18.
what other teams will be involved in the brian burke sweepstates?
Pierre LeBrun (4:16 PM)
Toronto is the only place with a job opening right now. But if you look at Scott Burnside's column on the site, you'll see other potential suitors.... Obviously Burke wants to be on the East Coast so keep that in mind
Greg (Herndon, VA)
I'm loving the way my Caps played last night. Can they be an elite team or are there too many questions on defense/in goal to be a cup contender?
Pierre LeBrun (4:17 PM)
Few teams I'd rather watch right now than Washinton. An electrifying team. But I also have concerns in goal. Could Brent Johnson have continued his stellar play had he not got hurt last night? Can Theodore wake up? Don't have those answers Greg, sorry. But that's where lies my concern with that team
Cody (Buffalo, NY)
How far do you think the Sabres will go this year and do you think Thomas Vanek has MVP potential?
Pierre LeBrun (4:19 PM)
You know people mocked me I think back in September when I predicted a bounceback season for the Sabres. They're for real. I still think Montreal will win the division but the Sabres can contend absolutlely. Vanek for the Hart? If he scores 60 goals why not? it worked for Ovechkin last year !
Gerry (San Francisco, CA)
Pierre, the Sharks have been legitimate cup favorites the past two seasons and definitely a cup favorite this season. Considering that expectations are extremely high in San Jose, is Sharks GM Doug Wilson on the hot seat?
Pierre LeBrun (4:20 PM)
I love the Sharks, as you know I picked them to win this year. Hot seat for Wilson? I guess you argue this team is due to win. But I can tell you if he were ever fired teams would be lining up for him. He's a smart GM. Let's see how things go this year before we decide.
Ed (San Jose, CA)
The goalies in the two "obvious" destinations for Khabby have performed quite well (Ottawa, LA). Is he staying in Chicago all year?
Pierre LeBrun (4:21 PM)
If the Hawks want to acquire some real help a center, I don't see how they can keep Khabibulin. But he's playing so darn well right now, it puts Dale Tallon in a tough spot. Until Huet shows he's regained his confidence and can real off a bunch of wins, you almost feel Tallon should wait before unloading Khabibulin
John (Edison, NJ)
Which group was wrong more? Shark fans who wanted to trade Patrick Marleau last year for a bag of pucks, or fans of other teams that wouldn't trade a bag of pucks for Patrick Marelau?
Pierre LeBrun (4:23 PM)
ha ha, funny question. Reality is, Doug Wilson never wanted to trade Patrick Marleau. But things got difficult between Ron Wilson and Patrick Marleau so the GM had to make a choice. he did.
Mark (Windsor, Ontario)
Pierre....love your work! What's the deal in Edmonton with their goaltending situation. Deslauriers played great vs. NJ and NYR and should get the start tonight vs. Toronto. Does Tambellini finally move a goalie (likely Roloson) to a goalie needy team?????
Pierre LeBrun (4:23 PM)
I think eventually Roloson is the odd man out. At 36, there's no upside there and he's UFA July 1. Deslaureier-Garon is the right combo
Michael (Rohnert Park, CA)
you picked the sharks to go all the way this year but do you think that they may need to get someone to solidfy there team for a long run in the playoffs? or can they do it with all these young stars like setoguichi, clowe, errhoff, pavelski mixed with the vets of thornton, marleau, boyle, blake?
Pierre LeBrun (4:25 PM)
Great question. I asked the same thing to Doug Wilson the other day and he gave me the impression he was pretty happy with what he had, that he made all his big moves last summer. But let's see who's out there before march 4 _ plans can change when a name you didn't expect suddenly becomes available. Adding more experience up front I don't think would hurt this team
D, new york
Should Chiarelli be worried about his job given Burke's availability?
Pierre LeBrun (4:26 PM)
There's definitley a segment of people out there that believe Boston should give Burke a look. Burke is one of the top GMs in the game but I think that would unfair to Chiarelli, who has assembled an impresive young team.
Joe Philly PA
I am a pens fan stuck in philly and i wanted to know Who you think would be a good fit for the pens to get to play with crosby?
Pierre LeBrun (4:28 PM)
Problem with the Penguins is that they've got Cap issues. They'll have to wait until March probably to make their move. At that point the cap hit is smaller. Obviously if Gaborik is still available and doesn't sign an extension with Minnesota, if you're Ray Shero you have to at least expore that possiblity come March. But I also know the Pens believe they gave up a lot for Hossa last year and he walked away July 1. can't sell the farm every year.
Couple of Thrashers related questions...First, what do you think the odds are of Atlanta trading Lehtonen this year after previous talk of him being a franchise netminder. Second, is there any chance that Brian Burke would take over for Waddell as the GM? Please give me hope.
Pierre LeBrun (4:31 PM)
First, yes I believe there's a chance Lethonen will be moved this year. Pavelec will be the better NHL goalie. As for Burke in Atlanta, nothing would surprise me but I think Don Waddell gets too much criticism. The real problem in Atlanta is bad ownership and no money to spend on the team.
do u think fighting will ever be banned in hockey?
Pierre LeBrun (4:33 PM)
It's interesting Mike, two years ago I wrote a story for The Canadian Press that got league-wide buzz. I quoted Colin Campbell asking whether it was time we asked that very question. The reaction was swift. Most people aren't ready for that yet. But yes, I do believe before we die we might see that. Why? Because somebody may die on the ice from a punch one of these days. These tough guys are bigger and stroner than ever. But I won't lie, I certainly don't change the channel when there's a fight going on
Peter (Detroit, MI)
hey pierre, which teams do you think will make the playoffs in the west?
Pierre LeBrun (4:35 PM)
Tough one, they're so jammed up right now. But you ask and you will receive Peter: San Jose, Detroit, Edmonton, Anaheim, Dallas, Vancouver, Chicago, Minnesota
The Caps look a lot like the Penguins of last year...except they don't have a minute eater on the blueline or a potential breakout goaltender. Who would you target at the trade deadline if you were McPhee to push this team into the contender category?
Pierre LeBrun (4:36 PM)
I would call Mike Gillis in Vancouver and ask about Mattias Ohlund if the Canucks haven't signed him to an extension. He's got a no-trade clause but I think he'd waive it for an exciting team like Washinton
I have Peter Budaj and he has been looking good as of late but I keep hearing to be cautious, is it too early to tell if hes finally turned the corner? Also is Sean Avery a much less talented, more annoying, NHL version of Terrell Owens?
Pierre LeBrun (4:37 PM)
Peter Budaj I dont' think is No. 1 NHL goalie material, or at the very least bottom end of starters in the league. I hope he proves me wrong but that's how I feel. And yes, Sean Avery is indeed special in that TO kind of way.
Danny (Pittsburgh) Hossa!
I think it would be great if Pittsburgh won the cup over Detorit...I wonder who Marian would then sign with?! haha, would be a great scenerio!
Pierre LeBrun (4:38 PM)
Believe, those Penguins players wanted that game bad the other night. They were not happy with Hossa signing with the Wings.
can the rangers package some young guys...prucha, dawes,etc for a proven scorer?
Pierre LeBrun (4:39 PM)
Well they have interest in Mats Sundin but the problem with New York is that it doens't have much cap money to spend on the Big Swede.
Justin (Columbus, OH)
With the way the Pens have been scoring as of late, is it a given that there will still be a trade? If they can keep scoring like they have been, I don't see that need.
Pierre LeBrun (4:40 PM)
When you say ''still be a trade?" I talke to Ray Shero at least once a week. Never did he tell me he was trying to make a trade. He wanted to be patient and take a good look at his team first. There are rumors out there Justin, but many of them are bad ones
Lindsay (Columbus, Ohio )
Since the Columbus Blue Jackets need a number one center couldn't they trade one of their goaltenders Leclaire or Mason for one?
Pierre LeBrun (4:41 PM)
This is a team that has waited a long time for goalie depth. I would ride the Leclarire/Mason combo for as long as possible. You'll see what a difference goalitending can make now that Columbus finally has it.
If you had to guess to save your livelihood.....where is Sundin going to play by Christmas???
Pierre LeBrun (4:42 PM)
Not even people close to him have any clue Fred. Question of the Year really. Vancouver has offered the most money. Rangers, Flyers, Blackhawks, Senators, leafs and Ducks also have interest.... Who knows !!!! To me the best fit is the Rangers _ if only they had cap space. The Canucks may very well get him in the end. They can afford him.
everyone is talking about the pens offense and how they can unload players and grab some stars but dont you think this team might need some more experience and scoring on the blue line to help this team become one of the top teams?
Pierre LeBrun (4:43 PM)
Mike, just getting Gonchar and Whitney back this season will be a huge, huge difference. I don't think people realize Gonchar, in particular, has such an impact on this team.
Eric (Detroit, MI)
What are your thoughts on the Wings/Pens game this week. I was so upset that I couldn't even watch overtime. Pathetic in my book.
Pierre LeBrun (4:44 PM)
Beauty of the NHL right now are these crazy lead changes. I have a column on it posted today. Sucks if you're a Wings fan but from an objective point of view, the hockey right now is awesome and that was a prime example
If you could take one player to build a franchise around right now who would it be?
Pierre LeBrun (4:45 PM)
I would still take Crosby. I know he's not leading the scoring race right now but from I've seen from him firs-thand over the last three-plus years, he'd be the guy. Although Zetterberg, Ovechkin and Luongo would be very very close.
mike, york, pa
wouldn't a better choice for the pens (other than keeping staal, my #1 choice) be kovalchuck, he's at least signed for another year
Pierre LeBrun (4:46 PM)
Yes, he'd be a great choice, if he was available. Don Waddell would be signing his own pink slip if he traded Kovalchuk right now. Might as well wait until the off-season if it's obvious he won't sign an extension. You can stil get lots fo rhim then
Will the Hurricanes make the playoffs this season?
Pierre LeBrun (4:46 PM)
George (Greenville, SC)
Does Jere Lehtinen have any shot at the Hall of Fame?
Pierre LeBrun (4:47 PM)
I don't think so. Solid two-way player but he doesn't rank with the elite.
Robert (Raleigh NC)
I was fortunate enough to watch Backstrom Oveckhin Semin get 12 points last night. It was a scary thing to watching being a Canes fan. Speaking of the Canes, what is going on down here?
Pierre LeBrun (4:48 PM)
Once Carolina is fully healthy we'll get a better idea. But even then, I think Washinton is a better team. Still, the Hurricanes have enough to get into the playoffs I believe
How good is the Staal that plays for the Hurricanes?
Pierre LeBrun (4:49 PM)
$8.25-million a year good.
Lindsay (Columbus, Ohio)
There have been reports that Ottawa has had a scout at every Blue Jackets game. Who are they looking at and who might the Blue Jackets be looking at from Ottawa? Any chance the Blue Jackets trade Leclaire for a #1 center?
Pierre LeBrun (4:49 PM)
Only thing I can tell you is that Sens GM Bryan Murray has been on the lookout for a puck-moving defenseman
tom, san francisco, ca
pierre, what's the latest on Sundin?
Pierre LeBrun (4:50 PM)
He still hasn't decided for sure if he's coming back yet (but I think he will), he's working out in LA, and he's eating meatballs
I have played hockey since I was three, and have watched it since I could remember. If the NHL ever bans fighting, I will refuse to watch the games.
Pierre LeBrun (4:51 PM)
And Bryan, I think that represents about 80 per cent of the popular vote right now. No question
Mike (rohnert park)
next time you talk to joe thornton will you tell him to shoot more!!
Pierre LeBrun (4:52 PM)
ha ha, I will ! He's a great set-up guy, though eh?
Did you see the hit Dustin Brown had on Robidas the other night it was awesome, do you think he ets respect from his oppenents. Also whats your take on him being named captain and do you think he is a future all-star?
Pierre LeBrun (4:53 PM)
I think Dustin Brown is a big-time emerging star, the heart of that Kings team. Look for him to be a major player on the U.S. Olympic team next season as well
Pierre, did you see Mike Ribeiro's shootout goal the other night?
Pierre LeBrun (4:54 PM)
yeah that was sick, eh? Ribeiro has some sweet hands but that was a move I never saw before. Just when I was getting tired of the shootout he goes ahead and does that. I jumped off my couch
Andrew (Phx, AZ)
Granted Ballard has been playing well in Florida but the Jokinen trade for the Coyotes on draft day is looking pretty good right now.
Pierre LeBrun (4:54 PM)
Example of a trade that's helped both teams. That's the way it should work. Doesn't always have to be a team that gets hosed.
Jim (Vancouver, Canada)
What kind of numbers do you project Jordan Staal to achieve as he develops to his potential, and would you trade him for a top line winger or would you rather have him as your 2nd/3rd line center for the future?
Pierre LeBrun (4:55 PM)
He prefers playing center. Pretty good No. 2 center in my books. Size and strength. Great PK man. Good on PP. 30 goals, 65-70 points a year I think will be his norm
When Tavares comes into the league next year, will he be as hyped as Crosby? He has produced just as much at a younger age than Crosby.
Pierre LeBrun (4:56 PM)
Well they share the same agent, Pat Brisson, but I don't think Tavares will get the same hype because it appears he won't go first overall. All the scouts I talk to say Victor Hedmen of Sweden will go first overall
Bill in Tampa, FL
I am going to the Red Wing - Lightning game tonight. With the Lightning being shutout by the lowly Panthers last night, and the Wings coming off a home loss: What is the over - under for goals scored and shots on goal by the Wings tonight? I am setting the line for goals at six and shots at 41. What do you guys think?
Pierre LeBrun (4:57 PM)
Wings 6, Lighting 3
Pierre LeBrun (4:58 PM)
OK guys, gotta run. Sorry I couldn't get to all the questions. You guys are great. Until next Thursday.