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 Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET!
Pierre LeBrun (4:00 PM)
OK puck heads, I'm sure there'll be lots of Avery talk today. So let's get it going.
Har in Vancouver
Hi Pierre I'm a huge fan of your columns and journalism. If Avery says the same thing to a the few media members say in a Florida, Atlanta, or Nashville market does he still get Suspended?? I'm sure he has said far worse on the Ice. The League got lucky because this was in Canada with tons of the media scrumming around him. Do you agree with me?? The Score misses your presence :)
Pierre LeBrun (4:03 PM)
Har, thanks for the kind words. As for Avery making those comments in Canada, that's kind of the point. If you look at the full clip in the visitor's dressing room in Calgary, he litterally asked the media to assemble before dropping his comment. He knew it would get huge reaction on Canada's three sports networks. Well, he got one !
gale scheelar: edmonton alberta
Sean Avery has no class-he proved it once and for all when he made disparaging comments about his ex-girlfriends going out with other NHL players. perhaps it is his own "short comings" that he cannot keep a girlfriend. The league is much better off without him-Dallas proved they are fully capable without him as well. How can we rid the NHL of this cancer?
Pierre LeBrun (4:05 PM)
Gale, I just think Avery needs help. And I say that honestly without joking. But what has been somewhat lost in what he said is that it's disrespectful towards women and there's no place for that. I've got a whacky sense of humor, believe me, but there are legions of kids who worship NHL players and they have to maintain a higher standard.
Adam (Lake George, NY)
The Sabres organization does a lot for the Buffalo Community, but right about now, us fans are feeling neglected. There is no sense of urgency at all about improving this team. Can we expect ANYTHING out of Regier?
Pierre LeBrun (4:07 PM)
Adam, I spent most of my time on the phone with GMs and agents... let me tell you something, it's SO HARD to make a trade right now. The salary cap system means trades have to be dollar for dollar until we get to the trade deadline when it's finally easier to absorb contracts. Be patient, Regier will try to make a deal as we get closer to the March 4 deadline.
Steve (Washington, D.C.)
Everyone in Pittsburgh has been asking Santa for a quality winger (or two) for Christmas, to pair with Sid and Geno. These boys have been on a tear the past few weeks, but how long can they keep it up without some solid supporting cast? Will there be some fresh faces joining them soon? If so, who would be some logical wingmen? Thanks!
Pierre LeBrun (4:08 PM)
Again, cap issues. Of course Ray Shero would love a winger for Sidney Crosby. That's why he tried to re-sign Marian Hossa last summer. But right now he can't take on salary unless he's dishing out just as much. Again, the trade deadline might prove a better time for him to look at what's available.
Chad: Leonardo, New Jersey
Should New York Rangers Coach Tom Renney recieve a nod for the U.S. Olympic coaching staff?
Pierre LeBrun (4:11 PM)
Tom Renney is Canadian and in fact a former national team head coach up here (I cover him when he coached the 2000Canadian team at the World Hockey Championships in St. Petersburg, Russia. But I digress...) I think Hockey Canada should definitely have him on their list although the competition is huge. Mike Babcock, Ken Hitchcock, Guy Carbonneau, and hey, what about Claude Julien !!!!! As for Team USA, GM Brian Burke has mentioned Ron WIlson as a possible candidate but others such as John Tortorella, Peter Laviolette, etc.. will also surely get in the mix
Paul (Lansing, MI):
What is your take on the Detroit Red Wings so far this season? While they have a strong record, other key stats seem to be lacking from last year's team (GAA are up, Shots against are higher, and even strength play is worse) Furthermore, they don't have the best record against the teams in the top 10 in points (something like 4-3-4).
Pierre LeBrun (4:14 PM)
Paul, I can't tell you how teams find it difficult the next season after being in the Cup final, let alone winning it all. Carolina and Anaheim struggled mightily. The Wings have been able to stay above those kinds of struggles but defintely I agreed aren't playing at the same level as last spring. I suspect you'll see them rise in the second half of the season
John, Victoria BC
Hey Pierre, Im just wondering who you picked to win the Stanley Cup? I read your chat every week, but I don't think you've ever mentioned it.
Pierre LeBrun (4:16 PM)
Not sure if you're being sarcastic or not since I've mentioned it several times actually. But yes, in September I picked the San Jose Sharks to win it all !!!!!
Justin from Toronto
Hey Pierre, huge fan of the satellite hot stove and you're work with the score, a question about the sens from a Leaf fan... What do you think is their main problem? Is it Bryan Murray, Hartsburg or the players? Do you think management could have done things differently?(I would have traded Alfredsson instead of resigning him)
Pierre LeBrun (4:17 PM)
Justin, thanks, (by the way I'm no longer at The Score, only work for ESPN and HNIC). The Sens' blue-line has been obliterated by salary cap defections over the last four years. Gone are Chara, Redden, Corvo, Preissing, Meszaros, etc... Now they can't move the puck in transition nor can they defend
Peter Chiarelli (Boston)
Can I get Jay Bouwmeester without dealing David Krejci? Tell me Florida will take Manny Fernandez(UFA after this season) if I throw in a couple draft picks to keep me under the cap.
Pierre LeBrun (4:18 PM)
Peter, you have my number, you don't have to contact me through the chat :) I suspect the Panthers can fetch a good young player plus a first-round pick for Bouwmeester....
Are the Stars upset about Avery, or upset that the team is doing terribly? They didn't sign him for $15.5M over 4 years to win the Lady Byng trophy. Seems like this is a convenient way for the team to wash their hands of a high-priced signing that didn't work out the way they wanted.
Pierre LeBrun (4:19 PM)
George, he's been an issue on and off the ice. Read Scott Burnside's excellent piece. You'll hear about an incident in Boston earlier this year.
Ben (Florence, SC)
Why would the Hurricanes fire Laviolette and replace him with Maurice? Is Maurice a temporary solution and promote Ron Francis next year?
Pierre LeBrun (4:21 PM)
Ben, the truth is, Carolina nearly fired Laviolette three or four times over the past 12 months. So on that level it's not that surprising. He's a good coach but management feels the players are no longer responding to him. And yes, I do think over the course of time, whether it's next year or in two years or in three years that Ron Francis might be the head coach
Chris (Sunnyvale, CA)
What makes this Sean Avery incident different then any other? We all know he cares more about entertainment and spotlight then playing the game (although he could've fooled some of his last year). The Star knew exactly what they were getting, so how the level of shock and disgust from Hicks and Jackson be taken serious? The Stars are a classy organization, but they shot themselves in the foot with this one and have no one to blame beyond the face in the mirror.
Pierre LeBrun (4:22 PM)
That's the thing, Brett Hull is the one who pushed hard to sign him and he takes most of the blame here. They knew what they were getting and now they're paying for it.
About two weeks ago on HNIC you guys discussed the NHL going back to ESPN, whats the word on that and how would that work because isn't there a contract with Versus? I know this would get the NHL so much more publicity and it would be great for the game.
Pierre LeBrun (4:23 PM)
Ethan, I'm not allowed to talk about that! I wasn't on Hot Stove that night.
Hey Pierre, even before the season started, didn't you think the deal Dallas gave Avery was ridiculous anyways? Like you said it is almost as bad as the deal Tampa Bay gave Vrbata...Now they have found out who he really is why no other team was willing to give Avery a contract like that in the offseason...If anyone made the right decision it was Avery for taking a deal like that as soon as it was on the table...
Pierre LeBrun (4:24 PM)
Yes I never liked the deal from the moment Dallas signed him. But kudos to Pat Morris of Newport Sports, Avery's agent, for showing once again why he's one of the top guys in his business and getting that kind of money for his client !
The Flyers look like they have alot of offensive depth so Shanahan is not the answer. Who could they target to try to acquire on defense and who would they have to give up?
Pierre LeBrun (4:25 PM)
Drew, Bouwmeester is where I would start if I was Paul Holmgren. He's a rental player but a great one.
Jonathan (San Jose, CA)
The San Jose Sharks are on pace to hit 140 points. Can they keep up this streak? Where do you predict they'll finally finish in points?
Pierre LeBrun (4:26 PM)
Jonathan, they'll hit a bump or two along the road, especially given the brutal travel schedule teams in the Pacific Division have to cope with. But I predict 110 points.
Red (Point Place, WI)
Do you see anyone who isnt on the Penguins making a serious run at the Hart Trophy?
Pierre LeBrun (4:28 PM)
Defintely. Other candidates in my mind could be Ovechkin, the defending champ, as well as Joe Thornton, Mike Richards, Jarome Iginla, Henrik Lundqvist and Tim Thomas,among others !
What do you think about Sean Avery? Honestly, I'm just glad the NHL is getting some attention. Avery is the best thing to happen to this league in awhile
Pierre LeBrun (4:31 PM)
I like unique characters, but not dumb asses. I liked when he worked at Vogue, but I didn't like what he told that woman in Boston during a game in November. yes we need characters to sell the game in the U.S., but not guys who cross the line. As an NHL player once told me when we talked about this subject, ''Yeah we need guys to be less boring, but we don't need them to be doig one-handed push-ups in front of the media in their driveways." That was a shot at T.O. by the way
Hey Pierre I am a kings fan and the last couple of games we have played like last years team. I was wondering what you think of them as an franchise and if they can't make the playoffs this year when will they?
Pierre LeBrun (4:32 PM)
Bill, there's no way they are making the playoffs this season. But I do like the makeup of this young core. Naming Dustin Brown as captain was a huge turning point for the franchise. They are finally developing an identity. I predict they'll challenge for eighth next season.
RickPlaysStick (San Diego, Ca)
Now that the Burke soap opera has ended, who do you think is on his radar to infuse his brand of pugnacity and toughness into the Leaf room? Sincerly wish he would have stayed with the Ducks, but wish him well. Thanks Pierre for a great new Column/Blog every day!.
Pierre LeBrun (4:34 PM)
Rick, Burke will definltely toughen up the Leafs. I would look for two or three gritty guys to join the team before the end of the season. But for now Burke is getting to know his new team before he starts to look around and make moves.
David Fairborn, OH
I'm being honest, so take it for what it's worth...I didn't know any hockey player besides Federov until Sean Avery opened his mouth. Why penalize a player for a remark, when he brought attention to the game. PR is PR, when you're struggling.
Pierre LeBrun (4:35 PM)
I think I covered this earlier David.... but again, I like unique characters, but there's a line.
When do the inductees for the 2009 hall of fame class get announced? And please tell me Luc Robitaille will be in, he certainly deserves it.
Pierre LeBrun (4:36 PM)
It will be announced in June, Henry. I'd be very surprised if the four guys weren't Steve Yzerman, Brian Leetch, Brett Hull and yes, Luc Robitaille.
Zach (East Lansing, Michigan)
Pierre, Is there any chance that the Red Wings can keep Hossa, Zetterberg, and Franzen next year? I don't think the Wings are doing well against the cap right now and I think it could be tough to sign all 3 guys.
Pierre LeBrun (4:38 PM)
That's the big question in Hockeytown to be sure, Zach. I think it's a long shot but I know Ken Holland will try. The key is to get all three take less than market value and realize they're part of a great thing. Time will tell.
Kyle in Dallas
is the NHL so uptight that sloppy seconds is what crosses the line - as opposed to Avery's ongoing antics throughout his career. He is a disgrace, but I think this incident is laughable
Pierre LeBrun (4:39 PM)
Kyle, believe me when I say yesterday's comments were simply the last straw. A long list of stuff piled up on him.
Hey Frenchie, care to post this or are you scared of the truth. First off, i hate hockey and feel it is a horribly boring sport (like the country it comes from). But i thought, due only to old Kids in the Hall and SCTV episodes, that the Canadians had a sense of humor. Come on guys, how can you not find Avery's comment hillarious (it got a non-hockey fan to pay attention to your sport)? As for you saying he crossed the line, isnt this the sport where its legal to punch eachother in the face, but they get weepy over words?
Pierre LeBrun (4:40 PM)
There you go Craig, your comment is posted. Signed, Frenchie.
Have you ever seen teammates come out publicy against another teammate as much as the Stars have voiced their displeasure with Avery? I cannot remember seeing anyhting like this in the NHL ever. How can Avery ever step foot in the Stars locker room knowing his teammates hate him so much?
Pierre LeBrun (4:40 PM)
robert (washington dc)
The Caps have certainly had their share of injury problems the past couple of weeks (82ish man games lost) and it looks like they might get a few guys back this weekend. With all the call ups from Hershey and guys having to step up to first and second line roles, will this ultimately help them in the long run?
Pierre LeBrun (4:41 PM)
Robert, I love everything about this team except their goaltending. Not sold on Theodore. I love Brent Johnson but he's never had the chance to go with the No. 1 job so we don't know.
Pierre, who are the top free agents in the offseason?
Pierre LeBrun (4:43 PM)
As of now, and that's if they don't re-sign before July 1, you've got guys like Marian Gaborik, the Swedin twins, Jay Bouwmeester, Scott Niedermayer, Alex Kovalev, Mike Komirsarek, Saku Koivu, among others...
Drebin (Police Squad)
Pierre you gave us the Sharks as your Cup champs...who will they be playing in the finals in your opinion sir?
Pierre LeBrun (4:45 PM)
Tough one. I picked the Flyers to win the East in September but now I'm not so sure..... How about the Rangers?
David (Chestertown, NY)
The reason that Sean Avery was suspended was because the NHL is all about class and sportsmanship on and off the ice and what Sean Avery is trying to do is be above the league. Avery has said worse on the ice for sure, but the way he said it to the media in that way I do not think I have ever heard another player in any sport say that. Avery is a black eye on the game, agreed Pierre?
Pierre LeBrun (4:45 PM)
Chris (Edmonton AB)
Hey Pierre! If the Oilers lose to the Stars today, they'll be last in the western conference standings. Do you see a shakeup coming if they continue playing this way, and if so, what have you been hearing? Is there a chance MacT is gone or do they give him the season?
Pierre LeBrun (4:46 PM)
Chris, a high-ranking source in the Oilers organization told me there's no way they are firing MacT. So take that for what it is. Sometimes that's the kiss of death. I think a trade is what they're trying to work on, deal away one of their three goalies, but it' s not easy right now in the NHL to make a trade !
Chester Trout (Dallas)
What are the cap implications of a buyout of Avery's contract after this season?
Pierre LeBrun (4:48 PM)
Great question and a key one. The next buyout period in the NHL is in June. If Dallas chose to do that, then they'd owe him over twice the remaining term of his contract.So since he has three more years on his deal, there would be cap hit (not sure exactly how much) for the next six years.
Avery is great for hockey! Are you kidding me? In a sport that no one likes, he is a person that could help the sport become more popular. Bad publicity is better than no publicity.
Pierre LeBrun (4:49 PM)
Then maybe we should also allow dog fighting during the intermissions. M Vick, welcome back !
sean avery (dallas)
what's a guy gotta do to get his intelligent banter on your convo??? i need some questions answered please, Pierre! Are the new look rangers making a stanley cup run?
Pierre LeBrun (4:50 PM)
Sean, guess your boys in New York don't miss you, eh? I think if the Rangers can add one more major offensive piece (Sundin anyone?) then I really, really like them
Ron (las vegas)
Where is the mullet??????
Pierre LeBrun (4:51 PM)
Mine? I had one in the late '80s and early '90s while playing hockey in Northern Ontario. But like my hockey career, it sucked.
Daniel (Iqaluit, Nunavut)
Enjoyable chat, Pierre. Do you see the Canadiens making any moves to try to get their offence going? Or is it simply a sit back and hope things start to click like last year. Was Mark Streit really that important to the power play?
Pierre LeBrun (4:53 PM)
Daniel, great to have a question for way, way up North! Tremendous. yes Bob Gainey is indeed goin to try to do something. There's something not quite right with the team right now and he senses it. You may have heard that he got himself back in the Sundin talks although there's lots of competition from other teams. I would almost guarantee a trade between now and march 4 by the Habs
Which players do the Rangers dump to get Sundin and how badly would that affect them cap-wise for the years to come?
Pierre LeBrun (4:54 PM)
Not sure which players they would dump Joe, but in terms of the cap hit, depends on whether Sundin would sign a one- or two-year deal. Because he's over 35 years old, his deal counts against the cap regardless of whether he plays again next year. So that's the risk with a two-year deal
Brett (Los Angeles)
Has Avery played his last game for the Stars? Is (or was) there a morals clause in his contract with Dallas?
Pierre LeBrun (4:55 PM)
I konw people in the Stars organization are asking themselves that very question today Brett. But purely as a guess, I would say yes. He won't be back in Dallas.
andrew new jersey
what do you think lebron will really do when he's a free agent in 2010
Pierre LeBrun (4:56 PM)
Date Elyssa Cuthbert.
Pierre LeBrun (4:56 PM)
OK folks, I have to go prepare dinner. Talk to you next week !!!!