Chat with Barry Melrose
Melrose re-joined ESPN after coaching the Tampa Bay Lightning for the first part of the 2008-09 season. He first started with ESPN after coaching the Los Angeles Kings to the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals and was a commentator on ESPN and ABC since 1995. Melrose made his NHL debut with the Winnipeg Jets in 1979. A defenseman, he played for the Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings before retiring after the 1986 season.
Send your questions now and join Barry in chat Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Barry Melrose (3:01 PM)
I hope everyone watched the Washington-Boston game last night. Great game to start the second half, and hopefully we'll have a lot more.
Adam (Lake George, NY)
The Sabres made a powerful statement last night. How do you feel about them as a playoff contender?
Barry Melrose (3:02 PM)
I've always liked their depth. They are getting a lot of goals and their goaltending is solid. Are they as good as Boston? I don't know, but their offensive barrage last night is certainly a good sign.
King (Howell, NJ)
Barry, if Marty Brodeur is 100 percent healthy when he comes back, how dangerous will the Devils be in the playoffs?
Barry Melrose (3:03 PM)
they are always dangerous in the playoffs because of the way they play. They don't give the other team too much and don't need four or five goals to win. They will be a team nobody wants to play with Marty, though they have more weapons than usual with the emergence of Parise.
Josh (Oklahoma City)
Welcome back Barry, It's been a very frustrating season for Stars fans, What does this team need to do in the 2nd half to make it into the playoffs?
Barry Melrose (3:04 PM)
Play like they did last night. Turco was excellent. They didn't give up too much defensively, got goals from different people. They need thirty more games like last night, but they could sneak into the playoffs.
Does Boston need to make a trade to stay on top?
Barry Melrose (3:05 PM)
They are finding ways to win. They got Bergeron back last night, beat Washington, which I think are the best team in the East. They will be active at the deadline, but so will many other teams. They are the best story in the NHL and are playing unbelievable hockey.
What do you make of the Avalanche so far this year? Are they what you expected?
Barry Melrose (3:06 PM)
They've been decimated by injuries. Sakic is out, Stastny is out, but they are hanging tough. They're four or five points out, but it will be tough for them to make the playoffs in a hard-fought West with those injuries. They are playing hard and well, but I don't think it will be enough.
Barry, how do you think the Rangers played last night. Do you think they can make a good run in the playoffs?
Barry Melrose (3:07 PM)
I thought they played a good game. They played hard and well defensively. I though Gomez played his best game in a long time. Certainly they are a playoff team, though they are not as good as Boston and Washington. But they looked as good last night as they have in a while.
Can the Flyers win the Cup with Biron as their #1 goalie?
Barry Melrose (3:08 PM)
The Flyers are a good team. Biron has played well at times, but only average at times. He is who they will have to win with. I think they are some players away from winning the Cup, particularly on defense. Briere is at least a month away, and he is key.
Jr San Jose
What is the one piece missing from the Sharks that could be added at the trading deadline. 3rd line center?
Barry Melrose (3:09 PM)
Nothing! The Sharks have everything! This team is the most talented in the NHL by quite a bit. They are big, have great goaltending, four lines that can score--they should win.
Evan Blau, New York, NY
Do you think Tom Renney is on the hot seat if the Rangers dont make the playoffs?
Barry Melrose (3:11 PM)
Yes. New York is a tough market. They started the season so well and looked like they were going to dominate. I don't think he WILL be fired, as he is doing a good job, but he will be feeling a lot of heat if the Rangers miss the playoffs.
Barry, what do you think of the trend toward teams signing guys to 10, 12, and even 15-year contracts?
Barry Melrose (3:12 PM)
I think it's crazy. You look at the DiPietros case, and I think it paints you into a corner with your salary cap. It gives the players too much power. Once you get a ten-year contract, no team really wants you.
Are the Jackets playing well enough to sneak into the playoffs for the first time in team history? And if so, how far can Nash and Mason carry them?
Barry Melrose (3:13 PM)
Get in the playoffs first! Don't worry about winning there. They played really well last night. Nash is playing well, Mason seems to be the goalie they've been looking for, but you have seven teams fighting for those last three playoff spots, so it will be tough. If you are a Columbus fan, this has to be the best you've felt about your team in a long time.
Does Ovechkin win back-to-back Hart trophies?
Barry Melrose (3:14 PM)
I would say right now, he's No. 1. Savard has had a great season, as has Lidstrom and others, but Ovechkin, in my mind, would be the first choice for the Hart.
David (Edina, MN)
The Wild have been terrible about getting any value for their assets when they've had their chances - Roloson, Fernandez, Gaborik soon, etc. - I think that Backstrom is a product of the system and his value will never be higher than it is right now. What would you say to trading him for someone who can score?
Barry Melrose (3:15 PM)
You still have to have someone who can stop the puck. Backstrom has played well. The most important position in hockey and maybe all of sports is not something you just give away. Teams stockpile goaltenders, not give them away. I would never trade a good goaltender unless I had to financially.
craig (los angeles)
Do you like the job Terry Murray and Dean Lombardi have done this year in L.A.?
Barry Melrose (3:17 PM)
Yeah. I think they are getting better each year. Pretty soon, they will have to take a run at the playoffs. They've got some good players right now, but you can't rebuild forever. They will have to start becoming a playoff team next year. Terry has done a good job, and Dean is a good GM who does not panic. But they have to show that they are out of rebuilding mode soon.
Watching Phoenix trip over their collective feet last night was painful. With upcoming games against SJ, Buffalo and Detroit, how can they stay in the hunt? What do they have to do to get back on track?
Barry Melrose (3:18 PM)
That was a bad loss last night. But let's see how they rebound. They've improved in just about every week, so let's see how they come back before you write them off. Have faith in them. This is a different Phoenix team than you've seen in the last three years.
Matt Paley (NYC)
Do you see Sean Avery back with the rangers? Any team this year?
Barry Melrose (3:18 PM)
I personally think he will play this year, but not the Rangers. It'll be a team fighting for a playoff spot who he has not played for before. No one will pay too much to get him, but I think he will play.
AJ (Big Rapids, MI)
Which is the better conference 1 to 8 East or West?
Barry Melrose (3:19 PM)
West. The West is just great. I think you have the two best teams in hockey in Detroit and San Jose. Chicago is great. The West is tougher and deeper than the East.
Theodore is playing well in net for the Capitals; can he get them to the cup?
Barry Melrose (3:20 PM)
Depends which Theodore continues to play. He's been great, and he's been awful. He knows he doesn't have to win 1-0 games, which takes pressure on him. This team is the best in the East, I think, but Theodore is definitely playing pretty well. He was solid last night.
Matt Paley (NYC)
Do you see Michel Terrien finishing out the year in Pittsburgh?
Barry Melrose (3:21 PM)
That's going to depend on his team. If they miss the playoffs, there's probably going to be a coaching change. But I think they will go on a run and turn things around. If they don't, he's in trouble.
Alex (Boston, MA)
Where does the Mullet see Jay bouwmeester after March 4th?
Barry Melrose (3:23 PM)
That's a good question! I think he will be moved. Florida has to move him--they risk losing him for nothing. Teams will have to give up a lot to get him. A team like Washington might want to take a run for him, or maybe Boston--teams close to doing something special. Obviously he will demand a long-term contract. Those are the type of teams that will go after him.
craig (los angeles)
is kovy really going to stay with the thrashers?
Barry Melrose (3:24 PM)
I'll be surprised if he does. Obviously he will want a big contract, and they will not get any better. Why would he stay? They do have some good young players, but I will be surprised if he is a Thrasher by the end of the year.
Erik (SF, CA)
I'm a lifelong fan of the game, but this season, I'm enjoying the most entertaining hockey I've ever seen. Are we in for a golden age for the NHL?
Barry Melrose (3:26 PM)
I love the youth in our league and the direction the league is going in, apart from the fighting debate. You see Boston and Chicago back to prominence, and most of the teams are stable. The next step is to get it back on ESPN. That would help the NHL more than anything. If you're a major league sport in the U.S., you have to be on ESPN.
What is Chicago going to do with their goalie situation? Are they going to choose between Huet or Khabi anytime soon?
Barry Melrose (3:26 PM)
Things are going pretty good for them, and they would like to get rid of the salary of one of them, but they will wait for the best deal, which won't happen until near the deadline.
Brian (San Francisco)
you really think the Sharks have more talent, by far, then the Red Wings? Thats a big statement...
Barry Melrose (3:28 PM)
Definitely. If you look at the defense, up front--Marlowe, Thorton, etc.--that is an unbelievable lineup. They are big, skate well, and are deep. San Jose is without a doubt more talented than Detroit.
Do you think a 12-11 score makes for a good all-star game?
Barry Melrose (3:29 PM)
Depends on what you're looking for. The AS game is about trying to entertain, not hitting, not getting hurt--you won't see intensity, blocking shots, etc. Hopefully in those 23 goals, you see some nice ones. I'm not in love with the All-Star game. The NHL has got to find a way to make it more interesting. They are certainly trying, but it's tough. A lot of the players don't ever want to be at it.
Barry Melrose (3:30 PM)
Glad to be back doing these chats, and hopefully we'll have interesting ones each week!