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 (3:59 PM)
Bonjour puck heads ! Welcome back. Let's get it on !
Hey Pierre, Honey Combs here....I was wondering what you expect from the Canucks in the second half here? If Booby-loo can get hot, ya neva know.
Pierre LeBrun (4:01 PM)
Mr. Combs, when I look at all the teams jostling in the bottom half of the West, I like Vancouver's chances of making it. They've finally got a healhty lineup for the rest time all year and Sundin showed signs last night that he's shaking off the rust. I think your GM will try to acquire another defenseman as well. As a Canucks fan I would feel tentatively good about things.
Pierre - I am a Rangers fan and I disagree with your comment about Renney being a great coach. This is a guy that let Hollweg on the ice time and time again after many dumb infractions, perfect example is game 5 against Pitt in the playoffs last year. If he was a great head coach, he would have demanded Sather get him the right players in the offseason, isn't that what makes you a great coach, letting management know what you need? He shouldn't be behind the bench if they can't agree on the philosophy of the team, so it is as much his fault as Sather. Renney may be a nice guy, but that could stand in the way of being a great coach because he doesn't have the nerve stand up against your superiors!
Pierre LeBrun (4:03 PM)
Well I guess we'll agreed to disagree Anthony (Soprano?). You make some good points. I'm not saying he's the best caoch in the NHL. But I've also had to chance to cover him when he caoched Canada at the world championships. He's a really smart guy. I guess the point I was really trying to make in that blog Anthony was that Glen Sather needs to look in the mirror.
Hey Pierre What an off the tonic third period for the Sharks.....I know it's a long way to go but that has to put them out in front as the favorites to take home the cup this year.....agree?
Pierre LeBrun (4:04 PM)
John, as my most loyal readers know, I picke the Sharks in September when most people had bailed on them after another disappointing playoff. I just felt this was their year and I liked the changes they made with Boyle, Blake and McLellan. Detroit will be unbelievably hard to beat but my money remains on San Jose. That was definitely a statement win last night. They came on strong when it matters and overwhelmed the Bruins in teh third period. Very impressive.
Benji - New York, NY
Since a big trade seems to be inevitable at this point in Montreal, who do you think will be the big names on both sides? and who do you think is "untouchable" in Montreal?
Pierre LeBrun (4:06 PM)
Benji I think Markov and Price are the only untouchables in Montreal. First of all, half the team is headed into free agency so few players there have any kind of security, period. But the interesting development there is whether Gainey and Carbonneau have finally had enough of the unpredictable Kovalev and ship him out March 4. I'm not sure that's going to happen or not, but I know the thought has crossed their mind. He's UFA July 1 anyway... we'll see !
Gerry (San Francisco, CA)
Pierre, despite being six points out of a playoff spot (as of today), do you see the Colorado Avalanche as buyers or sellers by the trade deadline?
Pierre LeBrun (4:07 PM)
Gerry, I think they'll be sellers. They're just not good enough to make it this year. But strangely enough, I've been told they inquired about Mathieu Schneider recently, a rental player.... So maybe they think more highly of their chances than I do
Pierre it's great to see the kings gettign some media attention and I loved the article you just wrote. Do you believe Terry Murray will get coach of the year talk?
Pierre LeBrun (4:09 PM)
Thanks Ethan, they deserve the attention right now ! If the Kings make the playoffs, there's no question Murray will get some support. But there's so many compelling cases for the Jack Adams, it's like that every year. Claude Julien, Bruce Boudreau, Todd McLellan, Mike Babcock, Joel Quenneville, Lindy Ruff, Ken Hitchcok (if the Jackets make it), Dave Tippett, the list goes on an on... and alldeserving. As is Murray
I forgot to ask when we last talked, Do you think I could challenge my teammate Drew Doughty and also be in the talk for Rookie of the Year?
Pierre LeBrun (4:10 PM)
Yes thanks again for calling Jon. But no, you were called up in mid-December so I think most writers won't vote for you. Remember Carey Price fell victim to that last year as well. I like Mason, Doughty, Versteeg and Wheeler right now as my top four rookies
Phil (Sarasota, FL)
Tampa Bay looks absolutely lost and appear to be headed nowhere. How realistic should they be about trading Lecavalier for draft picks?
Pierre LeBrun (4:12 PM)
Espo, great to hear from you. Well if they do move Lecavalier, and that's a big if because ownership last I checked still wasn't on the same page with that, they would want way more than draft picks. They want a bounty of good young players. The word is Andrei Markov was the dealbreaker in talks with Montreal. Hello !!!!
Brian: (Potomac Falls, VA)
Do you think the Caps could make a move for Pronger? What would the Ducks want for him?
Pierre LeBrun (4:13 PM)
I do think the Caps will look at trying to acquire a good blue-liner before the deadline comes and goes.. Pronger has garnered lots of attention but rememder that Anaheim still hasn't committed on dealing him. It depends on where the Ducks are in the standings March 4....
Chances of Pronger or Niedermayer moving? Personally I dont think Anaheim would get full value at the deadline for either of these guys...
Pierre LeBrun (4:14 PM)
I kinda answer Pronger in the last question... I don't think Nieermayer goes anywhere. He gets to dictate his future. he's the captain and future Hall of famer. In therms of full value, Pronger still has another year on his contract at $6.25 million which I know many GMs I talk to feel is reasonable for a guy of his calibre. So you might get pretty good value for him if you're Bob Murray and you commit to moving him
Do you see any big players getting moved at the deadline(ex: Lecavalier, Kovalchuk)?
Pierre LeBrun (4:16 PM)
I dealt with Vinny already. As for Kovalchuk, I know fans get excited about the idea of him being moved. All I can tell you is that I've asked Don Waddell that question about 12 times since October and the answer has been the same every time: No. The reason is that Kovy has another year left on his deal. What's the rush? Having said that, my bet is that if the Thrashers get the feeling from his camp that he doesn't want to sign an extension this summer, then maybe they shop him at the June draft to see what's out there...
boy the jackets young players are looking pretty good right now. do you think that they have a legitimate chance at making the postseason or get another high pick in the draft. also, do you think they will be buyers at the deadline?
Pierre LeBrun (4:18 PM)
Voracek has really picked it up in the second half in my opinion, especially. As for the trade deadline, the players will answer that question for Scott Howson. If they're in or close to a playoff spot, then I think you'll see the Jackets GM try to add a center. But if they'll tailed off too much, they're sellers. They really, really want to make the playoffs finally this season so I think they'll be buyers unless they're really, really out of it.
David - SJ
Hey Pierre, After last nights game, isn't it fair to say the winner of Lords Stanely Cup is going to be either SJ or DET? No Eastern team can contain their 4 lines. Not to mention an elite goalie in Nabokov. SJ will win unless they trip on their 2 feet against Det again right?
Pierre LeBrun (4:21 PM)
Well, let's not get too excited about one game in the regular season. I mean, I know I wrote a blog saying it showed that San Jose was alittle more far along, which I do believe, but let's no overreact. Last year Ottawa beat Detroit in a December or January game that people thought was a Cup preview. Ooops. I do agree SJ and Detroit are the best two teams in the NHL. I think that's clear. The East is weaker. But Boston is a good-looking outfit. I was talking to Sharks GM Doug Wilson last night and he was really impressed by the Bruins. The other thing that could make things interesting is that if Detoit and San Jose meet in the Western final, they might beat the crap out of each other just to reach the Cup finals where a less-taxed Eastern team awaits them.. Food for thought
joe Clark, NJ
do you think that scott clemensen will remain the goalie for the NJ devils or will Marty Brodeur start when he comes back
Pierre LeBrun (4:21 PM)
Marty will be the man again. He may not start back-to-backs early on, but believe me, two decades as the NHL's best goalie outweights five good months of goaltending
Who do you think the pens will trade for and will they do it before there is no chance of playoffs at all?
Pierre LeBrun (4:22 PM)
The Pens will try mighty hard to deal for a forward. They've got NHL defensemen once Gonchar comes back this weekend. They'll move one or two D - likely Boucher, Gill or Scurder _ and see what they can get up front...
Ryan (Boston, Mass)
Pierre do you think the bruins should trade Fernandez for a veteran defensmen.
Pierre LeBrun (4:24 PM)
No. The Bruins are a Cup contender who intend to go far in the playoffs. Montreal showed last year what happens when you don't have experience in goal. They had two rookies in Price and Halak and when the pressure got to them in the second round they had no otpions.... I think you keep Fernanez as insurance to Thomas and go for the Cup this year. Manny says goodbye in July and that's ok because you've got Rask waiting in the wings for a promotion
John (Orlando, FL)
Do you think that the Panthers will finally make the playoffs this year? They haven't played this well since the last time they made it in 2000.
Pierre LeBrun (4:25 PM)
Tough call. I love the way they're playing. Their blue-line depth is amazing. I feel for Jacques Martin, what a decision he has to make with Jay Bouwmeester. In the end, I don't see how Pittburgh misses the playoffs so I'll have to say No on Florida but I hope I'm wrong.
Liam Hart (Norton, MA)
Does Pavel Datsyuk get any MVP consideration? For me he has to. Aside from the fact that he does things with the puck that no other player is capable of doing, he is a team-first defensive stud.
Pierre LeBrun (4:27 PM)
Liam, as a guy who gets to vote on the Hart Trophy, I know that one of the things that hurts any Red Wing in MVP voting is vote-splitting. Last year the Wings' front office felt Lidstrom should have won the Hart and while he did get some consideration, he obviously didn't win it. Same with Datsyuk this year, while the guy is amazing, and by far the best two-way player in the world, Zetterberg and Hossa and Kronwall and Lidstrom are also great contriubtors to that team. That's why Ovechkin gets so much support, because you have to ask yourself where that Caps team would be without him. But just for you, I'll make sure to think long and hard before I vote in April.
Two questions for you Pierre. Will you be back on HNIC Saturday for the hot stove? And do you think with the Avs free-falling into the cellar of the west that they will be making any moves at the deadline?
Pierre LeBrun (4:29 PM)
Yes I returned last Saturday to HNIC after taking two weeks off for the birth of my child. And I'll be back again this Saturday. As I said earlier on the Avs, I do think they'll be sellers come March 4 because they'll be out of it. Ian Lapperiere is UFA July 1 and would be hot commodity, great character guy.
sean winfield il [via mobile]
do you think the blackhawks will make the playoffs? and if so how far do you see them going?
Pierre LeBrun (4:30 PM)
Definitely !!!!! The hawks I think will finish fourth in the West and have home ice. I think they'll win a round before losing to either Detroit or San Jose
Pierre, two-parter. With the Devils becoming a legit contender, are they still shopping Gionta and if they are, what could they get for a declining scorer who is set to be a free agent at the end of the year? Are the Devils shopping anyone else besides Gionta?
Pierre LeBrun (4:31 PM)
Matt, Lou keeps things close to his vest so no one in my business knows who he is shopping or not. The one thing I will tell you is that other NHL sources have told me he is on the lookout for a defenseman. He's inquired about Schneider, among others...
Is Burke set to ship Antropov out of Toronto?
Pierre LeBrun (4:32 PM)
Defintely will move him before March 4 deadline. Antropov is UFA July 1 and doesn't have a future here in Toronto
Jumping ahead three months... what do you think of a San Jose-Detroit/Philadelphia-Washington final 4?
Pierre LeBrun (4:33 PM)
Very plausible. Obviously Boston and Chicago will have something to say in that. I'm also concerned about the Flyers goaltending right now
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
What's wrong with the Rangers right now, and can they turn it around?
Pierre LeBrun (4:33 PM)
Sprungy, read my Rangers blog from yesterday, you'll see what I feel !
Blair - Michigan
There seems to be quite a bit of chatter around here that Hossa not only wants to stay here, but is willing to do so at what would be quite the discounted rate. True?
Pierre LeBrun (4:34 PM)
Very much true. I know for a fact he wants to stay. The question is whether he's willing to take that much of a discount. He won't be allowed to earn more than Zettterberg's $6.08 million cap number... Hossa would make $8 million a year easy on the July free-agent market.... I predict he stays in Detroit and takes less
Why are the Pittsburgh Penguins struggling to find consistency? What do they have to do in order to turn it around before it's too late?
Pierre LeBrun (4:36 PM)
Andy, Sergei Gonchar is scheduled to return this weekend. They have missed him dearly. He's the most important player in their transition game. You'll notice his impact when he's back to his full rythm in a few weeks
Pierre, what's the story with all the clubs that look to be in the cash-strapped position, I now hear as much as 10-12 clubs could be sold by the time the CBA is up? What are your thoughts on contraction and or relocation of the failing clubs, Europe has to be better then the failing North American market.
Pierre LeBrun (4:37 PM)
Travis, I don't have the sapce to get into all that... obviously NHL owners are being hit with the same problems any other major company is facing right in the world... or any Joe Bloe trying to hold onto his job in this economy. We're all holding our breath and hoping to make it thorugh this !!
Jim Bourbonnais, IL
In your opinion, should the Thrashers trade Ilya Kovalchuk, or should they make every effort to re-sign him?
Pierre LeBrun (4:38 PM)
Jim, I think they should try to re-sign him, which they will attempt after the season.... If you lose him, you no longer have a marquee player on your roster. Things are bad enough in that market, they'd be even worse without him
Patrick (El Segundo, CA)
Pierre - with the roll that the Los Angeles Kings are currently on, do you think they're going to make a deal at the deadline or do you see the 2009-10 season as a target for the playoffs with such a young team?
Pierre LeBrun (4:39 PM)
Great question. The Kings have lots of cap room in what was supposed to be mearly a rebuilding year. Now they're giving GM Dean Lombardi some things to think about. If the price is right come March 4 and the Kings haven't folded, I think you'll see him add some experience.
Do you think a deal can be made that would send Jason Spezza to Columbus? If so, who would the Jackets have to part with to complete the deal?
Pierre LeBrun (4:40 PM)
Andy, I'm not sure the Jackets' owernship is ready to take on that kind of financial burden.
I was at the Bruins game last night. It was a pretty deflating loss. Do you think the Bruins have any chance of going all the way?
Pierre LeBrun (4:42 PM)
Jordan, don't get too beat up about it. As I said in my blog last night, yes the game showed that the Bruins have little more seasoning to go before being at the Sharks/Wing level. But the Bruins remain the class of the weaker East. You can hope for a deep playoff run and maybe a Cup final appearance. And who knows what can happen if you get there ! Either way, this is a team that's posed to be among the elite for years to come
In a few weeks, the Caps will be in Boston one more time. Surrounding that game, they've got 9 home games. If the Caps can go in and beat Boston in Boston and then take at least 7 of those home games, do you see them representing the East in the Stanley Cup Finals?
Pierre LeBrun (4:43 PM)
Joe, it's gone under the radar nationally but it's interesting that the Caps I believe, unless I'm wrong, have beat the Bruins a few times already this year. They can definitely give Boston all they can handle. Would make for a great conference final
Pierre, today's Newsday quoted Avery as saying that he's a "new man." Is this is an act? As a Rangers fan, I'm worried that his edge is what made him effective. Do we want the new Avery? Can we get the old one?
Pierre LeBrun (4:44 PM)
Frey, someone close to Avery told me last weekend that the change was very noticeable, that the two-month therapy and counselling had really hit home with him. But I guess in the end, he'll still have to prove it to us. The first slip up could be his last. He's running out of chances
King (Howell, NJ)
Do the Devils look to trade Clemmenson or Weekes when Brodeur comes back? If so is there a team that would take one of them?
Pierre LeBrun (4:46 PM)
King, good to have you back. I think you have to keep Clemmenson as insurance in case Brodeur gets hurt again or takes a while to shake off the rust. As for Weekes, I'm not sure there's really a market for him. You saw Legace clear waivers last weekend. Not a big demand for backup goalies.
Phil (philadelphia, PA)
Hey Pierre, two questions for you: is Hiller still going to get solid playing time with Giguere showing signs of life again? And what moves, if any, do you see the Flyers making at the deadline? Thanks!
Pierre LeBrun (4:47 PM)
If Giguere shows consistnely that he's back to his normal form, then he'll be the man again and Hiller will be back to about one start a week. But that's only if Giguere can prove he's back. As for the Flyers, they would like to add a defenseman. I know they covet both Bouwmeester and Kaberle, among others, but their cap situation might make it difficult... we'll see
Matt (Ogdensburg,New Jersey)
Hey pierre i was wondering what free agents do you think the buccaneers are going to try and get
Pierre LeBrun (4:48 PM)
ah..... no clue !!!!!
Michael - Seattle
Hey Pierre. What do you think of Vancouver's chances to sign Bouwmeester, if he decides to test the market this summer?
Pierre LeBrun (4:49 PM)
Yes very interesting to see where he lands in July. And having talked to him a few times this season, it's impossible to read between the lines with him. He's keeping very close the vest. Best guess I would have is that if there's a good offer from his native Edmonton Oilers that might be the best bet
Pierre, does this deal make sense, Hal Gill and say a third rounder for Jonathon Cheechoo. S.J needs a big high minutes stay home defenseman type and Cheechoo needs a change of scenery?
Pierre LeBrun (4:50 PM)
Travis, the Sharks haven't given up on Cheechoo rediscoring his scoring ability.. they told me he was hurt for a long, long time and played hurt, which complicated things... he's finally now playing healthy and over time the Sharks believe he'll be a productive player. So no, I don't think they would want to take hall Gill for him
Mr. LeBurn, Do you think the Sabres need to come out and win tonight against the Sens to prove they can win without ironman Thomas Vanek? Not to mention that for whatever reason the Sens have had the Sabres number and it would be nice to get a win against them. Thank God Neil is out I greatly dislike that guy.
Pierre LeBrun (4:51 PM)
Sean, I love your Sabres. I spent a couple there last week and I really believe they've turned the corner from last year. I think they're going to fnish fourth or fifth int he East when all is said and done. And yes, they'll bea Ottawa tonight !
Kyle (York, Pa)
Does the return of Gonchar push the Penguins into the playoffs?
Pierre LeBrun (4:52 PM)
Andrew Silver Spring, Maryland
Hey Mr.Lebrun My question is do you think the Washington Capitals need to be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline? As you well know they are currently 2nd in the east with 72 Points and only trail Boston. Would a say... Jay Bouwmeester be a good fit, since I hear he is being shopped.
Pierre LeBrun (4:53 PM)
Andrew, dude, second-place teams aren't sellers at the trade deadline !!!! Defintely buyers. Might be hard to get in on Bouwmneester as a diviaional rival, I think if Flroida does end up moving him it'll be to a Western Conference team
Dan - New York
Pierre, i am a huge sabres fan and i can't tell you how excited i am to see them back in the hunt. Two questions for you...first how do you think they will adjust losing Vanek for a month. And secondly do you think Sabres management will make a trade before march 4?
Pierre LeBrun (4:54 PM)
They'll be ok without Vanek. As for the trade deadline Dan, I know Darcy Reiger is on the hunt for a defenseman, preferabbly a PP QB type defenseman...
King (Howell, NJ)
C'mon Pierre how do you not mention Brent Sutter for coach of the year? I mean the guy lost a hall-of-famer in goal and still has his team atop the division.
Pierre LeBrun (4:55 PM)
Yes forgot to mention him. Defeintley a candidate for the Jack Adams. Thanks for catchin that Kinger
Jim (Toronto, ON)
How can the refs miss that high stick from Boyle last night. That is the stuff that needs to be eliminated along with the head shots. I still think it was a Stanley Cup preview last night.
Pierre LeBrun (4:56 PM)
Great point Jimmy boy. Funny thing is, it was called a penalty at first and then the refs changed their mind. The color guy wondered if it was because the refs ulitmatley decided because the Boston player had his head down that it wasn't technically a ''high" stick.... who knows, but strange...
Lucas (College View Middle School)
Do you think that the NHL should start playin games outside since most of the fans like it
Pierre LeBrun (4:58 PM)
Adam (Lake George, NY)
Thanks for sticking around so long and answering so many questions. You're the man!
Pierre LeBrun (4:59 PM)
You guys are worth it. I love the passion of our puck heads at ESPN.com. This is the place to read, argue and digest hockey folks and thanks to you guys for coming back for more. Great questions again this week. I know I didn't get to about another 100 of them in the queue but it's not humanly possible. Enjoy the games ! Talk to you next week everyone