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)
Holy smokes, already a million questions in the queue! I'll try to get to as many as possible folks. Let's go !
Jim Bourbonnais, IL
Hey Pierre, Before I ask my question, I have to say that my buddy Jason bears an uncanny resemblance to you. It's very eerie. Now my question: Which team out of the Western Conference do you think has the best chance of upsetting the Sharks and/or Red Wings and making the Stanley Cup Finals?
Pierre LeBrun (4:02 PM)
Well, I feel bad for your buddy Jason. But to answer your question, my heart says Chicago but my head says Calgary. The Hawks are such a fun, young team to watch, everything that is right about hockey. Is there a better story in the West this year? The return of hockey in Chitown is amazing. Secretly I'd love to see them win the Cup. But usying my head, the Flames are a dangerous, veteran team built for the playoffs. Gritty, skilled and great goaltending, if anyone is going to upset San Jose or Detroit, it could be the Flames.
Tom (Calgary AB)
You think the Panthers would accept a trade of Dion for JB? I know it would make my life better here in Calgary.
Pierre LeBrun (4:03 PM)
No question the Panthers would, but there's no way the Flames would trade a star player under contract for a star player that's not going to be under contract.... But yes, I do think the Flames have interest in Bouwmeester....
Phil (Long Island, NY)
Do you feel the Penguins will become Buyers or Sellers at the deadline? And what type of player do they need to change the mood in the locker room?
Pierre LeBrun (4:05 PM)
What they need is a scoring winger to play with Sidney Crosby. Until they find Marian Hossa's proper replacement, the problems will continue. They do have an abundance of blue-liners and will shop one or two of those guys before March 4 to try and acquire a forward IF they're in shoutint distance of the eighth seed
Thomas (Washington DC)
Bonjour Pierre, do you think we are going to see one of the Hershey Bear's young netminders as a permanent fixture in Washington anytime soon?
Pierre LeBrun (4:09 PM)
You are referring to Monsieurs Valamov, Neuvirth or Machesney? They are impressive, young goalies... Theodore is signed for another season.... Maybe Varlamov and Neuvirth get a shot in 2010-11?
Matt (Oak Brook, IL)
Who are some of your favorites for the Norris, and are there any dark horses who could sneak up on people for it?
Pierre LeBrun (4:11 PM)
Matt, I like Chara for the Norris with Dan Boyle, Shea Weber and of course Nick Lidstrom as closest competitors. My darkhorse is Duncan Keith, love the guy and believe more people will begin to realize just how amazing he is.
Scott (Vancouver, BC)
After the Canucks went on that brutal losing streak, they've won six of seven. What do you attribute this to? Do you think they have a chance and catching Calgary in the Northwest?
Pierre LeBrun (4:12 PM)
Pretty simple answer Scott, the team finally got healthy and got all or most of its parts back. Plus Sundin got his legs under him and Luongo also shook off some of his rust after missing some time. It all adds up ! They looked terrific last night in Calgary but I don't see the Flames folding so you might have to settle for just making the playoffs my friend
Jordan from Murray, Ky
What, if anything, can the Predators do to make a move up the standings or are they sellers at this point? They have a history of making stretch-runs into the playoffs and if they can do it this year, do you think Trotz deserves any Adams Trophy discussion?
Pierre LeBrun (4:14 PM)
Hello Kentucky ! I'm a huge Barry Trotz fan, great coach. He gets the most out of what he's given. Definitely if the Preds somewhow get in there he should be considered a candidate for Jack Adams although as we discussed in my Question of the Week blog which was posted today, there are just so many great candidates this season. But in the end, I think the Preds will fall short I'm afraid.
What are your thoughts on the season that the Stars are having thus far?
Pierre LeBrun (4:16 PM)
Steiny, I've picked this one from the 26 questions you've submitted. Love your enthusiasm buddy but I've got to answer other people's questions as well ! The Stars are an amazing tale. From the coach to the goalie to the veteran center, they all publicly annoucned they didn't want Avery back. That takes guts because it means you have to put your money where your mouth is after he leaves. And they have ! They've been one of the better teams in the league since mid-December and that's when you consider they've done it without Morrow and Zubov. Great stuff.
Geoff (Kanata, ON)
Pierre, Ottawa goes 5-0-2 and makes up 1 point in the standings. Can we not just accept that this team is a deadline seller? I understand Murray has to say the right things to the media about potentially being a buyer, but we all know this season is cooked. Question: outside of the obvious targets like Kuba and Neil, are there any names in Ottawa that might surprisingly move at the deadline or even at the draft in June? Thanks
Pierre LeBrun (4:19 PM)
Geoff, they are a sellar. I know that from teh conversations I'vehad with other GMs. Kuba (UFA) is a goner. Neil (UFA) maybe depending whether or not they can re-sign him ASAP. Keep an eye on Vermette, I think for the right offer they'd move him even though he's got another year on his deal
Ronnie: (Los Angeles, CA)
LeBrun, your research must be done now!? After a few months observing, what do you think is going on with Jonathan Cheechoo? Last night it seems as if he had some more life in him playing with Marleau, but he is still just a shadow of his former self- seems as if he gets knocked off the puck a lot easier in games. Does he ever get back to even a 30 goal season?
Pierre LeBrun (4:21 PM)
Ronnie, I was told by people close to the situation that Cheechoo played hurt for a long time. Now he's finally starting to feel closer to 100 per cent and you're seein some better hockey from him, I think you can count on 30 goals a year.
What do you think of a Backstrom for Backstrom trade? Other than it would never happen?
Pierre LeBrun (4:22 PM)
LOL, good one.... Although I'm sure the Wild would love to add a guy like that up front... Will be itneresting to see if and when they can re-sign their goalie by the same name. Otherwise he'll do well July 1 on the open market
Pierre, How does a player deal with being called up for a couple of days then being sent back down to the minors. In the case of Karl Alizner(sp), it seems like this guy is up and down, do players get pissed off, are they happy they get to play in the NHL, do they get exhausted? Thanks
Pierre LeBrun (4:24 PM)
No player likes to go up and down like a yo-yo, but it beats the alternative, staying down... In the case of Alzner, the Caps have a healthy blue-line (finally) and it's tough to find room for him. Plus there's the salary cap consierations, it's cheaper to have him down. But he's the real deal and by next seaosn he'll be up for good
Any trade rumors surrounding the Sabres?
Pierre LeBrun (4:25 PM)
Haven't checked with my Sabres people in a while Joe. All I know is that they'd like to add a puck-moving blue-liner that could help the power play. It's also itnerested to note that they were supposed to start contract talks with Tim Connolly's agent this week...
Rick (San Diego, CA)
What is going on with my Ducks? I see them some nights and the Big guys are keeping the puck in the zone all the time, and then there are nights like the last game against the Thrashers and I don't know what is going on? Do they stick it out, and make a push, or become sellers Thank you Pierre
Pierre LeBrun (4:27 PM)
That's a question Ducks GM Bob Murray can't even answer right now Rick, let alone me ! The 48 hours leading up to March 4 will be very important. How are the Ducks in or out of the playoffs? Does Murray deal Pronger now that he has themost value since he has another year on his deal? Or keep him since Nieermayer may not be back next year.... Tough, tough decisions.... and right now the Ducks haven't made up their mind yet
Josh (Auburn, Alabama)
Pierre, do the Caps need to deal for a big name D-man to make a deep run through the east or can they get it done with who they have now?
Pierre LeBrun (4:28 PM)
Josh, I have to tell you that right now the plan in Washington is to pretty much stick with what they have. They might add a cheap rental, but the Caps aren't interested in moving big assets..
Iggy (Closter, NJ)
After my Rangers' season started with such promise, the team now looks no better than the early 2000's trainwreck. At this point, I doubt that it can be salvaged and the team needs to be blown up with the hopes of contending again in a few years. If you were GM of the Rangers (Anyone but Sather), what would you do to turn this team into a serious contender?
Pierre LeBrun (4:29 PM)
Tough one. Sather has handcuffed this roster with big, big contracts (Gomez, Drury, Redden, Roszvial) that are hard to move.... But I would start to see if there's anyone out there that would be interested in Gomez or Redden... if the answer is No, then perhaps a buyout is in order this summer. MSG can afford it.
Matt (Rochester, NY)
Hey Pierre, Do you think Ryan Miller has become one of the elite goalies in the game? He has been the sole reason the Sabres have won many games this year.
Pierre LeBrun (4:30 PM)
No question, and it'll be fun to see him rise to the challenge in the Olympics a year from now
Jeff (Exton, PA)
When Danny Briere returns to the Flyers, and with the recent play of Darroll Powe, is Glen Metropolit on the way to the waiver wire?
Pierre LeBrun (4:35 PM)
And don't forget the recent play of Claude Giroux. Tough decisions coming soon for Paul Holmgren. As it stands, Holmgren told me last week that he can find the solutions from within to make room for Briere under the cap when he treturns (around Feb. 25), such as sending one or two players down.
Steve Passalacqua, Blackwood, New Jersey
Do you see the Philadelphia Flyers making a move to put them at the level needed to get to the Stanley Cup as they were so close last year? Any moves prior to deadline this year?
Pierre LeBrun (4:37 PM)
Steve, I get a headache looking at your last name :) yes, I think the Flyers want to make a move before the deadline. I know they love Jay Bouwmeester but right now it's a cap problem... Still, if Bouwmeester is definitely given his exit papers, the Flyers will do their best to get in that picture
Pierre, every time I watch top teams in the West like Detroit or Chicago. I get a feeling that they are so much better then the top teams in the East. What is your opinion?
Pierre LeBrun (4:38 PM)
West is best, baby, has been for a few years. It doesn't always translate in the Cup finals, such as Carolina beating Edmonton in '06, but overall the competition and depth is better in the West. It's hard to argue otherwise.
Loob (calgary, ab)
Pierre, why do coaches always bash offensive players if they are not very good in their own end..yet they don't bash checkers if they don't put up points? two examples come to mind...Calgary traded Brett Hull because they said he was too slow/poor defensively and they got rid of Marc Savard similar reasons...
Pierre LeBrun (4:40 PM)
Well Hakan, that is an interesting point. I guess coaches don't get made at checkers for not scoring because they know they can't. Scoring is largely a God-given ability. You have it or you don't. But smart, defensive hockey is something everyone can work at. And I would argue that the Brett Hull deal wasn't so much about his defensive issues as much as the price it cost Calgary to acquire the necessary veterans to go wint the Cup. Which they did !
Will the penguins trade for Marian Gaborik? Seeing as he is a pretty good winger who might fit well with crosby.
Pierre LeBrun (4:44 PM)
I don't think so. I wouldn't be surprised if Minny kept Gaborik in the end because the offers won't be great for an injured player...
Pierre LeBrun (4:47 PM)
Sorry for the delays guys, on the phone with a GM...
Phil: (Miami, FL)
What is the latest on the Bouwmeester front? I know Martin is listening to offers now, but wont make a trade just to make a trade. Is Bouw going to stay or go?
Pierre LeBrun (4:50 PM)
Well as I wrote over the weekend Phil, the last contract offer was around $6.5 million a year and that still ddidn't do it... so the Panthers will conitnue to talk to other teams. It's pretty simple, really, if they get the kidn of offer they want _ a young defenseman and a forward _ then they'll look at it hard. But if not, they won't feel too bad keeping him for the playoff run and if he leaves July 1, so be it.
Sergey (Brooklyn, NY)
Hi Pierre, first I would like to thank you for always answering my questions unlike other analysts at espn. Do you see Renney or Sather or both being fired this year?
Pierre LeBrun (4:51 PM)
It pains me to say this because I'm a huge Tom Renney fan, but I don't think he can afford too many more losses. If it were up to me, Sather would have already been fired
Kevin Columbus, Ohio
Do you think Columbus' Steve Mason has any weakness in net? Also what do you think about the JAckets finally making the playoff's this year?
Pierre LeBrun (4:52 PM)
Kevin, I haven't seen Steve play in person so it wouldn't be wise for me to comment on that until I do. But it's hard to believe he went 69th overall in the '06 draft, eh? My heart says yes on the Jackets in the playoffs, my head says no. I think Anaheim beats them out.
Jonathan(Colorado springs, CO)
How do you think Dallas will do in the playoffs if they can overcome this injury bug and get Richards and Morrow back for the playoffs?
Pierre LeBrun (4:54 PM)
They could be a dangerous team if they get Morrow and Richards back nice and healthy come the playoffs. Remember how last year they beat Anaheim and Dallas... I know Chicago pasted the Stars last weekend but I have to think that's not the matchup the Hawks would like in the first round
Jeremy (Buffalo, NY)
Where do the Sabres end the season? Im hoping a 5 maybe a 4 seed with some luck!
Pierre LeBrun (4:54 PM)
Five seed, first-round with Philly. Flyers-Sabres again !
Kevin (Boston, MA
Kovalev in a Penguins jersey at the trade deadline... Do you see this happening?
Pierre LeBrun (4:55 PM)
I mean I guess anything is possible... I'm not sure why Montreal would want to help out a team trying to catch for a playoff spot... but it certianly would address the need for Sid ont he wing...
Pierre, what do you think the Blackhawks will do at the deadline?Do you think they will be able to get that big center?
Pierre LeBrun (4:56 PM)
YOu know keep an eye on a guy likfe Jeff Halpern in Tampa. The Bolts are wanting to deal away fromveterans and Halpern will move. The Hawks could use his experience
Jason (Chevy Chase,MD)
Now that Mike Green has broke the record for most games consecutively with a goal by a defenseman, which has been held for 25 years. Do you think he his the front runner for the Norris trophy and does he also have a chance to win the Hart Trophy?
Pierre LeBrun (4:57 PM)
Damn, I knew I forgot someone earlier when I answered that Norris question. Add Green's name to the mix along with Chara, Boyle, Weber and Lidstrom... But I still think Chara wins. Better all-around blue-liner.
J.R. (West Garden Grove, CA)
Should the LA Kings make a deadline trade to get another scorer by trading a couple of their promising younger stars/draft picks and push for a playoff spot, or should they stay as they are now, let the youngsters play and keep the nucleus together?
Pierre LeBrun (4:58 PM)
I'll tell you one thing, if they can string together a few wins here after a bit of a mini-slump lately, Dean Lombardi I believe is willin to make a major move. But only if the Kings stay in the race
Steve (San Jose, CA)
Do the Habs move Kovalev and, if so, where makes the most sense? Given how little faith they have in his heart, does a move to a potential contender(Pens?)/rival make sense? If he's so cold, it could be a huge bargain for them and a huge burden for the team they trade with.
Pierre LeBrun (5:01 PM)
The team I think that would be a great fit is Edmonton. The Oilers have been looking for a star quality winger for a while. Remember the contract offers they made last summer to Hossa and Jagr? On that note, sorry to the 300 or so questions I didn't get to.. great attendance this week puck heads ! Talk to you next Wednesday