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 (4:03 PM)
Playoffs start tonight ! I'm in Washington, D.C., and I'm pumped. First, 60 minutes with ESPN Puck Head Nation
do the caps have what it takes to win it all? Especially if Jose Theodore is good?
Pierre LeBrun (4:05 PM)
Doug, you probably saw my story on Theodore last night on the site. He is indeed the X-factor when it comes to Washington's chances. I sense some real apprenhion in and around the Caps organization over this issue
Jim Bourbonnais, IL
I like all of your picks in the first round of the playoffs (especially the Hawks), but do you think that the Blue Jackets have any chance of upsetting the Red Wings? The Jackets definitely have the goalie advantage, and I think they can outscore Detroit.
Pierre LeBrun (4:06 PM)
I debated long and hard about taking the Jackerts upset because of Chris Osgood's struggles. But in the end, the Cup champs are oozing character and experience and the Jackets are in the party for the first time ever. I just can't help but feel they might be just happy to be there. We'll see.
Phil (Thornhill, ON)
Hi Pierre, Here's a non-playoff hypothetical question for you: V. Lecavalier's new contract doesn't kick in until this coming season. Is it possible under the CBA to have a team (with the ok from the Lightning, NHL, NHLPA, etc...)re-negotiate the contract prior to the effective date in order to make a trade more feasible? I just don't see much of a market for him at the size and length of his new contract once TB has no choice but to trade him.
Pierre LeBrun (4:07 PM)
The current CBA makes it absolutely impossible to re-negotiate a contract at any time after it is signed. But I can tell you of two teams who would perhaps take on that Lecavalier deal this summer _ Los Angeles and Montreal
Chris (NY, NY)
Pierre, is John Tavares a frachise type player like Crosby or Ovechkin? The islanders sure could use a superstar to turn around that once proud franchise.
Pierre LeBrun (4:09 PM)
Chris, not even the smartest and most polished NHL scout knows how to answer that question for sure. But I know with all the people I talk around the league they feel Tavares is clearly now the No. 1 pick; Hedman pushed hard until mid-season and then Tavares broke away... Tavares took it to another level this year in the OHL. Is he Crosby or Ovechkin? Too early to tell but he's clearly the best thing that's happened to the Islanders in a long, long time
I saw you picked the Pens and 7 and as a Flyers fan I have no problem with that. However, do you think the Flyers with their depth at foward gain the edge in the series if Marty Biron plays like he did last year in the playoffs for the first two rounds?
Pierre LeBrun (4:12 PM)
Josh, I picked Pgh in 7 mostly because they have home ice; it's that close between the two teams in my mind. Can't believe two great teams like that are playing in the first round. You're right, if Birion matches Fleury we might be in for a doozy. The Flyers are deeper at forward but they don't have A-type superstars like Crosby and Malkin. Carter and Richards are one level below. Pittsburgh's blue-line corps is also more mobile and talented in my mind. But it's going to be a heck of a series and Philly wins it I would not be the least surprised.
Jason (Fremont, California)
Which team will have the best home ice advantage? Loudest arena?
Pierre LeBrun (4:12 PM)
Chicago. The United Center is going to rock hard tomorrow night. A great, great hockey market has been mistreated for more than a decade and now they're ready to explode.
Liam Hart, Norton Mass.
If Nick Lidstom wins another cup, does he become the second best defenseman of all time? Or is he already there?
Pierre LeBrun (4:15 PM)
Holy cow, that's impossible to answer Liam. I don't believe there's any way of comparing players from different generations. I mean, what do you and I know of Doug Harvey other than he was considered the best defenseman of all-time until Bobby Orr came along? Let's put it this way _ Lidstrom is the greatest defenseman I've ever covered as a journalist and this is my 14th year
Har in Vancouver
Hey Pierre Last year RJ Umberger emererged with a huge postseason this year which somewhat unknown player will do so??
Pierre LeBrun (4:16 PM)
Keep an eye on Brooks Laich. He flies under the radar because of his explosive teammates in Washington, but I think he's goin to be very productive
Har in Vancouver
You already have the Goatee Pierre will you be growing the full Playoff Beard this Playoffs??
Pierre LeBrun (4:16 PM)
My wife won't let me :)
Joe Pittsburgh, PA
What do you think is the biggest factor that the pens need to do in order to get through the flyers, other than special teams?
Pierre LeBrun (4:18 PM)
The Flyers can put out three scoring lines and Pittsburgh only two. The Pens' third line must ensure not to get outplayed or outsscored in this series.
Scott (Winnipeg, MB)
Names I have come up with for some of the teams of the poor saps losing to me in our annual playoff draft: 1) Four Games With Zherdev 2) Unta Gleeben Glouten Franzen 3) Blackhawk Down 4) Ryder Ehrhoff 5) You must be Jokin-en So please convince me that Washington will make the Conference finals, and justify my team. I have both Semin and Ovechkin. I was told I should try to Capitalize on my high draft position.
Pierre LeBrun (4:19 PM)
LOL... great stuff. Caps? All about Jose Theodore. He will decide your fate.
James (East Islip, New York)
I'd like to thank all of you espn hockey analysts for picking against my Rangers. That means that Theodore is going to have a terrible series, Ovechkin will be shut down my Marc Staal and annoyed to no end by Avery, and in the end: Rangers win in 5. You heard it here first Pierre.
Pierre LeBrun (4:20 PM)
You're welcome :)
Dave (Buffalo, NY)
You don't hear much about him, but have you ever noticed Roman Polak? I say he's the Blues best D-man, and lot tonight (and the rest of the Canucks series) will ride on his shoulders, though not his alone. He has this calm way of dealing with every situation, and reminds me a little bit of Teppo Numminen. Any thoughts?
Pierre LeBrun (4:24 PM)
Yes, probably a lot of people would be surpirsed if told Roman Polak was third on the team in ice time per game at 21:32 per game. Not a big fan of his minus-15 rating althought that's probably more a product of the team's poor first half
if loungo plays spectular in the playoffs what are the chances the canucks win the stanley cup?
Pierre LeBrun (4:25 PM)
Decent. The Canucks have two really good offensive lines going and a healthy and underrated blue-line corps. They had the best record in the NHL from Feb. 1 to April 12. They're the real deal in my mind
Edward M (Severna Park, MD)
Hey Pierre, thanks for taking my question. How do you think the Caps will fair in the playoffs? I think they can make it past round 1, but I can't see them going deep because of goaltender issues. Also, who do you think will step up for the Caps, besides their normal stars (OV, Semin, Green, Backstrom)?
Pierre LeBrun (4:27 PM)
Eddie, pretty much answered this earlier. And my Theodore column is all you need to know about your team's chances. They are good, but the guy in net has to be good.
Gerry (San Francisco, CA)
Pierre, most of the Chicago Blackhawks have not played a playoff game (I believe around 75% of their roster). Will this lack of experience hurt them against Calgary?
Pierre LeBrun (4:28 PM)
Possibly, it's why I picked the Hawks with great trepidation. Acquiring Samuel Pahlsson (07 Cup winner) was very important.
King (Howell, NJ)
Pierre, give me a few things the Devils need to do in this series to beat the Canes.
Pierre LeBrun (4:30 PM)
They need to put forecheck pressure on the Canes' D in their own zone. Force them into quick decisions and turnovers. Don't sit back !!!
Hey Pierre, Thanks for always answering my questions. I love your work. Anyways, here I am in New York City wearing my Caps jersey and I have yet to receive any smack or trash talk! As a Caps fan, I'm worried that this series isn't going to be as easy as the season series and it always worries me that we tend to lose in the opening round. What else should either Caps fans or Rangers fans be scared of between 7pm tonight and the end of the series?
Pierre LeBrun (4:31 PM)
I don't think it will be easy either which is why I predicted Caps in 7. Remember that the Caps went 3-0-1 against a Rangers team that still hadn't made the coaching chance nor had picked up Avery, Antropv or Morris yet. This is a more aggressive, more confident Rangers team.
Steven (san Diego, CA)
What will NHL refs do about Anaheim and specifically about Perry and Pronger in the series vs the sharks? Let them play as Cherry suggested? Or will the Sharks have many powerplay chances?
Pierre LeBrun (4:32 PM)
I guarantee you the refs working that series will have been warned by the league head office to keep an eye on Pronger and Perry. Pronger has been suspended in the playoffs before !
Will (Washington, DC)
With MacTavish getting fired in Edmonton, any chance he might end up with the Wild?
Pierre LeBrun (4:33 PM)
It would surprise me if Doug Risebrough didn't at least interview him among his several candidates
Dave - CA
Hey Pierre, How long do you think Carlyle will stick with Hiller if SJ goes up right away early in the series. I will still take Nabokov over both though agree?
Pierre LeBrun (4:35 PM)
Great question. Hiller has zero NHL playoff experience. Giguere has had a tough year but he's got the Cup ring that tells you he'd be a heck of a relief choice. I wouldn't be surprised to see Gigs if Hiller struggles
Luke Cranberry PA
Who's your finals prediction and winner?
Pierre LeBrun (4:35 PM)
San Jose-Boston. Sharks win
Jim Tampa Fl.
Peirre, Do think Hossa will stay with the Wings?
Pierre LeBrun (4:36 PM)
There's still a chance. But the Wings have to wait until July 1 to official sign him now because they don't have the ''tagging room" underneath the cap to fit a new deal for him. Unless of course they move some players in June.
John (Gulf Breeze,FL)
My brother is being a little girl about growing a supportive playoff beard. He refuses to wear a beard through our senior prom because of his date. Has he dooomed the Penguins? Is it not a concern since our prom isn't until May 9th? Is my brother of questionable masculinity? Help me Pierre
Pierre LeBrun (4:37 PM)
Tell him to grow a pair. Hockey is more important than the prom !!!!! Grow the beard !!!!!!
Michael ( Kearny, NJ)
Pierre. Marc Staal shuts down Ovechkin. Your thoughts on that?
Pierre LeBrun (4:38 PM)
He's had some great battles with him already over two regular seasons. I'm a huge Staal fan. Will be the most intriguing matchup of the series. But you know OV will get his points as well. If you're the Rangers, you just want to limit it to one goal a game and that's not too bad
Doug Wilson, SJ
Garth Snow just offered me the first pick in the draft for my 2nd line - Michalek, Pavelski, and Clowe. I told him I'd call him back after the playoffs (he asked what the playoffs were). What do you think of the offer?
Pierre LeBrun (4:38 PM)
Doug, you have my cell, no need to reach out in this chat. We'll talke later :)
Most of the experts are picking Vancouver over St. Louis. Is this matchup that lopsided? Is the Blues youth a concern?
Pierre LeBrun (4:39 PM)
It's not lopsided at all and in fact my colleague Scott Burnside picked ST. Louis. I took Van in a very tough 7. The Blues had the best record in the NHL in the second half but the Canucks had the best record in the NHL from Feb. 1 to April 12. Home ice might be the difference and just a little more depth _ a little _ on the Vanouver side
Hey Pierre, I've got a quick question. My team (the Leafs) isn't in the playoffs, so to annoy a friend, I decided I'd root for the Canadiens. Do I have any chance of seeing them at least beat the Bruins and make my friend hate me?
Pierre LeBrun (4:41 PM)
Well, your friend should already hate you for being a leafs fan and betraying them by cheering for the hate Habs ! Without Andrei Markov, I just don't see how Montreal can beat Boston. Markov is their very best player _ by far
salut pierre! can't wait for the action to start. from what you've heard, is there any chance paul kariya plays tonight? if he does come back, what type of production can be expected, and where does he fit in, line-wise?
Pierre LeBrun (4:43 PM)
Jake, I'm in Wash covering Rangers-Caps so not sure what the heck is going on in Vancouver with the Blues... all I know is that team president John Davidson told me Sunday that Kariay might return sometime during the series
John: (Fairbanks, AK)
What do the Sharks need to do to win their series against the Ducks?
Pierre LeBrun (4:44 PM)
Stay within their game; don't panic if you're down early; stay out the box; don't retaliate to stupid things Ducks might do
Eric (Chicago, IL)
How far do you think the Hawks will go this year?
Pierre LeBrun (4:45 PM)
Drew, KCMO via the STL
Big time Kings fan here....What are your feelings on the Kings and their chances to FINALLY get back into the playoffs next year? I think with their young core of D-men especially (Doughty, Johnson, Quincey, maybe adding Teubert and Hickey next year), they are building it the right way. And they look to finally have some solid goaltending on the way too....
Pierre LeBrun (4:46 PM)
I like their chances a lot to make it next year. Keep an eye on your Kings front office; I've got a feeling they're going to try and make a big splash this summer; whether that's Lecavalier or gaborik or Ryan Smyth or Hossa if he's UFA, etc... One big move I think
your predictions are whack! Where's the upsets, you have none.
Pierre LeBrun (4:46 PM)
I know, strange isn't it? I usually have two or three upsets every year but this year I just didn't feel right about any of them. Maybe that's the upset in itself ! Haha
Dan (Denver, CO)
Any chance Bob Hartley has a coaching job next season in the NHL? Montreal? Minnesota?
Pierre LeBrun (4:47 PM)
Montreal is a possiblity
brian -- philly
no one in the media is picking the flyers!! How come?? This is the most even match up in the playoffs -- Don't say it's because of home ice either bc we beat Washington in Washington in a game 7 last year.
Pierre LeBrun (4:48 PM)
You are right in saying it's the most even series. I think Pitt is getting the love because the Pens had a torried second half while Philly kinda lolly gagged. People in my buinsess love second-half records
Pierre, All 6 "experts" on espn.com pick Chicago to beat Calgary. All 7 "experts" on sportsnet.ca pick Calgary. Bias on both sides of the border?
Pierre LeBrun (4:49 PM)
haha, funny, issn't it? I wrestled long and hard with that one. First I had Calgary and then I went back and changed it at the last second. I don't like the way the Flames ended their regular season. Kipper looked tired to me. We'll see.
Tom(Palos Heights, Il)
What do you think the odds of the Blackhawks resigning Martin Havlat to a long term deal this off season, if at all?
Pierre LeBrun (4:50 PM)
You know, both sides were telling me around the trade deadline that they were very close to getting an extension done and then it just never got finished... I'll need to look into that but I know Havlat wants to stay
Neil (Spokane, WA
Realistically, do you really think the off ice turmoil is going to affect Montreal in the playoffs, or do you think they have turned it around enough to do any sort of damage?
Pierre LeBrun (4:51 PM)
LIke I said earlier Neil, I just think missing Andrei Markov is a killer, never mind the off-ice stuff... Markov is one of the very best blue-liners in the NHL and the engine of that Habs team
Jesse Dayton Ohio
Besides needing Steve Mason to stand on his head, what else to the Blue Jackets need to do to possibly beat Detroit?
Pierre LeBrun (4:52 PM)
Limit turnovers as much as possible. Wings are a puck possession team that pounce on mistakes.
Dustin (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
Big Caps fan here! Besides the defense and goaltending issues that people say may keep the Caps from the Cup this year, is there anything else you see that could keep them from reaching the holy grail this year?
Pierre LeBrun (4:52 PM)
I guess if you're nitpicking you could point out that they don't have a whole lot of playoff experience
Pierre I am so pumped for tonight. All hockey all the time on TV for me (screw LOST tonight.) Ok my question: Which series do you think has the best chance to go 7?
Pierre LeBrun (4:54 PM)
TMI on the Lost tidbit Dan :) I think NJ-Carolina, Pha-Pit, Chi-Cgy, Wash-NYR and Van-StL could all go 7. Parity is alive and well in the NHL !!!!
Thibaut.C (Seattle, WA)
I know, just like me, you have been picking the Sharks for a few years now. Any reason to be more confident this time ? I'm worried about the ducks but if they get passed a team like that they go all the way !
Pierre LeBrun (4:55 PM)
My concern right now with San Jose is that they didn't look very good down the stretch... I know they had nothing to play for, but....
Jeff (Vancouver, BC)
Pierre, great to see you with ESPN, I have always enjoyed your insight. Anyway, why isn't more being made of the fact that Khabibulin has a) won a cup, and b) is playing for a new contract (UFA)? With Chicago all we hear about is their young talent, but they have a goalie who has won it before, and who has a lot of motivation to do it again.
Pierre LeBrun (4:57 PM)
Thanks Jeff. You make a good point about Khabi. Perhaps even more interesting is what does Chicago do if he has a big playoff? Given that Huet is signed long-term? With the cap going down in two years, you can' thave two highly paid goalies in this league anymore
Reed ( Chicago)
Oh Boy Pierre, April is a great month Opening Day then the NHL playoffs. Which conference's 4-5 matchup is better in the first round?
Pierre LeBrun (4:58 PM)
Not to mention my B-Day was last Saturday. April is indeed grand :) Phlly-Pitt will be a war.
Any chance we could see an ATL/LA trade centered around Lehtonen and Kopitar plus extras? LA needs a goalie and ATL is desperate for a #1 C.
Pierre LeBrun (4:59 PM)
CC, I guess you haven't seen Jonathan Quick play this season. He's better than Lehtonen.
Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit, MI)
Hi Pierre. Are you going to give me a little love for MVP voting this year? Don't you think the 4th leading scorer in the NHL and the top defensive forward in the NHL deserves it?
Pierre LeBrun (4:59 PM)
Pavel, if it makes you feel good you were among my five choices on my official Hart Trophy ballot I emailed to the NHL last weekend.
Pierre LeBrun (5:00 PM)
OK cats, I have to drag my butt to the Verizon Center for Game 1 of Rangers-Caps. Talk later !