Chat with EJ Hradek
Keep up with what Hradek has been up to through his blog on ESPN.com.
Send your questions now and join Hradek in The Show on Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (2:58 PM)
Send in those questions! EJ should be here in a few minutes!
Buzzmaster (3:01 PM)
We've got EJ!
Tom Bedford NH
Chi-Van game 6 best game I've seen in years. But what did it do to Luango's status as all world? Does he still have top spot nailed for Canada 2010 olympics?
EJ Hradek (3:03 PM)
It's so funny that you ask. Online today, I talked a little bit about Luongo, and I didn't mention his status for the Olympics, but I did say that I don't know if he's overrated but this feeling of him being a super stopper, on par with Brodeur in hockey, I don't feel that he's reached that status in his play. I was disappointed with his performance not only in Game 6 but in the series. He was outplayed by Khabibulin, who has won a Stanley Cup. To answer your question, I think this maybe punctures some of that hype around him. Roberto's a young goaltender, but he's got to do it on the ice.
Mike (Washington, DC)
Are the Red Wings a dynasty? Are the last 15 years the "Red Wings era"?
EJ Hradek (3:07 PM)
I don't know if it's the Red Wings era, because we've had some great teams in the last 15 years. We had a Colorado team and New Jersey team that have won. But clearly with the Red Wings organization has done is special. To be an annual Cup contender is great. I don't remember ever talking about them as an afterthought. It's hard to do that in pro sports and they've continued to do it even as the league has transitioned into a salary cap era. They've continued to do it as star players have passed into retirement. They are certainly one of the real great franchises in pro sports.
Richard (Greensboro, NC)
Who comes out more fired up tonight, the Canes or the Bruins?
EJ Hradek (3:09 PM)
I would hope they both come out fired up. It's a home game for Carolina and it's an elimination game for Boston. I would think maybe Carolina would come out more because they're at home. I'm sure Carolina doesn't want to go to Boston to play Game 7. I expect it to be a heckuva game. And I'll be interested to see what kind of game Boston has on the road. In Game 5, they were at home and they were fiesty.
Do you think its time the Bruins through Manny Fernandez in net? They need a change
EJ Hradek (3:11 PM)
Manny Fernandez is not really their goalie. Tim Thomas is their goalie. Manny Fernandez worked in tandem with him. He'll be an unrestricted free agent this summer. He'll be a good fit for a team that needs him for 35-40 games. When he's healthy and on his game, he's a pretty good goaltender. There will be somewhere for him to go, but it won't be Boston.
A Hawks/Wings series would be awsome. What about a Hawks/Penguins series? Would that be even better for the leauge?
EJ Hradek (3:13 PM)
At this point, the league is really in a great spot. I guess some people might be less excited about Carolina being in. It's a team that won a Cup only a few years ago. No complaints, though, Detroit-Chicago, two Original Six teams. If Anaheim comes back, it's southern California. I think it's been a really entertaining playoffs so far, with a lot of big market US teams still in the mix. THat gives it the chance for more national attention and perhaps increase TV ratings.
As a Pens fan in the DC metro area, I am hurting today. Is it safe to say that Fleury let in a few "soft" ones yesterday?
EJ Hradek (3:15 PM)
Both guys really could have been better. It's funny it's the first loss for Fleury in 6 OT games. He's played well and he has some big game experience behind him. I think it will help him. For Pittsburgh to win, Fleury will have to be the better of the goalies. We'll see if he's up to the challenge. It should be a great game.
Is Chicago showing that they will be a force for years to come?
EJ Hradek (3:16 PM)
I think they're giving a real good indication of it. They have some really talented young players that are in their first playoff run. Yeah, they're giving a real indication that this team will be a force to be dealt with in this league. I think they're ahead of schedule right now. They're in the playoffs and through the first two rounds.
Who's more likely to send their series to a Game 7, Boston or Anaheim? I'm guessing the Ducks since they're at home.
EJ Hradek (3:18 PM)
Each team has different challenges there. The games are pretty close. I guess for me, Detroit has made some changes that have benefitted them. I don't think Anaheim has an answer for that. I think they'll have a hard time in Game 6. Saying that, I think Boston might have a better chance. Both teams are in an uphill situation.
Joe (Frostburg, MD)
Due to total disastrous circumstances (a meeting) I will not be able to see game 7 between the caps and the pens tomorrow night. Give me some insight as to what I would have seen and who you think ultimately comes out of this series as the winner.
EJ Hradek (3:20 PM)
It's been so close. Three of the last four have been in OT. After Game 5, Crosby talked about it in that it's come down to a bounce in the games. Who's going to win? I could make a case easily for both teams. Washington comes in with momentum. They can draw on a previous series when they won at home. I really think it's a toss up. But 63% of the time a home team wins Game 7 in hockey. I guess that means Washington would have the edge. I guess that's what makes it so compelling. Who knows, maybe we'll go into OT one more time?
What do you do if your Claude Julien, let Lucic take care of Walker and send a message early or let that sucker-punch go and make sure Lucic stays out of trouble?
EJ Hradek (3:22 PM)
I don't think if you're the Bruins that you can concentrate on any kind of revenge against Walker, who's a fourth line player. If that's the focus, then the Bruins will be going home. They have to focus on playing physical when they can, making crisp passes out of the zone. If they can get the puck in deep, they'll have a good chance to duplicate what they did in Game 5. If they go out there looking for Scott Walker, then they won't win.
Adam (Lake George, NY)
Is Tyler Myers a future Norris Trophy winner?
EJ Hradek (3:24 PM)
It's so hard to say. He's a big guy. He's a Charo type guy. He's 6-7. Buffalo just signed him. I think he has a chance to develop into a good defensemen. But it's lofty territory to say he'll win a Norris Trophy winner. But I think he'll develop into a good defenseman in their group. He has good size and reach and that will make him a guy who's difficult to play against.
Can you speculate on a possible Coyotes move? Would they return as the Winnipeg Jets?
EJ Hradek (3:25 PM)
They're not going back to Winnipeg. more than likely they'll stay in Phoenix for the forseeable future. There's a move to purchase the Coyotes and move them to Ontario. But there are hurdles either way and I don't see that happening at this time. But with the economic climate that we're in, you just never know. Things like this can change with the ability for someone to finance the group.
Jim Bourbonnais, IL
What do the Blackhawks need to do this off-season to keep their forward momentum going? Re-sign Havlat? Give extensions to Toews and Kane?
EJ Hradek (3:27 PM)
Down the road, the contracts of Toews and Kane will be important. Those are franchise players and it will be important to sign them to contracts that both make the players happy and provide value to the team in a salary cap league. The Hawks will have a few issues because of some of the deals they've done. The deal with Brian Campbell last summer might leave them with less room under the cap. But they need to get those two key players under good contracts and under good term.
every big playoff home game ovechkin seems to come up with big goals. how many goals will he have in game 7 and will it carry the caps to victory?
EJ Hradek (3:28 PM)
Alex Ovechkin has been money all year. He has 10 goals in the playoffs. This is a great young player who loves the challenge of the spotlight. I expect he'll be a factor again in Game 7. If he scores or doesn't score, he'll have opportunities and he'll be the focus of the Penguins. No question about that.
Steve (Baltimore, MD)
EJ, where does the Pens vs Caps series rate on the list of all-time great series? I was at game 2 and I'll be there for game 7, rocking the red!
EJ Hradek (3:30 PM)
I was in Washington for Game 5 and the place was going crazy. It's a full house and they've got the rock the red with everyone wearing red jerseys. It's amazing to see how that whole franchise has turned in just a few years. No one was rocking the red in the Verizon Center a couple of years ago. It's going to be a great environment again in Game 7. I'm looking forward to it.
Tom (River North)
EJ, any word on Rafalski? If he comes back, the PP gets another dimension with a right hand shot to go with Lidstrom.
EJ Hradek (3:31 PM)
The Red Wings are playing well even without Rafalski, so with him coming back, that's a big plus. If he can give them some minutes and make them better than they are? That's a big plus. He has playoff experience. THat's another thing that favors them going into Game 6.
EJ Hradek (3:32 PM)
The playoffs have been great. Enjoy the games tonight.