NHL analyst 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!
Brian (Charlotte, NC)
Do you think the Red Wings run over the last 15 years is better than the early hockey days of the Canadiens?
Barry Melrose (3:04 PM)
I think it's been a lot harder to be a great team consistently over the last 15 years, with the salary cap, than what it was with Montreal. In those days, it's if you had the best players, it came down to scouting. Detroit's reign of being great every year is harder than what Montreal did.
Who wins Game 3 between the Hawks and Wings, and why?
Barry Melrose (3:05 PM)
I think the Red Wings win. They're playing so good right now. I don't know if the Hawks can play any better than they did in Game 2. The Hawks need to win both games, not just one. You can't come back from 3-1. Their stars aren't even factors right now, that's how good Detroit is right now.
Mike (NY NY)
How happy is the NHL right now? We needed a big playoff push like this and with every series being exciting and the Crosby Ovechkin matchup NHL must be psyched.
Barry Melrose (3:06 PM)
Very much so. Chicago playing so well, Boston playing so well. Detroit, Pittsburgh having Crosby playing deep. Crosby-Ovechkin. I can't think of a better playoffs than this season.
Mark (Charlotte, NC)
NHL hasn't had repeat Stanley Cup finalists since '76-'77/ '77/'78 Bruins vs. Habs (I think). In an era of the Salary Cap will most fans embrace this occurance (if it should happen)of two great teams or not?
Barry Melrose (3:07 PM)
I think the last repeat was Edmonton-Islanders in the 80s. I think people would love to see Detroit-Pittsburgh again. It would be awesome. Any time you have Crosby playing in the Finals with those other guys, it's awesome. I think the NHL would love that matchup.
chris(Comstock Park, MI)
Barry, If you could only sign 1 of 2 scenerio's which would it be? 1)Hossa or 2)Hudler and Samuelson? Thanks Chris
Barry Melrose (3:07 PM)
Hossa. He's a 40-goal scorer. He's a two-way player. He plays into the gritty play of Detroit. With the younger players that Detroit has built, they could lose Hudler and Samuelson.
Sean (TR NJ)
Barry thanks for the time it is always appreciated. I have many questions but first what is going on with the Coyotes? I have heard bits here and there but been to busy to research it.
Barry Melrose (3:08 PM)
Everything's been put on hold right now. The bankruptcy judge has told the NHL and the Phoenix owner to try and sit down and get it arbitrated. The judge has sort of thrown it back and try and solve this before coming back to him.
Dan Long Island, NY
do you think the hawks will be able to put last nights OT loss behind them and reclaim games 3 and 4 at home?
Barry Melrose (3:09 PM)
That's a tough loss. If you're going to be a team that wins, you have to put losses behind you. You saw Detroit do that with some tough losses against Anaheim.
Mark (Charlotte, NC)
Barry - We all know that a giant conspiracy and league wide bias is absurd but as a coach did you ever wonder if the refs were trying to hand the other team a win?
Barry Melrose (3:10 PM)
I can gaurantee every coach in the NHL thinks that every referee in the NHL is trying to get them fired. No doubt. But I can guarantee that the NHL has the best officials in teh world.
Chicago isn't a star based team. And what does Toews scoring two goals count as a non-factor? Kane was pretty good last night too, without showing up on the score sheet. That was some intense hockey last night, but I don't think we've seen the best from the 'Hawks yet, they've always found a way to rise to the challange this year
Barry Melrose (3:12 PM)
I thought Toews even though he scored was much better. Kane was better. The whole team was better. They played a very good game. That will give those two young stars confidence going back home. I think it was a big factor that Toews and Kane had good games.
Ron (Detroit, MI)
Do you feel Nicklas Lidstrom is the best defenseman you have seen in your lifetime?
Barry Melrose (3:13 PM)
I think we'll be talking about Lidstrom as being one of the three best defensemen to ever play the game. He's right up there. His numbers are phenomenal. He plays against the other teams best players every night. He's one of hte best to ever play the game.
Tom (River North)
Have Chicago fans been blinded by the fact that Vancouver and Calgary gave the Hawks more scoring chances with their undisciplined play? They aren't going to get that against Detroit, who top to bottom is better than Chicago. Does this series last 5 games?
Barry Melrose (3:14 PM)
Chicago has already beat two very good hockey teams, but Detroit is a very different animal. If you're going to beat the Red Wings, you have to play near a perfect game. Any mistake comes back and haunts you.
JOn (Portland, OR)
I know Osgood gets a lot of flak for playing behind a talented Wings team, but why doesn't that also get directed to Grant Fuhr in net for Gretzky's teams?
Barry Melrose (3:15 PM)
The Oilers played such a wide open style that Grant saw a lot of shots, believe it or not. The quality of shots that Grant saw was different. But I agree with you on Osgood. That game could have been 3-0 Chicago after the first. Osgood, I agree, doesn't get the credit he deserves.
How do you see Game 2 shaking out in the Pens/Canes Series?
Barry Melrose (3:16 PM)
It's a must win for the Hurricanes. They've lost the first game of every series so far. Ruutu, it will be crucial if he can't play. I think it will be close. And it will come down to goaltending in Game 2. I thought Fleury was better than Ward in Game 1.
Tom (Dowagiac, MI)
Do you see a possibility when the protective netting will be in play, like the glass?
Barry Melrose (3:17 PM)
Maybe in 50 years. I hope not. I think we'll see a time when the protective netting goes around the whole rink, to protect the fans. For the forseeable future, whenever it hits the netting, it will be called a dead puck.
Building off of Sean's comment, where would you put the Hawks depth wise compared to the rest of the league? They certainly need their stars to produce
Barry Melrose (3:18 PM)
I think their depth is very good. If you look at the guys scoring, their depth has been a big part of hte game, once you get past the stars. I'm very impressed with it.
Rob (Marietta, GA)
Barry, Have the Pens surprised you this year in winning the first two series? Do you think they are as good as last year without Hossa and Malone?
Barry Melrose (3:19 PM)
Different team. I like the team. They've shown a lot of grit. I think Fleury is better than last year. It's a better puck moving defense. Hossa and Malone are tough to replace. Are they as talented as last year? No. ARe they a better team? I would say yes.
Casey, Salt Lake City
Two questionable hits in game one between Pittsburgh and Carolina; Eaton on Ruutu with a slew foot, and Cooke on Cole with the knee on knee. What are your views about those hits?
Barry Melrose (3:20 PM)
I thought they both could have been called penalties. They were tough to see because it was in traffic. The knee on knee should have been a penalty. The other one was different. But hte refs never saw it and Carolina might be without the services of those two guys. THey have to figure out how to win without them.
Dave (Boston, MA)
Do they have plans to play the next Winter Classic? When are they going to get NY or Boston in on the act?
Barry Melrose (3:21 PM)
The rumor is in Fenway. That's the rumor I've heard. It makes sense. The next great building that hasn't had the game yet in a great hockey community.
Stefan New York
What do you think of the salary cap? Rangers that have contract with Drury,Gomes, Redden that i thing are the most over payed players in the leage! It will tak the at least 5 years until the get a chance for the cup....
Barry Melrose (3:22 PM)
I like the salary cap. It's leveled the playing field. you just can't buy a team any more. But that never worked anyway. You still have to be a good hockey organization. I think the salary cap is a good situation overall for the NHL and it's working very well.
John (Roseville, MI)
How scary is it that Detroit is moving along and Pavel is not scoring? Any idea what is going on with him and do you feel he will snap out of it?
Barry Melrose (3:23 PM)
Pavel is not scoring. Hossa's not scoring. It just goes to show you how good this team is. It also shows how good of a defensive team it is. This team is dangerous. They don't need their four best offensive players to get a goal a game to win.
Joey D (Denver,CO)
Hi Barry! What do you think about the Patrick Roy coaching position for the Avs. I know he is not interested, but what are your thoughts about how he would fair if he did take the head coaching job?
Barry Melrose (3:24 PM)
Well, I think Patrick is a guy that will coach in the NHL. It would make sense for Colorado. They're struggling and he played there. I hope it's not Colorado, because my buddy is still coaching there and I wouldn't want to see him fired.
Jerrod (East Lansing, MI)
Thanks for taking your time for this! My question is: how long until the Wings start to decline for awhile? They have been so good for so long, they can't keep this up forever. When will it decline?
Barry Melrose (3:25 PM)
Well, when Lidstrom retires, that will be a big blow to them. If you look at their players, most of them are in their prime. Their forwards, all of their name guys are still in their 20s. These guys are going to be good for a few more years.
Casey, Salt Lake City
What are the chances Crosby ever changes his stick from the straight blade to something with a curve. Sure, he can make the perfect pass on the backhand, but he'll never be scorer outside the crease with that thing.
Barry Melrose (3:26 PM)
It's not his game. He's never been a guy to take it down and blast it. I think you'll see him with the straight stick for the rest of his life and you'll see him in the top 5 in scoring for the rest of his life. Maybe that's a lesson to the other guys.
Tom (River North)
Barry, before the series some Chicago writer gave the Hawks the edge in terms of defensemen. Laughable, isn't it? The Hawks top pair would be lucky to break Detroit's top 5.
Barry Melrose (3:27 PM)
I disagree with that. I think Seabrook and Kieth are excellent defensemen. Behind Lidstrom, they would be right htere. But Chicago has a pretty good defense. I would put them second, Detroit No. 1 and Chicago No. 2.
Barry Melrose (3:28 PM)
And don't listen to anything else but ESPN, anyway.
Barry, what are your thoughts on what Patrick Kane is and isn't "paid to do?"
Barry Melrose (3:28 PM)
You know what, I'm not aware of that quote. All I do know is that he's a great player and a great competitor. He's come a million miles this playoff.
With the Salary cap this was supposed to be the end of repeat champions. With Detroit on the cusp of going back to the finals, do you think the league made a mistake by trying to make the league more equal
Barry Melrose (3:29 PM)
It's definitely doing what the league hoped it would do. Columbus played well against Detroit. Anaheim could have beaten Detroit. Carolina beat the first place club and third place club. It spread the players out. It's working and it's working very well.
Barry Melrose (3:30 PM)
I hope everyone's enjoying the playoffs as much as I am. Hopefully Chicago can squeak out some victories, because I want to watch them play some more against Detroit.