Chat with Matthew Barnaby
Barnaby played 14 seasons in the NHL for eight different teams. He netted 113 goals and 300 total points. He was also one of the league's tough guys, accumulating 2,562 penalty minutes.
Send your questions now and join Matthew Thursday at 2:15 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (2:18 PM)
Matt will be here shortly, everyone!
Matthew Barnaby (2:19 PM)
It's decided...Pittsburgh vs. Detroit. I think this is going to be an awesome series. Let's get to it.
Joe V. (Atlanta, GA)
Matthew, It seemed that when Chicago got physical with Detroit they took them out of their game and created some chances. Do you think this (being more physical) will be incorporated into the Pens game plan?
Matthew Barnaby (2:20 PM)
I think they have a lot of guys that like to finish their checks. Having said that, if you take penalties and get overaggressive, this is a power play that will absolutely kill you. Pittsburgh will try to be aggressive, but must stay disciplined.
Obviously the wings are at a huge disadvantage with the change in schedule, but could that actually help them? The consensus seems now to be Pittsburgh to win over the beat-up wings, but obviously these guys are veterans and might the shift to being more of an underdog now may spark even more life into them?
Matthew Barnaby (2:21 PM)
I don't get much into the favorite and the underdog. The new schedule definitely helps the Penguins. Datsyuk and Lidstrom are a little banged-up, and the younger Penguins are very healthy. Having said that, I am not giving up on the Wings just yet.
Burnside called the Pen's a "clear cut favorite"! How can any team be a clear cut favorite over the Red Wings, even if they have some injury concerns?
Matthew Barnaby (2:22 PM)
I disagree with Burnside on this one. I still believe the Red Wings are the favorite. There are concerns with the injuries, but I think that they will be OK to go on Game 1. I think Wings in 7.
Shawn Michaels (Austin, Texas)
Do you think the Pens will continue rolling 7 defensemen against Detroit, or will we possibly see the return of Sykora and Dupuis in the finals?
Matthew Barnaby (2:23 PM)
I think they will start out with the seven defensemen. It is not something that they wanted, but with the injury to Gonchar, were forced to do. Boucher has come in and done a tremendous job. They will not change unless the series starts off in Detroit's favor.
What are your thoughts on the goaltending during the finals. Who do you give the edge to?
Matthew Barnaby (2:25 PM)
This is a tough one. One guy has three Cups, one guy has none. One guy is older, one guy is young. We keep doubting Osgood's ability to play net, but he keeps finding a way to win. Having said that, I think Fleury has the potential to steal games, and that is very important. Edge, Pittsburgh.
Why does anybody think Malkin and Crosby can keep up this pace? If they do, they will surely win, but the step up from Washington and Carolina to Detroit is vast.
Matthew Barnaby (2:26 PM)
That is totally true. When you look at who Pittsburgh has faced, and who Detroit has faced, there is a huge difference. The defense from Detroit will be the toughest that Pittsburgh has faced by far. We saw what they did to Patrick Kane in the conference finals. A lot of people are asking, is Pittsburgh that good, or have they just not faced the best teams yet? We will find out very shortly.
Sidney (Pittsburgh, PA)
How much whining do you think I'll do this series? Have I finally matured to where I don't complain after every call?
Matthew Barnaby (2:27 PM)
So far, in the playoffs, we are all very proud of you, Sid. Your whining is down to a minimum, and your play is up to a maximum. Keep it going.
Ryan (St. Louis, MO)
Any thoughts on Hossa being with the wings and facing the penguins in the finals?
Matthew Barnaby (2:29 PM)
This couldn't be a bigger storyline. A rematch of last year's final with a star player jumping ship to play for the other team. Took less money, less term, to give himself a chance to win a Stanley Cup. He must have really thought Detroit was much better than Pittsburgh. Is that motivation or what for the Penguins?
Joe DiVecchio Tampa, FL
It seems like Detroit is getting a lot of goals from deflections or screens right in front of the net. Do the Penguins have the muscle to stop Holmstrom and Cleary from sitting in front of the net and causing Fleury problems?
Matthew Barnaby (2:31 PM)
The problem with this is, it's not just Holmstrom in front like in years past. They have Franzen, Cleary, guys that are big and willing to go there on a consistent basis. Look for them to continue to crash the front of the net, and as nice goals as they score, most of them come from tips, screens, and rebounds. They do it better than anyone.
Which team do you think has the advantage when considering these two teams met in the Finals last year? In other words, do you think the Pens learned more from last year's loss, or the Wings more from their victory over the Pens.
Matthew Barnaby (2:32 PM)
The only advantage out of last year's rematch, I think, is that Pittsburgh got the experience of playing in a Final. Evgeni Malkin was not very good, and has probably learned from it. He has been terrific in the playoffs so far, and if he was going last year, it might have been a different story. This will be a great series.
Aaron (St. Louis, MO)
Last year Zetterberg completely shut-down Malkin, what do you think this match-up will look like this year? Can Zetterberg stop Malkin yet again?
Matthew Barnaby (2:35 PM)
Zetterberg and Datsyuk are the two best two-way forwards in the game. This will be a factor in the series, as Zetterberg will either play against Malkin or Crosby again. I guess it will depend on who they decide to put Lidstrom and Rafalski against. There will be so many matchups during this series, and I'm sure it will change several times throughout.
Bobby (Livonia, MI)
Matt, I think that Detroit's defensive focus on Sid and Evgeni will mean that Jordan Staal will have to produce for the Penguins to win. He has been sub-par so far; can he step it up or will Pittsburgh have to hope for continued overachievement from Billy Guerin?
Matthew Barnaby (2:36 PM)
I would agree. I think that they are going to have to get a lot of secondary scoring, because the focus will be on those two. Detroit is very deep and will get scoring from secondary people. Pittsburgh has done a good job of it so far, but everyone will have to have a great series to beat Detroit.
Eric (Ann Arbor, MI)
What do you think about the efforts to create a rule against hits to the head on defenseless skaters? The Kronwall hit on Havlat was brought up as an example of a play the new rule would try to stop. Are we moving towards a "non-contact" NHL?
Matthew Barnaby (2:38 PM)
Well, you're asking the wrong guy. I didn't even think the hit on Havlat was a penalty. The puck was six inches from his stick and his skates, and Kronwall's job was to finish his check. I think this was a terrible call.
Scott (Pittsburgh, PA)
Most of the times when the penguins get the last change, they try to matchup Staal with the other's top scoring line. Which line do you assume this will be for Detroit?
Matthew Barnaby (2:39 PM)
I think they will match it up against Zetterberg. He was last year' Conn Smythe trophy winner, and you would also want to keep him away from Crosby or Malkin as much as you can.
Matt (Reading, PA)
Ok, after watching most the playoff games this year i have to say one thing... Are the wooden sticks coming back? Because i swear, i see at least 10 broken sticks a night. What are your thoughts on these composite sticks, and has or will the NHL approach these manufacturers and say "hey guys..." and make some sort of better stick?
Matthew Barnaby (2:41 PM)
It is funny, especially on the PK, when guys are blocking shots and all of a sudden, it's a 5-on-3 instead of 5-on-4. These sticks are so much better for shooting than the wood, but this has become a serious problem. I'm sure stick manufacturers are looking into it, as there has to be some pressure from the teams and players to have a more durable stick.
Ben ( Morgantown ,WV)
Matthew , what player ,on either team do you feel is going to be a surprise factor in determining the series outcome . Meaning someone other than the Crosbys , Zetterbergs, and Malkins?
Matthew Barnaby (2:42 PM)
If Pittsburgh wins this series, I think that Fleury is going to have to be the star in most games. Detroit generates a lot of shots, and usually makes the most of them. As for Detroit, I think Darren Helm and the rest of the secondary scoring will be too much for Pittsburgh. Wings in 7.
Matthew Barnaby (2:43 PM)
Thanks everyone. Enjoy the first few games of the finals. This is sure to be the best final we have had in years.