Chat with Scott Burnside
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN.com's Scott Burnside will stop by to chat about the NHL's latest news and events.
Before joining ESPN in 2005, he was a reporter for the Windsor Star and Toronto Sun. Burnside has won numerous awards, including the 1990 National Newspaper Award, and also co-authored the best-selling true crime book "Deadly Innocence" in the mid-1990s. He is based in Atlanta.
Send your questions now and join Burnside on Monday at 4 p.m. ET!
Scott Burnside (4:01 PM)
Hello hockey fans. Where were we?
Here in fantasy hockey land we talk about players being potential sleepers...if we could broaden that term a bit and include an entire team as being a sleeper or incognito come playoff time only to fully awaken and unleash hockey hell upon unsuspecting teams...who would be your picks?
Scott Burnside (4:03 PM)
Niklas; I think there are a couple. I don't know if the Wings count as a sleeper but certainly people don't give them much of a chance to go on another deep playoff run but assuming they get healthy they are dangerous. The Ducks, although they've had a brutal first quarter, have lots of interesting pieces and I think the Sabres are a team that will give opponents a handful come playoff time. And my personal favorite, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Good goaltending and their defense is better than people give them credit for.
Is Boaton going to rotate goalies the rest of the season or will Thomas regain the majority of the starts?
Scott Burnside (4:03 PM)
Andrew; Tim Thomas has been banged up a bit so it will be interesting to see if he starts tonight against St. Louis. I think Thomas will continue to carry the bulk of the load for the Bs but Tuukka Rask has been pretty good when he's been in.
preston (modesto ca)
with the ducks dead in the water, is it time for them to trade away the old dogs?? and if so, do you think my sharks could land Scott Niedermayer?? or any other D-MAN they could use a nother vet d-man.
Scott Burnside (4:05 PM)
Preston; Speaking of the Ducks. I don't think GM Bob Murray will trade Niedermayer unless he specifically wants to go somewhere at the deadline. I'm guessing he'll play it out in Anaheim although I guess Vancouver might have a shot at landing him given that he's from B.C. Murray would really like to offload J.S. Giguere but his contract and play make that unlikely unless he throws in a draft pick to sweeten the deal. Likewise Joffrey Lupul who hasn't been very good since coming back to Anaheim.
Nick (Saint Louis)
Did you catch David Perron's dazzling goal against the Islanders Saturday night? Thoughts?
Scott Burnside (4:06 PM)
Nick; I am actually in St. Louis working on a couple of stories and saw it first-hand. Might be the goal of the year so far.
Dan (St Clair Shores)
Regarding Laraques knee to knee hit. Will the league ever hand out stiff suspensions for intentionally or recklessly injuring a player? Perhaps for the same period of time as the injured player sits out? Or do you need to make off color remarks about opponents girlfriends to get a serious suspension?
Scott Burnside (4:07 PM)
Dan; I hate that hit. It's the hit of a player who can't keep up. Dirty and cheap and I'd have lowered the boom on Laraque. Not that Colin Campbell ever asks my opinion on these matters.
Heatley has 18 goals, the three players traded to help bring him in -Michalek, Cheechoo, Erhhoff- have 17... Which would you rather have?
Scott Burnside (4:08 PM)
Joey; I think in general we say the team that got the best player is the team that wins the trade and if that's the case then the Sharks are much better off. Heatley's a scoring machine and they don't grow on trees. The best time to ask that question will be in April, though, especially if the Senators can sneak back into the playffs after missing last year.
Larry (Southaven (MS))
Scott, Do you have any feel on what is going to happen in the next contract talks between the PA on the league? It seems to me that with the NHLPA in disaray, that the league could take advantage in the salary cap and other issue's. Any thoughts?
Scott Burnside (4:10 PM)
Larry; I think for sure the players will extend the CBA beyond the end of next year as it's going to take significant time to get a new executive director and general counsel. I'm not sure the owners will 'take advantage' of the players but there are a lot of issues they're going to want to tackle including plugging loopholes in the salary cap system and I think there will be a push to modify if not eliminate guarateed salaries which is a motherhood issue for the players.
Are my Jackets really a playoff team this year?
Scott Burnside (4:11 PM)
Bruce; I think they'll be a bubble team. Steve Mason will have to have a better second half if the Blue Jackets are going to make it two years in a row.
There has been a lot of talks concerning what the Leafs may do because of their terrible start. In your opinion what changes do you think they need to make. I mean you have to keep in mind they are out of a lot of draft picks because of Kessel so long term rebuilding is not really an option, is it?
Scott Burnside (4:13 PM)
I think you'll see Brian Burke take on some salary from other teams in exchange for draft picks. And he's got a couple of good prospects that may get a bump up from the AHL but you're right it's not an easy task. They don't play with discipline and their defense and penalty killing have been abysmal. Mike Komisarek hasn't been great (and he's hurt) and Francois Beauchemin has also struggled. In short the season is gong to seem very long for Leaf fans - again.
What is up with Crosby this year? He isn't really putting up the numbers he should and went in hiding when Malkin went down.
Scott Burnside (4:14 PM)
Philip; I think you'll still see him finish in the top 10 in scoring.
I heard a rumor that Glen Sather and Brian Burke have begun talks. The names being thrown around are Dubinski, Stepniak, and Exelby. Any truth and/or how do you feel about that trade?
Scott Burnside (4:14 PM)
Chris; Well the Rangers could use some depth along the blue line but I'm not sure how Garnet Exelby helps as he's been a regular healthy scratch with a bad Toronto team.
Cody (Minneapolis, MN)
Hey Scott, do you think that the Minnesota Wild will deal Josh Harding? He's a high caliber goalie and we need some more fire power up front, since as you know Martin Havlat has been one of the biggest busts of the season; 19 games, 8 points, -14.
Scott Burnside (4:16 PM)
Cody; I think Harding could be on the move. I doubt if he'll re-sign with the Wild with Niklas Backstrom there and Harding would like a shot at a number-one job. Not sure what his market value would be but doubt if you'd land a top scorer for him.
What has happened to the Avs defense the past 10 games or so?
Scott Burnside (4:17 PM)
Justin; Maybe they looked in the mirror and said, holy cow, we can't be this good. Just kidding of course but I think it's a function of water finding it's own level. The question is whether they can turn it around and stay in the playoff hunt. I'm frankly not optimistic they can.
What have you heard about when the Bruins might announce a Savard extension?
Scott Burnside (4:17 PM)
Bill Morse (Ramstein Air Base Germany)
There has been a lot of criticism of the NHL Officiating and the leagues response to defending bad calls missed call?s, phantom calls and the ultimate joke, intent to blow the whistle calls; do you think it is hurting the leagues credibility, I know I find it frustrating??yes I am a Wing Fan!
Scott Burnside (4:19 PM)
Bill; Thanks for tuning in from Germany. I think there will always be issues with officiating but in general I think the league does a good job. And the guys who monitor the referees and the video replay are good at what they do. But I'm with you on the 'intent to blow' calls. Either you make the call or you don't.
David (Carson city, nv)
Mr. Burnside,I usually agree with most of the things you say, but how can you leave the league's 2nd leading scorer, and top point getting canadian off your olympic list? Joe. T deserves more respect than that!
Scott Burnside (4:21 PM)
David; No offense to Jumbo Joe but I don't think you can take the Sharks' big line (although I know it's been suggested) and I think there are other players who more things that will be needed in Vancouver like killing penalties etc. I know he's having a great year but in the end good players are going to be left off that team and the fact he's struggled to produce when it matters most makes him expendable in my books.
Antti Niemi with a shut out last night. Is Niemi making the case to start over Huet?
Scott Burnside (4:23 PM)
Kevin; I think Huet's been pretty darned good and even though I know there are questions about Huet especially given his lack of playoff success I think he's going to be the man in Chicago. Still, Niemi has been impressive when he's been given a chance. Still pretty young though.
Justin (New York)
Scott - When is the last time anyone has mentioned the name Rick DiPietro?!?! Will he EVER play again??
Scott Burnside (4:24 PM)
Justin; Good point. Credit the Isles for taking their time with DiPietro but hard to shake the feeling that that ship has sailed.
Sergey (Brooklyn, NY)
Do you see any way for Rangers to trade either Roszival or Redden this season?
Scott Burnside (4:25 PM)
Sergey; Unlikely given their contracts unless a team like Toronto would take one of them in exchange for a draft pick or two. Sadly Glen Sather has boxed himself in pretty much with those deals. Hartford anyone?
Mike Modano... olympics?
Scott Burnside (4:27 PM)
Jason; Funny my colleague Pierre LeBrun is always on me about Modano and how he should be on the U.S. team. I don't have him on my squad, though. I'm not sure what he brings to the table that other, younger players won't bring. And I'm not so big on his 'leadership' qualities which is what most people point to in suggesting he should be on the team.
The Flyers seem to have been hit with the injury bug, again...Where do you see them finishing in the East this year?
Scott Burnside (4:28 PM)
Jim; I like the Flyers to go to an Eastern Conference final. I think I picked them to finish second in the Atlantic behind Pittsburgh. The injuries are troublesome, though, and I wonder about Emery being burned out by the time the playoffs roll around given how heavily they've relied on him.
Is there any chance the hawks aren't the best team in the league without Hossa as we move toward April.I'm sorry SJ isn't as deep as the Hawks are by a mile...
Scott Burnside (4:32 PM)
Pat; I think the Sharks are pretty deep but agree that Hossa should take the Blackhawks to an even higher level. I like them to go to the Cup finals.
Ryan Smith (Bowling Green, KY)
will Arizona move...what city is the leading candidate for the next expansion team?
Scott Burnside (4:33 PM)
Ryan; I think it's inevitable that the Coyotes will move whether it's a year from now or two or three years down the road. That franchise is broken. As for where it ends up I wouldn't be surprised to see it move back to Canada. Quebec City will have a new arena and there remains talk of Winnipeg although I'm not sure they have the corporate depth to support a team. As for expansion not going to happen any time soon but look for Vegas to get an NHL team at some point and a second team in the Toronto area would generate huge revenues.
Matt (San Jose)
A lot of discussion starting up about the Sharks free agents... do you think that we'll be able to sign both Nabby and Marleau? If no, who would you be more concerned about losing?
Scott Burnside (4:35 PM)
Matt; I think a long playoff run will help the chances of keeping both. Marleau has been so good but the Sharks do have nice depth down the middle. Bottom line for Nabokov is that he's going to want big dollars as befits his status as a top goalie but he's got to deliver in the playoffs before the Sharks will commit term and dollar to him. At least that's my guess.
Justin (New York)
are the islanders "for real"? by that I mean, will they have a shot at the #8 spot???
Scott Burnside (4:36 PM)
Justin; I think it's a bit much to ask although they've certainly been a pleasant surprise. Too young I think and they play in a hellaciously difficult division so that makes the playoffs an even more difficult proposition.
Jon (Boston, MA)
Scott,Many websites, including ESPN, are saying Ovechkin is the leader for MVP this season, and you all cite how much he scores as a reason. Isn't that what the Art Ross trophy is for? Just because someone scores a lot of points doesn't mean they are MVP of the league. Washington went on a 4 game win streak without Ovechkin.
Scott Burnside (4:38 PM)
Jon; I'm with you. I voted for Evgeni Malkin last year as I thought he was more important to the Pens' season. Ovechkin has a very talented supporting cast but I think the Hart should go to a player that is crucial to a team's success and provides leadership on and off the ice. Not knocking Ovechkin but I think it's easy to get seduced by the goals.
The Central division looks like the most competitive division so far this year. You have 4 teams within 8 points? of eachother you could possibly get 4 playoff teams out if here or is that unrealistic?
Scott Burnside (4:39 PM)
I think four is a definite possibility. The Northwest is pretty average and I think the Avs will slowly sink out of the playoff picture which could leave just one team, Calgary, or maybe two if you throw Vancouver in, coming from there so there is room for a big Central Division presence.
Do you really think the Avalanche won't make the playoffs? I realize we have some deficiencies, but I still like the direction we are headed.
Scott Burnside (4:41 PM)
Dennis; See above (below?). I think there are lots of interesting things going on with the Avs and Craig Anderson is the real deal so that's a huge problem that has been addressed. But they're still pretty young and I'm not sure the defense is built to get them into the post-season no matter how good Anderson is or how many games he plays (which appears to be all but a handful).
Adam (Los Angeles)
Carolina, do they have any hope of making the playoffs? Rutherford says they have to be at .500 by the end of December, I think that means they need to go something like 11-4, is it plausible?
Scott Burnside (4:42 PM)
Adam; I think that's asking a lot from the 'Canes especially without Cam Ward and Eric Staal. Still, I don't think they're completely out of it. The good thing for them is the Eastern Conference is full of pretty ordinary teams so there is ground to be made up.
Hey Scott, A lot of trade humors have Barker and/or Sopel being traded? Any truth behind them. I have no problem saying goodbye to Sopel, but I do not want to see Barker go.
Scott Burnside (4:44 PM)
Douglas; I think you'll see the 'Hawks move some bodies based on their cap situation and trying to get their big guns under contract. Sopel is straight salary dump but Barker is the one teams will want given his big up-side. But the 'Hawks simply don't have room for him against the cap and they are deep on the blue line so the feeling is he's the most expendable of their young assets.
Jeff (Los Altos, CA)
If you were to start a franchise today and build around a player, who would it be? I'm not interested in hearing Ovchkin or Crosby...someone a bit less hyped who you would want to have as your franchise player the next 6 or so years.
Scott Burnside (4:45 PM)
Jeff; I think I would go with Drew Doughty although another kid who's been really impressive is Zach Bogosian in Atlanta. Both are building block players with huge, huge up-sides.
Here in Sweden we are in full discussion who is going in the swedish olympic team, which swedish D's from NHL would be your pick except lidstrom, kronwall of course. And do you think huselius should be in?
Scott Burnside (4:49 PM)
Not sure on Huselius but the defense will be interesting. I figure Toby Enstrom from Atlanta will be on the squad. But what about Victor Hedman? He's been very good for the Bolts. What about Anton Stralman from Columbus or another Wing who's been good Jonathan Ericsson? What about Alexander Edler? Lots of good young players to choose from.
Max (Long Island, NY)
Scott, Do you really think that the New York Rangers need another scorer, or could they just get by with Gaborik. Also, how big of a part do you think the KHL will play in the upcoming Olympics?
Scott Burnside (4:51 PM)
Max; Yes I think the Rangers need to add some scoring depth down the middle especially with Chris Drury's injury. As for the KHL I think you'll see quite a few Russians from the KHL at the Olympics. Of the guys invited to their orientation camp about half were KHL players. As for players from other countries playing over there I doubt whether many will find their way onto Olympic rosters. A handful at most I would say.
Scott seeing as this decade is almost up what cup winning team of the past 10 years has been the best/your favorite
Scott Burnside (4:53 PM)
Steeve; I thought last spring's was pretty emotional. Great hockey and you can't beat a Game 7. I was on hand when the Avs and Ray Bourque won in a Game 7 as well in 2001 and that was pretty special.
Paul (New York City, NY)
Scott, Do you see Matt moulson and John Tavares both breaking the 30 goal mark this year? They have been complimenting eachother very nicely in the first quarter of the season.
Scott Burnside (4:54 PM)
Paul; Pretty tall order for both to get to the 30-goal mark. Agreed that they've found some nice chemistry but I'm thinking maybe mid-20s for each is a more realistic goal. If they both get to 30 the Isles will likely be hanging around a playoff spot.
Steven (Charleston, SC)
If Gaborik stays healthy and continues his stellar play is he in contention for MVP? You talked before about how the winner should be the player most important to his team, and the Rangers would be absolutely lost without Gaborik.
Scott Burnside (4:55 PM)
Steven; I think he will get some consideration if he stays healthy. At his pace he'll be top five in both points and goals and agreed he is the Rangers' most important player outside of Henrik Lundqvist.
Do you think it will constantly be a line of Hossa/Toews/Kane or will the Blackhawks split them up over different lines?
Scott Burnside (4:57 PM)
Michael; I wouldn't be surprised to see Joel Quenneville split them up and maybe working them in pairs with Patrick Sharp. Still, pretty impressive trio to roll over the boards, no?
Whats up with the Devils? Are the injuries finally catching up to them? Also, any chance Parise gets the Hart? He is invaluable to that team.
Scott Burnside (4:58 PM)
Rich; I think the injuries are an issue. They miss Paul Martin who is one of the most under-rated defensemen in the game. And I thought Parise deserved to be on the ticket last year. Maybe this year. He is the real deal and the Devils would be in big, big trouble without him.
Any news on the contract talks with Kaner, Toews and Keith?
Scott Burnside (4:59 PM)
Matt; My friend Pierre LeBrun has been riding herd on that story and believes it's all but done but they are waiting to sort out some cap issues before announcing the deals. May actually be a player move before they can announce them, too, as we've discussed with Sopel and/or Barker being moved.
Scott Burnside (5:00 PM)
All right folks. Thanks as always for taking the time to drop by. Until next week.