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 (4:05 PM)
Hello all. Happy New Year. Let's talk some hockey.
Hi Mr. Burnside, rumors have been circling around that the Hawks may get involved in a Kovy trade. It makes sense for both parties although Kovy would just be a rental player but the hawks can unload some of their players so they can keep the core. Also i personally think if a trade did happen Sharpie would be apart of the deal. What is your take?
Scott Burnside (4:07 PM)
Jason; Lots of discussion of the potential for Ilya Kovalchuk to make his way to Chicago if the Thrashers can't get him to sign an extension. The Blackhawks would have to strip a fair amount of salary and I think some people imagine Cam Barker, Kris Versteeg and if I was Don Waddell I'd ask for Antti Niemi, too, just to try and gather as many assets as possible. A first round pick too. Kovalchuk looks to go as a straight rental (ie. Waddell won't be letting teams negotiate an extension before a deal) and there will be lots of teams exploring these waters and I'm guessing Chicago will be one of them.
What is going on with the pens? THey keep pelting other teams with shots and getting early leads, but consistently blow those leads!
Scott Burnside (4:10 PM)
Dave; Yes, Penguin Nation is up in arms after a fifth straight loss - and a spanking at that - at the hands of the Florida Panthers. Spoke to Ray Shero this morning and as you'd expect no panic from a guy whose team is nothing if not resilient. The issue for the Pens isn't making the playoffs but rather where they will sit come April 14. The Devils are going to be awfully hard to catch given the Pens' slide so I think a fourth seed is the most likely spot for them but they'll have to put the brakes on this slide. Evgeni Malkin getting out of his funk will be a good start.
Any word on the matchup for the Winter Classic next year? I'm thinking Panthers-Coyotes...who wouldn't want to see that! Really?
Scott Burnside (4:11 PM)
Chris; Or the Thrashers and Blue Jackets. That'll pack 'em in.Seriously, guessing Caps and Pens maybe at PNC Park.
Brian (Grand Rapids, MI)
With Williams, Kronwall, Zetterberg, Cleary, and Erickson all coming back from injury in January followed by Franzen in late February, I feel that the Wings are going to be rested and dangerous come playoff time. Do you see it the same way if they stay healthy when playoffs come around?
Scott Burnside (4:13 PM)
Brian; No question the healthier the Wings get the more dangerous they will be. At least that's the theory. The issue for them will be how long it takes to get everyone back in sync. In some ways they'll be looking at having another training camp dynamic about two-thirds of the way through the season. And if they can't make up a lot of ground they may be looking at a 7/8 seed and a date with Chicago or San Jose. Now, those teams wouldn't want that but neither, all things being equal, do the Wings. Will be fun to watch how it shakes down, though.
Hi Scott,Do you see the Blackhawks slowing down at all? I would love to see them and the Wings in WCF again.
Scott Burnside (4:14 PM)
Sarah; As I noted above you may not have to wait that long to draw the Wings for better or worse. But no I don't expect the Blackhawks to fall off. They are terrific on both sides of the puck and the goaltending, for all the worry about it, has been good to excellent. Great battle shaping up for the top seed with San Jose.
Let's cut to the chase... Kovy will be traded. No way he re-signs at this point. Will Atlanta get enough in return to make it a positive thing, considering the circumstances?
Scott Burnside (4:18 PM)
CC; From the Atlanta perspective that's a tough one to answer. There are lots of GMs and other hockey 'experts' who think giving Kovalchuk what he wants in term and dollar (let's say 12 years at $10 million give or take) destroys the team's ability to be competitive against the cap. But Kovalchuk is a rare talent and if (when?) he goes it will gut the team in a way that no assets that will come back in any deal will replace. At least not in the short-term. But this is a big picture view for the team and the challenge for Don Waddell is to get as much talent that can have as big an impact as soon as possible so it can't just be picks, it has to be players who can step in quickly to help. At least from my perspective.
When will Seymon Varlamov return for the Caps?
Scott Burnside (4:20 PM)
Jeremy; How's this for hot off the presses? Just got a note from Nate Ewell, the Caps' top PR guy and one of the best in the business and he informs that Varlamov tweaked lower body (groin?) in rehab game yesterday and is out two more weeks.
Adam (Richmond (via Pittsburgh via Buffalo))
Hi Scott, What is one of the stories from this season that isn't getting the attention that you think it deserved?
Scott Burnside (4:23 PM)
Adam; I think a couple. The job that Joe Sacco has done in Colorado has been incredible but I don't think anyone has a sense of who he is. And the play of Ilya Bryzgalov in Phoenix. He's run hot and cold throughtout his career but he's been so good consistently for the 'Yotes this year I think he'd be on the Vezina ballot for sure if the voting was held tomorrow.
Jason (Portland, OR)
Scott, Can we finally stop waiting for 'reality' to hit the Colorado Avalanche and accept that they are more likely to make the playoffs than NOT make the playoffs? Also, should Anderson have picked over Quick for Team USA?
Scott Burnside (4:27 PM)
Jason; I agree. Barring injury to Anderson or Paul Stastny this team will make the playoffs. Don't know how, exactly, but they will. Go figure. As for Anderson, I think Jonathan Quick's play earned him the right to be there and GM Brian Burke acknowledged he was thinking ahead to 2014 and future international play as the third goalie won't play at all in Vancouver barring injury.
Scott, I hear you on the Winter Classic being the Caps and Pens at PNC, but again with the Penguins? C'Mon Man, let some other teams play that haven't played yet!
Scott Burnside (4:29 PM)
Eric; I think a lot of GMs will have the same sentiment but I think the Winter Classic has to be about showcasing the game's best and that doesn't mean being fair but putting the best the league has on the ice. The Caps need to be there and should have been this year. Ovechkin/Crosby outdoors, January 1, well, that's pretty hard to beat just as Chicago/Detroit was a year ago.
Carlos (Los Angeles)
Scott, Any chance the league might consider the winter classic in LA?
Scott Burnside (4:30 PM)
Carlos; Don't know all the ins and outs of the capacity of the NHL's new ice making truck but that might be pushing it. I suggested this to colleagues, though, that if the Kings make a long playoff run this year and continue to improve they're the kind of team that should be involved as a nod to an important, western market.
So now when the squads are set for the olympics, are there any players you are missing?Me for one would liked to have seen Gurein and Franzen for example (allthough Franzen is currently injured). Perhaps even Kovalev, considering last nights performance.
Scott Burnside (4:33 PM)
Thomas; You can get if Kovalev continues to pump in goals the Russians will try and sneak him into the line-up which is one of the problems with the current Olympic system. Wasn't surprised about Franzen but was that Mikael Samuelsson wasn't included (so was he, evidently), Jaroslav Spacek and Roman Hamrlik with the Czech team. And Christoph Scheubert with the Germans.
Shandog31 (Midtown Manhattan)
If the winter classic gets played in Yankee Stadium next year do you think it is likely the Rangers play the Isles or Devils? Why would the Pens get to play for a second time?
Scott Burnside (4:35 PM)
Shandog; Looks like Yankee Stadium will be out of commission because of college football and I think there is a danger in having two New York area teams at the WC as it lessens the broader appeal especially given that none of the three has a particularly broad appeal outside their markets (and sometimes not even in their markets). Pens will get to play because they're a dynamic team with dynamic players. Simple as that.
Andrew (New Jersey)
Does the devil shutting out pitt. twice now change the playoff picture should these 2 teams meet. Also with the devils getting clarckson, zubris, and martin back soon does this make the devils the team to beat in the east?
Scott Burnside (4:37 PM)
Andrew; I don't think regular season has any bearing whatsoever on a playoff meeting with the exception of giving a team like the Devils home ice. Which of course meant nothing last year when they spit the bit in Game 7 against Carolina at home. They are a fine, fine team. And Clarkson and Bergfors have made great strides. And I have all kinds of time for Paul Martin and hope he gets healthy soon. He's a terrific guy. But I still am not sold on the Devils as a team capable of a long playoff run.
Any chance the blues make the playoffs?
Scott Burnside (4:40 PM)
Jp: It would be foolish to write the Blues off given how they performed in the second half of last year. But they start the week in 13th in the west nine points out of 8th with a game in hand. That's a big mouthful again in terms of points to make up and teams to jump over. I don't like the team's chances of doing it two years in a row especially as it's likely going to take some time to get used to new head coach Davis Payne.
There has been a lot of talk about Phoenix moving cities. Do you think its realistic to expect a move in the next 5 years? If yes, where to?
Scott Burnside (4:41 PM)
Curt; Will actually be heading to Phoenix next week to check things out. But the new ownership group, assuming they are successful in buying the team, have not asked for an out clause in taking over the team from the NHL. Don't know how they make it work in the desert but they feel they can so I think all bets are off on the team's future. Making the playoffs this year, however, would be a pretty ginormous step in the right direction.
Luke (Saint Paul)
Winter Classic needs to be in Minnesota, it's the hockey capitol of America. No state loves hockey like it, i'm thinking Wild vs Stars at either Target Field(twins new stadium) or TCF Stadium(Gophers new football stadium)
Scott Burnside (4:43 PM)
Luke; I like the idea of the Winter Classic being in Minnesota. Am trying to think of a draw that will resonate outside the state, though. Dallas? Maybe. Have to think on that one.
how do you think of the tampa bay lighting start and can they make the playoffs
Scott Burnside (4:44 PM)
Evan; The Bolts are feast or famine that's for sure. Playing well now and Mike Smith seems to have turned a corner in net and Vincent Lecavalier is looking better. Steve Downie's been a nice surprise in terms of point production. And the east is so filled with mediocre teams, yes, I think the Bolts can be in the playoffs. Or they could finish 14th.
Joshua Terc (Long Island)
Scott, What do the Rangers need to do to shake things up? Have you heard anything?
Scott Burnside (4:46 PM)
Joshua; Lots of gnashing of teeth on Broadway. But until management is prepared to eat the salaries of guys like Wade Redden and Michal Rozsival (ie. send them to Hartford of the AHL) and bring in players who can compete and produce then the team is destined to be what they are, a one-man band offensively that has to hang on and hope Henrik Lundqvist bails them out every night or they can't win. Not much of a future in that.
Seeing as Chiarelli has said that Rask is untouchable, any chance of the Bruins landing Kovalchuk? If so how much of the future will be mortgaged?
Scott Burnside (4:47 PM)
Greg; The good thing for the Bruins is that they have a couple of first-round draft picks from Toronto that would almost certainly form the core of any deal for Kovalchuk. But it will take more than draft picks and I'm not sure the Bruins have the goods - hey, they just signed Miroslav Satan to help them out.
Scott, what do you think of this for the Winter Classic: Red Wings vs. Toronto (or Montreal) at Michigan Stadium?
Scott Burnside (4:48 PM)
Tom; I like it although with the Canadians (ie. CBC and the country, not Montreal Canadiens) getting a second outdoor game, likely for CBC's Hockey Day in Canada next February hard to imagine NBC would want a Canadian team in the Winter Classic as it hurts ratings (at least in theory).
Andrew ((New Jersey))
Scott, did you actually get the entire US Olympic roster right, if so thats pretty impressive, props to you.
Scott Burnside (4:49 PM)
Andrew; I put this question up not to feed my massive ego but to point out in fairness that Pierre LeBrun and I had the same names but I filed first and he changed two so we wouldn't look like do everything together. But, yes, had all 23 correct. For my next trick...
any chance the ducks finally fire unreliable head coach randy and his silly dump and chase and hire andy murray
Scott Burnside (4:51 PM)
al; You mean fire the guy that helped bring a Stanley Cup parade to the Honda Center parking lot in 2007? At some point management and ownership will decide they have to do something and it's almost impossible to make a trade to shake up a roster so, yes, I do think it's possible. And would Andy Murray do a good job? Yes. So would Bob Hartley or Craig MacTavish.
Chris (San Jose)
With 4 Sharks on team Canada, do you see this as being beneficial to the Sharks in the long run or a disadvantage? If Team Canada Wins Gold, will this win fulfill these players short terms needs of a championship and cause them to loose motivation, or do you see it as a stepping stone to ultimately winning the Cup
Scott Burnside (4:52 PM)
Chris; Great question and I'm not sure where the answer lies. Have to believe that winning gold would provide even greater motivation for Joe Thornton et al to double up with a Cup. But if they falter in the Olympics you can bet that will add fuel to the fire that they lack enough character to get the Sharks over the hump. Talk about walking a fine line.
Scott, 1st Line USA? 1st Line Canada? 1st Line Sweden? Go!
Scott Burnside (4:55 PM)
Patrick Kane, Paul Stastny, Ryan Malone for the AmericansSidney Crosby, Rick Nash, Patrice Bergeron for the Canadians Henrik Zetterberg, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin for the Swedes. or something like that.
Scott, how surprised were you by the Russian roster? I haven't even heard of many of the players, and was surprised they would take them over current NHLers. They should have had one of the top 3 forward groups in the Olympics (CAN,SWE), but now I don't know what to make of them. Your thoughts?
Scott Burnside (4:57 PM)
Tom; Interesting roster for sure. There are rumors that the Russian hockey powers are angry there weren't more KHL players (it was a 50-50 split when players were invited to their orientation camp) and I wonder if the politics involved in the process may end up hurting them in terms of depth. Still, pretty impressive top end talent with Ovechkin, Datsyuk, Malkin, Kovalchuk, Markov, Nabokov, Bryzgalov et al. Depth may not be an issue in the end.
Al (Beamsville, ON)
Scott.....Team Canada "B Squad" beats Team USA????? I say most definately! Et tu?
Scott Burnside (4:58 PM)
Al; Probably. But that's not how the tournament works and it's going to be fun come elimination time to see how Ryan Miller et al respond and how the Canadians fare under the relentless pressure of playing at home.
is there a chanc ethat the caps win it all?
Scott Burnside (4:59 PM)
Paris; Sure. Goaltending needs to sort itself out but yes, they sure can. Watch for the Caps to add a piece, maybe along the blue line in the form of a veteran presence, at the trade deadline.
Biggest name moved at the trade deadline?
Scott Burnside (5:00 PM)
Brent; Well, we've already discussed Ilya Kovalchuk, if the Ducks continue to falter perhaps Scott Niedermayer agrees to be moved for one more shot at a Cup (New Jersey anyone?), Marty Turco could be on the move from Dallas. Ray Whitney in Carolina.
will Keith and Seabrook be Canada's top defensive line?
Scott Burnside (5:01 PM)
Michael; Chris Pronger and Dan Boyle I think although it's 1 and 1A.
Any comment on Jussi Jokinen being left out from Finnish Olympic squad?
Scott Burnside (5:02 PM)
A-J; Apparently the Finns don't believe they'll need to win any games in a shoot-out.
It is becoming a bit more obvious that the Coyotes need to add a bit more scoring to compete come playoff time. Who do you think they are targeting/will be allowed to take on by the powers above?
Scott Burnside (5:03 PM)
Loup; I don't see them doing much other than tinkering, maybe adding a veteran scorer. They don't have the financial wherewithal at this point to make that kind of splash. And frankly, no sense putting the cart ahead of the horse when it comes to trying to do too much too soon with this team.
Scott Burnside (5:03 PM)
Thanks all. See you next Monday.