Chat with EJ Hradek
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN The Magazine's EJ Hradek will stop by to chat about the NHL season.
Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.
Keep up with what Hradek has been up to through his blog on ESPN.com.
Send your questions now and join EJ to chat Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (3:01 PM)
We're getting EJ now!
Robert (Detroit, MI)
Do you think the Red Wings will be active at the deadline?
EJ Hradek (3:08 PM)
I would say that a lot will depend on what kind of cap room they have. They don't have a lot of space. They've already had to make some moves to shuffle some contracts just to activate some players. I think they'll be looking for something to help the team, but like a lot of teams, they have a lot of cap implications.
do you think the Hawks will acquire goaltending help?
EJ Hradek (3:09 PM)
That's a great question. That's one we've been thinking about for a while now. The real question is is there anyone out there that they can acquire that's substantially better than what they have. A Roloson? It depends on what the team wants in return. The Hawks would have to be willing to pay the price. We'll see, but I don't know if there's anyone out there that's much better than what they have now.
Air20and3 (New Hampshire)
EJ, is there any chatter regarding the Habs at the deadline? Pierre Gauthier has said he is looking for young forward and defense that are NOT rentals. Are there any non-rentals on the market? Wolksi? Thanks buddy.
EJ Hradek (3:11 PM)
Well, if he's looking for that kind of move, the asset he'd have to be willing to move is one of his goaltenders, Halak or Price. At some point they'll have to make a decision on who they're moving forward with. That's a significant asset to have. So, if he's looking to make that kind of addition, he'd have to trade one of those guys. But I think that kind of move is better made in the summer when all of the teams could be involved. We'll see what he's going to do.
jeevs (ajax, ont)
is ovie gonna be more pumped up after failing to medal at the olympics??
EJ Hradek (3:12 PM)
I think Ovie is always pumped up. He's always excited and has energy to play. Down the stretch for the playoffs, we'll see. The Cup is definitely within site for the Capitals. They're one of the favorites. His energy level is going to be moving up the charts. He'll be exciting to watch in the playoffs.
any Ranger rumors?
EJ Hradek (3:13 PM)
Not really at this point. The Rangers made a couple of deals already. I think they'll be listening and doing something to help this team down the stretch. They're kind of in that bubble of teams trying to get into the playoffs in the East. A centerman would help them, but those kind of guys are hard to find. He could do something, but could stand pat because they've already made some deals.
what are the odds of a Tim Thomas straight up for Patrick Kane deal?
EJ Hradek (3:14 PM)
Zero. Zero. Zero. I say that with all due respect for Tim Thomas. I don't see anyone trading away 21 year old star forwards for 35 year old goaltenders. When I think about it, after the Olympics and watching Toews and Kane playing, it's crazy to think about the Blackhawks having both of them on their team.
ryan (so cal)
Give me your opinion on how the L.A. Kings Olympians performed.
EJ Hradek (3:16 PM)
Doughty was terrific as one of the younger guys in the tournament playing for Canada. He is the highest profile one. I was impressed with Dustin Brown. He's an honest hockey player, puts on his gear and plays hard. He was asked to play on the left wing and it was uncomfortable for him at first. Those two guys for sure I thought did themselves proud in the tournament.
Is Brodeur's benching a blessing for Devils fans who are worried about him being over-played, or does it mess with his psyche?
EJ Hradek (3:18 PM)
Marty Brodeur's been around. He's been in all kinds of situations. I don't think that will mess with his psyche. I think Canada could have gone on to win gold with him in net. I think the Canadians knew the way they wanted to play it. If they had won that game against the U.S. they would have continued with him in net. I don't think it will impact Marty's psyche at all. Maybe it will benefit the Devils that he wasn't taxed. He got a little bit of a break. I know this: even at 37, Brodeur is a pretty damn good goalie.
Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)
EJ, forgetting about the ending for a second, how does the Vancouver 2010 tournament as a whole compare to the '87 Canada Cup in the "highest level of hockey ever played" discussion?
EJ Hradek (3:21 PM)
I think each of these elite tournaments are terrific in their own way. I'm sure if you asked the Fins and Swedes, they would have nothing but great things to say about the 2006 tournament. I think all of these tournaments that have these elite players, they're all special in separate ways. This one will be so memorable in just the way it ended. In the nature of hockey, the game gets remembered for the finish. I was lucky to be there. An unbelievable gold medal conclusion. It had great TV ratings.
Ryan Miller = thoroughbred. Can he deliver us beloved Sabres fans a Cup???
EJ Hradek (3:22 PM)
I don't think there's any one guy that can deliver the Cup. It's too hard to go through four 7-game series. The closest thing we saw was back when J.S. Giguere had his amazing run. It's tough. Buffalo has some good pieces in place to help him. This experience has to give him some confidence. Another year or so and some of these younger guys get some more experience, maybe Buffalo can make that next step up the ladder.
Phil (Chicago )
Tim Thomas for Patrick Kane was one of the dumbest trade proposals I have ever seen.
nick (pittsburgh, pa)
Any rumors involving the Penguins?
EJ Hradek (3:24 PM)
There are a lot of rumors involving the Penguins, because when you look at them, they're going to go out and get another forward to play with their elite centers. They've demonstrated the last few years that they can get the job done in getting players to come in and help. He's got his eyes open. I think he'll add a winger or two. But salary cap limitations will be there.
Neal (Montclair, NJ)
I've always been an Ovie supporter, just for his sheer passion, but Crosby really does have quite an impressive resume at such a young age. Down by 1 with a minute to go, who do you like better? Ovie or Crosby?
EJ Hradek (3:25 PM)
In that circumstance, I probably want Ovechkin. He has that dynamic shot. He scored over 60 goals in a season in his career. I'd love to have both.
EJ, great olympic hockey tourney, so did the performance of the Shark's line for Canada do anything to instill confidence in the Shark's chances in the second season this year, or is it another disapointing finish for the team from Silicon Valley?
EJ Hradek (3:27 PM)
I didn't think that line was dynamic in the tournament. Heatley scored some goals. That's what he does. Marleau did his thing. Joe Thornton didn't have the best tournament. I thought you could get more out of him. They're going to be competitive. A lot will probably depend on getting a favorable matchup and staying away from injuries. Matchups are key. If they got Detroit right off the bat, that'd be tough. If they don't have a good first round, I'm sure we'll all be saying that they didn't have a good year.
Richard (Greensboro, NC)
What are the odds Ray Whitney doesn't get dealt?
EJ Hradek (3:28 PM)
I think he will get traded. But that being said, the Hurricanes will not just give him away. That probably means a player, a draft pick and probably another prospect. If the offers aren't there, then he probably stays. Whitney has a no-trade clause. I kind of figure that he will go somewhere, but I don't think it's dead certain.
Frank (Downingtown, Pennsylvania)
What do you see the Flyers doing at the deadline? Maybe an upgrade in goal, even though Michael Leighton has played well?
EJ Hradek (3:30 PM)
I think the Flyers could be in the market for a goalie because of the injury issues surrounding Ray Emery. Maybe a Roloson. But salary cap limitations are an issue. I hate to sound like a broken record.
EJ, what can the NHL do to keep the masses interested in hockey after the enthusiam for Olympic hockey?
EJ Hradek (3:33 PM)
I think there's a lot. The NHL product right now is a good one. There are a lot of terrific young players in the league and they were on display in the Olympics. I think they're doing a good job. They have a lot of good games on Versus this week. They're putting some good matchups on NBC which will be seen nationwide. There's good hockey being played all around the league and in North America. Hopefully fans that tuned in the other day will find guys like Zach Parise interesting or Ryan Miller. Hopefully they've grabbed on to these personalities. All across the country when you put on the USA jersey, all of a sudden you're the home team. If you look at the ratings, that game was watched by more people than NFL playoff games. They're never going to match that number in the foreseeable future. But there's a lot of good hockey being played. Hopefully they'll tune in and check it out.
EJ Hradek (3:34 PM)
Keep tuned into ESPN.com for the trade deadline. Who knows, your favorite player might be on the move. We'll be back next week to talk about everything that happens.