Chat with Matthew Barnaby
Welcome to Sportsnation! On Thursday, ESPN NHL analyst Matthew Barnaby will stop by to take your questions on the NHL.
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 4 p.m. ET!
Matthew Barnaby (3:52 PM)
It looks like crunch time is here. Teams are buckling down and playoffs are right around the corner. Should be some good games in the next couple of weeks. Let's get to your questions.
Today's standings have the Penguins only 1 point ahead of NJ and Buffalo, but Pittsburgh has played 2 more games than both. How important is it for Pittsburgh to avoid a 4th seed and a potential semifinal matchup with Washington?
Matthew Barnaby (3:55 PM)
It's huge. I don't think you want to play Washington until the final of the Eastern Conference. They are a great team and we saw how quickly things can change when you play a team as talented offensively as they are. They also have a source of motivation with getting knocked out by the Pens last year and eventually winning the Stanley Cup.
Chris Sheldon ((Chapel Hill, NC))
Do you think Ovechkin's hit on Campbell was dirty? Punishment fit the crime? They can't seem to get over it in Chicago.
Matthew Barnaby (3:56 PM)
I don't think it was dirty and I don't think he meant to hurt him. Alex is a reckless player that plays with a lot of emotion. What happens a lot is he is so much stronger than other players. This I believe to be the case in this incident. He did hurt Campbell and for that was suspended for two games. Chicago should get over it.
Theodore has gone 17-0-2 in his last 19 games. I think it's it about time the media/fans stop with the Caps have a goalie issue going into the playoffs. He's one of the hottest goalies in the league right now. If it wasn't for him, Caps woulda lost 7-3 last night in DC. If anything, the Caps Defense needs to step it up a bit...
Matthew Barnaby (3:57 PM)
Mike, I'll jump on board with you. We have said for a while that if there is a deficiency it was their goaltending and defensive battle in their own zone. Theodore is holding his end of the bargain and I thought played great last night, especially early on. If he can play like that there are not many teams that can beat the Washington Capitals.
Do you think that Jose Theodore in net can lead the Caps to the Cup? Which team do you see as being the biggest obstacle in the way?
Matthew Barnaby (3:58 PM)
I think in the East the New Jersey Devils would be their toughest opponent. The way Washington plays is very free flowing and New Jersey preys on it. Kovalchuk has to catch fire at some point and I pity the team when he does.
Conor barrett: (hanesville, illinois [via mobile])
Do the blackhawks need a new goalie if not this year, then next year to contend for the cup? Is the goalie issue a problem for the hawks to make a long playoff run this year?
Matthew Barnaby (4:00 PM)
Chicago looked into goaltending but decided that they were going to stand pat. They are a very dominant team and I think their goaltending just has to be good and not great for them to win a Cup. They have shown at times to be brilliant and some times to be subpar. Niemi should be the starter going into the playoffs as he has been the more consistent of the two.
Carl Speas ((Walled Lake, MI))
How do you think the Red Wing's are doing? What position do you think that they will finish in the West?
Matthew Barnaby (4:01 PM)
The Red Wings are hitting their stride. I can guarantee no one wants to play them in the first round. If it is San Jose, this could be the last straw for the Sharks. This is a healthy team, a rested team and a very dangerous team. I think they will finish in seventh and watch out.
Matt (Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii)
As a Buffalo native and die hard Sabres fan, I see their recent play as them getting hot at just the right time. How far do you see them going in the playoffs and what do you see as their biggest weakness ???
Matthew Barnaby (4:02 PM)
Buffalo is a dangerous team. They have a great goalie that not only can steal one game, but could steal a series. If there is one problem it is consistency in scoring goals. They need production from all of their lines and especially in the playoffs will need Vanek to be very good.
Aside from headshots, what is the next big issue of the game itself for the league to take a look at?
Matthew Barnaby (4:04 PM)
I really think the next issue is moving some of these teams into better markets. It takes some of the southern teams and there are just some much better markets out there that would support the franchise more than they are being supported. If you loan me a couple hundred million, I'll pick Vegas.
Nick (North Carolina)
Barnaby. Better nickname: Rat or Turtle?
Matthew Barnaby (4:05 PM)
From my own teammates, I loved Rat. But I loved Turtle when the opposition used to say it. It meant I was doing my job. Also, any friend of Johnny Drama is a friend of mine.
Matt, who has the best shot at winning the Vezina Trophy?
Matthew Barnaby (4:06 PM)
Frank, is this a set up question? I'm going to say Ryan Miller, because I'm afraid you know where I live and I know you're a Sabres fan. He gives them a chance to win evey single night. There is no way they would be where they are without him.
Liam Hart (Norton, Mass)
Is Nick Lidstrom the second greatest defenseman of all time (after Orr)?
Matthew Barnaby (4:07 PM)
That, my friend, is a very tough one. You think of players like Paul Coffey, Ray Borque, Scott Stevens, and obviously, Orr. Nicklas Lidstrom is right up there. I tried for 14 years to hit him as hard as I could and I could never catch him. So great at moving the puck. Never panicking and leading by example. I don't know if he'd be No. 2, but he's definitely in the top 5. Couldn't meet a better guy either.
IF the Sabres go deep in the post-season, will you come back in town to watch the action first hand? Or will you stay in that cushy ESPN studio??? Haha...
Matthew Barnaby (4:08 PM)
If they go deep, I will definitley be at a few games. But for the most part, I will be with my undersized, overpaid anchors. Just joking guys. I love you guys.
Do you think Brent Seabrook and James Wisniewski are still friends?
Matthew Barnaby (4:10 PM)
This one, I think, is going to take a long time. It was a vicious check and Seabrook is just coming back to play. Seabrook is a great and loyal guy, but was effected by this. They will be friends again, but I think it will take a few dinners and maybe a couple of bottles of '97 vintage. At least, that would make him my friend.
lets say the wings win the cup, would we call it amazing because of the rough season? or is it just another ring in hockeytown?
Matthew Barnaby (4:11 PM)
If they win this year, it will be truly amazing. You look at the players they've lost, the health issues they've had and Howard taking over as No. 1. This truly would be an amazing feat. Having said that, I wouldn't bet against them.
Matthew, do you think the winning ways of the Devils could sway Kovy to decrease his demands? Also, if they sign him, does that mean Paul Martin will be looking for a new home?
Matthew Barnaby (4:13 PM)
No, I don't. I think Kovy is going to max out and I don't think New Jersey will be his home come July 1. He's going to get a lot of money and Lou is not known for spending that kind of cash. I think he will spend the money to keep Paul Martin and they will keep winning, because they are the New Jersey Devils.
Tom (Kingston Ontario)
Matt who were your favorite and least favorite coaches to play for.
Matthew Barnaby (4:15 PM)
Tom, I actually hated to play for Lindy Ruff, because we didn't get along, but having looked back on the situation, I was the wrong. So, I'm going to discount that one. Kevin Constatine with the Pittsburgh Penguins was by far the worst coach I ever played for. Very well prepared, but no personal skills and no flexibility made him a bad coach (I hope he's not reading). Best coach I ever played for was Ted Nolan. Not well prepared, but had great personal skills and loved emotional hockey.
Hey Matt,You've been through the playoffs- what are some key areas Chicago will focus on during their run this year? And who's your vote for the selke this year?
Matthew Barnaby (4:16 PM)
My Selke pick? Ryan Kessler from Vancouver. Great skater. Good defensively and putting up some great numbers. As for Chicago, don't change your gameplan. Keep coming at teams, play high intensity, but in the playoffs, don't try the cute, cute plays at the lines. They seem to always come back and bite you.
Aaron (Aurora, IL)
Matthew, who do you think will win the Norris trophy this year?
Matthew Barnaby (4:18 PM)
I think this is going to be between Drew Doughty or Mike Green. Mike Green, since being snubbed from Canada's Olympic team has been awesome. He has competed harder in his own zone and will definitely be a force to reckon with come playoff time.
jeff (newport beach, ca)
Matt- my ducks, where do i begin, im not a naive sports fan when i say what the heck happened this year. 8 olympians(including whitney) one of the most talented skilled teams. i know the lupol trade made sense, but what happened to the tough, intimidating, forechecking ducks, i cannot believe this team has 76 points, how did this become?
Matthew Barnaby (4:21 PM)
When you look at their season, they have been very inconsistent. You can not give up an average of 3 goals a game and expect to be a playoff team. They are not many teams that score more than that, so defensively, they will have to be better next year. They do have the talent and in some games have looked very good. But inconsistency has not been there.
Matthew Barnaby (4:22 PM)
I have a few different spots that I loved. I guess Philadelphia would be No. 1, because they hated me so damn much. I love the death threats. I loved getting doused with beer walking into the arena. And I loved getting booed. I know. A little masochistic. That's who I am.
duncan keith (columbus right now)
why am i so overrated?
Matthew Barnaby (4:23 PM)
Duncan, I have played with you and you are a good friend of mine and you are not overrated. You have the fastest three steps in the NHL, good defensively and make a great first pass. Have a great night buddy. Enjoy all that cash you're making.
Barnaby I want to give you some props as being the only ESPN analyst to pick the Caps to go to the Cup final preseason. What amazes me however is how the experts continue to pick Pittsburgh as the favorite considering the fact that they are stumbling towards the playoffs, haven't been able to beat either Washington or New Jersey all year, and have gotten inconsistent goalie play all season. Wheres the Caps love?
Matthew Barnaby (4:24 PM)
I like both of those teams and for me, Buffalo is 3. The East is wide open, but the way Washington scores goals, they are never out of it. Power plays are such an important part of the game and Washington's is electric. Can't wait until the playoffs start.
Paul Sorensen ((Norton Shores, MI))
Hey Matt, What is Detroits Magic number in order to clinch a Playoff spot?
Matthew Barnaby (4:25 PM)
I say my magic number is 5, as I don't see Calgary winning 7 of the last 9. If Detroit wins 6, it's a clinch. It will be just like the boy band said, Baby, bye, bye, bey.
Matthew Barnaby (4:26 PM)
Everyone enjoy the week of hockey. We'll talk to you next week. I'll try to remember the boy band's name for you next week.