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 3 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (2:50 PM)
Matthew will be here at the top of the hour to take your questions!
Matthew Barnaby (2:54 PM)
A lot of things are changing. Teams moving up, teams moving down. And some could be moving out. Let's answer some questions.
Matthew (Alexandria, VA)
Caps first period Woes... cause for concern or will the playoffs take care of the team "not being ready" at the start?
Matthew Barnaby (2:55 PM)
I think they'll be ready. The problem is, they really don't have anything to play for any more. I don't think their goaltending has been as bad as the numbers suggest, but the commitment to team defense has not been there. Still, the favorite, I think, in the East.
Will (St. Louis)
What's going on with Columbus? Any chance they qualify for the playoffs any time the rest of this decade?
Matthew Barnaby (2:56 PM)
Considering this decade is almost over, I'm going to go with a no. Led by Rick Nash, I think this team will be a playoff team in the near future. Some good young kids and I think goaltending will come back.
Can Montreal do any damage in the playoffs?
Matthew Barnaby (2:57 PM)
Ben, I don't think so. They had just better concentrate on making the playoffs, which I think they will. Halak has been very good this year, but I think when you look at their offense, I don't think they have the size to battle in a 7 game series with a lot of teams D. I think they will get in and five games later will be out.
Matthew, was last night's Hawks win a sign of things to come or is this team still sliding?
Matthew Barnaby (2:58 PM)
Chicago is a little bit like Washington. It's tough to get up when you know you've already clinched playoffs. I think we learned one thing that Niemi will be the starter come playoff time. This is a very good team and at times looked like they were playing 3-on-3 keep away. Don't be nervous as this team is poised to make a very good run.
Calgary, St. Louis, Anaheim...which team has the best chance of making it out west?
Matthew Barnaby (3:00 PM)
Definitely Calgary. A huge win last night over Phoenix. They play the Avs tomorrow night and are only two points back. A huge, huge game. If they can win, the pressure will be so big on the Avs young kids in the last few games. I predict whoever wins tomorrow's games will make the playoffs.
How good is Stamkos? 46 goals? That's unreal.
Matthew Barnaby (3:02 PM)
There's a reason he was picked No. 1 overall. Started off his career very slowly, but with his dedication in the offseason to getting bigger and stronger, he has become an elite player in the league. He is such a great skater and has 21 goals on the power play are what make him the player he is. He has a huge one-time slapper and he has a knack of getting open. He will be a star for years to come.
Can the Caps hold off the Sharks for the President's Trophy?
Matthew Barnaby (3:03 PM)
I think they will. I think the Sharks will not rush Joe Thornton back in the lineup and I really think Ovechkin will win the Rocket Richard for most goals leading his team to a few more wins.
Do you agree with speculation that if kings miss playoffs (which seems impossible by now) or if they get eliminated in the 1st round that DL's job could be in jeopardy?
Matthew Barnaby (3:05 PM)
No, Dean Lombardi's job is not in jeopardy. This is a team that a lot of people didn't think could make the playoffs. And I thought at the start of the year that the 8 seed was realistic. The Kings and the Avs for most of the year played way above expectation. They have come back to reality and this is legitimately where they should be. I do think it will be one series and out, but I think when you look at the top teams and who they will play, it would be unrealistic to think otherwise.
Do you see a healthy Sabres team as a legitimate cup contender?
Matthew Barnaby (3:06 PM)
I, not like a lot of other people, think the East is wide open. I do think when they get Vanek and Connoly back in the lineup and Ryan Miller plays the way he has all year long, they can beat anyone in the East. Tyler Myers logs a ton of ice time and plays well beyond his years. Very well coached, even though he didn't like me very much.
Boush (Buffalo, NY)
Do you like pizza?
Matthew Barnaby (3:07 PM)
I LOVE pizza. Hawaiian's my favorite or the steak pizza from LaNova. Send me some if you have a chance.
what's up with the ben rothlesburger situation now?
Matthew Barnaby (3:08 PM)
I put a voicemail into Ben. We should have it by the end of the chat.
I may be speaking too soon but I'm predicting wings and coyotes first round. Any thoughts on that?
Matthew Barnaby (3:08 PM)
I totally agree. I said it last night on SportsCenter "Congratulations to the Phoenix Coyotes. You've had an unbelievable year. Over 100 points. And now you get to play the Detroit Red Wings who are 9-0-1 in their last 10 and healthy and rested. Have fun."
Matthew, have the Avs just been an illusion and had us fooled or will they continue to be strong next year and beyond?
Matthew Barnaby (3:10 PM)
This is a great story. A rookie coach, a lot of young kids and a journeyman goalie. This has been a great story all year long and will continue to grow as a team moving forward. Don't be surprised if next year they don't make the playoffs because this is a team that overachieved this year. A great future ahead of them, but there could be a little bit of a set back.
Bonsal (Drew U)
Hey fellow birthday buddy (May 4th all the way!)What do you think the chances are that the Rangers will snag the final berth? I'm putting it at 20%
Matthew Barnaby (3:11 PM)
20%? You must be a fan. I will go with 5. You have to battle Atlanta and Montreal. If it was one team, the chances are always better. But when you need two teams to collapse, very tough to do. I already sent your card for the birthday, just send me cash.
Raffi Torres logged 3 assists last night for Buffalo, I was happy to see that. What are your thoughts on him as a contributor to the post season. He did go to the finals with Edmonton in '06
Matthew Barnaby (3:12 PM)
I like this pick up a lot. He has been hurt a bit, but as a playoff contributor, I think this is a guy that could really step up. You look for role players that score big goals. This could be a guy that scores some big, big goals for the Sabres. Great character.
Keith (Waltham, MA)
Matthew, First of all in NHL 99 you as a player literally cannot go a game without getting into a fight... to the point where I had to turn off fighting... anyway, what do the Flyers do in the offseason in net? Price or Halak seem to be the best options for a long-term solution, however can they get either one of them without losing giroux or jvr? what do you think?
Matthew Barnaby (3:14 PM)
Yeah, that was a tough Buffalo Sabres team. We couldn't go shifts in the regular NHL without getting into fights. At least you have all your teeth and no scars to show for it. I was also very slow in that game if I remember. So not realistic. I do not think the Montreal Canadians will be parting with Halak, but Price might be up for sale. He would be a good option, but I think Marty Turco could be a guy that could be on the radar. He did not have a great year this year. His contract is up and will probably sign a one year deal or two. And upside is very good. That would be the route I would take.
Do you think Knuble is the difference this year to push the Capitals over the top (presence in front of the net)?
Matthew Barnaby (3:15 PM)
This has been a huge pick up for Washington. Great character guy and all he knows how to do is score goals. I don't think he is what pushes them over the top, I think it's commitment to team defense that is.
Dean (Lansing, MI)
What do you think trumps what in the playoffs: depth or star power at the front?
Matthew Barnaby (3:16 PM)
I think it's depth, but more importantly, I think it's commitment to playing and sticking with the system. Obviously having stars is great and they are game breakers, but to win the Cup you need guys to step up that normally don't. That's what wins Cups.
Brian (East Islip, NY)
Hey Matt, you think the rangers can still squeeze into the playoffs? And if so, you think they can give the Caps a run for their money like last season?
Matthew Barnaby (3:18 PM)
I don't think you guys are going to make the playoffs. And if you do, I don't think you would give the Capitals a run for their money. If they have a weakness, it is defensively and the Rangers don't create enough to penetrate the D and cause them problems.
Matt (Augusta, GA)
Who's your pick for the Calder?
Matthew Barnaby (3:19 PM)
My pick is Tyler Myers. Maybe I have a bias, because I live in Buffalo and I get to watch him an awful lot. He plays in every situation and keeps getting better and better. Jimmy Howard is a close second and has really come out of no where. His 23 straight starts and the Wings moving way up the standings are a tribute to how well he has played. I think it will be a battle between these two and an honorable mention to Matt Duchene and John Tavares.
Are you still confident in your prediction, taking the Sharks to win the cup?
Matthew Barnaby (3:20 PM)
Not as confident as I was 3 months ago. But I still do think this is a very good team. When I look at the two top teams, I think both of their goaltending situations might scare them a little bit. Chicago plays with no fear and will be very tough to beat to come out of the Western Conference.
Side note: Not sure if you are in Buffalo or Bristol, but it is 78 degrees here today... Makes it feel like June and that the playoffs have already started...
Matthew Barnaby (3:22 PM)
Not going to lie Joe, I've had 20 calls telling me how beautiful it is there and it's starting to make me mad. I could be playing golf, instead I'm on a computer. It actually is very nice here and I love this time of year, because playoff time is right around the corner. Now, I have to bring out the shiny suits to match Barry and the mullet.
Dan (Wells, ME)
You've seen a hot goal tender dominate the playoffs before. That being said, should the Bruins make the playoffs, what do you think of their chances with Tuukka in net? The kid can play.
Matthew Barnaby (3:23 PM)
Yeah, I don't think anyone would have guessed that Rask would have been the starter, replacing Vezina winner Tim Thomas. But he is a very good goalie and gives them a chance to win. Any time you have a hot goaltender you can beat anyone, it is the one equalizer in this sport. This has been a very inconsistent team, though and without Savard, I don't see them getting past the first round.
how do you feel about Pat Kaleta being called " the rat " in buffalo and wearing your old number?
Matthew Barnaby (3:25 PM)
I love it. I like the passion that he plays with and he is a good teammate. It does seem kind of weird when I look and see the number 36 skating around. I love the other day when he faked and drew a five minute major on Mike Fisher. The only way it would have been any better is if Carrie Underwood was shown on TV after Mike was kicked out of the game.
spencer (seattle, wa)
Matt, do you think the nhl will ever have an award inspired by Steve yzerman's career?
Matthew Barnaby (3:26 PM)
I don't think so. I think he is one of the classiest and best players to ever play the game. We had the same agent and I had the chance to meet him at a very young age. I can honestly say he treats everyone the same. Very humble, but if we honored every good player with an award, I would be first. Just joking.
Jack (McLean, Virginia)
Can anyone stop Detroit?
Matthew Barnaby (3:27 PM)
Yeah, the economy. That's about it. They look very good right now. They are rested, full of confidence and have great leadership. A lot of people are not quite as confident as they were a couple of months ago. FACT.
Matthew Barnaby (3:27 PM)
Good luck to all of you that have teams on the bubble. I look forward to talking to you next week.