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 (3:01 PM)
We're getting Matthew!
Matthew Barnaby (3:04 PM)
A couple of blow outs last night. America absolutely destroyed Canada. Hopefully some much closer games tonight.
What do you make of the caps inconsistency all season and do you expect them to even win their division?
Matthew Barnaby (3:05 PM)
I don't expect them to win their division. I look at Tampa and, for the first time, they have some solid competition. Their inconsistency doesn't surprise me, as they haven't been tested within their own division in years and they still haven't committed to team defense.
Matt R (NJ)
I'm a Flyers fan who loves that the Flyers are a top of the East standings. But with 12 points (six games) seperating 1st and 8th is it too early to declare the Flyers best team in the East by far?
Matthew Barnaby (3:06 PM)
Yes, I would not say they are the best team by far, but I think they've been the most consistent team this year. It will be a race right to the bitter end. But even if you don't finish first in the conference, it doesn't mean you aren't the best team.
Matthew Barnaby (3:07 PM)
I would not want to play the Flyers with the depth that they have at every position.
Matthew - the Wings are talking contract with Nabokov. I'm thinking Ozzie is done for the year and they don't have that much confidence in MacDonald. What are your thoughts?
Matthew Barnaby (3:08 PM)
I think it's a good move. Nabokov is a quality goalie. He has not had much playoff success, but certainly if something happens to Howard, or if he doesn't play up to standards, Nabokov is a great choice. I still am not sure once the contract is signed that one of the other teams doesn't pick him up.
What do you think of the recent depth pickups by the Sharks?
Matthew Barnaby (3:09 PM)
I think they were great moves. When you look at the Sharks season, they too have been inconsistent. All over the place. I think they looked at adding some depth and energy. Something that they desperately needed.
With Chris Pronger back in the lineup and assuming the Flyers stay healthy, do you see anyone (namely Pittsburgh) taking over the top seed in the East?
Matthew Barnaby (3:10 PM)
I don't see it, no. They have been the most consistent team in the East. With Pittsburgh having a little bit of an injury problem, especially No. 87, I don't see anyone catching the Flyers.
Canucks Fan Adams (Colorado)
Hi Matthew, do you see the Canucks staying hot throughout the season and making it to the Cup finals ?
Matthew Barnaby (3:11 PM)
I do. They have played great. They have a very deep up front with a great power play. They have the deepest defense, I think, in the league. And Luongo is showing signs of brilliance at times this year.
Matthew Barnaby (3:12 PM)
They will still have to go through Detroit, and when they're healthy, they're obviously cause for concern.
Josh (Boston, Ma)
Matthew,How far can the Bruins go in the playoff with the way Tim Thomas has been playing. Is the any chance Keith Yandle comes to the Bruins in a trade? - Thanks, Josh
Matthew Barnaby (3:13 PM)
We saw what Montreal did last year, with a very average team and a hot goaltender. Tim Thomas has been, by far, the best goaltender in the NHL this year. Will they have enough scoring? I don't know. But they can beat anyone in the East, if Thomas stays this hot.
Freelo (Cogent, CO)
Whats up Matthew, What teams have been the biggest surprise to you so far this year ??
Matthew Barnaby (3:14 PM)
Dallas Stars for the good. When I looked at this team at the start of the year, I didn't even have them making the playoffs. I knew they had great forwards, but I thought their D was young and would be exposed. And their goaltender was coming off a serious injury. On the bad end, all I can say is New Jersey Devils, for obvious reasons.
Ryan (Damascus, MD)
Did we finally see Gaboriks slump disappear last night or do you think it was a mirage? Also, what are your overall thoughts on the Rangers considering all of the injuries they've been playing through?
Matthew Barnaby (3:15 PM)
I think he had a great game. I think he'll definitely feel better than he has in the first half of the season. Injuries have been part of the reason and some times a big night can spark a star player into saving a season. I know this: the Rangers will need him to score more and more consistently if they are going to make a run.
What do you think about the preds so far this season?
Matthew Barnaby (3:17 PM)
They just keep finding a way. Finding a way. They lose a top 2 defenseman. They lose a big scorer in Arnott. But they always play hard and seem to always get great goaltending. That has been their recipe for success all year long.
Do you think Bruce Brodreau needs to make it the ECF's to keep his job?
Matthew Barnaby (3:18 PM)
I do. With the expectations that that team has, I think anything else would be considered a failure. I don't think he is a great coach and I don't think they will go very far with him as a head coach. I know he's a great guy, but things just seem unorganized there and it's not George McPhee.
Do you see the Penguins being able to outlast the Flyers if they meet in the Eastern Conference finals?
Matthew Barnaby (3:20 PM)
I think that would be a great series. I think the Penguins have a lot of talent. Marc Andre-Fleury is playing much better than last year. I've been a part of the battle of Pennsylvania and would love to see that conference finals.
andrew (office cubicle)
are you buying a "mild" concussion for Crosby?...it has to be worse than what they are saying
Matthew Barnaby (3:21 PM)
Concussions are weird. What might be considered a mild concussion and you might not have huge side effects, with a star player like Crosby, you want to be very careful.
Matthew Barnaby (3:21 PM)
There is no need to rush him back as a risk for another one within a short time frame goes up.
With the NHL gaining more and more attention, do you see it rising back to the popularity it saw in the early to mid 90's? When do you see teams in the warm weather states finally moving? its got to be hard for players in the NHL to go to the rink and only have it fill a quarter of the way....
Matthew Barnaby (3:22 PM)
I think we're at an all time high right now. I look at the numbers for the outdoor game, the numbers for the finals and the wealth of talent that we have in the league. I only see its popularity growing.
Do you still think the Fleishman deal to colorado was good for the caps? After the trade they havent been the same team (see the december losing streak). Is there a problem in the locker room I'm not hearing about?
Matthew Barnaby (3:24 PM)
I don't think so. I think they are playing against, first of all, a better division than they have in a while (the Southeast) and I like the addition of Hannan. Fleishman is not a top 6 forward for them and they needed defense. They have to commit to playing a certain way, no matter who is in the lineup.
How long will Leafs fans put up with this garbage play until some heads start to roll ? Isnt it about time for something to be done ?
Matthew Barnaby (3:26 PM)
I think we will see some moves come as the deadline approaches. But I think we got a little too excited with the start that they had. When Brian Burke took over, it should have been a 4-5 year plan. I really think the trade for Phil Kessel and eventually losing Seguin and another top 5 pick has really slowed the process. I would be surprised if Ron Wilson gets a chance to coach the team next year.
Zdeno Chara (Boston, MA)
Two questions:1.) Am I turning into more of an offensive D-man, I've had a nice string of goals in the past few games including a hat trick2.) Why would you ever want to fight me, or Why did you fight me?
Matthew Barnaby (3:27 PM)
He's always going to be a defensive defenseman first. But with a shot that tops out at 105 MPH, there are going to be stretches where he does add some goals. He is a great defenseman, whom I'm sure the Islanders wish they still had. But don't get me started on that story.
Joe (Denver )
Matt, As a wings fan, can you tell me why this team is coming out so slow in first periods? I can certainly understand it happening from time-to-time, but this is starting to look like some sort of strange addiction. -Joe
Matthew Barnaby (3:28 PM)
This is a great team. They're pretty methodical. But I don't have too many complaints if I'm a Red Wings fan. They find a way every year to be at the top.
Matthew Barnaby (3:29 PM)
We'll have one more chat before the all-star break. Usually this is where you find out what teams are contenders or pretenders. See ya.