Chat with Scott Burnside
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, 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 Thursday at 4 p.m. ET!
Scott Burnside (4:00 PM)
Hello all. Welcome to another puck session, our last one before the All-Star break. Now where were we?
Kyle (Phoenix. AZ)
With the Western Conference standings being so packed, do you think more teams than in previous seasons will try to be buyers at the deadline? It seems like a GM for a team that's close, but on the outside, could get some really good deals by "giving up" on the playoffs.
Scott Burnside (4:03 PM)
Kyle; It's always pretty hard to guess which teams will buy/sell as there are so many factors, not the least of which is internal budget. That said Don Maloney was one of the most active GMs last year even though the 'Yotes were being run by the league. The west is certainly going to be a challenge for GMs there given how tight things are. In general, though, I think the days of GMs like Doug Wilson doling out first round picks willy nilly for rental players is long over.
What are the chances of the the Flyers being upset like the Capitals in the first round of play-offs? Is Philly a much deeper and more disciplined on D than the Caps were which would make an ear;y demise unlikely?
Scott Burnside (4:05 PM)
Brad; A couple of Flyers questions early on here today. It's hard to imagine the Flyers who are likely to be the top seed, two at worst, would lose to an Atlanta or Montreal or Carolina. I think their overall depth both along the blue line and up front will carry them deep into the playoffs. For me the only way the Flyers get upset is if the goaltending comes unglued and it starts a kind of tidal wave of uncertainty.
Bill, Pasadena, Ca [via mobile]
Hey Scott, The Kings have been wildly inconsistant, any thing going on with them acquiring anyone at the break? Thanks.
Scott Burnside (4:07 PM)
Bill; Kings hit the break with a couple of big wins under their belt but they've still got lots of work to do. No doubt in my mind GM Dean Lombardi will be looking for an impact player up front. Not sure where he's going to find one, though. Langenbrunner already gone, Richards isn't going anywhere, likewise Iginla, so it's tough to imagine just who might be on the market that would help the Kings take that next step. For me they've got to find the answers inside that room.
Edward (Severna Park, MD)
What happens to Brooks Laich between now (and including) this summer?
Scott Burnside (4:10 PM)
Edward; Good question. I think a lot will depend on what happens in the playoffs. I can see Laich having a nice post-season and then re-upping in Washington. He's one of those guys lots of teams will want to have if the Caps can't come up with the money or the term but my sense is he's a Caps guy. But like a lot of guys in that room this spring will say a lot about what happens moving forward.
Hi Scott - is there still a chance that NY and Detroit can work a deal for Nabokov? If not, where do the Wings turn to? We need some back-up help in the goalie department.
What do you think of a possible Peter Forsberg return? Does he really love the game or the publicity?
Scott Burnside (4:15 PM)
Bruce; sorry...bear with me. Slight operator error on my part. Will answer this shortly.
Scott Burnside (4:15 PM)
William; Was in Denver last weekend when Forsberg arrived and I have no sense whatsoever this is motivated by ego. Not his style. Does he have game? Not sure but I think we're going to find out. I would be shocked if he's not in an Avs jersey within the next two weeks.
Scott Burnside (4:17 PM)
Bruce; Re: Nabokov. Don't think it's going to happen as he would have to be exposed to waivers before he could be traded and I don't think he'd ever get through waivers, not at his bargain price. As for options not sure what Ken Holland has in mind given that they have virtually no cap space.
Josh (Naples, FL)
Who do you have as GM of the year? Is Yzerman the favorite?
Scott Burnside (4:19 PM)
Josh; I think Yzerman is the clubhouse leader at the All-Star break although a few guys I also like are David Poile in Nashville and Ray Shero in Pittsburgh. Still, hard to argue with the work Yzerman has done in making the Bolts not just a playoff team but a contender in the east.
Ron (Las Vegas)
What do you think will happen to Evgeni Nabokov?
Scott Burnside (4:20 PM)
Ron; Nice follow-up to the earlier question about the Isles/Red Wings. I admit Nabokov's decision not to report to the Isles annoys me. He knew the chances of this happening when he signed the deal and I feel he should honor the deal. I expect he will be forced to make good on the deal next year which would serve him right. If he's smart he'll reconsider, play his brains out for 20 or 25 games and get a decent deal somewhere else in July.
Ryan (Damascus, MD)
Do you think the Rangers are a legitimate Cup contender or do you think they are at least a year or two away?
Scott Burnside (4:22 PM)
Ryan; I would put them outside the top four or five contenders but they have been impressive. Lundqvist makes them difficult to play against and they don't give up too much defensively. But they still need Gaborik to prove he can deliver in the playoffs (not his strong suit) and the lack of a top center I think will be even more problematic in the post-season. Young blue line will also be facing its first playoff test. Lots of obstacles to overcome en route to a long playoff run.
With Edler out does this open up room to have salo and a top 6 forward brought in the mix?
Scott Burnside (4:25 PM)
Roman; Big, big loss for the Canucks with the announcement Alexander Edler will have back surgery. Salo is an obvious guy to jump back into the line-up but he's not the most durable guy. Good thing the Canucks didn't trade Bieksa etc. earlier in the year when it looked like they had a glut of D-men. Up front hard to imagine the Canucks doing too much given their non-existent cap room.
Hey Scott! Just a quick question, how do you feel about the Devils now? Clearly, unless by some miracle, they're out of the playoffs. But do you feel like a donkey now that they've made a pretty clear turnaround?
Scott Burnside (4:30 PM)
Joseph; Not sure I ever suggested the Devils would finish with 45 points and actually Pierre LeBrun and I debated earlier this week the effect of the Devils' strong play of late. So, no, don't feel any more donkeylike than normal. Do I need to point out, by the way, that they are 22 points out of 8th although they do have three games in hand?
Who do you think will take away the all-star MVP award from Raleigh?
Scott Burnside (4:31 PM)
Steve; Given my experiences voting on the All-Star MVP the only sure answer is that whoever it is there will be complaining. Seriously? How about Eric Staal for his second MVP (he won here in Atlanta)?
Scott Burns (Los Gatos, CA)
Side, What do you think of the Oilers progress this year? How many years do you think it will take them to be an elite team if they can secure another number pick again this year?
Scott Burnside (4:33 PM)
Scott; Cool name. Well, the Oilers are certainly following the Chicago/Pittsburgh/Washington blue print in being really crummy for a number of years. I would think, though, that by next year the team has to start showing signs that they can do more than simply stockpile high draft picks. I am a big Tom Renney fan and think he's the kind of guy that form that group into a team but you watch them this year and it's hard to imagine it happening any time soon.
Steven (San Diego)
You mentioned that the days of Wilson giving 1st rounders up for rental players is over. As a sharks fan that idea excites me, but with that said should Wilson be willing to give up Pavs or Seto for a puck moving defenseman?
Scott Burnside (4:35 PM)
Steven; I'm just not sure who would fit that bill. Even if the 'Canes are willing to part with Joni Pitkanen I'm not sure he puts the Sharks over the top and he would cost a top pick/prospect for sure. Bryan McCabe from Florida, if he was willing to waive his no move clause? Maybe. Great shot but again not sure he's worth the assets it would cost to pry him away.
Is Ottawa really THIS bad?
Scott Burnside (4:36 PM)
Jimmy; Yes. They're in it to win it; a draft lottery position that is.
Do you see the Stars and Richards getting anything done regarding an extension? If not, they HAVE to deal him, right? With a weak defense and not many talented prospects in the system, the Stars have too many holes to let such an asset walk for free in July.
Scott Burnside (4:38 PM)
Jeremy; I don't think with ownership in a state of flux the Stars will get an extension done before the end of the season. That said I think the acquisition of Langenbrunner clearly illuminates the path the Stars will take; win now if they can and if Richards walks he walks. To me this makes more sense than what the Panthers did with Bouwmeester which was hope they make the playoffs and then take their chances. The Stars are a good team and should/could win a round at least. Maybe it's enough to get Richards to take less to stay in Big D. Appropriate risk I would say.
Please tell me that Semin deal is a joke?
Scott Burnside (4:40 PM)
Brian; Interesting deal given that Semin is hurt and has been in a huge drought even before he went down. That said, as my friend Pierre LeBrun is reporting, there is no no-move or no-trade clause in the deal so it gives the Caps some flexibility. And when Semin goes, he goes like ninety.
Marc (Malden, MA)
With Marc Savard most likely out for the year, the Bruins will have about $6M of capspace to play with. Can they get Iginla? If not, who else is out there? They need a goal-scorer.
Scott Burnside (4:43 PM)
Marc; GM (interim) Jay Feaster has made it pretty clear he has no intention of asking Iginla to waive his no-trade clause so I don't think that's going to happen (Flames are back in the hunt, too). As for other impact players, again the cupboard is pretty bare although I think the Bruins will need some help up front if they're going to play with the big boys in Philly, Pittsburgh or Washington in the second round of the playoffs.
Mike (Rutland, Vt)
Scott - Do you see the Bruins' trading the Leafs' first round pick? It has the potential to be another top 5 selection.
Scott Burnside (4:45 PM)
Mike; Nice follow-up to the previous Bruins question. That's a big carrot to dangle in front of a team (ie. Calgary which has no farm system to speak of) but it would have to be a pretty big asset for Peter Chiarelli to move that pick. You're right it's likely going to be a top five pick given the Leafs poor play.
Hey Scott, last season everyone critiqued the Penguins for not having a defense and terrible goaltending. Right now they are second in GAA and Fleury is a top 5 goaltender. With Crosby and Malkin healthy is this team the cup favorite going into the playoffs(with all due respect to the east leading flyers)?
Scott Burnside (4:48 PM)
Chuck; When someone asked about top GM earlier in this chat I mentioned Ray Shero. I think his ability to land Zbynek Michalek and Paul Martin to plug the Sergei Gonchar hole was key. He's also got a lot of nice parts up front. Now, I don't think there's any way they win a Cup without a healthy Crosby and likely a healthy Malkin but they are a much more difficult team to play against than a year ago and it should make for a fascinating match-up at some point with the Flyers and/or Washington. Maybe both.
Everyone keeps asking about who's out there for trades/pickups... and everyone keeps saying it's thin... but who is out there? who has the potential to make an impact... could it be the grinders and workers this season instead of goal scorers?
Scott Burnside (4:50 PM)
Toby; Great question/point. I think about Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz who made such an impact in Pittsburgh two years ago. Sometimes it's not the big name that makes the difference but the secondary player. And sometimes it's not making any changes. The Bolts added one player, Darryl Sydor, in '04. Red Wings and 'Hawks made minor changes the last couple of years. Sometimes it's just getting a player back from injury (Hossa a year ago). But there is no Ilya Kovalchuk this year or Hossa etc. that everyone will be gathering around on the 28th of Feb.
Steve (Exton, PA)
I've heard the flyers may be interested in Erik Cole. Given his knowledge and experience in peter Laviolette's system, would trading for him be a good idea? Who could the flyer afford to lose?
Scott Burnside (4:54 PM)
Steve; Some questions about Erik Cole being sought by the Flyers. Cole will be UFA this summer but have to figure the Flyers would have to move someone out of what would be a crowded offensive unit. For me Cole has never been the same since his serious neck injury a few years back. He was a non-factor in the 'Canes surprise run to the east final two years ago and has only 13 goals this year. Yes, he played well for Peter Laviolette, but not sure what he brings to the Flyers' table that isn't already there. Plus, not sure the 'Canes are ready to move a player when they're a point out of the playoffs.
Jason Ilk (New York City)
Hey Burnsy - great chat as always. You have already said multiple times today that there are no top 6 forwards available this year at the deadline. If the NY Rangers injury woes up front continue, will Jagr consider coming back across the pond a la Zherdev?
Scott Burnside (4:55 PM)
Jason; Funny you should ask as I reached out to Jagr's agent recently and he said he'd heard nothing from Jagr and I don't think he has an out clause so am doubting that he becomes a late-season addition (as you know he would have to sign with an NHL club before the trade deadline and in his case pass through waivers as he's played in Europe this season). Would love to see him take one more run at the NHL but don't think it's going to happen.
I know Flames are still in tough to make the playoffs this season and a lot has been made of them having to win 2 out of every 3 games to get the mid 90 point total thats expected to make it in. But isn't that also true for all the teams battling for those spots?Also, if you're a top team in the west, do you really want to play a team that just squezed into the playoffs by playing 700 hockey down the stretch?
Scott Burnside (4:59 PM)
Rob; As we saw last year when the Caps, Pens, Bruins and Devils were all gone by the end of the second round there is no easy path, at least in theory. But you're right in the west where good teams aren't going to make the playoffs. I think there's something to be said for playing playoff hockey through the end of the regular season and into the post-season (like the Flyers did a year ago) although sometimes teams just blow their brains out getting in (St. Louis two years ago) and have nothing left. Detroit last year, I though, simply ran out of gas against San Jose after gutting it through so many injuries to get into the playoffs and then through Phoenix. So, I guess I'm saying I agree but you never know how a team will respond once they get to the playoffs.
Scott Burnside (5:00 PM)
Well folks, thanks for dropping by. Don't miss out on our All-Star coverage. Mr. LeBrun and I will be doing live chats during the draft tomorrow night and again through the skills competition and the actual game on Sunday so drop by and say hello.