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 Barnaby Thursday at 2 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (2:01 PM)
We've got Matthew!
Matthew Barnaby (2:02 PM)
A lot of ups and downs. A lot of surprising teams still making some noise in the NHL. Let's get to the questions.
What is your take on the PHI/TB game last night? I have always hated the trap but understand its usefulness. But I have never played a trap where you didn't have at least one guy pressuring the puck in order to make the other team move it up the ice. I think the trap has a place in the NHL but not the 1-3-1. If you allow a team to sit back and wait for you to come to them than you have to allow the other team the option of not going to them. People are talking about adding a 10-sec rule like in basketball but I just don't think that is the answer.
Matthew Barnaby (2:03 PM)
Tampa has been playing it for a little bit, going back to last year, but not to this point. I don't fault them in doing what they think they need to do to win a game, but yesterday was absolutely ridiculous. If this continues, I'm sure a rule will be implemented to try and stop it.
Ice Ace (Alabama)
With Enroth playing well in Buffalo lately, do he get more starts than expected during the season from Miller(who gave up 5 goals in his last start despite winning)?
Matthew Barnaby (2:04 PM)
It depends on Miller. If he regainsh is form, it will cut down on the amount of starts for Enroth. It's a good situation to have a quality back up to fill in when your No. 1 is not playing the way you expected. But let's make it clear, Ryan Miller is the No. 1 goalie.
Bharath (NJ) [via mobile]
I love the way Adam Henrique has played the past few games. With Zajac due to come back within the next month or 2 where do you see the Devils finishing the season playoff positioning wise?
Matthew Barnaby (2:05 PM)
He has been a fun surprise. I think New Jersey, like a lot of teams are going to challenge for that eighth position. Not deep enough scoring, average defense and a goalie that is past his prime.
Matt, obviously the Rangers are not as good as their winning streak indicates. Their offense has improved as was expected, but their defense has really improved lately. Can their D maintain their level throughout the year?
Matthew Barnaby (2:06 PM)
Their D may not be as deep as many teams. But having watched them in person the other day, they're a very hard working team.
Follow up regarding the PHI/TB, how would the NHL intervene should this sort of event transpire again.. which way would the NHL come at it? Would they adapt rules forcing the offence to move the puck, or adapt rules to keep defences from playing similar trapping styles?
Matthew Barnaby (2:07 PM)
I would think this would be from the Tampa view point. It's way too early and not enough time to put thought into it yet, but I would think you have to keep players in certain zones. If the puck was in one zone, you'd have to have your first forechecks in that zone.
Matthew Barnaby (2:08 PM)
But clearly, neither team wanted to play to the other team's strength.
jarome iginla (calgary)
Barns Buddy! what color jersey will i be wearing at the end of the year? I am hearing a rumor it will be Red and White with a wheel on it? any thoughts?
Matthew Barnaby (2:08 PM)
I think you'll see him still in a Calgary Flames jersey.
Matthew Barnaby (2:09 PM)
But it's way too early to tell.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Matt, do the Sharks get over the hump of underachievement this year or am I doomed once again for a season of disappointment?
Matthew Barnaby (2:10 PM)
I think they're better than I've seen them. I love the additions they've made and I think they are as good as anyone in the West.
Matthew Barnaby (2:10 PM)
Obviously, they need to stay healthy, but so does everyone else.
Sup Matt! Question: I had mixed feelings about Coach Quenneville splitting up Kane/Hossa because they've been so dangerous on a line together, but kinda like the idea of Kane/Sharp on the second line. With Kane struggling at the dot, do you think the Blackhawks slid Sharp to center with Kane at wing? Gives em more options and a little new look. Worked for them last year.
Matthew Barnaby (2:11 PM)
The one thing Coach Q isn't afraid of doing is change it up. It's good that most of your talented players get a chance to play with each other, as injuries can make that happen. They're playing well and that's good news for Hawks fans.
Which team has been the best NHL surprise this season, and which team has been the biggest disappointment?
Matthew Barnaby (2:13 PM)
The biggest surprise is by far the Dallas Stars. A real tribute to believing in each other. It's incredible. As for disappointments, and there are many, the start the Boston Bruins have gotten off to. They're playing much better lately, but I think people expected better.
danny (splash of coke) trpcevic (Windsor)
Matt, die hard wings fan here! whats up with the wings? are they finally over that slide? there are rumors goingaround of trades the wings might make? any thoughts on what you have been hearing?
Matthew Barnaby (2:14 PM)
I think they are over it. I watched them the other night. They were a much better team than I saw before. That slide was very uncharacteristic of the Wings. But they're a good team and they'll find their way.
How do you feel about the Sharks, started slowly but have improved, right? How do you see the rest of the season going?
Matthew Barnaby (2:15 PM)
They have. When you look at the Sharks team, it sometimes takes a little bit of time to gel.
What would you do if you were in Columbus?
Matthew Barnaby (2:16 PM)
Time is running out for sure. Right now they are getting absolutely nothing from Mason. I don't see it getting any better. And someone will lose their job if it doesn't improve.
Matt, i'm sick and tired of watching Crosby parading around smiling like hes ready to come back then Byslma says hes out for the next two games this is getting redicules.
Matthew Barnaby (2:18 PM)
This is a question we've been debating for a year. I think we're all tired of talking about it, but the fact is he's the best player in the game. When Peyton Manning was questionable, we talked every day about it and in the hockey world we do the same thing.
Matthew Barnaby (2:18 PM)
The fact is Crosby will come back when he thinks he's ready to come back, not when you, I, the team. When Sidney Crosby decides he's fit to play, he will come back.
Rick Nash (columbus)
did i make a mistake signing long term here? should i be thinking or looking for a trade ?
Matthew Barnaby (2:20 PM)
No, he got a lot of money and a great deal. But I don't think we will see not ask for a trade if this team did not improve. He's too good a player who has to want to compete for a Stanley Cup.
Matthew Barnaby (2:20 PM)
But I wouldn't call it a mistake. He was trying to be loyal and he got an awful lot of money. I wish I could make those kinds of mistakes.
Thoughts on Eric Staal's abysmal start. Here's a guy who put up 100 pts before. Even more startling is that he is a career -29 with -16 of those comming from the first 15 games this year. Will he be his normal self soon or is it a product of a guilty conscience from the family dynamic of brother Marc still being sidelined with a concussion.
Matthew Barnaby (2:21 PM)
It's been tough. Carolina's had a tough start. You're a product of everything around you. I still think Carolina is a good team, a young team, but they are no where near a great team right now. Eric will catch fire at some point and his numbers will be good.
The last 3 games or the first 10 more indicative of the Bs?
Matthew Barnaby (2:22 PM)
I think it's more of the last three. I don't think they're a great team and I didn't think they were a great team last year. But they are certainly not as bad as they were in the first 10.
Scott (Washington, D.C.)
Alexander Semin is off to a fairly slow start, his penalty minutes are starting to add up. Can Semin step up and be the dynamic scorer, or will the Caps make a move and trade him?
Matthew Barnaby (2:23 PM)
I would think if they did make a trade, he would be one of the first names that came up. As good of a player he is, he seems to be on his own agenda. Having said that, it's a scary proposition to trade a guy with that talent, as he could score 50 goals somewhere else and make you look like a fool.
Nick (Chicago )
Hey Matt, I'm a big fan of Evgeni Malkin. Do you think when Crosby returns, we can see Geno put up 100+ points? He has looked great recently, and most notably, he skated through the sharks dangling anyone on the ice.
Matthew Barnaby (2:24 PM)
Absolutely. Malkin is one of the best players in the world. Having Crosby back only makes him better. Defenses have to worry about who they have to check, rather than putting their best unit against Geno every time.
Matt, I love my NHL, and I think we should protect players but if you was still playing and Crosby was your teammate and steckle took a hit on Crosby how would you handle it knowing that you lead the NHL in fighting minutes?
Matthew Barnaby (2:26 PM)
I think we're getting a little ahead of ourselves, but they will keep a close eye on him. When you see someone taking it over the line, you have to defend him. But make no mistake, every team will play him harder now and hit him harder. That's just the rules of engagment in professional sports.
Rich (windsor ontario)
watching these games here i can't help but wonder are the wings going to the east? could you see them changing the divisons up if the do, put the Detroit, Toronto, montreal ottawa and buffalo in the same division?
Matthew Barnaby (2:27 PM)
There will be realignment and there will be some teams that are happy and some that aren't. I think the logical choice will be Detroit. We've heard that they've already been promised in recent times. To me, that's the logical choice. The divisions will change.
Hi Matt! How can the Caps look so good one night and so lousy the next? Is that an indictment of the captain? Also, do you think Mike Green will be back Friday night in New Jersey?
Matthew Barnaby (2:28 PM)
I still think that this team is off to a very good start. Yes, more consistency is needed, but I think finally they are being handled in a better way, with accountability. Sometimes you do lay an egg on the ice and they've laid a couple.
Matthew Barnaby (2:29 PM)
We're almost at the quarter point. By the halfway point of the season, teams really know where they are. Look for the trade market to pick up, I think as teams don't want to fall too far behind.