Chat with Barry Melrose
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN NHL analyst Barry Melrose will drop by to take your questions about the NHL season.
Melrose re-joined ESPN after coaching the Tampa Bay Lightning for the first part of the 2008-09 season. He first started with ESPN after coaching the Los Angeles Kings to the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals and was a commentator on ESPN and ABC since 1995. Melrose made his NHL debut with the Winnipeg Jets in 1979. A defenseman, he played for the Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings before retiring after the 1986 season.
Send your questions now and join Barry Thursday at 2 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (2:01 PM)
We've got Barry!
Are the Rangers going to get their 8th straight victory?
Barry Melrose (2:02 PM)
The next game is against Montreal, a team that's not playing great. The Rangers are on the top of their game. Brad Richards is adding a lot. Gaborik is starting to score. Sean Avery has been a great addition. I think the Rangers will get their 8th straight.
Ovechkin played on the right wing tuesday night in nashville - does Boudreau plan to keep him there? Do you think it's a good idea? Might help him get more shots through
Barry Melrose (2:03 PM)
I think they're just trying to get the guy going. Trying him with different guys in different positions. He's not off to the start that we envisioned. I think it's a case of Bruce trying to get him different chances adn see how it works.
Hey Barry, Love your stuff...What do you think about Florida's strong start? Do you think they can keep up the offensive production throughout the season or do you think it will eventually slow down and they will fall back into the Abyss of the East?
Barry Melrose (2:04 PM)
Good question. Florida is a good team right now. All of the guys they added this summer are playing well. Versteeg has been very good. Their PP is sixth in the NHL right now, which is great. Can they keep this up? I don't know. I would probably say no. But they're a much better team than we thought they would be. I don't see them dropping drastically and It hink they'll be fighting for one of the last 3 playoff spots in the East.
How will the ducks turn things around...Perry-Getzlaf-Ryan are arguably the best line in the league? What gives?
Barry Melrose (2:05 PM)
Well, at one time they were the best line in the NHL. It's not the case right now. Perry is scoring, but a lot of his goals are coming on PP. Their best players have to be their best players. Anaheim needs more from those guys. If they get things going, it will have to be on the backs of those three guys. For the most part they've been pretty disappointing.
Tell everyone in Chicago to relax...Montador did this same thing for us last year (offensive outburst). no way he keeps it up!
Barry Melrose (2:06 PM)
No, he's not going to keep playing the way he is. He's a good 5, 6, 7 defenseman. He's on a good team playing with skilled guys. He's on a real hot streak right now. Give him credit. But Chicago's not going to win because of him, they're going to win because of the superstars they have. He won't keep it up the rest of the season.
Barry, What do you think is wrong with Z? I have heard rumors of an injury and have noticed he just doesnt look as quick as usually. Do you think things will start to turn around?
Barry Melrose (2:08 PM)
Detroit is showing their age a little bit. They are an older team. The 6 game losing streak caught everyone's attention. Pavel was a -6 during that period, I think, and that's unbelievable. They look vulnerable. Are they a playoff team? Of course, but they're not the best team in the West. When they get to the playoffs, they will be dangerous. But they're not as good as Chicago or Vancouver and thouse teams.
What can we make of Chicago's 5-1 win over Vancouver?
Barry Melrose (2:09 PM)
Chicago is a very good team. They've got good goaltending. Keith and Seabrook are great on defense and they've made some awesome additions. They have an abundance of talent up front. I think last year was a motivator for this year and make sure they have a good start. I said at the start of the year that Chicago is my pick to win the Stanley Cup this year.
Robert (Raleigh NC)
Clearly a move with the Canes is coming soon. What player(s) do you expect to be leaving Carolina and who comes to Raleigh?
Barry Melrose (2:11 PM)
I think the easiest thing to do when your team is struggling, you have to look at Eric Staal. He's at a -18. Not a lot of guys are scoring and that puts pressure on the goaltender. The easiest thing to do is a coaching change. The players other teams will want are their best players. They're not trading Staal. If a change were to occur, I would think it's a coaching change.
Barry, Who are your top 5 candidates to win the hart this year?
Barry Melrose (2:12 PM)
Ooooh. You have to look at Phil Kessel in Toronto. He's been on fire. Kerry Lehtenon in Dallas in goalie. The Sedin twins will be there. Those are some of the players that have jumped out. Vanek. Right now, if you're giving an MVP it would be Phil Kessel.
With you being a huge believer in the Hawks this year, they can be somewhat aggressive at the deadline. I know they may be one or two players away from being "the" team to beat...do you see a Shane Doan or someone else the Hawks trading for with their talent in the minors they have?
Barry Melrose (2:13 PM)
Definitely, they'll be a player at the deadline. But there will be so many players at the deadline. Cap space is important. Vancouver will be aggressive. Toronto, if they're in the playoff race still will be aggressive. Los Angeles, if they feel like they're in it, they'll be aggressive. But definitely Chicago will be a player at the deadline.
Are the Rangers going to make their streak elite 8 on saturday against Montreal? They look dangerous and are on one heck of a roll. Are they really this good?
Barry Melrose (2:14 PM)
Commo ca va Yannick? Thanks for chatting. Brad Richards is a great addition. This is a good hockey team. They've got a good defense. Marc Staal will come back. The Rangers are for real. The way they're playing, they're a team that can do some damage some playoff time.
Montador will keep it up with the superstars feeding him the puck. With that said, the win last night would have been sweeter with Luongo in net...agree?
Barry Melrose (2:16 PM)
Probably for Chicago. Those two teams have a lot of bad blood. They do not like each other. They would have liked to have beat Roberto. But right now, Schneider is playing as good as Luongo. They beat them pretty badly, doesn't matter who is in net. But they would have loved to have beat Luongo.
Bill H (New Jersey)
While it's still early in the season, some teams are a little slower getting out of the gate, so to speak, than others. Which fans do you believe will lose thier patience first, if thier team continues to stay under 500 or close to that?
Barry Melrose (2:17 PM)
Columbus is already feeling the wrath of their fans. Carolina, I don't think their fans will put up with it. Anaheim, their fans won't take kindly to the way the Ducks are playing. Those are some teams that come off the top of my head. In the East, it looks like Boston has things righted. The Islanders aren't playing well, but their fans didn't expect much from them.
Barry Melrose (2:17 PM)
And Montreal. They had a big win last night, but the Montreal fans won't accept their team fighting for .500.
Kovy looked very unselfish last night...sometimes too unselfish with his passing. Think something was said to him? or do you think his time off with the injury made him realize the value of team play?
Barry Melrose (2:19 PM)
I agree with you. He passed on a few occasions where he usually shoots. I noticed that also. They paid Kovalchuk all of that money to score goals not to pass. He has three goals in 12 games. That's not enough when you're paying him that money. For some reason last night he has the unselfish gene. But they didn't get him to pass, they got him to score goals.
Barry, do you think the Coyotes will be moving out of Arizona?
Barry Melrose (2:19 PM)
Well, the team is going to be sold this year. The NHL is not going to continue to run the team. This is the last year they'll do that. The new owners will either keep it in Phoenix or move it. Either way this will be the last year the NHL runs that team.
Sal (The Hill (STL))
Barry, what have you thought of the Blues since the hiring of Hitchcock?
Barry Melrose (2:21 PM)
The Blues have got 5 of 6 points since they got Ken. He's probably just what the doctor ordered. St. Louis is a good team. They're right at fighting for the 8th spot. I think they'll be better under Hitchcock and will fight for the playoffs. This is a good team and I think that's why they had a coaching team. The owners and management realized they were underachieving. They need to make the playoffs.
Jake (St. Louis)
Barry have you heard anything regarding the blues looking to make some more moves. There are some rumors swirling that Armstong was at the Devils vs Sabres game?
Barry Melrose (2:22 PM)
I think they're going to evaluate the team they have under Ken. They have a lot of good young players. That's what other teams want, but I don't think they want to move those young players. I don't foresee any changes in the short term. This is an evaluation period under Hitchcock to see how the team does under him.
Bill H (New Jersey)
While the Winter Classic is becomming a pretty cool event, would you favor each NHL Team being able to schedule 1 outdoor game a year, if a venue near thier home rink was available?
Barry Melrose (2:23 PM)
No. I think the NHL has to keep the Winter Classic as a unique game. They have to keep it special. They have to have certain teams playing it. I don't want to see it become common place. I want it to be special and unique.
Matt Duchene (Colorado)
Barry, Did you see my goal the other day in Pittsburgh? Prettiest goal of the year?
Barry Melrose (2:23 PM)
I think people saw how talented he is. He's a great young player. He's playing wing right now and says he likes it. That goal symbolizes how talented this kid is.
I saw a rumor on espn regarding Nash to Philly....Do you think this is even remotely possible? Would columbus consider trading him after signing the big deal? where else do you think he could end up?
Barry Melrose (2:25 PM)
No, I don't think they can trade Nash. He's their one big superstar. He's the face of the organization. He signed to stay there. You have to wait until Carter comes back and then evaluate the team with Carter in the lineup. If they're still terrible after 20 games with Carter in the lineup, then make some changes. But I think they'll give the coaching staff some time with Carter to see what this team looks like.
Barry, should we be surprised that teams like Chicago want to keep the Red Wings in the Western Conference? Now that the fake Blackhawks fans have disappeared, they're selling tickets on Groupon.
Barry Melrose (2:26 PM)
No, everyone wants to keep the Red Wings. They're the biggest draw in the West. No team in the West wants to see them leave. They'd much rather let Columbus or Nashville go to the East. That could be a stumbling block. And a lot of teams in the East don't want Detroit in the East, because that's a playoff spot.
Hey buddy, 3 teams in cali, 2 in fla, carolina? Why no team in NW usa? Seems kinda weird to me. We have great support for an under 20 team. Im confident our rose garden arena and many hockey fans could sustain a team. Bring big league hockey to P-Town.
Barry Melrose (2:27 PM)
They would love to have a team in Portland or Seattle. They tried to get Paul Allen to buy a team and put it in Portland. But so far no owner has stepped forward to buy a team. That's been the main stumbling block.
Who do you think will have a better night tonight, Mike Smith or Bryzgalov? I feel like Bryzgalov might get smoked by his old team
Barry Melrose (2:28 PM)
Mike Smith has been a great story. Mike played for me in Tampa Bay. He's a very gifted goaltender. He's played very well at times in the NHL. He's been hurt a lot. Phoenix is for real. Philly is scoring a lot. I think it will be a good game. I think Bryzgalov will be motivated, but so will Phoenix.
Barry Melrose (2:28 PM)
Been a great week. I hope everybody is enjoying it. Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your turkey!