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!
Barry Melrose (2:01 PM)
Just sitting in Philadelphia right now. Looks like the ice for the outdoor game will be very good.
Barry, have you heard a weather forecast for the Classic? Any chance the elements plays a part?
Barry Melrose (2:02 PM)
Actually, the forecast this morning is sunny and 42 degrees, but very windy.
Eric (Tampa, FL)
Why is the winter classic on the 2nd? I thought the whole point of this thing was to be on New Years day? Makes no sense to me
Barry Melrose (2:02 PM)
Well, obviously, they don't want to go against the football. So this year it's on the 2nd. I agree that it would be nice to have it on the 1st, with the tradition. But we'll have to let the marketers make the decision for the NHL.
Ice Ace (Alabama)
Who win tonight b/w Flyers and Penguins? Despite the Flyers leading in goals scored per game, I believe the Penguins win as they have a huge advantage in goaltending and their firepower neutralizes the Flyers.
Barry Melrose (2:03 PM)
I'm afraid I agree with you. The goaltending is the difference. Both teams can score. Right now, the Pittsburgh goaltending is much superior. Fleury has been great. All things considered, I would say that's the difference in the game.
why doesnt J Quick of the LA Kings get more recognition around the league? He is a top 5 goalie
Barry Melrose (2:04 PM)
I think he gets a lot. His numbers are very good. He's among the league leaders in a number of categories. But LA has to win something. He has to play well in the playoffs. That's the ultimate test. So far this season, LA has been pretty inconsistent. But I think most think he's a good goaltender.
Nate (Bristol, CT)
Barry, the Bruins have been ridiculous the past 2 months. Which team would you see giving them the most trouble in a 7 game series? Of course, with Rask and Timmy the Tank, and Chara blocking the sun, it might not matter who's on the ice with them.
Barry Melrose (2:05 PM)
Probably the Rangers. I like them right now. Lundqvist is solid. They're very similar to the Bruins.
What can the Sabres do to get back in stride. You think maybe a captaiins change or something more drastic like a coaching change could happen?
Barry Melrose (2:06 PM)
No, it won't be a coaching change. I think their treading water. They look great one night and then not so great the next. Miller, if he can regain his playing style, that would help. They score quite a few goals, but give up some. The East is very tough. That team on paper should be better than it is now.
Gerry (San Francisco, CA)
Any comments on ALL southeast division teams giving up more goals than goals scored?
Barry Melrose (2:07 PM)
It's not a strong division right now. Florida is No. 1. Tampa's a disappointment. Washington is the big disappointment. They should be one of the best teams in the NHL and they're not in the playoffs as of right now. Winnipeg is where I thought they'd be, hanging around for the last spot. But the Southeast is probably the weakest in the NHL right now.
Joey No-No (LA LA Land)
Which was more of a fluke...the KINGS terrible record up until Sutter came aboard or the record since Sutter joined?
Barry Melrose (2:08 PM)
I would say they're closer to the way they are now. I think this is a very talented team. Two stud offensive defenseman. Good forwards up front. They're a talented group.
Don (Columbus, OH)
Hey Barry- If you could look into your crystal ball to the trade deadline, what 2 players do you see the Blackhawks adding to their roster via trade?
Barry Melrose (2:09 PM)
I think every one of those teams are tinkering with their lineup. Another scorer here or there. They're not going to move any major parts. They like their team a lot. It's more a style of play than anything else. No major changes.
tdiddy (winnipeg) [via mobile]
What percentage would you give that my Winnipeg Jets hang on to a playoff spot? And what percentage would you give Pavelik on getting Veznia concideration?
Barry Melrose (2:10 PM)
I think they'll be right there at the end. They'll be fighting with 4-5 other teams for those spots. They have a good home record. I think they could easily get that 7 or 8 spot. They'll have to play a little better than they have been.
Hi Barry,I am a Rangers fan. And I can honestly say that since Torts took over the team, it has been an absolute joy to watch those kids play with their hearts on their sleaves. What do you think their chances are for this year?
Barry Melrose (2:11 PM)
I think they have a good team. I like they a lot. If they can get their injured guys back. I like the Rangers. They're among the top teams in the East. Stay away from injuries, I think they will be a tough team to beat in the playoffs.
Mike (Utica, NY)
Does the Hall-RNH-Eberle Line have the potential to be the best in the NHL in the near future?
Barry Melrose (2:12 PM)
Talentwise, yes. That is a good group of players. They're all very high picks. Very similar to what Pittsburgh did with Crosby. But that line could be something special. They could put two lines together with talented top picks.
When will the Devils take Kovalchuk off the point? They have 17 PPG and have let in 11 SHG and that math just doesn't work.
Barry Melrose (2:13 PM)
I agree. The other night, they're on the power play in a one goal game and gave up a SHG. That's too many to give up. As a coach, you have to play risk and reward and that's too much risk. It would be different if the power play was clicking along at 40 percent. But it's not that good that you can afford to give up goals like that.
Are the Avs a good young team going through growing pains, or a bad team with flashes of good?
Barry Melrose (2:14 PM)
I think the future is bright for the Avs. They're on the right track. They have some good young players. I like them. Young teams are frustrating. There are peaks and valleys. They have to go for consistency. But it is frustrating to watch.
Brent (St. Paul)
Happy Holidays Barry, I knew it was too good to be true. The Wild were playing way above their talent. With some top guys out it's getting ugly. Where do you see the Wild at years end?
Barry Melrose (2:16 PM)
I agree with you. Eight games ago, I thought they were a heckuva club. But they were winning without scoring much and great goaltending. The games they used to win 2-1, they're losing 2-1. A team full of confidence a month ago is now fragile. I think they'll fight for a playoff spot, but not for a top 4 spot. They'll find their level and they will be one of those teams fighting for the 7-8 spot. But they have to win a game before thinking about that.
Joel (Los Angeles, CA)
Is Datsyuk so awesome that he would qualify for the HOF? That guy is sick!!!
Barry Melrose (2:17 PM)
Definitely. He's a great player. Great defensive player also. As good of hands as their is in the NHL. If he continues to play and doesn't get hurt, he's a hall of famer.
Mike (Boston, MA)
Bruins are the best team in the league and they have some salary cap space. Should they make a trade to bolster the team (where?) or would you stand pat and save some space to re-sign the team?
Barry Melrose (2:18 PM)
That will be a team, if you look at what they did last year, they added players late. They'll do what they need, get some depth guys. That will be a team that's trying to add pieces. They won't touch their core. But if you can add a defensive forward, definitely that's what they'll be looking for.
Decent win at home last night for the Caps. Sign of things to come or simply an aberration?
Barry Melrose (2:18 PM)
Right now, I think it's just an abherration. They've shown no reason that they'll get on a roll. They've been around .500 with the new coach. They don't show that they're over the hump to win 7 straight.
Whats going on with Bryz for the Flyers? Too many soft goals. Just doesn't look solid in the net and looks even worse during shootouts. Any thoughts here?
Barry Melrose (2:19 PM)
Well, I guess we should have been ready for it, because any time a goaltender goes to Philly, it gets brutal. I thought he could come in and continue to play well, but it's not the case. The Flyers have created another victim. Unless that changes, it's hard to think that they can compete with Boston and the Rangers.
What are your thoughts on fans voting for the all-star game? I think it is ridiculous and that hockey along with all the other professional sports that have fan voting should get rid of it.
Barry Melrose (2:21 PM)
The all-star game is for the fans. It's a tough venue. It's for the advertisers. Anything you can do to make it more interesting for them, you should. I'm not in favor of the draft at the start, I think it's embarrassing for the players and the guys picked last. But it's for the fans. It means nothing. You have to try and do stuff like that to make it fun.
Jason (Seattle, WA )
Do you think the Oilers will come on strong in the second half and make a playoff push, or will youth and inexperience be their downfall?
Barry Melrose (2:22 PM)
I think it will be tough on the Oilers. The veteran teams tighten up more. It's a long season and some of the kids aren't used to playing this many games. If you're an Oilers fan, I'm afraid you'll be getting another high draft pick.
Ice Ace (Alabama)
With Rask and Schnieder being good goaltenders for the defending champs and finalist respectively, what team(s) will come after either one first and what it will take to get the job done?
Barry Melrose (2:23 PM)
They don't want to, but the players won't be happy with being backups for 5 more years. You'd think with Luongo's contract, Schnieder won't be around forever and he'll be gone. Thomas is getting up in age, but Rask won't want to stick around forever either.
Is this the year Patrice Bergeron finally gets Selke consideration?
Barry Melrose (2:24 PM)
I certainly would think so. He does everything. He's getting points, won a Cup, wins draws. His versatility. I would think he's one of the final three guys for the Selke Trophy.
Kirk (New York)
Detroit looks great this year. What do they need at the trade deadline and who do you think they could get?
Barry Melrose (2:25 PM)
It would be good for them to get younger. Find a way for Nicky to take 10 years off his age. But Jimmy Howard is playing great. The defense is solid. Datsyuk and Zetterberg have picked it up. They're the Red Wings, they're solid every year. One of the best teams in the NHL and they're proving it this season.
Jonny (Seattle Thunderbirds back office)
So we have a bit of a rivalry in the office here, hope you can settle the score or maybe just add some fuel to the fire.....who would you take in a best of 7...Oilers vs Wild??
Barry Melrose (2:26 PM)
In a best of 7 series? I would go Wild. I think their goaltending is better. I think they're a better defensive team. I think the Wild are more experienced. 3-4 years from now, I might pick the Oilers, but right now, I say the Wild.
what do the stars need to make a run at the cup
Barry Melrose (2:27 PM)
They're getting Keri back and if he can play the way that he did before he got hurt, that would be huge. They would like to score more. They lost Richards and that hurt. Are they as good as Detroit, Vancouver, Chicago? No. But they're as good as some of the other teams out West. I think they'll make the playoffs.
Barry Melrose (2:28 PM)
I hope everybody is going to sit back and enjoy the Classic on Jan. 2. It's a great time of year if you're a hockey fan.