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!
Barry Melrose (2:01 PM)
Hello! I hope everyone is excited about the new Winter Classic. Should be a record crowd for a NHL game! On to your questions!
Can you please call up Tortorella and explain how to improve the worst powerplay in the NHL the past 3 years? What is the problem?
Barry Melrose (2:02 PM)
Don't forget Boston win the Cup last year with the worst power play in the finals. It can be done. John has tried everything. He has tried mixing his lines up and everything else and they just can't score. They have the personnel but it just isn't happening. Anyone who has been in the game for very long, the advice is shoot, shoot, shoot. It has to go in eventually.
Mike (Hartford Whaler Country)
Do you think Ovechkin will take off down the stretch? And how important is it to Ovechkin's game to get Backstrom back in the lineup?
Barry Melrose (2:03 PM)
I would have said very important but he wasn't scoring with him in anyway. I like how he played the other night so that is a good sign. They have to get him back to have any chance. Their best players have to show up.
Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit, MI)
Do you ever think i will ever win the Hart Trophy, or be taken serious enough to win?
Barry Melrose (2:04 PM)
I don't think he will ever score enough to win the Hart. This year he was up to fourth in scoring at one time, but it's probably not enough. It's hard for him to win it because of the supporting cast he has. So many great players on that team. But if you ask anyone if he is one of the best players in the league, everyone will say yes.
Busch Stadium (Downtown, St. Louis)
Hey Barry, there are teams on ther second go around in the winter classic yet i have never hosted one. Will I get the chance soon to offer a great atmoshpere in St. Louis come January, or will my team at least be able to play in one somewhere.....soon??
Barry Melrose (2:05 PM)
There is no team that has had two Winter Classics, but some have played in two. That will continue. St. Louis would get a look I'm sure at hosting one. It's a great hockey town and a good venue. It would be a huge success.
Is this deja vu for penguin fans? In the mid 90's how much further could the penguins could have gone in the playoffs only if Mario was healthy. Will they be thinking the same thing with Crosby's injuries?
Barry Melrose (2:06 PM)
We are all hopin he is close. He is practicing with the team which is good to see. It appears his neck can be treated. I'm still optimistic he will come back and have a great career.
Michael C. (Westport, CT)
I'm a Rangers fan, but can we please stop with the talk about winning the Stanley Cup? The team has one of the worst power plays in the NHL, most of the time looking pathetic. Other than Gaborik they lack any true snipers. Do you think they are legitimate contenders?
Barry Melrose (2:08 PM)
Without a doubt they are. Remember, Boston won it last year with no power play. The Rangers owner started the Cup talk, but yes, I think this team is a legit contender. They have a number of guys that can put the puck in the net. This team really reminds me of the Bruins from last year.
Any new word on the Coyotes ownership drama?
Barry Melrose (2:09 PM)
The only thing I have heard definitely is this is the last year the NHL is going to run it. Someone is going to buy them or they are going to move. Bettman has said that a number of times. Supposedly there are parties interested. It will probaby remain in Phoenix but could end up elsewhere.
Hello Barry, I had a question regarding the Anaheim Ducks. With their recent success in climbing with in 8 points of a playoff spot. Do you see them being buyers at the trading deadline, assuming they start out well on their 8 game road trip.
Barry Melrose (2:10 PM)
No. They have been hot but only picked up about 2 points. It's so hard to move up from that spot. The Ducks don't really have anything to move. They won't trade the big 3. I think they will be on the sidelines maybe making a few small deals.
Do you like the job Brendan Shanahan is doing with discipline and head shots this year? Do you fear that too much punishing by the league and not enough "on-ice policing" will hurt the physicality of the sport?
Barry Melrose (2:12 PM)
I'm old school. I'd like to see the players take care of discipline, but it's not heading that way. Those days are over. He has done a great job, doing the Hardest job in the NHL. He always has 50% of people mad at him no matter what he does. I think soon we will see headshots totally eliminated with stiff penalties. But he has done a very good job.
Are the Coyotes headed to the great northwest next year?
Barry Melrose (2:13 PM)
Seattle is the hot rumor right now. Anything is possible. They do have a building to use until a new one is built. They need an owner first. I coached there and it is a great city and the league would love a team in that area I'm sure.
Barry-what happened to conference realignment?
Barry Melrose (2:13 PM)
It's going to happen. The Player's Association are using it as a bargaining chip. Probably not next year but I see it happening the year after.
Expecting any Anisimov-related fireworks in the Rangers/Lightning game?
Barry Melrose (2:14 PM)
I don't think so. It's a very important game. The Rangers are trying to finish first in the East and the Lightning really need points. It should be a very disciplined and well played game. I'm looking forward to it.
Ice Ace (Alabama)
Why has the Bruins have been slumping lately? Rask has lost his last 4 starts.
Barry Melrose (2:15 PM)
I think they have gotten away from what makes them good. That is their work ethic and attention to defense. The intensity has been lacking. They have tried to win without working. That is the biggest reason right now.
Aaron (Buffalo, NY)
Has Ryan Miller finally found his form, or can we expect a drop off back to the start of the season soon.
Barry Melrose (2:16 PM)
If Buffalo plays like they played last night, Miller will finish well.
Who do the rangers need more a top six forward or a dman who is a good fit? PRUST FOR MVP!!!
Barry Melrose (2:16 PM)
Forward. I like the defense. They need another guy that can put the puck in the net consistently. But that's easier said than done. They are against the salary cap right now.
Steve (New Jersey)
Any thoughts on the ending of the Devils-Rangers game this week? Ref called a penalty on Gaborik for crashing into Brodeur, but he may have been pushed.
Barry Melrose (2:18 PM)
He was pushed a little, but when you see the slo-mo he didn't try to stop either. That is the main reason. If he had the breaks on and the ice was flying, maybe it would be different. I think it was a pretty easy call for the refs.
Jon (Haslett, MI)
Does Ian Laperriere's nose deserve to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, and if yes, will
Barry Melrose (2:18 PM)
If he gets in there, so many others would need to get it. Lots of great noses in the NHL!
Jon (Haslett, MI)
Does Ian Laperriere's nose deserve to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, and if yes, does that improve the chances your mullet will also.
Barry Melrose (2:19 PM)
I think hair should get in before noses. Hair has been a famous tradition for years.
Frank (Philadelphia, PA)
With all the injuries on the team, particularly Pronger's, what do you think the Flyers can do to improve their team before the deadline?
Barry Melrose (2:20 PM)
The Flyers have been trying to get every defensemen out there. Pronger is irreplacable though. You won't find a winner like him. They just need their goaltending to get hot at the right time.
Barry, I love reading your chats, seeing you on TV, reading your columns, admire your suits and hair.....but for the love of pete can I please see one video on ESPN.com where you are NOT disuccing the Blackhawks?? The last 4 or 5 you have put on there have been dedicated to the Hawks all while they are playing terrible. All the while Detroit, St Louis and Nashville are having incredible seasons. Spread the love Barry
Barry Melrose (2:21 PM)
I disagree a little. I do enjoy the Hawks and I like to talk about teams I enjoy watching. But I also love Detroit and how they are playing. I always cheer for Nashville because of how many players they lose in a small market. St. Louis is one of my favorites cities in the NHL. I try to do equal shout outs, but Chicago is a big story, even if it's because they are bad.
Drew (Oakland, CA)
Barry, Will you be suiting up for the Detroit Red Wings alumni team next year at Comerica Park? Lace 'em up, buddy!
Barry Melrose (2:22 PM)
I could play for both Toronto and Detroit. There are going to be a ton of guys available, so maybe I'll get a pity call. They'll be beating guys away from that game.
Barry, is the biggest downside to next year's Winter Classic the fact that we have to listen to the biggest blowhard in all of sports, Brian Burke? I've been sick of his whining since he was in Vancouver.
Barry Melrose (2:23 PM)
Well, Burkie is going to have to win soon. They haven't made the playoffs yet. And they aren't going to change that this year. He says a lot of things, but he has to back it up soon. He will be under some real pressure next year for sure.
Has Callahan stepped up to the captin role and can hank keep his numbers up?
Barry Melrose (2:24 PM)
I think he has been great. Juts was the doctor ordered. He will be a 30 goal scorer which is great, he blocks shots, etc. When you see that form the bench, it's hard to not going out there and do the same thing. Just a great captain.
Mike (Grand Rapids )
Barry, What cures a weak PP? More work off of the puck? -Mike
Barry Melrose (2:26 PM)
If you look at PPs, the best are the simplest. The main thing is to just stress getting the puck on the net. Some teams aren't condusive to moving the pick side to side ... just get it on net as much as you can. Good PP teams usually shoot more than those that don't. Just that simple.
Hope it's not inappropriate to ask a college hockey question here. What's your take on the season thus far? Who do seeing winning it all at the Frozen Four?
Barry Melrose (2:27 PM)
We'll do the Frozen Four in Tampa which will be really fun. I've covered it now for 10 years and it has been my belief that you can't go wrong picking Boston College. It may not be the right pick, but you won't get laughed at for it.
Brian (Huntington Beach, CA)
Barry, with the Ducks latest hot streak what does Bob Murray do with this team? Does he keep them together for another go at it next year or does he break them up at rebuild?
Barry Melrose (2:28 PM)
I think you have to do a little bit of both. Selanne and Koivu can't play forever. But you also have some real young talent. You can't blow it up. You have to break it down and figure out which parts are the most important and then just tweak it some. Anaheim could easily be a playoff team next year.
Barry, do you think the injury to Jimmy Howard should have the Wings and their fans very concerned? Can Joey MacDonald keep the Wings winning while Howard is on the shelf, or do they fall back to Earth?
Barry Melrose (2:29 PM)
It sounds serious, but it also happens quite a bit. Playing a lot of minutes means you are going to get hurt. He has been lucky in his career so far and a break might not be the worst thing. McDonald played well so if that can continue the rest could do him some good.
Did you see the disallowed goal in BOS/BUF game? I did not understand how they could disallow that goal. 1-0 game at that point, it really changed the whole complexion of the game
Barry Melrose (2:30 PM)
Incidental contact is the ref's judgement. No luxiry of watching slo-mo over and over. We have to cut the refs some slack given how quickly they have to make that call.
Is there any doubt the pens are the best team in the east when Sid is playing?
Barry Melrose (2:32 PM)
You know what, they are the most talented team when he is playing, but when he comes back, Malkin tends to quit being the dominant force he is. If Malkin can stay the same when Sid comes back, yes, I would say they are the best team. That just hasn't been the case recently. Thanks for the questions! I hope everyone is enjoying the playoff races as much as I am. We'll talk again next week!