Chat with Pierre LeBrun
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com NHL writer Pierre LeBrun will stop by to chat about the latest news from around the NHL.
Based in Toronto, LeBrun joined ESPN in September 2008 after spending 13 years with The Canadian Press as its national hockey columnist. LeBrun was also a contributor to Rogers Sportsnet and a regular contributor to TSN in Canada.
Send your questions now and join LeBrun Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Pierre LeBrun (1:58 PM)
Greetings folks! Wow, already a ton of questions in the queue. Better get at it.
Something of a personal nature-What was the name of the "candy store that you sneaked from school to go to?The old owner asked me to asked you ?
Pierre LeBrun (2:00 PM)
Geez I can't remember the name of it but I know it was green... I used to call it, ''la magasin vert,"LOL.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What NHL Teams will Miss the Playoffs on the Final Day of the 2011-2012 Regular Season?
Pierre LeBrun (2:01 PM)
Dallas out in the West it would appearNo clue with Wash/Buff. They've both been too unpredictable
You're on record as saying you don't want fighting in hockey. That being said, in your dream NHL, what happens in a game like the Pens/Flyers last Sunday? What stops Schenn from crosschecking Crosby? What stops Vitale from running Briere with a minute to go? In your dream NHL, is it open season on star players, and hope everything gets settled by Shanahan?
Pierre LeBrun (2:01 PM)
I've got no problem with the gloves dropping late in that game. That was out of passion. wasn't orchestrated. Fine by me
Mike T. (Ithaca NY)
The Sabres' 5th goal last night, wow. How could the ref not blow it dead? He didn't even know the puck was in the net until Rick Jeanneret was 3/4 of the way through his trademark "goooooooal"
Pierre LeBrun (2:02 PM)
yeah that was a blown call. But I don' t think Sabres fans are complaining !
Pierre,Apologies if this got sent multiple times. I was the fan who asked about Jason Zucker in the recent chat. Thanks for following up on this! I'm actually a University of Denver alumnus and longtime fan. Though we all knew Zucker would be turning pro after this season ended, the details of the contract just seem strange to me. He's been fighting an injury for a couple of weeks now, so to me there wasn't much point in getting him in their lineup right away, especially since they are not competing for a playoff spot. My thought was that they should just bring him in fresh in training camp next fall. Given how desperate the Wild are for offense, I bet he makes the team anyway. I understand the idea of staggering the contracts for all their prospects, but even that seems to be a roll of the dice. Who is to say that all of those guys are even going to be with the Wild by the time their deals expire? Prospects fail all the time, or get traded, or injured, or play overseas. It seems like they are shortchanging themselves by doing this and creating a potentially expensive problem down the road for no good reason. This is not a franchise that has shown a willingness to spend a lot of money on players in the past, so if some of these prospects hit it big, they're going to have to decide who to keep and for how much money regardless of when their entry-level deals expire. Again thanks for your efforts, and enjoy that poutine.
Pierre LeBrun (2:04 PM)
Another thought on that: Chuck Fletcher might be feeling the heat on his job... wants to show he's got kids coming up the system, etc... show the owner there's a future....
Josh S. (Philly)
True or False: Philly versus Pittsburgh will be the most exciting 1st round matchup?
Pierre LeBrun (2:05 PM)
True _ although any combination of Detroit/Nash or Detroit/Chi or Nash/Chi would be pretty darn good, too, in the West 4-5 matchup
Craig Adams (Pittsburgh, PA)
Pierre, lost in all the talk of what "started" the Pens-Flyers melee last weekend, did anyone happen to see Briere spear me right where the sun don't shine right off the faceoff? I mean this wasn't a tap, he gave me the business right in the jewels! Go back and watch the replay. It is no surprise Vitale lined him up with what ended up being a clean chest hit...but admittedly could have been MUCH worse if his shoulder or elbow went six inches higher. Imagine the fallout if heading into next week we were talking about Briere out for the playoffs with a concussion. Yikes.
Pierre LeBrun (2:06 PM)
To both Pens and Flyers fans: I don't care who did what, who started what, enough already. You've got a great rivalry, two teams that hate each. Stuff is going to happen. There's no blame to go around. Just enjoy the hatred !
Hey Pierre, obviously the Isles need plenty of help for next season especially on defense. Not many free agents are likely to come here so what defenceman are available that the Isles can target via trade?
Pierre LeBrun (2:06 PM)
My sense is that Luke Schenn here in Toronto might be available...
Corey (Pensacola FL)
Can the Blues make a Cup Run with their limited offense and two goalies? I think this is a unique situation where 2 goalies rotating could actually work.
Pierre LeBrun (2:07 PM)
I don't think they'll rotate. I think Hitchcock picks one (likely Halak) and rides him until something goes bad
Sean (NH, USA)
Hey Pierre, try and convince me that there is a more deserving player than Patrice Bergeron for the Selke... 3rd best in face offs in the league, 61 pts, highest plus/minus. It's about time he took this one home. Thanks.
Pierre LeBrun (2:08 PM)
Sent in my official NHL Awards ballot to the NHL today. As a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, I vote for Hart, Calder, Norris, Selke and Lady Byng.We're asked to put down 5 names for each award, with No. 1 carrying more weight obviously than No. 5. Patrice Bergeron got my first-place vote for the Selke.
Pierre, did the NHL ever find out what happened with the clock in Los Angeles?
Pierre LeBrun (2:09 PM)
Yeah, it's a long and complicated story I don't have time to explain here. But yes, the league figured it out and they're monitoring clocks around the league now and have changed some of their protocol because of it.
If Phoenix does the amazing and wins the Pacific...do you think it's possible we could see the 5, 6, 7, & 8 seeds all win the first round in the West? I know SJ has struggled, but they are NOT an 8 seed Team and if one Team could beat STL in Rd 1 it's probably LA...
Pierre LeBrun (2:10 PM)
I say this every week in this chat and I mean it: all 16 teams that make the playoffs has a reasonable shot at reaching the Stanley Cup finals. This ain't your father's NHL. The parity in today's game is ridiculous. Every team is so close, it's insane. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN
Todd G. (Wasaga Beach, ON)
Bonjour, Pierre. Thanks again for all your work over the regular season, always enjoy reading your pieces. But now that the playoffs are (nearly) here, what do you think of the Preds? They've kind of stumbled down the stretch, and I'm wondering if, in spite of everyone saying all the right things, the Radulov addition has screwed up their team chemistry. This was (is?) a pretty tight-knit group. Cheers.
Pierre LeBrun (2:11 PM)
Thanks Todd.No, I don't think Radulov's addition has screwed up their chemistry at all. I know from talking to people there he's fit in really well. Doesn't mean they're going to win the Cup, but it won't be because of him if they fall short
Hey Mr. LeBrun,What are the chances the Habs hire Pierre McGuire? Do you think he would do good in Montreal?
Pierre LeBrun (2:12 PM)
I do believe he's on the radar among their candidates. And yes, I think hes' a very smart hockey man who would be a good GM
How've you been, Pierre? I agree with your trophy picks exept for Selke: there is NO WAY that Bergeron is a better two-way player than Datsyuk. We're talking about a guy, who wins alot more defensive zone face-offs than he loses, the hardest guy to knock off the puck (Kessler confirmed), the sickest stick-handler (just ask any goalie or defenseman). With Weber being your Norris nominee, Suter and Rinne being honorable mentions (their respective categories), remember what he did to all three of them with 5 secs left to play for Detroit's 22 straight home victory? How could you pick Bergeron over Datsyuk?! Just because he is "overdue" does NOT mean he should.
Pierre LeBrun (2:13 PM)
Sergei, the beauty of sports, we can agree to disagree and nobody is right or wrong.Bergeron is my guy this year for the Selke, and doesn't change the fact I think Pavel Datsyuk is among the top 5 players int he entire world _ period.
Can we assume the Stars are done, or can they pull a playoff miracle?
Pierre LeBrun (2:14 PM)
Don't like their chances although Coyotes end with two on the road (Friday at St Loo and Saturday at Minnesota)
Would it be smart for the Flyers to rest their starters, not risk anything against the Pens, and hope for the 6th seed? Playing the Panthers with rested players, rather than the Pens with a bit more tired and potentially beat up players from the Pens game on Saturday, would be a much better situation.
Pierre LeBrun (2:15 PM)
As a veteran hockey man once told me about playoff matchups, ''be careful watch you wish for."Coaches in this league don't aim to avoid teams or draw others. As Peter Laviolette told me last week, you just play the games the best you can, and when the music stops Saturday, you look up and see who you're playing. Simple as that.
looking towards the future, if pronger never plays again ... do the flyers have to keep him on LTIR to not suffer the cap ramifications, or is there anything else they can do? have you heard anything in the upcoming CBA that would remedy a tragic situation like this if the cause of the retirement is injury?
Pierre LeBrun (2:16 PM)
yes they'd need to keep him on LTIR... he was a 35-and-over contract so he counts vs. cap even if he retires.... then again, who knows what the new CBA will bring. And no, talks haven't started yet between NHLPA and NHL so we haven't heard anything yet on what new CBA will look like
Mike Smith's 54 save shutout, amazing! Ready to say the Yotes will make it in and be a dangerous team in the playoffs?
Pierre LeBrun (2:20 PM)
Mike Smith has been unreal. And yes, the Coyotes will make it.But no, I don't think they'll be a serious contender. Look at how they played last night versus Columbus _ lucky to win... Tippett is concerned.... I think Coyotes are one round and out.
Tom Green (Hockeytown, USA)
Pierre; Will Nick run off into the sunset holding that beautiful silver chalice come june?
Pierre LeBrun (2:21 PM)
Would love to see that, Nicky rules... but don't think Detroit wins this year...
Where would you rank the parise zajac kovalchuk line among dangerous lines in the east?
Pierre LeBrun (2:22 PM)
Among the very best for sure...
Mark (San Jose)
Hello Pierre, Thank you for always being so cordual with our redundant questions. But let me give you a hand today. Everyone knows the Blues have been outstanding this season (there's their love) and everyone knows the kings would be no where without Jonathan Quick (there's some love). I hope that helps.
Pierre LeBrun (2:23 PM)
hahaha, nicely done
Pierre LeBrun (2:28 PM)
Sorry guys, took a call from Logan Couture there. Writing a piece for tomorrow morning setting up the big Sharks and Kings home and home. Willie Mitchell is also slated to call later.
Jason (Kansas City)
Big wins for San Jose, Buffalo, and NYR lastnight. I'm really shocked how good the Rangers are. To me they look like they could really do some damage in the playoffs. They score with the big guys and beat the nobody's 1-0,2-0,2-1. Sharks could also be deadly in the playoffs right?
Pierre LeBrun (2:32 PM)
If Sharks get in, they're a really scary team as a low seed. Then again, they might win the Pacific. Have same feelings about the Kings as a low seed. Rangers have been tremendous. Work ethic and commitment to team system unparalleled. My only concern with them is their scoring depth... could bite them at some point in playoffs.
Kings have a shot at the Cup? We killed ourselves early but seem to really be picking up our play as of late and how about Johathan Quick for Veznia?
Pierre LeBrun (2:34 PM)
Kings have a shot yes, much like 6-7 teams in the West. Tough conference ! I don't get a vote for the Vezina, the NHL's 30 GMs vote for the Vezina. From talking to a few GMs, small sample size, I think their first-place votes were going to Lundqvist. But who knows, that's just a few GMs, didn't ask all 30
How do you think the Maple Leafs fans would react if Stamkos got his 60th against them tomorrow night?
Pierre LeBrun (2:35 PM)
yes, they should give him a standing ovation. He's a Markham boy from up the highway. It would be a great feat. Tell the kid you appreciate great players !
Joey No-No (LA LA LAND)
Greetings Pierre! We are looking forward to a great home and home series with the Sharks...what's your prediction with this mini-playoff series?
Pierre LeBrun (2:35 PM)
I predict a split, Kings win at home tomorrow night and Sharks at home Saturday night
Hank (New Jersey)
Please tell me the Ranges are not going after Parise in the offseason and he will stay with the Devils? If the Rags get him that team will deadly with Gaborik-Parise-Richards-Callahan-Dubinsky-Stepan-Kreider etc. I don't wanna face them for the next 5 years.
Pierre LeBrun (2:36 PM)
yes my sources indicate the Rangers are among a long list of teams that plan to make him an offer July 1.... no way of knowing yet if Parise will stay in NJ or not. Traded emails with Parise's agent yesterday and all he said was that contract talks had NOT begun at this point with NJ... obviously it's going to wait until after the season
the canucks are going to win the president trophy AND win the stanley cup this year... agree or disagree?
Pierre LeBrun (2:37 PM)
So it looks like Quick is going to get screwed on the Vezina with the East Coast bias. How does this guy not win the Veniza, the kings would be in 14th place without him. Plain and simple he deserves this award over Lundquist hands down.
Pierre LeBrun (2:38 PM)
GMs vote on the Vezina, NOT the writers. There are 15 GMs in the East, 15 GMs in the West, not sure how there's any bias whatseover.Secondly, if you looked at our NHL awards blog posted today on ESPN.com/nhl, you will see that Pierre LeBrun chose Quick for the Vezina.
TJ (San Jose)
What happened to the sharks this year, why are they so inconsistent will they make the playoffs do they have to beat LA twice to do it.
Pierre LeBrun (2:39 PM)
They traded out two top-six forwards in Heatley/Seto to Minny last summer, got Havlat back, but Havlat was hurt most of the season. So they basically lost one third of their top-six offense for most of this year until Havlat returned. That really jammed up their lines and created havoc/unbalance. Now they're healhty, Winnik has been a great addtion, and they're rolling with much better balance in their four forward lines
Mark (San Jose)
Pierre, each season it pains me to see how poor management has led to markets that were never given the chance to succeed(Atlanta, Columbus, Long Island, and Florida) that's why it shocks me that neither you nor Burnsy gave a shout out to Dale Tallon for his MacGuyver offseason in your trophy tracker. I think he deserves a nod for taking a basement team to the top of their division with nothing but Brian Campbell, duct tape and a toilet paper tube.
Pierre LeBrun (2:40 PM)
agreed, good point. Tallon has a done a tremendous job
Russ Tillson (Virginia Beach, VA.)
With a remarkable streak that the Norfolk Admirals have accomplished, and are continueing to rewrite the record books for hockey, dont understand why this is not making it to national TV. There are people all over the country watching and asking if it is still a streak..come on man!!!!!
Pierre LeBrun (2:41 PM)
My ESPN.com teammate Scott Burnside wrote a wonderful piece on them last week
Pierre-How excited are you to hear some of Randy Moller's goal calls in the postseason? Guy is already at 11!
Pierre LeBrun (2:41 PM)
haha love it
Bill (Las Vegas)
Who would you hire as Habs next GM & head coach and who do you think Molson will hire?
Pierre LeBrun (2:42 PM)
Have no clue who Molson will hire but I would hire either Julien BriseBois or Marc Bergevin as GM and I would make Patrick Roy head coach _ but obviously have GM make their own call on coach. Don't force it down their throat
As a Caps fan, I was screaming at the TV last night when they didn't blow the whistle on Buffalo's last goal. What do you say, should it have been a goal or not?
Pierre LeBrun (2:43 PM)
Alexander Radulov (Nashville, TN)
Pierre, how am I doing so far back in the NHL? Can you "rattle off" a few opinions. Get it? Russians make funny.
Pierre LeBrun (2:43 PM)
Well I picked you up in my media fantasy league (where I'm in first place) and I'd say I've enjoyed your production :) Especially since shootouts is a category in our league. Thanks for the big shootout goal last night !
Congrats on your reported domination of the ESPN/TSN hockey pool. What's your secret?
Pierre LeBrun (2:46 PM)
It's not an ESPN/TSN pool. It's a fantasy league with hockey writers across North America.... Among my players I've got Karlsson (D points are a separate category), I picked up Brian Elliott off waivers first week of the season on a whim, I've got Claude Giroux (of course, fellow Hearst, Ontario native), Evgeni Malkin, Daniel Sedin, etc...
Ron Burgundy (San Diego, CA)
Pierre, my esteemed colleague. On a scale of "Brian Burke's demeanor in the Toronto press box the last 2 months" to "Darryl Evans after the Miracle on Manchester"......how excited are you for the Anchorman sequel? You know comedy sequels are typically terrible right? (Slapshot 2).
Pierre LeBrun (2:46 PM)
I was in a glass cage of emotion when I found out. You know they based the Burgundy character off me, right? (kdding)
Lets hear your predictions. Who you got in the conference finals and who's hoisting the cup?
Pierre LeBrun (2:47 PM)
Still debating my picks. Going to hand them in on Sunday.
Pierre: Kings are on a roll!!! Can they continue this into the playoffs? Also like that you think Quick should win Vezina, but your choice of Bergeron for Selke in commendable you need to look at Kopitars two way play. He plays almost 3 minutes more per game than Bergeron against the other teams top line. Just watch him play end to end hockey and you'll see he is the top defensive forward in the league!!!!
Pierre LeBrun (2:47 PM)
yup that's why I had Kopitar among my candidates
Pierre Thank you for all you do. Look forward to your chats every week. As a die-hard Blackhawk fan I am kinda sort of looking forward to seeing a Chi-Stl matchup in playoffs. I know its a ways away but do you feel that the hawks wont make it that far? Have a great time in the playoffs my friend. I know I will
Pierre LeBrun (2:48 PM)
Two big keys is Toews' health (he wont' play tomorrow but it's clear he's close) plus Crawford.The goalie has been much better over past 6 weeks. But any kind of stumble from him and they dont' get out of first round
Pierre, do you know the tiebreaker after goal differential? If the Sharks/Kings split their home-and-home, with San Jose winning by 2, and LA winning in a SO, I believe they'd be tied in points, ROW, head-to-head, and goal differential...what would be next?
Pierre LeBrun (2:50 PM)
It's goal different for the season, not head to head by the way...dont' know answer to your question off top of my head. Not sure any tiebreaker in years has done that deep
How do you see 4-6 playing out in the West?
Pierre LeBrun (2:51 PM)
4. Nash5. Chicago6. Detroit
Hi Mr. LeBrun! After watching the dramatic playoff series a few years ago between the Capitals and the Penguins in the second round, I immediately got hooked on hockey. Living in Baltimore, I am a die-hard Caps fan, and the Caps are an essential part of my lifestyle. As we can all remember, the Capitals were a different team when they faced off against the Pens that year (2008 I believe), a team built around fast skaters with good sticks who could get out on the rush and kill teams with their aggressive offense. We've both seen the team style change dramatically ever since the tough 1st-round loss to the Habs in 2010. The team lost speed and youth over the course of the next two years, which brings us to the present. The Caps currently are on the bubble of the playoffs. SO HERE'S MY QUESTION: what happened to the old Caps? What changed so dramatically about Ovechkin, still beloved by the fans in D.C., and the rest of the squad? How have other teams adjusted to the Capitals? And most importantly, do you ever see Ovechkin scoring 50+ goals a season again? I knew just who to turn to when I myself asked the same questions and was stumped. Are there specific reasons for the breakdown of this hockey club that I love so dearly? What will the future be like for Caps fans?
Pierre LeBrun (2:53 PM)
Spencer, glad you found our sport a few years ago. Don't give up on it ! I can go on and on but dont' have time so I'll focus on Ovechkin. I've said this before in this space this year, but until Ovechkin treats his career commitment as a YEAR-ROUND affair like his Russian compatriots Malkin and Datsyuk, he wont' be as good as he can be. He needs to the gym earlier in the summer, and commit on and off the ice like he wants to be the best player in the world. You can fill in the blanks.
Sam (Indianapolis )
LeBrun, what are your thoughts on Mike Milbury's comments about Crosby and Bylsma earlier this week??
Pierre LeBrun (2:54 PM)
Awkward for me because Mike and I were colleagues for 6 years at HOckey Night In Canada and I respect him as a friend and colleague. But you can't make fun of concussions (ie the 35th concussion comment). It's a serious issue in the sport and I agree with Ray Shero who told me yesterday you just can't make light of that issue
Ryan (San Jose, CA)
Pierre, why can't the sharks put some good games together? They looked great last night, but some of the games over this past weekend they stunk it up. They do realize they need to win consecutive games in the playoffs, assuming they make it there, don't they?
Pierre LeBrun (2:55 PM)
If I knew that, I would have told Todd McLellan by now :)
Mark (Montreal, QC)
Pierre, gut feeling, does Pronger return at some point next season? Praying he does and they clearly hope he does, otherwise they'd have named another captain, no?
Pierre LeBrun (2:55 PM)
Gut feeling, I think his career is over. But I hope I'm wrong
William (The Bronx)
Hey Pierre, I just want to give you credit for picking Jonathan Quinn to win the Vezina earlier in your blog. I think Lundqvist will win but I don't think it's a slam dunk like I did earlier in the year. Your thoughts & thanks.
Pierre LeBrun (2:56 PM)
Thanks, I presume you mean Jonathan Quick. I agree with you I think Lundqvist will win, and he's fully deserving. But I though I needed to pull my weight a little as a national writer and give Quick some love.
Ice Ace (Alabama)
If you are the Canucks, who is your goaltender? Luongo or Schneider
Pierre LeBrun (2:56 PM)
I'd start with Luongo in Game 1 and have a short leash
Pierre, how does your heart survive a game like Buf-Tor last night with all that poutine??
Pierre LeBrun (2:57 PM)
haha, my wife won't let me eat poutine for that reason :)
Ben (San Jose)
You talk about the parity being so high this year and how it's so hard to predict the playoffs, so what separates the winners from the losers? A stronger will to win?
Pierre LeBrun (2:58 PM)
Injuries/health are huge, mental strength. how teams react to adversity quickly in a series....
Is the Canadian media going to overhype the Sens opening round, simply because they are the only team from up north to qualify? It doesn't hurt that they're likely to play the defending champs.....but let's be honest - they are a very average team, no?
Pierre LeBrun (3:00 PM)
Lou, let me correct you on a common mistakes by many American hockey fans. There is no unifying ''Canadian media." There's Ottawa media who cover the Sens, Montreal media who cover the Habs, Toronto media who cover the Lefas. Just like it's Boston media, New York media, etc....Not all Canadian hockey media are on the same page on anything !
Pierre LeBrun (3:01 PM)
OK cool cats, I'm off to St. Louis on Tuesday morning, look forward to starting my playoff coverage there.Cheers all and enjoy the post-season