Chat with Scott Burnside
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com's Scott Burnside will stop by to chat about the NHL's latest news and events.
Before joining ESPN in 2005, he was a reporter for the Windsor Star and Toronto Sun. Burnside has won numerous awards, including the 1990 National Newspaper Award, and also co-authored the best-selling true crime book "Deadly Innocence" in the mid-1990s. He is based in Atlanta.
Send your questions now and join Burnside on Thursday at 1 p.m. ET!
Scott Burnside (1:00 PM)
Greetings all. Not quite there yet but seemingly a lot closer to a resolution to the lockout and a start to real hockey then last week, and the week before and, well, you get it. Now, where were we?
Ice Ace (Alabama)
If the two sides agree to a contract in the next 7 days, when do the season start? Also, what players that is currently playing overseas will not return for 2012-2013 season?
Scott Burnside (1:03 PM)
Ice; If, for instance, there was a deal ratified by players by the end of next week I am guessing it would take three or four days to get a camp together and then guessing seven days of camp with no exhibition games and then the start of the season sometime between Nov. 28 and Dec. 1. As for players not returning all players with NHL contracts must return to their NHL clubs or be in violation of IIHF rules and rules that all major European leagues including the KHL are expected to abide by. Regardless of what newly minted lawyers Alexander Ovechkin and others insist might be the case based on a final deal.
Any chance we got hockey by the 23rd of Nov?
Scott Burnside (1:05 PM)
Bob; See my timeline from above (below?) but I know the NHL would love to get games on at some point during Thanksgiving weekend. They have tried to make that a nice secondary 'destination' weekend for games after the Winter Classic but I don't see how that could happen unless we got a deal this weekend. Would be a nice kick-off were it to happen, though, for the NHL to roll out games at some point during the big holiday weekend in the U.S.
tdiddy (winnipeg) [via mobile]
When the season gets going next month (positive thoughts...positive thoughts) do you see Mark Scheifle making the Jets this season or one more year in the minors?
Scott Burnside (1:09 PM)
tdiddy; Had to take a quick look at his stats but Scheifele is tearing it up back in junior with 28 points in 17 games for Barrie of the OHL. Thought it made a lot of sense for him to go back a year ago early in the season and the Jets under GM Kevin Cheveldayoff have been very firm that they will not rush their young players. Without much of a camp expected my guess is that they will let Scheifele play it out in junior for the balance of this season and maybe get him some AHL time when the junior session is done.
In your opinion, is diving a problem in the NHL? Are any teams that are known for diving? (cough cough, Le Habs, cough cough)
Scott Burnside (1:11 PM)
Hollister; I think it's something the GMs (and coaches) would like to have more closely called. Not sure how you eliminate the problem though unless you establish a graduated scale which sees a guy fined after X number of diving calls against. Or if a team gets more than one diving call in a game they get an additional unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. That's how to deal with the issue in my opinion.
Mike (College Park)
Scott, assuming we have a season that starts on or around Dec. 1st, what would be your ideal schedule length? All games within the conference, perhaps?
Scott Burnside (1:15 PM)
Mike; Arrgggh. Math. My head. I believe the shortened 1994-95 season (48 games) did not have any games out of conference. But if you got the season going by Dec. 1 you could probably have 60 to 66 games and play each team in the other conference once and then everything within the conference with weight given to divisional games. The issue might be travel with a compressed schedule. Certainly the league and the players will want to jam in as many games as possible and if they canned the All-Star weekend (given revenues it generates they may not want to do that) could get as many as 70 games in if a deal done quickly.
Great work covering the Lockout Scott.... What are you hearing out there and what are your feelings will we have hockey or not? No news is good news right??? when will we start ?
Scott Burnside (1:17 PM)
Bill; Appreciate the kind words. And while it may not sound like a good thing coming from the media silence really is golden, I think, given how much emphasis was put on spin and PR (such as it was) during the early stages of the lockout. I think the pressure on both sides is significant to get a deal done and get as much of a season on the books as possible. Both sides have been very courteous of the other in the past four or five days and have been very cautious about allowing details of the talks to get out. If that keeps up then I remain optimistic we'll see the framework of a deal in the next four or five days, perhaps a week.
Marc (Malden, MA)
I can think of one thing to try and cut down on the diving...actually calling the penalty, and not one of these garbage tripping/diving co-minors.
Scott Burnside (1:18 PM)
Marc; Couldn't agree more. That, along with the goaltender interference call that negates a goal but doesn't result in a penalty being called make me lose my mind. Have terrific respect for the on-ice officials but call the dive or call the foul, not both. Ever.
Will Free Agent Vets jump like Jason Arnott and Alex Kovalev jump right onto a team once the CBA is Finalized or will it take an injury before teams come calling. And where do you thing the best fit for each would be?
Scott Burnside (1:20 PM)
Justin; It will be interesting to see whether a shortened season prompts GMs to look for more veteran help earlier on or give youngsters a shot? I imagine Arnott will find work. Kovalev less certain. I remain hopeful one of my favorite guys, Mike Knuble, will get a call when the dust clears.
Otto (New Britain, CT)
Burnside,How about non-lockout question...Zetterberg and Brunner are tearing up the swiss league they're in right now. While I'd expect an elite talent like Z to do so, this Brunner kid is a pleasant surprise. Here's the real question: Is this kid legit, or do we have to fear another flash-in-the-pan like Fabian Brunstrom?
Scott Burnside (1:24 PM)
Otto; Really hard to extrapolate whether success in any of the Euro leagues, even the KHL which plays a style more comparable to the NHL, will translate to the big stage. No surprise on Zetterberg of course but I think it will be about seeing how Brunner does with a taste of North American life before making assumptions about his potential. Fabian Brunnstrom is the great cautionary tale when looking at Euro stats. Never lived up to his billing as the best player outside the NHL when he got inside the NHL.
What is the current status of re-alignment?
Scott Burnside (1:25 PM)
Aaron; That will take effect next season assuming the league gains control over those kinds of elements of game management in the current CBA. Won't happen this season if there is one.
so how does it work if there is a short training camp before a shortened season for prospects? Normally teams would take a look at them before sending them back down to Jr's or AHL, etc. But now since training camp is short (thinking positive) and Jr teams, the A and so on are now progressing in their seasons how does that work?
Scott Burnside (1:28 PM)
carl; That's part of the unknown. Talked to Dan Bylsma a couple of weeks ago and that was one of the dilemmas he was facing (as will all coaches and GMs) in terms of who could come to a short camp. With AHL teams in middle of season and likewise junior players can NHL clubs just drag three or four of their guys for a week of camp? Seems pretty disruptive but GMs/coaches especially with guys having played maybe 15 or so games in the AHL will want a chance to see them up close so it may turn out that way. Will be interesting when it happens, though.
Scott, let's be honest: the damage has been done. Put aside schedule length and start dates, and tell me how the NHL is going to win back its fans? We've already lost the WC. What's to make me believe all this stress was actually for the better and the state of the league actually is better?
Scott Burnside (1:30 PM)
JD; Actually started to write on this topic yesterday but I think long-term it's about the players and owners finding a common ground in getting the game back onto the positive track it was heading into the lockout (five straight years of record revenues) and ensuring the league breaks its pattern of labor unrest. Easier said than done, obviously, but both sides have to see that this pattern will only stunt the game's growth long-term. Look for special events like more outdoor games, more international play and HBO involvement but that will be after this season.
Are there going to be any changes on the ice such as hybrid-icing or removing the dumb trapezoid so goalies can play the puck?
Scott Burnside (1:31 PM)
Bill; Hybrid icing being tested now at the AHL level so maybe next season. Would love to see the trapezoid taken out as well but no plans right now to do so.
Hey Scott: Once they resolve this nonsense, which rookies do you feel will make their teams and have some kind of impact?
Scott Burnside (1:33 PM)
Rich; Well I, like many folks, am anxious to see Justin Schultz in Edmonton. He's been terrific for Oklahoma in the AHL and he's so important to what the Oilers are hoping to accomplish. Chris Kreider playing a full season in New York with big expectations will be fun to watch and any of the Wild's promsing group of youngsters like Granlund and/or Coyle will be a big part of whether the Wild can jump up in the standings.
1. With Nick retiring (and losing Stuart as well), how do you find the Wings stacking up in the West? 2. Will the Wings finally get into the East? 3. Do the Wings retire Nick's Jersey this season or next?
Scott Burnside (1:37 PM)
Mike; Not sure what the Wings' plans are for retiring #5 but can't help but wonder if the Winter Classic '14 might work. That said, he should probably be honored at Joe Louis Arena. As for the Wings, they are a bit of an unknown quantity at this stage (strange to say that, no?) with the big holes along the blue line that need to be filled. And it's time for youngsters like Nyquist and others who have been honing their skills in the AHL or overseas to follow in the footsteps of Zetterberg, Datsyuk and the rest of the Wings' stars who followed a similar path of development. Still a playoff team but hard to see them regaining the top spot in the Central.
Scott Burnside (1:39 PM)
Jerry; Hybrid icing allows a linesman the discrection to blow a play dead based on the positioning of a defensive player who is in a footrace with an offensive player for a puck in the defensive zone. The idea is to keep competitive battles for iced pucks alive but trying to eliminate the potentially dangerous contact on players going back for iced pucks. Not quite automatic icing but not every puck needs to be actually touched before the whistle is blown.
Scott, after NJ has been so damaged by the hurricane, let's give people some hope. Are you optimistic about the Devils?
Scott Burnside (1:42 PM)
PJ; A shout out to all those trying to move on from Sandy (and the new storm from yesterday). Hoping you have power to watch some NHL games very soon. As for the Devils everyone knows not to underestimate Lou Lamoriello and his Devils. That said the loss of Zach Parise is huge. A lot of pressure on guys like Adam Henrique (what a find he is by the way), Adam Larsson and Jacob Josefson who will have to assume more prominent roles. With Martin Brodeur back, though, assume another trip to the post-season is in the offing.
Andy (Newport Beach)
Scott, if a deal gets done within a week, anyway the league can do anything to get the winter classic back on? I feel the event has been built up and meant so much to the league that they can use any available resources to get the game in, for the fans?
Scott Burnside (1:43 PM)
Andy; If what we're told is true you can't put the air back in that balloon. And frankly better to wait and do it right next year than put on a half-baked event this year in my opinion.
Ha, Pat must be a first time reader! Scott is NEVER optimistic about the Devils (SCF prediction aside)
Scott Burnside (1:44 PM)
JD; I'm a convert. Think I had them beating the Rangers in the east final, too, if my memory serves. But point taken.
Thomas (Mcguire Air Force Base, NJ)
Scott, Your Top 5 Coaches that are coaching today, and top 5 MVP candidates for the "next" season.
Scott Burnside (1:46 PM)
Thomas; In no particular order; John Tortorella, Ken Hitchcock, Dave Tippett, Peter Laviolette, Mike Babcock.MVP candidates; Again in no particular order, Jonathan Toews, Steven Stamkos, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Claude Giroux.
A quick start will be so important with a shortened schedule. Which coach/team will be under the most pressure if they stumble out of the gate?
Scott Burnside (1:47 PM)
Nick; I think Joel Quenneville will need to get the 'Hawks going early after two straight first-round exits. Likewise Randy Carlyle needs to get the Leafs going. Not that Brian Burke will fire him but that team needs something positive right away. Mike Yeo will be under the gun with all the changes in Minnesota and I think Joe Sacco needs to have a good start to keep the wolves from the door in Denver.
And to your earlier point.....Mike Knuble deserves a handful of calls. He is too good of a locker room guy to not give him a sweater.
Scott Burnside (1:49 PM)
Mike; He is just the best. Wonder if there might be a spot for him in Pittsburgh or even New York with the Rangers although not sure he can keep up to the pace demanded by John Tortorella. Minnesota? Anaheim with Bruce Boudreau? Who doesn't want a classy leader who can still mix it up?
Do you think Alex Ovechkin will move back into the top 10 players in the league this year? Will playing in Moscow motivate him to play harder/better/faster this year?
Scott Burnside (1:50 PM)
Joe; I honestly never believe that motivation is an issue for Ovechkin. Conditioning? Okay. But having spoken to Adam Oates recently for a piece I did on his induction in the Hall of Fame in a few days I think he's going to be a good fit for Ovechkin. Top 10? Wouldn't surprise me but certainly we should see more from him offensively than the past couple of years.
Southside Johnny (Apex, NC)
After the lockout in 2004-05, The Carolina Hurricanes stunned the hockey world and captured their first Stanley Cup. What are the chances the Carolina Hurricanes win the Cup in 2013?
Scott Burnside (1:52 PM)
Southside; I didn't put Kirk Muller on my list of top five coaches but he's close. And the 'Canes have the potential to be that kind of dark horse team coming out of the lockout. Expect more from Alexander Semin, Jordan Staal will be a great addition and the 'Canes blue line has the potential to be very, very good very quickly. A Cup? Not sure. But definitely challenge for the Southeast Division title.
Hey Scott,What are your thoughts regarding the Jets? It was pretty much the same teram last year as the year before while in ATL. The team/players were complaining of the lack of support from fans but after playing in Winnipeg one year and the arena filled to capacity on all home games, one could wonder why have they not finished higher in the standings? Is it time for the players too point the finger at themselves?
Scott Burnside (1:54 PM)
Jeff; Funny how the team could move all the way to Winnipeg, play in front of one of the best group of fans in the NHL and still look exactly the same especially defensively and in goal. Lots of pressure on Claude Noel to get his team into the playoffs. Management may be patient with prospects but I'm not sure they're going to be as patient with the NHL roster and coaching staff.
Scott, your take on Roberto Luongo? Pretty big elephant in the room if the season begins with him in Vancouver, no? Where do you see him playing this year...if there is in fact a league?
Scott Burnside (1:56 PM)
Brian; That will be one of the hot topics as soon as the ink is dry on a new CBA especially if the league is successful in punishing teams that signed players like Luongo to front-loaded deals. If there is a clause that puts the onus on the signing team to bear the salary cap hit if a player retires before the end of the deal (or something like that) there might be more suitors for Luongo's services. It also will allow the Canucks to ask for more in a trade. I still think Florida is the most likely destination with Chicago and Toronto just down that list. My guess is that even if Luongo starts in Vancouver because of a short window to open the season he won't be there long.
Scott Burnside (2:00 PM)
Okay folks, time to wrap for this week. Off to Toronto this weekend for Hall of Fame. Who knows where we're at when we reconvene next week. Look forward to it. Until then.