Chat with Barry Melrose
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, 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 Friday at 1 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:02 PM)
Barry is here!
Rick Nash had 12 shots last night! Are you optimistic about the Rangers going forward?
Barry Melrose (1:02 PM)
Yeah, it was an excellent game last night. Nash was excellent. Henrik played one of his best games. They didn't give up much. I think it could be a turning point. They'll be fine.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Barry, Chicago has gotten out to 17-0-3 record (3-0 over St. Louis last night), who and what has carried the Blackhawks to this outstanding record so far and with 28 games left any prediction on what their record will be?
Barry Melrose (1:03 PM)
Just committment. Never allowing yourself to have a night off, never allowing yourself to say you're tired. From the coaches to the trainers, it's been excellent.
Any hope for Caps fans this year?
Barry Melrose (1:04 PM)
The only hope is they're in the Southeast and everyone is bad in the division. Washington is only 5 points behind Carolina. You're still in it even though you've had a terrible start.
I loved your book. I was glad to see you spent some time in the book talking about CTE, the brain disease caused by concussions. Fighting has been greatly reduced in the game, and I know the NHL is trying to figure out how to reduce hits to the head. If you were commissioner, what steps would you take?
Barry Melrose (1:05 PM)
I would make any hit to the head illegal. There wouldn't be any such thing as a good clean hit to the head. The onus is on the hitter. Make it a five minute major in the game. The next time it happens, make it a severe penalty. That's the only way we'll get rid of it, make it a black and white rule.
hey Barry great season so far for my ducks. Does the streak continue at home tonight versus the wild.
Barry Melrose (1:05 PM)
Yeah, I think so. The Wild are playing better, but the Ducks are a better team right now. It seems like everybody on the team is contributing and their stars are playing well. And they've been getting great goaltending.
Don (Detroit, MI)
Barry; Do the Wings end the Hawks' streak on Sunday? Who is the player of the game?
Barry Melrose (1:06 PM)
I don't think so. I think they're so beat up with so many injuries, it will be tough on them. They're on the road. Chicago will be ready to play Detroit, because they respect them so much. With the lineup and the injuries, I don't think they can do it.
Mark (Washington, DC)
What's going on with the Pens? Bad D? Bad goaltending?
Barry Melrose (1:07 PM)
I would probably say defense. They give up way too many goals. When Philly beat them, they gave up 6. When you have Boston, New Jersey, you can't give up goals like that. They have to be more committed. And they're not scoring like they have.
Black Suit Purple Tie (Planet Mullet)
Barry...is it me or is the Eastern Conf outside of Boston incredibly mediocre? I mean it seems you'll see a team win a game 5-1 one night and then lose their next game 6-2. I think were gonna see alot of teams taking turns get hot for a few weeks...like TB and NJ to start and then Habs, Sens, Leafs the last few week..and then go the opposite direction as a couple other teams get hot...ya know mediocrity...maybe its me, but I'm just seeing alot of thin and bad hockey in the east...thoughts?
Barry Melrose (1:08 PM)
Well, Montreal is good. Jersey is good. Rangers have been disappointing. Southeast is weak. Toronto is a lot better. So, you're probably right. I would agree that Boston is the class of the East.
who is gonna give the Blackhawks the biggest test out west? and is it possible the streak ends tonight? 2nd of back to backs and could be overlooking CBJ
Barry Melrose (1:09 PM)
Well, LA is playing good right now. They're starting to play like the team last year. Nashville. But I think it has to be a goaltender that beats them. So a team that has a great goaltender, that is a team that could upset them.
david hayden (endicott, ny)
Barry, I heard you say that the Central division is the best in the league. I can make a case for the Northeast division. The Bruins, Habs, Sens & Leafs all right now would make the playoffs.
Barry Melrose (1:10 PM)
That's OK, but I think when you're looking at Chicago, by far the best team in the NHL, St. Louis, Nashville, Detroit. Four teams will all make the playoffs. I don't think four will make it from the Northeast.
Any word on Corey Crawford's injury?
Barry Melrose (1:11 PM)
No. Last night it looked weird. He played the whole period and then on the way to the dressing room, something happened. So far, I haven't seen anything on the severity of it. Hopefully it's something that just takes a couple of days.
Who has a brighter future the Wild or Oilers? Oilers have a few really good young players in Eberle, Hall, Yakupov and Schultz. The Wild have some good young players too in Granlund, Coyle, Zucker, Brodin, Dumba and Kuemper but they also have Parise, Koivu and Suter locked in for a long time. Which team has a brighter future?
Barry Melrose (1:12 PM)
Wow, you'd have to go with the Oilers with all of those picks - 3 first overall. That's an unbelieveable lineup. Edmonton has the best future in the NHL, because of those high picks. But they have to start winning soon.
Mark (Denver, CO)
Considering how poorly they mangled the Ryan O'Reilly situation, is the front office of the Avs the laughing stock of the NHL right now?
Barry Melrose (1:13 PM)
They had a game plan with O'Reilly, similar to what PK Subban signed with Montreal. But O'Reilly had one good year. Then Calgary came in and tried to shaft Colorado and now they've got him signed to an overpaid contract. The PA is probably happy, but all of the owners are upset.
Thanks for the chat Barry. I hate to mess with a great thing, but the Blackhawks are under the salary cap - would they add a big star from a team that falls out of the race to put them over the top?
Barry Melrose (1:14 PM)
I think Chicago will be looking. I think they'll be looking to find a guy to give them more depth, you'd look at that. But also to drive the price up for other teams. If St. Louis is trying to get players, make them pay more. If the Kings are looking, make them pay more. But I do think they'll be looking come trade deadline.
Barry, do you see the Preds needing to make a major move based on their recent mediocre play? Due to the heavy push for scoring the defense has fallen off. Is a more natural scorer needed on the roster?
Barry Melrose (1:14 PM)
The Preds were very aggressive last year and spent a lot of money at the deadline, but still lost to Phoenix. They would love to get some more scoring. I think they will be active.
considering the short season, if you're a team that's out of it, would you be looking to sell, or just wait for next year?
Barry Melrose (1:16 PM)
I think this year is going to be interesting, because a lot of teams think they have a chance. But also, if you have a free agent, that doesn't change anything, you don't want to lose him for nothing. Getzlaf and Perry in Anaheim, what do they do?
Think Tim Thomas will play again in the NHL? If so, any idea where? What would be a reasonable expectation of his performance after taking a year-plus off?
Barry Melrose (1:16 PM)
Yeah, I think he'll play next year someplace. He still feels he can play. With his resume, I think there's a team that will take a risk with him.
Any thoughts on the rumored realignment plan floating around the internet? Good/bad? Can Winnipeg be mercifully moved from the East?
Barry Melrose (1:17 PM)
Yes, Winnipeg would go to the West and Columbus and Detroit goes East. I like it. It makes sense geographically. I like it. I think it has to be done. I like the fact that they're helping those teams out.
After this streak it's kind of hard imagining anyone beating the Hawks 4 times in a 7 game series, no? Granted, the playoffs are different, but are they the clear #1 favorite? Any team out East that can do it? Would love a Bruins-Hawks Finals.
Barry Melrose (1:18 PM)
They're definitely the favorite, no doubt. But Boston has only lost 2 games. The Ducks only 3. Other teams have played well, but the Hawks have just been SO good. But look at the Kings last year, they snuck into the playoffs and played well.
Don (Berkeley, CA)
Barry, what is your outlook for the Sharks this season? Are they capable of getting hot and making a strong run in the playoffs?
Barry Melrose (1:19 PM)
They're certainly capable. We saw them at the start of the year and matched Chicago win for win. Their goal scoring has dried up. All of that has changed to get them winning. But on paper, that's as talented a team in the NHL.
Barry - I loved the shootout when it was brought in, but now I'm tired of it. Any chance of the league revamping how tie games are decided in the near future?
Barry Melrose (1:20 PM)
Yeah, I think so. There is a lot of talk about 3 on 3's. I think they'd like to see more games settled in OT rather than the shootout. They've talked about 4 on 4 and then 3 on 3. There are discussions out there to change it.
Why does Eric Cole keep getting traded? He has talent, seems to be a good team player, and now is on his fifth team (counting Carolina twice). He never stays in one spot very long.
Barry Melrose (1:21 PM)
That's a good news/bad news. He's moved five times, but five teams have wanted him. I think he should have stayed in Carolina. I like him. He's a big body, he can skate. That could be a trade that helps both teams.
Any advice for the Torts on the Rangers power play? It is unbelievable that they do not have a single pp goal from Gaborik, Richards, or Nash.
Barry Melrose (1:22 PM)
When you have a bad PP, the more pucks you can get on net, the better. The best PPs are the simplest ones. Right now no one on New York wants on the PP. There is a lack of confidence. Get back to basics and throw a lot of rubber on net.
Bryan (Harrisburg, PA)
Do you think Chicago's record start will help or hurt them as the short season progresses?
Barry Melrose (1:22 PM)
No, there are only 48 games. It's not like they have to do this for 82 games. With a great start, they might be able to rest some guys before the playoffs. That would be a luxury. I don't think there is anything bad about what's going on.
Barry, thanks again for the chat. What are your thoughts on the Flyers? Do you think they are bouncing back and can make the playoffs? Also, do you see any change in Bryzgalov?
Barry Melrose (1:23 PM)
Oooh. They're bouncing back. Playing better. But they've really put themselves in a tough situation. All five Southeast teams are right there. But I think they are one of the best 8 teams out East. If they're one of the best teams in the next 28 games, you'll see them in the playoffs.
Who would win in a 7 game series- Boston vs. Chicago?
Barry Melrose (1:24 PM)
Oh boy, that would be a dream come true for the NHL. Two Original Six teams. Two major markets. I would go with Chicago, because they have more scoring depth. I would just sit back and enjoy.
Time for the Wings to make some big moves at the deadline? Franzen? Filipula? Get some help for the D and a banger?
Barry Melrose (1:25 PM)
Detroit has to get healthy first. They have to get their team together and then see what they've got. They've always been active at the deadline.
How about the officials stepping in last night, not allowing Bollig and Reaves to fight? I liked it.
Barry Melrose (1:25 PM)
No, I thought it was brutal. St. Louis, Chicago playing each other. That's how that series is, it's nasty. Everybody in the building was waiting for it. I don't know what they were doing breaking that up.
what do you make of the ducks schedule? after tonight they play the yotes 3 in row. twice there and once at home.
Barry Melrose (1:26 PM)
It's much more important to Phoenix than Anaheim. That could be a 12 point swing one way or the other. Phoenix is out of the playoff right now. If the Ducks hammer them, that's bad news for Phoenix.
Who will be the next GM & Head Coach in SJ? Brian Burke
Barry Melrose (1:27 PM)
I think everybody is safe now there. If they get beat badly in the first round or miss the playoffs, maybe that changes. They always make good trades. I don't think anyone is looking for any changes.
The first goal of the game in Chic vs Stl last night is all you need to know bout them Hawks. All 5 touched it..Boom! In the net!
Barry Melrose (1:28 PM)
That was pretty impressive, no doubt. It couldn't have been a worse thing that happened to St. Louis. That really put them back on their heels.
can you belive that Coach Q was on the hot seat for the Hawks?
Barry Melrose (1:29 PM)
I think they had lost 9 games in a row last year. It was a tough time. Barry Trotz was just talking the other day about 5, 6, 7 years ago and they were playing Detroit that if they had lost the game, they would have been gone. But they won. It's funny how that works sometimes.
Barry Melrose (1:29 PM)
Not many games tonight, but we still have Chciago-Columbus. Should be a good night.
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