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 1 p.m. ET!
It's been so long since the Flyers were sellers the deadline that I'm actually excited. What kind of value would Briere/Timmonen/Coburn have at the deadline?
Barry Melrose (1:01 PM)
First off, I don't think they'll be sellers if they're even close to a playoff spot. I don't think you can expect them to be trading players. They could be buyers if they're even close. If they're a long way out, they will have some players, but a guy like Briere has a no-trade and he's made it clear he doesn't want to leave.
Do you feel the Blues will finish 2nd in the central behind Chicago, 4th overall or worse?
Barry Melrose (1:02 PM)
Yes. I think if you look, the Ducks are for real. Chicago. I think St. Louis is the second best team in the Central.
chicago lost two after the streak...inevitable?
Barry Melrose (1:03 PM)
Yeah, there was going to be a let down. As a coach you have to make sure it doesn't go any longer. They obviously weren't ready to play after the loss to Colorado. I think Joel can live with it unless it gets to 5 or 6 games. That's what you're afraid of.
Will the Rangers find some consistency in the second half?
Barry Melrose (1:04 PM)
They thought they had. They were talking about how well they were playing and then they throw out that stinker the other night against Buffalo. But they play Winnipeg tonight. There are some teams on the outside starting to play better. They better start winning and not let these other teams hang around.
was it just tiredness or something else for the Hawks?
Barry Melrose (1:05 PM)
No, it was just a mental let down. Every game had been a big game. They were seeing the other teams' best games every night. There was going to be a let down and there was.
Margie (Sacramento, CA.)
I still have faith in my SHARKS. They are playing better hockey. What do you think needs to be changed for the better of the team? The top line? The goalie? Or let's just kick out the zebra's! lol..
Barry Melrose (1:06 PM)
We've had this talk before. They've always shown greatness and then they settle into mediocrity. This should be one of the best in the West. They have everything. But it seems like they can't put it together for any length of time.
2Tall (The Igloo)
Barry, Will Sidney Crosby score 100 pts this year? Is anybody even in the same ballpark with this dood? He's nasty..
Barry Melrose (1:07 PM)
No one's close probably the last 10 games. Every game it seems he's getting 3, 4, 5 points. He's been the hottest offensive player in the NHL in the last 10 games. You'd think unless he gets hurt he will win the scoring race.
The blues need to get healthy, however, even then, are they one of the powerhouses in the West come playoff time?
Barry Melrose (1:09 PM)
Everybody needs to be healthy in the playoffs, but it's one thing to do with this season's schedule. If Halak gets hot, he has shown he can win playoff rounds on his own. They do have an experienced goaltender on their team.
Shane (Chillicothe OH)
Barry, my Blue Jackets are playing great hockey, with these 3 first rounders is there hope in CBJ nation? The hair still going strong Barry!
Barry Melrose (1:09 PM)
Of course. They're playing with a lot of their players hurt. For the first time in a long time, the Blue Jackets can be proud of their team.
Craig (Taftville, CT)
Who, if anyone, should the Bruins target in a trade?
Barry Melrose (1:10 PM)
Yeah, they have to figure out how to win a game when they're going into the third period with a lead. At the deadline they'll be looking for a veteran forward, defenseman, depth guy. I'm sure they'll be in the Iginla sweepstakes if Jerome is up for a trade.
Barry Melrose (1:10 PM)
They're just looking to finetune their team, not rebuild.
Has Joe Sacco hindered the Avs development? Do you think he is a good coach at all?
Barry Melrose (1:11 PM)
No. I think he's done a good job. The guys have played hard for Joe. They've had a lot of injuries. They have some great young players and they're playing pretty good right now.
Ice Ace (Alabama)
What did you think of the 4 game suspension of Perry?
Barry Melrose (1:12 PM)
It was a pretty viscious hit. An obvious penalty. A hit to the head. Those are all the criteria for a suspension. Not really surprised.
Matt (PA )
Best fit for Iginla?
Barry Melrose (1:13 PM)
I think any of the teams that are winning. Chicago would be a great fit. Pittsburgh. Boston. He's only going to accept going to a team that has a chance of going to the Cup. That's one thing. He's a straight ahead guy. He's a fancy guy. A team like Boston, Chicago would really fit into really well.
Who have been some of your favorite players to watch in the first half?
Barry Melrose (1:13 PM)
All of the Chicago Blackhawks. I love watching Chicago. I love watching Boston. The Ducks are fun to watch. I love the skill of the Oilers, but I don't like the results. Anyone who plays hard I like to watch. Fast and physical, I like to watch.
Do you think the Devils do anything significant at the deadline or are they comfortable trying to make a run as constituted?
Barry Melrose (1:14 PM)
Lou has been aggressive at the deadline before. I'm sure the Devils will be one of those teams involved with Iginla. He's always been active and I'm sure he will be again.
Shawn (Traverse City, MI)
Last night's loss to Calgary was an embarrassing disappointment. It sure looked like coach Babcock did not have the team prepared. Is this a sign he may not be a good fit without a stocked roster like we've had in years past? Is Holland thinking replacement behind the bench?
Barry Melrose (1:15 PM)
It's certainly going to be the hardest job he's had in a long time. You look down the bench and you don't have some guys. They've had a ton of injuries. You have to judge Detroit once they come back. That's fair to Mike. But it's been a tough year and we've talked about that since the start of the season. And it has been.
how far are the jackets from becoming a consistent playoff contender and do you think realignment will help or hurt their timeline?
Barry Melrose (1:16 PM)
I think it will help them. There are better teams in the West than the East. I think they play more of an Eastern style than West. If they can add more players, they have cap room and the picks, they're competitive now, if they add skill, they can be consistent quickly. But they can't make bad moves.
There is no way Sharp comes back before the deadline, is there anyone you could see the Hawks making a move for?
Barry Melrose (1:17 PM)
They will be trying. They have to be in every deal, even if they don't get the deals to make the prices higher for the teams they're competing with. They will be involved, they've always been. They know they can get deeper here and there. But there are no Sharps available. Iginla's the key.
I know they have some defensive issues, but why aren't the Hurricanes getting more attention? They have a great first line and a very solid second. Their only inconsistent play recently is when Skinner missed time with a concussion.
Barry Melrose (1:18 PM)
I agree with you. But in the East, the Rangers are struggling, that's a big story. The Devils are struggling, that's a story. Boston is playing well. Sometimes it's good to be a quiet mouse sitting back watching everyone else.
Mike Yeo (St. Paul, MN)
Is my job safe beyond this year if the Wild don't at least make it past the first round of the playoffs (assuming we get in the playoffs)?
Barry Melrose (1:19 PM)
Well, when you spent $200 million and miss the playoffs or get beat in the first round, your job is always in jeopardy. For any coach, not just Mike Yeo's.
Steve (Lake Tahoe)
With no goals this year and a $7 million contract, is Drew Doughty the most overrated player in hockey? I have him as the 3rd best D-man on the Kings behind Willie Mitchell and Slava Voynov.
Barry Melrose (1:20 PM)
You know what, I did a list the other day, and there is a lot of guys out there. Richards. Green. Some Edmonton stars. Havlet in San Jose has 3 goals in 20 games. But Doughty's certainly one of them. To have no goals with all of that power play time is amazing.
Was the Pens win over Boston a fluke or do you think the Pens are really better than the B's? Everyone has been saying Boston is the team to beat in the East, but it's hard to say when they blow a 2-0 lead late in the game against offense-heavy Pgh.
Barry Melrose (1:21 PM)
Ooooh. You don't score three goals against Boston without being a good club. We all know Pittsburgh can score on anybody, but they haven't stopped anyone. If they get better defensively, they move to the top of the conference.
Jesse M (Brooklyn NY)
Besides that awful loss to the Penguins the other night, the Islanders seem to have picked up there a play a bit. How do you feel about their chances of making the playoffs being only 3 points out?
Barry Melrose (1:22 PM)
Yeah, they're three points out, but they're fighting with four teams for that last spot. Are they better than those teams? Philly, Tampa Bay, Washington, New Jersey, Toronto, Rangers? They don't have to beat out one team, it's 4 or 5.
Will the Red Wings have to change their style of play and maybe their roster in order to be successful in the East or will they stick to the way they play in the West?
Barry Melrose (1:23 PM)
They're going to have the change their roster anyway, because of age. That's what this year has shown. They have to get some guys to help Datsyuk out, Zetterberg out. I think you'll see them be very aggressive in free agency this summer. They don't have to change their style, just change their lineup.
Jim Clark (Bay Shore, NY)
In retrospect, did the lockout really hurt or help any teams. Everybody who two months ago said the lockout would help Ducks and Canadiens raise their hands
Barry Melrose (1:24 PM)
I don't think they're good because of the lockout, I think they're good because of the changes this summer. The Habs made some good additions. Those moves helped more than the lockout.
Craig (So cal)
Strange thinking I know but doesnt 4 games without Corey Perry help the Ducks whether or not to trade him since it looks like he wont sign after the season. I am a Ducks season ticket holder
Barry Melrose (1:25 PM)
That is a strange way of looking at it. I think it might be good for the Ducks that you have a well rested Corey Perry for the stretch run. Thats how I look at it. The Ducks have to know now what they're going to do with him. If you look at it teamwise, you have a well rested Perry for the stretch.
Ice Ace (Alabama)
Why has the Canucks struggle lately despite them winning in a shootout over the recently hot Blue Jackets?
Barry Melrose (1:26 PM)
Kessler got hurt again. They have some other injuries too. They haven't been unbelievable the way they've been the last few years. There have been some cracks in the Canucks. They're not heads and tails above like they used to be.
bob nj [via mobile]
hi barry the rangers need too trade m gaborik agree?
Barry Melrose (1:27 PM)
You're not going to get much for him. An underachieving goal scorer that makes a lot of money. The fact they want to move him tells you the story right there. He's an elite scorer when he's going and there's no reason why he can't score with New York.
Speaking of Sharks mediocrity - why does Douglas Murray start over Demers or Braun every night? He might be ok on the PK but for anything else he is downright awful.
Barry Melrose (1:28 PM)
A coach knows the players better than anybody else. The coach must believe in Demers. You have to play the players you believe in.
Barry Melrose (1:29 PM)
I want to wish all of the NHL fans out there a Happy St. Patty's Day! Don't go drinking and driving.