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 3 p.m. ET!
Scott Burnside (3:02 PM)
Greetings all from the bowels of the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Just flew in from Ottawa after watching the Penguins crush the Senators 7-3. So, where were we?
Caleb Hunt (Columbus, Ohio )
Is this a must-win game for the Hawks?
Scott Burnside (3:03 PM)
Caleb; We always throw around 'must-win' or crucial or other descriptors and there's no doubt that Chicago needs to be better and to get their game to another level and one would imagine winning tonight in Game 4 would make that possible. But even if they do lose I think as long as they are able to do more things they would still have a shot. That's how good they are.
What is going to happen with Mark Andre Fleury next season if Vokoun continues to play the way he does? Does Van buyout Luongo and if that happens does it mean he is joining the panthers?
Scott Burnside (3:05 PM)
Dara; I don't think Vancouver wants to buy Luongo out given the cap implications. They'd much rather trade him even if it means getting little in return and/or eating some of his salary and/or taking back some salary. As for Fleury if Tomas Vokoun is the goalie of record the rest of the way my guess is that GM Ray Shero will have to move Fleury. If he's not your playoff goalie there is no point in having him on the roster eating up a big chunk of cap change.
Hey scotty, Who do you give the edge to in tonight's sharks Kings game. I like the sharks. Key is getting a Power Play goal- if they score one they will win.
Scott Burnside (3:07 PM)
Steven; Sharks PP has been awesome with 10 goals in eight games. Kings have not had an answer for that or for the Sharks forecheck. Jonathan Quick has been great or this series is 3-1. Now, we all know the Kings have a lot of push-back and playing at home is a big deal where they won the first two games. I just think the Sharks know now they can win this series and, if you'll forgive a shark allusion, I think they smell that the Kings aren't the invincible team they were a year ago.
Scott, Kaner has plays well when Q double shifts him, do you see that happening tonight?
Scott Burnside (3:08 PM)
Kyle; Had an interesting discussion with a GM earlier this season about Kane's renaissance this season and he noted that he did a lot of double-shifting and in fact suggested it was what made him a viable Hart Trophy candidate. Would not be at all surprised to see Joel Quenneville go that route tonight to try and coax more offense out his group.
Greg S (Connecticut)
What kind of team would you rather have this deep in the post season, a fast paced skilled team like the Penguins or a grind it out, cycling team like the Bruins?
Scott Burnside (3:10 PM)
Greg S; What is going to be great is that barring an epic collapse from one or both of the Bruins and Penguins we're going to find out in what should be a great Eastern Conference final. I think the Pens have enough toughness with Iginla, Cooke, Adams and maybe a guy like Joe Vitale to saw off the Bruins considerable grit group (how good was that fourth line against the Rangers in Game 3?) and that would leave the Pens with a considerable edge in straight skill. Bruins likely have an edge in goal. Should be a good one if that's the way the cards fall.
How much of a factor is Quick's temper? Will that be a a game plan for Sharks, to try and rattle him early?
Scott Burnside (3:12 PM)
Nic; No doubt Quick is a fiery competitor and it's been interesting to see the Sharks try and rattle him a bit on and off the ice. He's bounced back so well this spring from the odd bad goal or disappointing loss so I doubt if he'll get too rattled regardless of what the Sharks do.
steve (san jose)
can any team in the east compete with whoever comes out of the west. pittsburgh's D seems porous and boston may not have enough scoring.....
Scott Burnside (3:13 PM)
steve; I know the theory is that the west has more, better teams. But the down-side is that they have to go through each other to get to the finals. And both Boston and Pittsburgh, if they're the ones who play in the east final, are going to be tough opponents regardless of their flaws.
Do you think both John Tortorella and Brad Richards will be Rangers come next October? Who will be the last man standing?
Scott Burnside (3:15 PM)
Joe; Well we know who the first man sitting is and that's Richards who will be a healthy scratch tonight. Gutsy call by Tortorella who has no room for error. Still, I think Tortorella has more leash than just a disappointing loss to the Bruins assuming that's what happens at some point. And the Rangers aren't likely to buy out Richards given the enormous term and dollar remaining on the deal so look for Richards and Tortorella to return next fall. Better question is who finishes the season there?
Western Finals: CHI vs LA what do you think?
Scott Burnside (3:16 PM)
Sonny; Think you have the wrong California team there.
With Seidenberg and/or Redden returning fairly soon, which of those young Boston D men are getting the bump? They're all playing well right now but you can only expect that to go so far, right? Any chance Seguin gets a healthy scratch soon either?
Scott Burnside (3:18 PM)
Scott; Doubt if Seguin gets sent to the pine although being a healthy scratch did help turn around Milan Lucic's season. And my guess is Dougie Hamilton would be the first of the young kids on the blue line to take a seat when the regulars get healthy. Assuming they do.
Hey Scott, Thornton delivered his best game in a very long time in game 4 which definitely gave the Sharks a boost. Do you think the firsts line is key for the Sharks to move on?
Scott Burnside (3:19 PM)
KSherm; Well that Logan Couture unit has been pretty dynamic too which makes the Sharks so deadly. But you're right Joe Thornton is a man possessed. That one-two punch has been hard for the Kings to handle. But keeping that going is crucial not just to advance but for keeping pace with either Detroit or Chicago.
Joe H. (Grand Rapids)
What are the key areas the Wings need to focus on to win the series over the Hawks?
Scott Burnside (3:21 PM)
Joe; I think the key - and I think Mike Babcock spoke about this - is not to go into safe mode. Can't sit back and try and coax another win. He and I actually spoke for a piece I was doing on Paul MacLean and he talked about how he thought they laid back too much late in Game 3. To borrow a line from Mr. Tortorella; safe is death for the Wings.
Garrett (Long Island)
You have to think the Rangers will win tonight. Do you think Lunqvist can steal game 5 and bring it back to the Garden? If that's the case you have to think they will tough to be on home ice in game 6. Then you have game 7 where anything can happen. Did I at all convince you that the Rangers can still win this series?
Scott Burnside (3:22 PM)
Garrett; Book it. Okay. Don't really think that's how it will play out. Will give the Rangers tonight just because. But Bruins are in a groove now and I don't think it lasts beyond five.
What do you think the Wings actual chances of winning this series are, and can Howard keep up this performance.
Scott Burnside (3:23 PM)
Jesse; You answered your own question. If Jimmy Howard continues to out-play Corey Crawford - or if Ray Emery somehow gets a look - the Wings will win this series. Howard was terrific in elimination games in the first round and so far so good for the Wings early in the second round against another team that was favored to beat the Wings.
Scott, what if anything can be done about the really sub-par officiating during these playoffs? I know that the officials are re-evaluated after each round, however, some of the calls or lack of calls are really impacting a lot of the games around the league.
Scott Burnside (3:25 PM)
David; It is a significant topic of discussion throughout the league. And you're right too many important calls - like the quick whistle on the Penner goal the other night - are getting through and you're right they do impact series in a negative way. NHL has to do a better job of attracting and developing good young officials. And there has to be more consistency from the league in what they want the game to look like vis a vis blows to the head and dangerous hits. We talk a lot about it but the issues still remain.
Who captains Team USA next winter???
Scott Burnside (3:28 PM)
James; Great question. Zach Parise would be my guess. But other options? What about Brooks Orpik? David Backes?
Corey (St. Louis) [via mobile]
Out of the kings and sharks, who has a better chance of beating detroit in the western finals? That is if they dont have a meltdown.
Scott Burnside (3:29 PM)
Corey; I would think both the Kings and the Sharks would be favored to beat Detroit for what it's worth (not a lot at this stage of the season).
How come Dustin Brown has been nominated for his leadership? I mean this is the same guy that knocked out Pominville with a viscious elbow which made him miss 3 playoff games. He also swung his elbow at Schwartz in the STL series, luckily he missed. This guy is ruining hockey by trying to knock players out of games.
Scott Burnside (3:32 PM)
Mike; With all due respect to Mark Messier the Messier Leadership Award has very little cachet around the hockey world. In fact heard a number of people in the press box in Ottawa ruminating on just what the award is and what it means. That said while I have all kinds of time for Dustin Brown and the intensity with which he plays the game he has crossed the line in the past. Here's hoping the league can somehow resolve to weeding more of those dangerous plays out of the game even if it means longer suspensions for guys like Dustin Brown.
who wins the conn smythe?
Scott Burnside (3:33 PM)
Jesse; Get back to me next week. Pretty early yet. But a couple of names; Logan Couture and Joe Thornton, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, David Krejci, Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Quick.
Which team (Vancouver, Dallas, Colorado, or Phoenix) would be the best fit for Lindy Ruff, and why?
Scott Burnside (3:36 PM)
Joe; With the firing of Alain Vigneault yesterday it makes for an interesting carousel shaping up. What about Dave Tippett if things don't get settled in Phoenix he becomes a free agent of sorts. But no doubt Lindy Ruff is going to be in the mix. I like him in Phoenix if Dave Tippett departs only because I think he and Mr. Tippett have similar sensibilities about the game and can get lots out of a little. But I am guessing Ruff is standing behind a new bench.
Rob (San Antonio)
How do you interpret Alfredsson's comments?
Scott Burnside (3:37 PM)
Rob; Just writing about that now (or was before the chat started) and I think they're honest words from a smart, experienced man. No doubt the Sens will bring their best tomorrow night. No doubt the Pens are in a different league than the Sens. It's reality. I think Alfredsson deserves a little more credit given all he's done and meant to the team. He'll be the last guy to take a knee that's for sure.
"Bruins likely have an edge in goal". Likely? When are you going on tour? I would love to see your standup.
Scott Burnside (3:38 PM)
John; Bruins will, on paper, have an edge in goal.
Is Detroit the most surprising team so far in the playoffs? If not who?
Scott Burnside (3:40 PM)
Will; Detroit is right up there although the ease with which the Sharks went through Vancouver and how well they've played against Los Angeles puts them up there too. Got to give Toronto some love, too. Must be a lot of Leaf fans going woulda, coulda, shoulda watching the Bruins dismantle the Rangers.
Ryan (Germantown, MD)
How much do you think the lockout and no training camp affected Richards this season? It's just really strange to see him drop off so much after one year.
Scott Burnside (3:41 PM)
Ryan; It's a great point and I think a major factor in Richards' down season (and now down as in sit down playoff). That's why, along with the cap issues, the Rangers don't buy Richards out. He's an intensely proud guy and I am guessing has a much better full season next year.
Scott, what's your take on the three rookie defensemen for Boston? Are they somehow an advantage because they are too nervous to take the risky plays, or will the inexperience be a hindrance going deeper into the playoffs?
Scott Burnside (3:43 PM)
Dave; Kind of a razor's edge as it could go both ways. They sure haven't looked edgy or out of place since coming in against the Rangers. Claude Julien in general does not like to put his rookies in those kinds of positions (think of Tyler Seguin not playing until he had to in the East Final in '11)but out of necessity he's used Bartkowski, Krug and Hamilton and they've rewarded him big-time. Still will need Ference and Seidenberg if the Bruins are going to beat a Pittsburgh and then compete against a good Western finalist.
What do you think of the possibilities of a rubber match between the Pens and Wings before the Wings head to the East for good? If so, who has the edge?
Scott Burnside (3:46 PM)
Mike; No cakewalk for either team and especially the Red Wings. Still think Chicago has lots of bite in them yet. And then as mentioned would think both L.A. and San Jose would have an edge but that said would be a great tilt Red Wings/Pens III. Enjoyed the first two immensely and it would seem kind of symmetrical if there was a rubber match before realignment. Edge? Go with the Pens and their offensive depth and nice counterbalance of sand.
Where does Alain Vigneault wind up? Any chance that Rick Bowness is hired as a head coach again?
Scott Burnside (3:47 PM)
Lance; Vigneault would be a nice fit in Colorado I think if Patrick Roy doesn't take that job. Good, smart coach and he'd be great in a market where the Avs are irrelevant. Watch for Dallas though as Jim Nill will want a smart, NHL-proven coach for his first hire (at least that's my guess).
Olympic question. Hawks send 5 D-men to the Olympics next year?Keith, Seabrook Canada, Oduya, Hjarlmassen Sweden, Leddy USA
Scott Burnside (3:48 PM)
Jim; Sounds like a good bet. One question might be Seabrook given the depth of defense for Canada. Leddy, who has been a great addition in Chicago, may be more of a bubble guy for Team USA as there are some interesting young Americans that will be vying for the last couple of spots along the blue line.
Andy (cape coral, fl.)
Scott, why in the world did the league realign the divisions and seperate the wings/hawks? That is one of the best rivalries in sports
Scott Burnside (3:50 PM)
Andy; No way for the league to correct the imbalance of teams playing out of time zones like Winnipeg, Detroit, Columbus without disrupting some natural rivalries. Stinks for Chicago and the rest of the west to lose Detroit but Red Wings deserve to have road games their fans don't have to stay up all night to see.
Many people (myself included) think Vokoun is playing well, but will not make it through the entire playoffs. Assuming he continues playing the way he is and the Pens win the series, would you give Fleury a fresh start in Game 1 of the East Final?
Scott Burnside (3:52 PM)
Ed; A lot of discussion about whether Tomas Vokoun can run the table for the Pens. We've seen some issues with rebound control but he still seems like a very calm guy back there and you can't argue with his numbers (5-1, .942 save percentage). My guess is he has a pretty good leash. No chance he is pulled for start of the conference final assuming the Pens close out the Sens in short order.
Is Jagr still worth the 2 draftpicks?
Scott Burnside (3:53 PM)
Chris; Better question will be is he worth them when the Bruins play the Pens in the next round and if they advance to the Cup finals. Has been only okay in the playoffs with zero goals and four assists.
Greg F (LI, NY)
Do you think Torts is making a huge mistake sitting Richards? If they lose do you think the Rangers will undergo huge changes including a possible coaching change?
Scott Burnside (3:55 PM)
Greg; Let's talk in about six hours. I like a coach that walks the walk; if you are going to play the players that are playing the best and conversely not play the players who aren't playing well then this makes sense. But it is a huge risk when you sit a former playoff MVP especially when your power play stinks. You know Tortorella isn't doing it to punish Richards he's doing it because the thinks it's a way to get his team to win.
Richard (Washington D.C.)
Who do you think should win the Hart?
Scott Burnside (3:58 PM)
Richard; As you know the Hart is based on the regular season and I had the votes this way; Ovechkin, Tavares, Toews, Crosby, Bobrovsky if my memory serves me correctly.
Stephen (St. Louis)
With another playoff let down what does St. Louis look to do? They have to many players on the team that all play the same style of hockey with no variety. New Assistant coach, or new personal in the locker room?
Scott Burnside (3:59 PM)
Stephen; I think what is crucial for the Blues is to see some of their homegrown talent take a step forward. Need to generate more offense and guys like Schwartz and Tarasenko will have to take a step forward up front while Shattenkirk, Pietrangelo will need to keep getting better on the back end. Still a team with a very bright future.
Scott Burnside (4:00 PM)
Okay folks back to ruminating on Daniel Alfredsson and the rest of that series. Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.