Chat with Barry Melrose
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (3:03 PM)
We've got Barry!
Mike K (Virginia)
What do you make of the recent uptick in scoring by the Wild? Is this something they can sustain?
Barry Melrose (3:04 PM)
I think they can. They're starting to get some goals from guys who struggled last year. Parise is putting the puck in the net. They're starting to become the team we envisioned last year. They're getting great goaltending also.
Barry, with everything in the news about the Miami dolphins is there anything like that happening in NHL lockerroomes?
Barry Melrose (3:06 PM)
No. That has been taken out of the NHL a while ago. Typically what happens is the rookies take the veterans out for dinner. It's an expensive dinner, but that's it. There is no bullying, no hazing. The veterans wouldn't allow it. The coaches wouldn't allow it. It's not a problem in today's NHL.
What is wrong with the Bruins offense? they are struggling big time...Loui Eriksson has not impressed me and Seguin is lighting it up in Dallas...do you think they will step it up as the games go along...I want Eriksson to show me something!!
Barry Melrose (3:06 PM)
Yeah, they are. They have never been a high scoring team. They relay on defense and timely goals. Their PP is average. Eriksson and Iginla haven't put the puck in the net. They were counted on for much more. And nobody is scoring consistently for the Bruins. All of that puts pressure on Rask, who's been very good.
True or False: A Pacific Division team will reach the Finals this year.
Barry Melrose (3:07 PM)
Probably true...I'll say true, just because of the law of averages, there are a lot of good teams there. It'll be hard to get past Chicago or St. Louis, but those Pacific teams are very very good.
How much have the Sochi Olympics lit a fire under Ovechkin? I don't mean to discount his effort or play the last few years, but he seems to have a little more pep in his step this season.
Barry Melrose (3:08 PM)
I think anybody would use it as motivation, whether it was in Sweden or anywhere else. Alex flew all the way back home just to carry the torch and then back to the States to play. I think he has used it as motivation.
Ed (Queens Village)
How have Devils fallen from being 2 wins of Stanley Cup to irrelevancy?
Barry Melrose (3:09 PM)
Can't score. Today's NHL is about speed. It's about puck movement. The Devils just don't have those type of players. Kovalchuk leaving was a killer. They got nothing in return. That is very very tough. They haven't been able to replace him. They can't put the puck in the net enough.
Anthony (New Jersey)
As a Penguins fan living in the Philadelphia area I couldn't be happy to see the Flyers struggles. However I have been curious how they have gone from a team that could score almost at will to a team that can barley put points up at all with a lot of the same players?
Barry Melrose (3:10 PM)
When your best player doesn't have a goal, and one of your other best offensive players Hartnell just got his first the other night, that says everything. Apart from Lecavalier, no one is putting the puck in the net consistently. They actually don't have goaltending problems this year, but the whole team is in an offensive slump.
as a coach if you did hear something going on, how would you handle it?
Barry Melrose (3:12 PM)
I would call in some players I respected, veteran players, to find out what was going on, if there was a problem. And I would put a stop to it, if there was a problem. But you have to get to the bottom of it. You would hope that your veteran players would have already put a stop to it. The dressing room belongs to the players. As a coach, you're not in the dressing room enough. That's where you need that player leadership.
Barry, Is the Bulin wall done and if so can Crawford handle carrying the team for that many games?
Barry Melrose (3:13 PM)
You obviously don't want him playing 80 games. This year will be interesting with the Olympic break. you hope to get Bulin playing well. Last year Emery and Crawford split the games. Marty Brodeur is the only guy that can play every night and into the payoffs.
Due to the injury to Rinne that might have him out 6-8 weeks, what are the chances that Nashville signs someone like Bryzgalov or trade for a goalie?
Barry Melrose (3:15 PM)
I think we'll find out a little about the depth of Nashville. Injuries always test you. Carolina just lost Ward and their backup. I think Nashville will try to do it internally, if they can. In that conference, you can't go into the playoffs 8th and keep up. I think they'll be creative and I would not be surprised if they try something.
Hi Barry, the Rangers have been outplaying teams regularly since being back east, but have really struggled to finish - getting Nash back would be a HUGE help. Do you think he'll come back and do you share my general opinion?
Barry Melrose (3:16 PM)
You're always worried with a concussion. Does a guy come back and play the same way? Is he extra careful? Guys with the puck can't play like that. If they are, they aren't as effective. Nash is a big guy, he's a big target. That's what to look out for.
Richard (Denver, CO)
Heard you on the radio here yesterday and you said you don't see the Avalanche finishing at the top of the West come season end. What team to you foresee winning the West and why not the Avs?
Barry Melrose (3:17 PM)
The other teams. I can't believe that they can continue on the pace they are on. Look at all of the great teams out West. Chicago, St. Louis, San Jose, Ducks, Vancouver. They are veteran teams that have been through it before. I don't see Denver going 13-1 through every 14 games. I think they will make the playoffs, but they haven't had any injuries yet, they haven't been tested. I don't think they will keep up the pace.
George (Albuquerque, NM)
What's your take on penalizing players for removing their helmets before a fight?
Barry Melrose (3:18 PM)
I hate it. Usually the only guys that do that are the tough guys that know what they are doing. It's just another way of taking fighting out of the game. I like a good scrap. I think it's a part of our sport. I find no problem with it. They're basically doing it because fighting is down something like 20 percent this year. I think it's a stupid rule.
Mike H (Baltimore, MD)
I think it's safe to say Ovi was ready to jump back into a hot Capitals offense. They were really flying last night. My only concern is that their offense seems to reliant on the Power Play. When the playoffs come around it is always the best 5on5 teams that do well. Our #1 Power Play has gotten smoked in the playoffs before. Your thoughts?
Barry Melrose (3:20 PM)
I see no reason why that team can't score 5 on 5. Their PP is the best in the NHL right now. I will be very surprised if they're not the best in the NHL at the end of the season. I'm not that worried about where their offense will come.
Erik (Orange County, CA)
With the Ducks apparent enviable depth in goal, how would you play this trade opportunity if you were Anaheim? If you're looking to maximize the trade value how do you pick which goalie you dangle?
Barry Melrose (3:21 PM)
No. 1, you have to be careful, because the minute you dangle a goaltender, you get an injury. A lot will depend on contracts with the Ducks. Who will sign long term deals. And who is more attractive on the market. But contracts certainly play a big part.
Jacob (Paw Paw )
Seth Jones looks VERY good. I know it is early, but do you think CO, FLA and Tampa would like to have their draft picks back?
Barry Melrose (3:22 PM)
I don't know. They're all playing pretty good right now. I like a defenseman. I think it's hard to be a good young defenseman than a young forward. But I think they're all happy with their picks right now.
Steve (Washington DC)
Do you think Alex Ovechkin will join the 50 goals in 50 games club?
Barry Melrose (3:23 PM)
Ooooh. That's tough in today's NHL. We have some guys off to good starts, but with the defenses today, it's hard. With Washington's PP, Ovechkin would have the best shot of doing it this year. Their PP is too good, that's why I don't think he'll go into too long of a scoring slump.
John (San Jose)
Hi Barry, what are your thoughts on the overtime goal in San Jose that no one saw until it was too late?
Barry Melrose (3:24 PM)
I was on SportsCenter at the time, so I missed it also. There were a lot of funny things last night. They happened fast. You have to give Buffalo a lot of credit, walking into San Jose and getting two points.
What do the Hawks need to do to start winning more in regulation and not relying on OT?
Barry Melrose (3:25 PM)
That will happen as things get tougher as the season gets going. They're so talented that they can lay low for 20 minutes a game. I'm sure that gets to Coach Q. But they're a good team and they'll get it taken care of.
Joe (St. Louis)
Do you see Blues as legitimate cup contenders this year and can Steen keep up scoring pace.
Barry Melrose (3:26 PM)
No. 1, they are a legit Cup contender. They're a good club. Can Steen score 60? I don't know, the most he's ever had is 20-something. They'll score goals. If Steen is close to 40, that will be a great year for him.
Barry, Last year one of the best parts of the Hawks game was the PK, this year theyre in the bottom of the league in that. What have they changed or was losing Frolik and Bolland enough to do that?
Barry Melrose (3:27 PM)
They lost those guys who were penalty killers, but I can't believe that losing two players would hurt that much. It's pretty amazing that team's PK is so bad. But look at the Ducks, they're one of the best in the NHL and their special teams are terrible.
When does Phoenix finally relocate and where do they go?
Barry Melrose (3:28 PM)
The NHL is hoping that the end is now. The ownership question is solved, they hope. They'll stay in Phoenix and they'll build a fan base. They're a good team. At the end of this year, if people still aren't coming, the new owners will have to look around. But all they can take care of is the play on the ice.
Barry Melrose (3:28 PM)
Looking forward to rivalry night tonight. Pittsburgh-NYR. It will be a good game.
Buzzmaster (3:31 PM)
Thanks for chatting Barry!