Chat with Scott Burnside
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, 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 Monday at noon ET!
Scott Burnside (12:00 PM)
Greetings all, welcome to our pre-Thanksgiving chat. Now, where were we?
Is Jaromir Jagr the best European forward of all time?
Scott Burnside (12:02 PM)
Mike; Hard to argue Jagr as the greatest Euro of all time although a fellow named Teemu Selanne might have something to say about that. I think five scoring championships does it for me in favor of Jagr. Also, the pivotal role he continues to play at this advanced age, too. Yes, he broke down in the playoffs in Philly and in Boston last year but still his impact on the players around him, especially the younger ones, cannot be measured on the score sheet. Needless to say first-ballot Hall of Famer.
How do you go about parsing the line between a guy like Kariya and Forsberg versus a guy like Roenick for the HOF? Roenick has the superior numbers in most areas, but he played -- what? -- until 40 or something. Forsberg and Kariya were constantly hurt, but had a big impact despite a shorter career. These questions are always so tough.
Scott Burnside (12:04 PM)
Teddy; It's a balancing act, certainly for the Hall of Fame selection committee and for anyone writing about it. But it's both the beauty and the curse of the Hall of Fame, the subjective nature of what constitutes a Hall of Famer. For me Kariya and Forsberg albeit hampered by injuries later in their careers, were at their peak more dominant and frankly more important players than Roenick. Doesn't diminish Roenick's career but that's where I draw the line for my Hall of Fame.
The Blackhawks are really impressive. They just keep churning. Not terribly flashy at times, but they just win and accumulate points. Do you see that continuing? What prevents them from getting a top 3 seed in the West?
Scott Burnside (12:06 PM)
Greg; Yes, they are machine-like. And what's impressive for me is the role that youngsters like Brandon Saad and Brandon Pirri and others have taken this season. Much different feel to this club than the one that defended the 2010 Cup win. Still, a bad week can send you from the top of the Central and a 1 or 2 seed to 7th or 8th or worse. That's the reality of the Western Conference right now. But my guess is the 'Hawks end up within a point or two of top spot in the Central and home ice in the first round of the playoffs.
Since Stamkos Went down the Lightning hasnt been as good, feels that not only do they score less but they also have more goals against? Is Bishop not as good as he was at season start?
Scott Burnside (12:09 PM)
Kent; Not sure if the Lightning's struggles can be related directly to Ben Bishop. The power play has struggled as one might expect without Stamkos and they've had a tough schedule including a trip west that leaves most Eastern Conference teams bruised. I still think Bishop is a terrific story and has played himself onto at least the edge of the discussion for a spot with the U.S. Olympic team.
Ted (Columbus, Ohio)
Is there any hope for my Blue Jackets? How big of an impact do you thank Nathan Horton will have on the team?
Scott Burnside (12:13 PM)
Ted; It's been a tough road thus far for the Blue Jackets, no? I don't think it was much of a surprise to see a step back after last year's terrific second-half and the run to the brink of a post-season berth but this is a team that looks pretty much like it did the last seven or eight years; at times a mess defensively, lack of timely scoring, a team without a real purpose. Nathan Horton's arrival will be a welcome tonic but he's a pretty streaky guy and coming off shoulder surgery who knows how long it takes to get him into a groove? Marian Gaborik's been a huge disappointment as well and you wonder at what point does the hammer drop on Todd Richards who was inherited by GM Jarmo Kekalainen. In short I see the rest of the season being very much like the first quarter.
Is Giroux still on Team Canada after his and the Flyers recent success? What else is PK Subban supposed to do in terms of changing his game to make this team? Who has been better this calendar year?
Scott Burnside (12:15 PM)
Wayne; I still think Giroux is a long-shot to make Team Canada even with the Flyers' improved play of late although let's be honest they haven't really beaten any quality opponents outside of the Penguins. Too many really good players ahead of Giroux at this point and with Steven Stamkos still in the picture - he was walking today without a boot or crutches two weeks after surgery - hard to see Giroux finding a place on the roster unless he really lights it up over the next month and the Flyers stay hot.
Lots of talk about the hawks being the best in the west, but I think they haven't been impressive defensively. To me, the blues have put together the best overall performance so far this season and are the team to beat right now
Scott Burnside (12:17 PM)
Manny; I agree that in a conference chock-a-block with elite teams the Blues are a nose better than the rest with an imposing balance of toughness, skill and team defense that if they can keep it up into the spring will make it hard to dislodge them. How great would a Blues/Blackhawks Central Division final be, by the way?
Erat requested a trade. Any takers out there?
Scott Burnside (12:21 PM)
Peter; You are correct that reports have Martin Erat looking for yet another trade. Didn't like it in Nashville, doesn't like it in Washington. Wonder what the common trait would be? Couldn't be his poor attitude and lack of production? When he goes the man can be a useful offensive asset but with another year on his deal with a $4.5 million cap hit (but just $2.25 million in real money) hard to imagine the Caps finding a taker unless they eat some of that salary. That said, lots of teams starved for offense will take a look but pretty disappointing outcome for the Caps who gave up Filip Forsberg in the deal (but got Michael Latta).
Ryan Miller is really the only bright spot we have in Buffalo. With his playing so well, what would a realistic return be in a trade?
Scott Burnside (12:24 PM)
kurt; Agreed Ryan Miller has been the lone bright spot for the lowly Sabres. The problem as we've seen with Roberto Luongo is that there isn't always an obvious market for a starting netminder barring calamitous injury. Right now no obvious place for Miller which means Pat Lafontaine et al will have to be careful on how much they ask and when they do their asking. Pending Tomas Vokoun's status re: his blood clot situation, the Penguins will be looking to upgrade before the trade deadline and Miller makes sense there. But if the Sabres wait too long hoping for a starter to go down in which case they could ask for a first-round pick and a prospect they could end up watching Miller walk for free in July and that can't or shouldn't happen. In short, it's a tightrope the Sabres walk with this asset.
Not sure if you've already published anything on this but who do you have winning Gold Silver and Bronze at Sochi?
Scott Burnside (12:25 PM)
Mike; I have predicted a couple of times U.S. over Canada in the gold medal game and Russia over Sweden in bronze. Mostly that's just so my friend Pierre LeBrun and I have something to argue about when we get to Sochi. So hard to handicap now with the big ice and the uncertainty over rosters (ie. who's healthy etc.).
Brad (Los Angeles)
With injuries to the Kings mounting, is it a possibility to see them move some veterans for another piece while giving the young forwards (Vey, Toffoli and Pearson) an opportunity to stick with the NHL club?
Scott Burnside (12:27 PM)
Brad; You have to think GM Dean Lombardi is as pleased as he can be with the play of those young players; Vey, Toffoli etc. with some of his big guns out with injury (and oh yeah, Ben Scrivens doing his best Jonathan Quick impersonation in goal). Doubt he'll be making any moves until he gets closer to the trade deadline and after his team gets through the Olympics to more accurately assess health etc. Good testing period though for players who otherwise wouldn't be getting this kind of exposure. Bodes well for another long playoff run; assuming those key guys like Carter, Quick etc. do get healthy and stay healthy.
Garrett (Long Island)
What are your thoughts on Cam Talbot? I fear that if he keeps up his stellar play the rest of the season that he could impact the Lundqvist negotiations.
Scott Burnside (12:29 PM)
Garrett; Talk about making the right call, with all due respect to Martin Biron or Johan Hedberg, to give the kid a chance. A bit premature to be talking about him as a possible heir to the king's goaltending throne in New York so I doubt if it will have much impact on that but it's been a boon to the team to see the young man from Caldonia, Ontario, get a shot after his meandering route to the bigs.
There was talk of Yakupov being on the block earlier this season. With all of the defensive depth, do you think Shero could potentially start trying to make a deal with Edmonton for him? Not big cap commitment with big time potential playing with the talent on their top two lines. Would Despres, Bennett, Doumolin and second rounder get the deal done?
Scott Burnside (12:32 PM)
John; No question the Pens have ample defensive prospects to put a package together and the one you outline is interesting but if I'm Craig MacTavish (and I rarely pretend to be) I'm looking for a young defenseman who can jump into my top four and not sure Despres or Dumoulin fits that bill. Depending on how things shake with Ilya Bryzgalov and/or Devan Dubnyk might want to consider a young franchise type goaltender, too, if they're actually thinking of moving Yakupov and I'm not convinced that's in the cards regardless.
If the Blues or Hawks win the Presidents trophy can they meet in the WCF or is there not shot of that?
Scott Burnside (12:34 PM)
Bausch; Only way, if I understand the crazy wild card situation, for the Blues and Hawks to meet in the WCF would be if one of them fell to a wildcard and ended up playing the top team in the Pacific Division and then ran the table. Make sense?
Best American forward and defenseman of all time?
Scott Burnside (12:35 PM)
James; Depends, are we counting Brett Hull? If yes, I will go with Hull and Chris Chelios. If not Hull then Mike Modano and Chelios.
Ducks have too many goalies but their youth pool is already pretty deep. What do you see them doing with their goalie situation?
Scott Burnside (12:38 PM)
Mike; Until Viktor Fasth went down with another injury the other day I would have said the market was open on Jonas Hiller given the depth at that position as you noted. Hiller will or can become a UFA in July and so it was believed he was a guy the Ducks would consider moving. But with Fasth's injury and Frederik Andersen back with the big club my guess is status quo until later in the season. But with John Gibson tearing it up in the American Hockey League you know things are going to change vis a vis the goaltending hierarchy in Anaheim as early as next season.
Neal (Menlo Park)
Who has been a bigger disappointment to you so far - the Senators, Oilers or Flyers?
Scott Burnside (12:39 PM)
Neal; I think Ottawa. Last year they are ravaged by injury to top players and go to the second round. This year they're healthy, relatively speaking, and play like an expansion club. Go figure. Still time for them but hard to believe they have lost their identity so readily.
Do you see the Panthers going after one of the ducks goalies? Besides Thomas, they have NO ONE...its pretty scary
Scott Burnside (12:41 PM)
Dara; Agreed the 'Cats need to figure out their goaltending plan moving forward. Hard to imagine Jacob Markstrom is 'the guy' in management's eyes which means Dale Tallon will have to look elsewhere. Interesting to see what kind of value Tim Thomas has on the market come trade deadline time (assuming he stays healthy) but my guess is the Panthers would be looking to land a guy like a James Reimer, Jonathan Bernier, Ben Bishop type; a backup with a strong up-side. Maybe Andersen would fit the bill for them pending how the Ducks' situation plays out.
Is Steven Stamkos bionic? Walking with no support two weeks after that injury... WOW.
Scott Burnside (12:42 PM)
Sarah; I know, pretty incredible. Let's see how it goes over the next month but it is hard to get your head around.
Does John Carlson make the USA squad?
Scott Burnside (12:43 PM)
Keith; Figure Carlson to be a bubble guy battling the likes of Kevin Shattenkirk, Keith Yandle, Seth Jones maybe Jack Johnson for one of last couple of spots. My guess is no.
Mitch (North Dakota)
Who do you have tonight between the Blues and Wild? Should be a real test for the wild especially on the road.
Scott Burnside (12:44 PM)
Mitch; A big test for the Wild. I will say Blues 3-1.
Do you think that career goons like Scott, McGratten etc.. will be out of the league in 3 years? I'm not asking for an opinion on the fighting debate as we've heard far too much about it this year. I'm just wondering on the practicality of the game gradually eliminating a certain type of player that has existed for decades. Thoughts?
Scott Burnside (12:46 PM)
Ryan; Depends on your definition of 'goons' I suppose but if you're talking about players who are one-dimensional in that they can't play more than a few minutes a night and are expressly in the lineup as a fighter (or, depending on your beliefs a deterrent to dirty play) I struggle to see how teams can rationalize paying a player like that in a cap world. Even teams that have a player like that on their roster rarely use them when it matters most in the playoffs so my guess is that you will see fewer and fewer of those players and with all due respect that's not a bad thing to have more well-rounded players in the game in my opinion.
Richard (Greensboro, NC)
Does Carolina have a chance to turn it around and get back to the playoffs? Scoring has been very poor for a while, but Ward is back and looked very focused last night.
Scott Burnside (12:48 PM)
Richard; Spent a few days in Raleigh last week and it really does depend on whether the Staals, Jeff Skinner and at some point Alexander Semin, can produce on a consistent level. Vast majority of 'Canes games this season have seen them score fewer than three goals. The good news is they have learned to play and win in those kinds of games but they'll need to get more scoring to stay in the hunt and that should be doable. Luckily for them they play in the Metro Division.
Stu (Newport Beach)
Do you see the Ducks finishing ahead of the Kings this season? Why is Ryan Getzlaf getting no love for MVP right now, I think he has made a strong case so far.
Scott Burnside (12:49 PM)
Stu; I think the Ducks can stay ahead of the Kings if only because the Kings are more banged up at critical parts of their line-up right now. And fair question on Getzlaf who is among the league leaders in points. I would have him in my top five for sure.
A follow up to the Ryan Miller question earlier - what do you think the penguins be willing to give up to trade for Miller? If they do trade for Miller and he plays well does would that mean that Fleury would be on the block?
Scott Burnside (12:51 PM)
Eric; Lots of balls in the air on that one but my guess is the Pens would be interested only in a rental as opposed to trying to lock up Miller long-term (unless of course he wins them a Cup in which case things would change pretty dramatically). Given that a couple of prospects maybe a first-round pick. So much depends on the marketplace. If Pens only team interested or if Miller only interested in going to Pittsburgh a la Jarome Iginla the Pens would have to give up less obviously.
The Lightning are celebrating Marty St Louis 1000 games played tonight. Is he going to make the Canadian Olympic team this year? And second is he a first ballet HOFer?
Scott Burnside (12:52 PM)
John; I like St. Louis to make the Canadian team. I was surprised he didn't make the Vancouver team. And my guess is yes, first-ballot Hall of Famer.
What's your thoughts on the Hawks goalie situation. Khabibulin is out, plus he was awful this season. They're overplaying Crawford right now and that will eventually become an issue. Do they need to go find a legit back up? Don't think the young kid from Finland is quite ready.
Scott Burnside (12:55 PM)
Chuck; Good follow-up to what the Penguins might be thinking about as a Plan B and the Blackhawks have to be thinking the same. I'd like to see what Antti Raanta can do but obviously can't go into playoffs with N. Khabibulin as the back-up. Tim Thomas? Miller? Hard to imagine the Ducks trading in-conference even if they have a surplus of netminders. What about reacquiring Ray Emery if the Flyers go south again?
Burnsy, thoughts on how Versteeg has looked since coming back to Chicago? Was it really that big of a steal?
Scott Burnside (12:57 PM)
Eric; I think the idea of the 'steal' part is that the Panthers are continuing to eat part of Versteeg's salary and they get a guy that's familiar to the team and coach Quenneville and has shown he can deliver the goods. He's the kind of guy teams like at the trade deadline and the 'Hawks got ahead of the curve and didn't pay all that much. Hard to argue with the move from either side as the Panthers had to move some bodies.
Awesome game Saturday between Avs and Kings. How cool would it be to see a playoff match with those two clubs?
Scott Burnside (12:58 PM)
Dan; If you're an Avs fan you've got to be salivating over the idea of any games after the end of the regular season. But I'm with you on Kings/Avs.
Scott Burnside (12:59 PM)
Well folks have to book. Have a great and safe Thanksgiving and let's do this again next week. I'll be in Nashville so I'll be wearing a cowboy hat when next answering these questions. Okay, the hat part isn't true. Until then.