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!
Hi Barry, the redwings are banged up. They are playing well without there main guys. No Z or pavel tonight. Can they keep it going at the Joe tonight?
Barry Melrose (3:03 PM)
They're playing well, especially with those injuries. In the East, your record doesn't need to be as good to be one of the top teams. They're off to a great start, among the league leaders in points. It will be tough now to see if they can get through this injury stretch and continue to climb. This next week will be a good test.
Hey how do you like little rivalry starting up between the Stars and Blackhawks? They genuinely don't like each other. Roussel was genius last night with the taunt. Although its one sided right now do you think it can get more intense and better as the Stars get better?
Barry Melrose (3:04 PM)
Once Dallas gets better, I think it will become even better. Dallas also needs to make the playoffs, I don't think they can this year in the tough Western Conference. Last night there was a lot of anger.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who is the Worst NHL Team so far in the 2013-2014 Season?
Barry Melrose (3:05 PM)
I would have to say Edmonton has been the biggest disappointment this year. They've drafted high all those years. This was supposed to be the year when they become like a Pittsburgh or Chicago. But they've been as bad as they've ever been.
What did you think of the Lundqvist extension? Was the money fair?
Barry Melrose (3:06 PM)
You can argue that he's the best goalie in the NHL. Really the only thing he hasn't done is win the Cup. He plays in New York, who routinely pays more than anywhere else. He's the face of the organization, so he's going to be one of the highest paid goaltenders. It's not a surprise.
Cory (Elkton, Maryland)
Why is there even a discussion about banning fighting Barry? The NHL is trying to protect players and the possible concussions from fighting is obvious. Guys throwing haymakers to each others heads isnt helping in protecting guys from getting hurt,,so why is this a topic that needs "discussed" when it is obvious that fighting needs to stop? In my opinion, punching someone in the head does not help prevent injuries or concussions, but then again that makes sense.
Barry Melrose (3:07 PM)
I don't think fighting should be taken out of our game. It's there for a reason. It's part of the tradition. It's a took that can be used by the coaches. It's exciting. I don't know why we're taking something exciting out of the sport. By that logic, we should take slap shots out of the game, because more guys get hit with a stick in a slap shot than get hit in the head with a punch.
Ryan (Washington, DC)
Mel, any chance thr Caps can make a move to get Ryan Miller? I think goaltending has always been a weakness for them. They have had good goaltenders, but never the guy that you can go to and ask to win a game for you that every championship team seems to need.
Barry Melrose (3:08 PM)
They could probably take a run at him this season, but are you willing to give up a first round pick and losing him in the summer? Do they have money for him long term? I doubt it. with the salary cap.
Is the chemistry with Crosby enough to get Kunitz on the Olympic team? Nothing against Kunitz but there is a lot of top end talent. Does chemistry mean that much on a team with so much talent?
Barry Melrose (3:09 PM)
He's won Cups with different teams. He's a top 10 scorer. I think Kunitz has a good chance of being on the Canadian team.
Mel, Caps are driving me crazy with the rooler coster they are on. Loosing streak followed by a winning streak, and then another losing streak. What gives?
Barry Melrose (3:10 PM)
You have every right to be disappointed with them. They played a team they should beat last night. They're lucky they're in the Eastern Conference, because they've not played well this year.
Hello Barry! I'm always puzzled when I hear that fighting is necessary to keep players from taking advantage of each other in a violent game. I played hockey, football and rugby, and if I fought in the latter two sports I'd be kicked out for that game and I'd probably sit for at least two more afterwards. Both of those sports were plenty violent as well, will equal opportunity for players to injure each other through style of play. I'm always confused when that allowing fighting is seen as a necessary deterrent to "rats" in hockey, but not in the other sports. Is there something I'm missing?
Barry Melrose (3:11 PM)
It's always been different. It's always been a part of the sport, since it started. If fighting was allowed the way it was in the old days, you wouldn't have guys running at the goaltender the way they do now. It's a relative new thing in the NHL and a lot of it is because there is no repercussions.
Who will start in goal for Finland in the olympics?
Barry Melrose (3:12 PM)
Wow...The Fins goaltending will be unbelievable. I'd say Rask. He's been arguably the best goalie in the NHL this season. They're extremely strong in net.
Joe (New jersey)
Do the devils get even tonight with the Habs?
Barry Melrose (3:13 PM)
The Habs have been playing well. They've been one of the pleasant surprises in the NHL. The Devils will have to play well to match Montreal.
Barry Melrose (3:13 PM)
The Devils have been one of the top 5 surprises in the NHL this year.
Barry who are the 3 fastest skating teams in the league this year in your mind?
Barry Melrose (3:14 PM)
No. 1 Chicago. No. 2 San Jose. No. 3 Colorado.
Hi Barry,where will Jagr play next season?
Barry Melrose (3:14 PM)
Wherever he wants. It seems like he goes to a different team every year now. He seems to have a new home in New Jersey. I would say that's a pretty good spot for him to be. He's found the fountain of youth there.
What do you think of Mixed Martial Arts popularity and revenue going through the roof at the same time Gary B is trying to take fighting out of hockey. To me, more fighting would help the popularity of hockey.
Barry Melrose (3:16 PM)
No. 1, I don't think Gary is anti-fighting. I think there is an anti-fighting group out there. No one has ever proved to me that if we take fighting out of the sport that we'll gain millions of viewers across the country. If someone can tell me that, then I will look to become a part of the anti-fighting group.
Who are the top 3 goalies thus far this year in your mind?
Barry Melrose (3:16 PM)
Wow...I would have to go with Rask at No. 1. Then you have to look at Corey Crawford No. 2. Then probably Niemi No. 3.
Hey Barry, I know its early in the season but who do you think will be the top 4 seeds in the West at the end of the year?
Barry Melrose (3:17 PM)
That's going to be crazy. You've got the 3 California teams in. Chicago is in. Phoenix is in. That's five teams. St. Louis is in. That's six. Colorado. And you'd have to go Vancouver. That's 8 teams right there.
Matt (MD )
The Caps current play is all Ovechkin's fault right? I mean its about that time of year where he starts taking all the blame.
Barry Melrose (3:19 PM)
I don't think if you're leading the NHL in goals, you're to blame. He's having a great year and still the team is inconsistent. So, I guess it's good news, bad news with the Caps.
do the Hawks keep rolling?
Barry Melrose (3:20 PM)
Can they keep up this pace? I don't know. I can't believe in that tough conference, they'll go 20-4 over 24 games. They lost a tough one last night. I certainly don't see this team losing two games in a row the rest of the year.
has crawford done enough for us to put him in the elite goalies?
Barry Melrose (3:21 PM)
Well, a lot of the elite goaltenders haven't won a Cup. Crawford has. He's playing well this year. I think he's proven himself to be a good NHL goaltender.
have you been keeping an eye on the Olympics yet?
Barry Melrose (3:23 PM)
I'll start paying attention when the teams are picked. But it will be like that movie "The Usual Suspects" -- teams like Canada, Russia, Sweden, USA. It's not going to be a team we don't talk about winning it.
What do you make of the Rangers? They're better than a .500 team so why isn't that translating on the ice?
Barry Melrose (3:24 PM)
They've played like a .500 team. Once you've played 25 games, you are what your record indicates. They're inconsistent. They haven't been able to put everything together. It's just been typical Rangers, average hockey club. And that's what the record indicates.
Barry Melrose (3:25 PM)
You have to look at Duncan Keith in Chicago. Larsson in Phoenix. Chara's been great. Just look at all of the winning teams, most of them have a defenseman that's been solid. The Ducks defensemen have looked good. They're young and on the rise.
will the anti-fighting groups go away long term?
Barry Melrose (3:26 PM)
I think you'll see it eventually taken out, over a number of years. Like helmets being grandfathered in and visors being grandfathered in. There isn't much fighting now anyway. It will turn into the penalties getting higher and higher and you'll start missing games. Eventually it will be taken out of our sport.
Barry Melrose (3:27 PM)
I hope everyone enjoyed that Ducks-Kings game last night. It could have been a Western Conference Finals preview. It was an awesome hockey game. Thanks for chatting.