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 noon ET!
Scott Burnside (12:00 PM)
Greetings all and top of the season to all. Now, where were we?
Scott, the Capitals are on pace to make the playoffs, but they've won an awful lot of their games in the shootout (8 wins in the shootout in 34 games). Is that going to spell trouble for them come playoff time, since there are no shootouts?
Scott Burnside (12:03 PM)
Joe; I think first off the Caps will have to worry that their lack of regulation or overtime wins (ROW) may factor into playoff seeding as that's the first tie-breaker. They're not likely to catch Pittsburgh atop the Metropolitan Division but could mean the difference between home ice or taking in the final playoff berth in the Metro. Beyond that I'm not sure it really matters come playoff time. So many other factors come into play once you get to the post-season I think the regular season trends go out the window.
What is a realistic deal to get Ryan Miller. I've never been sold on Halak and though I love the effort of both he and Elliot, I don't feel comfortable with either one getting STL their much awaited parade. CAN IT BE DONE??? If so, I'd have to think the blues become a cup favorit no?
Scott Burnside (12:07 PM)
Bill; I think the Ryan Miller situation is going to be fascinating. First, who if anyone takes over as GM before the trade deadline in Buffalo? I assume Pat Lafontaine finds his guy and the decision on a deal falls to the new man. Let's assume Miller is determined to test free agency so the Sabres have to move him assuming they can find a partner that appeals to Miller who has a limited no-trade. That will, in theory, drive down the asking price unless there are two teams that appeal to Miller that want him. Long answer but I have to think St. Louis will test the waters especially if they can find a taker for Elliott. And what of Chicago? Would they be interested as much as a pre-emptive strike as anything else? And Pittsburgh must resolve it's own goaltending issues vis a vis Tomas Vokoun in the New Year and could be looking for a Plan B to Marc-Andre Fleury. Obviously the more contenders interested the more the Sabres can ask for.
Are we going to see Chris Kunitz wearing a team Canada jersey in Russia come February?
Scott Burnside (12:08 PM)
Adam; The more you see him pounding home goals as he did against the Rangers Wednesday night the easier it is to imagine Kunitz in the red and white. The problem is that he doesn't do much else (ie. penalty killing etc.) and so would have to play in the top six possibly top nine and of course you assume he plays with Crosby. But I think the idea has to become more and more attractive as time passes.
Does Duncan Keith get his 2nd Norris this season? I don't think anyone's playing better.
Scott Burnside (12:11 PM)
Adam; Not sure it's a lock but as we close in on the mid-point of the season I'd have Keith at or close to the top of my list. Have to consider Zdeno Chara and Oliver Ekman-Larsson but Keith would have the inside track right now given his point production, his work load (24-plus minutes a night) and the team's exceptional level of play.
Do you think Eric Gellinas will be nominated for the Calder? Possibly win? He's been one of bright features for the New Jersey Devils this season.
Scott Burnside (12:14 PM)
Joey; A couple of questions about Eric Gelinas the 54th overall pick of the Devils in '09. He's big and he pounds the puck and has quickly become one of a group of young players around whom it's clear the Devils can build for the future. Now, as for the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year it's so hard for defensemen to win this award. Remember how Seth Jones looked like he might be a front-runner early on before his play dipped? Too small a sample I think right now to suggest Gelinas could win it but that doesn't take away from his long-term importance to this team.
who comes cheaper at this point: miller or brodeur?
Scott Burnside (12:17 PM)
al; I would say unequivocally Brodeur. Again, it's all about supply and demand though.
Time to push the panic button in Toronto? Nonis gave Carlyle the "vote of confidence" yesterday which ironically doesn't typically play out that way. How much rope does Carlyle have and with your crystal ball, do you see him as the bench boss at the end of the season?
Scott Burnside (12:19 PM)
Peter; I will be shocked if there's a coaching change in Toronto during the season. The one caveat is that Carlyle isn't Nonis's guy having inherited Carlyle when Brian Burke was fired almost a year ago. That said, Nonis is pretty patient and I think there are still enough moving parts in Toronto to keep them in the playoff hunt. Yes, they've stunk for the past six weeks but still own a playoff spot. I think they'll get better and I think Carlyle stays at the helm at least until the end of the season.
Any truth that NHL is considering Baltimore for an expansion team?
Scott Burnside (12:20 PM)
Edward; As much as it might disappoint The Wire fans, no, I would say zero chance the NHL lands in Baltimore.
Scott, the Blackhawks have the best goal differential in the league but are tied for the 9th worst for goals allowed. Do you see something they could do to strengthen up their defense or are they going to have to outscore everyone? It's a little alarming if you ask me. Think Bowman picks up somebody for the penalty kill?
Scott Burnside (12:22 PM)
Eric; Agreed that simply planning to out-score everyone come playoff time isn't a real viable option for winning a Stanley Cup especially in the west. But I think the numbers are a bit skewed given the poor play of Nikolai Khabibulin before he was injured and the recent injury to Corey Crawford. But wouldn't be surprised to see Stan Bowman add another veteran body along the blue line and perhaps a PK specialist at the deadline. Still, not much to complain about vis a vis the 'Hawks' overall game.
Brad Marchand - is he on the trade block? Should he be?
Scott Burnside (12:24 PM)
Hollister; Not sure it's 'trade Brad' time in Boston although he's taken a step back in terms of his maturity and his production (maybe both are intertwined) and that's disappointing for the Bruins. Still, he's proven himself to be a valuable part of a very good Boston team. If the season ends badly does that change Peter Chiarelli's view on Marchand long-term? Perhaps. But doubt if he's going anywhere this season.
Scotty. the dirty hits keep coming, and while I have always been a proponent of fighting, it seems like fighting as a deterrent (which is the main argument for fighting) has no affect. You never see the offending party answering the bell for their dirty hit. What does the league need to do to reign in these types of hits?
Scott Burnside (12:28 PM)
kurt; I wish I had the answer. I was talking to a league executive yesterday and he expressed his frustration that players just don't get it. Every night something else; Tom Wilson on Brayden Schenn, Kyle Quincey on Ryan Getzlaf, Deryk Engelland goes for five, blah, blah, blah. All of them are really sorry afterwards. I'd like to see the NHLPA have some sort of voice in this, some sort of call for accountability from the union. Sadly the chances of that happening rival that of the chances of the proverbial snowball in, well, you know where. Still, pretty discouraging all in all when there are so many good stories and so many positive elements surrounding the game.
Marc (Vietnam (Via UK))
What hope is there for the Rangers? I feel the coaching doesn't get the strengths of the team?Mildly concerned NYR Fan here..
Scott Burnside (12:31 PM)
Marc; A few questions on the Rangers here. And if you're only "mildly" concerned then you're in a minority as most Ranger fans are beyond 'mildly' in their concern. I still think they're a playoff team as much because the Metropolitan is a wasteland of mediocrity as anything else. Still, figure the team will start to come around to Alain Vigneault's way of thinking. The injuries don't help with Ryan Callahan's absence a huge hit. Still, strange time for the Rangers as the identity that was so entrenched under John Tortorella seems to have evaporated and there is a bit of an identity void now.
Chances of the great 8 winning mvp??
Scott Burnside (12:33 PM)
Joe; Oh, if he scores 60 or so, which is his current pace, it'll be an interesting debate assuming Sidney Crosby keeps up his current point-production. Patrick Kane can't be left out of the Hart Trophy discussion at this stage, either. If Caps stay in playoff spot it'll be fun to try and sort through the voting process. Right now have to give Crosby the edge over Ovechkin and Kane in that order.
Ed (Queens Village)
Which is more true of Rangers to this point underachieving or mediocre?
Scott Burnside (12:33 PM)
Ed; Good follow-up to Ranger question. I would side with under-achievers.
Rocky (Raleigh, NC)
Hi Scott, what do the Hurricanes do with their goalie and forward situation? Also, we are carrying 8 d-men at the moment...any trade rumors for Tim Gleason?
Scott Burnside (12:36 PM)
Rocky; Jim Rutherford shot down any idea he'd be looking to move Cam Ward now that Anton Khudobin is ready to return to action and Justin Peters has played very well filling in while both were injured going back to early in the season. Regardless of Peters' play I still think Khudobin is the favored to be number two behind Ward although not sure what kind of value Peters has vis a vis a trade. And long-term eight defensemen not sustainable but you know Rutherford will be cautious before dealing a veteran like Gleason especially with an eye to the post-season and Gleason's experience in that theater.
Fleury (Not Sochi)
So what exactly has Price won to be given the reigns of the Olympic team? His playoff record? 9-17, 2.9 GAA .9 sv%. Luongo has at least the last gold medal to his name, but he's never gotten his team over the hump in the NHL either... Seems like they're the top 2 goalies because they play for Canadian teams.
Scott Burnside (12:39 PM)
Fleury; There's a real divide in how you assess the Canadian goaltenders. Can't deny that Price has been very, very good for a Montreal team that has seen its offense ebb and flow. Agreed on Luongo, solid, has experience at both the international and playoff level. But have either been as good as Josh Harding? No. But he's not going to be on that team. Not enough of a body of work. As for a guy named Fleury in Pittsburgh doesn't matter what he does his play in the playoffs the last two years (three?) makes him a non-factor as far as the playoffs. Process may not be fair and in fact may be flawed but I don't see any other way the Canadians go than Price, Luongo and likely Mike Smith as the third guy.
Judeman5000, CPA (Thornton, CO)
Is Phoenix on the outs for the season or is it just a slump? Hopeful Avs fan here, wouldn't mind them going away so the top 8 in the west can be set.
Scott Burnside (12:41 PM)
Judeman; Ha, ha. The Avs, the Canucks, the Wild all would like to see Phoenix keep sliding. Hard to tell with Dave Tippett's team. They really miss captain Shane Doan but should be better defensively than they've been as I'm not sure the offensive production they've shown through the first 35 or so games is sustainable. Still, Mike Smith is the kind of guy that can turn it on and play out of his mind for a month or two at a time. Given that I picked the 'Yotes to win the Cup I am still regarding them as a playoff team.
Who have you found to be the most entertaining player interview?
Scott Burnside (12:45 PM)
Ben; This will sound smarmy but it's actually easier to list guys that aren't interesting or at least pleasant to interview. Rich Clune in Nashville has been exceptionally gracious with me in terms of sharing some difficult times and talking about controversial topics. Never tire of talking with Martin Brodeur. Really miss Chris Pronger, one of the greats to talk to. Andrew Ference is exceptionally well-spoken and thoughtful on a whole ranger of topics. That's just a few off th etop of my head.
Kale (Ashland, Kansas)
Scott, is there any real hope for the Senators this year? Everyone predicted a great year, and it's only gone south from there. Is this an early showing of what's going to be coming in the future, or do you think this is just an off year?
Scott Burnside (12:47 PM)
Kale; One of the most disappointing teams in the NHL right now. And maybe all that over-achieving the last couple of years is finally catching up with the Sens. Maybe they just thought it would happen for them automatically after last year's inspiring run to the second round. The goaltending hasn't been as good, the defense hasn't evolved and there's no doubt they miss the steadying presence of Daniel Alfredsson more than anyone anticipated. My guess would be this is more a blip on the radar than a long-term trend. Still, pretty tough to swallow for a team that has had so much going for it the last couple of years.
Scotty, I love my Wild, but I can't imagine playing Suter +32 minutes a night will be beneficial come playoff time. I know the guy's a beast, but eating up that many minutes has to take a toll on his body. A) do you think he can keep it up again all season, and B) do the Wild add anyone on the blue line to keep him fresh?
Scott Burnside (12:51 PM)
Matt; Throw in the fact that the U.S. coaching staff will be relying heavily on Suter for big minutes in Sochi and you have a recipe for burnout come playoff time; assuming the Wild hang onto a post-season spot. The problem in simply bringing in a minute-muncher to help share the load is that there simply aren't that many available and they cost assets GM Chuck Fletcher will be unlikely to give up. My guess is if Suter's workload is going to be eased it will be eased from within. Easier said than done, though.
Scott - every time someone asks a Ranger question the answer is "they should make the playoffs" or something of that nature. What good is that? This team has some real nice pieces but would really be served to move some UFAs or some parts that don't fit to build for a nice run over the tenor of Hank's career.
Scott Burnside (12:53 PM)
Anthony; I think that's what Glen Sather thought he was doing. For me one of the issues has been the shuffling of pieces the last two or three years, Richards, Gaborik, Nash, Clowe, half the Columbus Blue Jackets team, hard to define and develop an identity when you're moving key pieces around like that.
What do you think of Olli Maata's play? Any chance for Calder?
Scott Burnside (12:55 PM)
Matt; The kid has been a revelation for the Pens but as we discussed earlier re: Gelinas and the Devils, pretty hard to for a rookie D-man to win the award. He will get a look but hard to see him finishing in the top three although if he continues to play like this and the Pens continue to have success without their top four defenders maybe that does push his name further up the ladder come voting time in April.
jason (st. paul)
Scott, what was the rush to sign Steen to an extension? Has the Blues brass ever heard of buy low and sell high? Steen is playing way above his mean and probably will regress at some point...which means cheaper $'s
Scott Burnside (12:57 PM)
Jason; I actually thought it was a pretty astute move by the Blues to get Steen under contract given the year he is having. No doubt he makes more and gets a longer term if he hits the open market (assuming he stays healthy and continues on at least a similar pace) next July. Maybe he's overachieving a la Kris Draper before he struck it rich with Detroit at the end of his career but Steen's the real deal and a perfect Ken Hitchcock player. We'll see next spring when the Blues try and break through once again if management got the better of the deal.
What will happen with the Ducks' goalie situation when Fasth returns?
Scott Burnside (1:00 PM)
Alex; Great problem for Bob Murray and Bruce Boudreau to have, no, too many elite goaltenders? Fasth needs to prove he can get back to the level he showed last season. But as for moving Jonas Hiller, something that might have been an option for the Ducks earlier in the season, I don't see that happening now given how well he's playing and the team's place in the standings. Yes, he doesn't fit long-term as a pending unrestricted free agent but right now Hiller's the man and if Fasth gets into a groove that will force Frederik Andersen out of the picture at least temporarily.
Scott Burnside (1:00 PM)
Well folks, time to bid adieu. Thanks as always for dropping by. Have a grand and safe holiday season. Until next time.
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