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 (3:01 PM)
We've got Barry!
Ed (Queens Village)
How have Flyers turned it around? They look like a mess at start of year firing Lavy couple of games into season.
Barry Melrose (3:02 PM)
I think the right players started going. Claude Giroux has taken off. Hartnell. All of their best players have picked it up.
Barry Melrose (3:02 PM)
They were always one of the more talented teams in the NHL. And their new coach has done a great job of changing the culture of the team.
Bob (Ottawa (Canada))
Hey Barry - No way Jeff Carter or Rick Nash over Martin St-Louis? C'mon, I know you have thoughts on the matter
Barry Melrose (3:03 PM)
I think St. Louis should be on the team. He's a great player. On the big ice surface he'd be even more dynamic. But obviously, Carter is on the team for his skating ability. I think Nash is on the team because he had a great Olympics 4 years ago.
Barry Melrose (3:04 PM)
But I think St. Louis definitely should be on the team.
John (SF Bay Area) [via mobile]
With the winter games around the corner and the level of hockey we will see. NHL why won't you have serious conversation about moving to international size ice. It's not a decade ago, the modern game can handle it.
Barry Melrose (3:05 PM)
No, because if you go to the Olympic sized surface, you'll take hitting out of the game. If you watch the world juniors, there is no hitting. The same thing will happen in the NHL. There is too much room to cover. If you try to drill someone, you'll be out of position. I don't want to see the NHL on the bigger surface. I don't think most American fans would like it.
We all know that coaches have a shelf life in today's NHL. Do you think that Mike Babcock's players are starting to tune him out? The Wings just don't seem to have the drive that they used to.
Barry Melrose (3:06 PM)
I don't think they're as good as they're used to. Other teams have been stockpiling high draft picks and Detroit hasn't had those kinds of picks. But, I think it's very, very rare that coaches will last for a long time in places like Babcock.
Is there a team in the Eastern Conference at this point that could handle the Blackhawks, Sharks, or Blues in a 7 game series or are we looking at some more Western domination?
Barry Melrose (3:07 PM)
I think Boston or Pittsburgh can. Pittsburgh did great last night against Vancouver in a win. Boston looked great in the first period last night. I think they're capable, but I don't see any of the other Eastern clubs being able to.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What Outdoor NHL Hockey Game will you be Attending this Season?
Barry Melrose (3:08 PM)
If I could only go to one, obviously Yankee Stadium is going to be neat, but the one at Soldier Field is going to be the best. That building in Chicago. It's going to be a great game.
barry,is this the best team Canada defence ever at the Olympics?,2010 is close but....
Barry Melrose (3:09 PM)
We have had the best teams ever. A lot of countries will be putting their best teams ever in the Games. I think the bigger ice surface has changed Team Canada's thinking. When you have a defense like that, it's pretty good. Every player is awesome.
Jon (Chi Town)
Is there any team as deep as the Hawks? They have 10 olympians! Are they the favorites to win the cup?
Barry Melrose (3:10 PM)
I think three teams had 10 guys on the Olympics. There are some teams out there that are deep. And it could end up hurting those teams, if one of those guys get hurt. That's a downside to being that good.
Peter (Santa Fe)
Seems like a lot of teams are going with the goalie duo or trio these days. Do you think rotating goalies for NHL teams is something that is starting to take root, and will more teams do it?
Barry Melrose (3:11 PM)
I think it's happening because we're having a lot of injuries to No. 1 goaltenders. Quick got hurt. Anaheim's hand injuries. Most coaches would like to have a No. 1 to depend on, but you want a good backup in case of injury or to give the No. 1 rest. And financially, it costs too much have two goaltenders. Look at Vancouver. Most of these duo situations are due to injuries.
Who will be starting in net for team USA?
Barry Melrose (3:12 PM)
Quick. I think it's his job to lose. They've made it obvious that he was the guy from Day 1. The injury shouldn't be a factor. I think he's the goaltender of record.
Bob (Ottawa (Canada))
Hey Barry - Any thoughts on the resurgence of my beloved Senators? Would you put Jason Spezza back in the line-up if the team has been on this win street for so long?
Barry Melrose (3:13 PM)
Don't forget most people thought Ottawa would be one of the best in the East. When Spezza is healthy, he goes back into the lineup. Hopefully when that happens, the team continues to play well when the injured guys come back.
with all the shootout losses the red wings have this season, do you think Jimmy Howard is a liability moving forward?
Barry Melrose (3:14 PM)
Obviously, he's the third goaltender for Team USA. He's been a very good goaltender in the NHL. But we have a few goaltenders not playing well right now. Look at Lundqvist in New York. Hopefully Jimmy can get back to play like himself after the Olympics.
What do you make of the goaltending situation in Washington? Grubauer looks overworked; Holtby appears to have no confidence, and Neuvirth wants out of town. Can the damage be undone at this point?
Barry Melrose (3:15 PM)
Holtby has not had a great year. They're not an unbeliveable defensive team. He's been left alone a few times, but he's not been as good as the past. They'd like for him to be the No. 1, but he has to have a better second half.
Only in the NHL is 19-24 the same as 22-21 ... Can we please get rid of the OTL/SOL point?
Barry Melrose (3:16 PM)
I agree, but it's not going anywhere. Teams like the fact that if they go into a building that if they get a tie, they get a point. In a perfect world, two points for a win and nothing for a loss. But teams like getting a point and it keeps teams in the race. The NHL likes that, so I don't see it changing any time soon.
Ruggs Socal (PSP via PIT)
Is Quick really that good or a product of the rest of the team... The 2 no name backups had something like 6 shutouts while he was out.
Barry Melrose (3:17 PM)
That's the Devils argument with Brodeur. Was Marty an unbelieveable goaltender or was the defense good? Quick has had to make key saves at key times. But that's an argument worth having. It's easier to play goal for the Kings than for the Blackhawks.
Drew (Washington, DC)
Barry, thoughts on the Claude Giroux snub from Team Canada? Quite a few very good players being left off Olympic squads....
Barry Melrose (3:18 PM)
Very tough choices for Team Canada. I think Giroux was hurt by his bad start. They also wanted to get some natural wingers on the roster, instead of just having all centermen.
Gene Mullett (Columbus, OH)
Who's the most improved player you've seen in this league this season over last?
Barry Melrose (3:19 PM)
Woah...good question. We have so many great young players in the NHL. Matt Duchene has had a coming out party. Saad. Every team seems to have a guy like that. Seguin in Dallas. Those are three off the top of my head that their surface of how good they are is just being scratched.
jase (san anonio)
Will Dallas make the playoffs?
Barry Melrose (3:20 PM)
Not in the West. It's too tough. They're on the right track. But who are they going to catch? I think all five Pacific teams make the playoffs. They're a great story and they have a bright future, but I don't think they make the playoffs.
Hey Barry,Are you surprised to not see any "elder statesmen" not make the Canadian team such as Jarome Iginla, Vincent Lecavalier, or Martin St. Louis?
Barry Melrose (3:21 PM)
Yeah, we're seeing a changing of the guard. Joe Thornton's not on the team either. But that happens. Four years is a long time in sports. And being on the bigger ice surface has changed the thinking. That's a factor. It's a changing of the guard where the younger players are taking on bigger roles on Team Canada and Team USA.
Do you see Shero making any big moves to bolster the wings with the loss of Dupuis?
Barry Melrose (3:22 PM)
Pittsburgh will always be aggressive at the deadline. But I don't see them trading draft picks or young players. They tried that last year and it didn't work out too well. Some of the younger players are starting to turn it around. If there's a deal out there, they'll make it, but they won't go crazy.
Jon (Chi Town)
Who poses the most serious threat to prevent Canada from winning the gold medal?
Barry Melrose (3:23 PM)
Woah...Sweden. Russia. Americans. They're all great. There are no bad teams in the Olympics. The gold will come from one of those four teams.
In a best of 7 series, who are you taking, Bruins or Pens?
Barry Melrose (3:24 PM)
Yeah, those are by far the best two teams in the East. I'd have to say Boston due to the goaltending. Fleury's been great this year, but due to his last two playoffs, it's hard to get behind him. That's why, in net, I'd go with the Boston Bruins.
Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)
Barry, we have heard a lot about potential fatigue down the stretch for the teams sending a lot of guys to Sochi? But what about fatigue for individual players...especially the key guys on lesser countries. Tell me Chara is not going to play 50 minutes a night on D for Slovakia. Same with Kopitar triple-shifting for Slovenia. And Vanek on Austria. If you were a coach would you be worried about that?
Barry Melrose (3:26 PM)
You don't worry about that until it happens. The first thing you worry about is sending them to the Olympics and getting them home healthy. Down the stretch if your team is solid, you can rest them. Making sure your guys get home healthy is No. 1, then making the playoffs. Worrying about fatigue isn't a factor right now.
Gerry (San Francisco, CA)
The Canucks had several games to win the game in regulation but end up surrendering the game-tying goal late (more recently Anaheim and Pittsburgh, respectively) and losing the game past regulation. What does the team need to do to fix this habitual problem?
Barry Melrose (3:27 PM)
Obviously, last night, they blew a two goal lead late and it cost them a point. John Tortorella's strength is defense. It's an ongoing issue for them and I'm sure he'll keep pushing it. That was a tough loss for Vancouver.
Ben (San Jose)
Is there a team that has lost as many man-games as San Jose? Hertl, Havlat (who doesn't count because he's worthless anyway), Couture now, Torres, Wingels, Burish, Kennedy all out. They are looking real thin on depth right now.
Barry Melrose (3:28 PM)
Nobody has lost more games than Pittsburgh. They had four of their top six defensement out. Malkin out. Dupuis out. They had ten regulars out at one time. And they continue to win.
Barry Melrose (3:28 PM)
I hope everyone is staying warm. It's freezing here in Connecticut. Hopefully it will warm up.
Buzzmaster (3:28 PM)
Thanks for chatting Barry!