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 3 p.m. ET!
Scott Burnside (3:01 PM)
Alright folks sitting high above the ice at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh after Game 1 last night. Playoffs off to a rollicking start with two 4-3 games and a 5-4 overtime thriller between Tampa and Montreal. Now, where were we?
Tyler from MPLS (Minny fan in CT.)
Does the Wild take game 1 tonight?
Scott Burnside (3:03 PM)
Tyler; I took the Wild as my upset pick in the first round. That was before Ilya Bryzgalov played in his last game which gives me pause. And really it's going to be up to him whether the Wild has a shot or not. He has to be better than he has been in recent playoff appearances in Philadelphia and in Phoenix. I think he will be and in that case the Wild has a good shot at advancing. Tonight? Wild 4 Avs 3 in overtime.
Lets go Rangers!!!! Scott, will the Rangers miss Kreider in this series?
Scott Burnside (3:05 PM)
mikebk; Yes but there's enough veteran depth up front that it shouldn't be a tipping point in this series. I think the bigger issue is whether guys like Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards can up the ante with their play. The Rangers have received good production from guys like Derick Brassard and Benoit Pouliot etc. but the big guys will have to stand and deliver.
Marc (San Jose)
How long of a leash will Niemi have? If he gets pulled and Stallock plays well do you think McClellan stays with Stallock through the playoffs?
Scott Burnside (3:07 PM)
Marc; I've been impressed with Alex Stalock's play this season (he was 12-5-2 with a .932 save percentage) and my guess is Niemi gets a very short leash. I picked the Sharks to win this series in seven and I wouldn't at all be surprised to see Stalock at some point given how poorly Niemi has played of late.
Josh S. (Philly)
How does the Flyers having to use Emery instead of Mason affect this series?
Scott Burnside (3:08 PM)
Josh; Funny, Katie Strang who's covering the series for us and I just had this very conversation. She's of a mind - and I agree with her - that it might not have any effect. Emery has loads of experience unlike Steve Mason and has been pretty good for the Flyers. I think the bigger question is if Emery gets a split out of the first two games (or they win both obviously) does Mason jump back in when he's healthy or does Emery get to keep going?
No surprise that Anaheim takes Game 1 over Dallas, but did the score seem a bit closer than you would have though? Giving up 3 goals to make it a 1 goal game seems like something the Ducks should be concerned about.
Scott Burnside (3:10 PM)
Chris; I don't think so. Dallas has good skill up front and I think there's a natural tendency to let up when you build a big lead like the Ducks did. Interesting choice from Bruce Boudreau to go with Frederik Andersen in net. I like the gutsiness of it. Safe bet would have been Jonas Hiller but he's simply been too inconsistent since the Olympics.
Scott, Kris Letang has been a great story for the Penguins coming back from his stroke. Do you see his defensive lapses as something that will come back to bite the Penguins in this playoff run. Also did Fleury's play last night do anything in your opinion to inspire confidence in his ability to carry the Penguins?
Scott Burnside (3:12 PM)
Steve; I thought Letang was excellent in his first couple of games back but certainly less so last night and we know from head coach Dan Bylsma's comments this morning that he wasn't thrilled with the retaliatory slashing penalty in the second period on Boone Jenner. That's what you get with Letang, though, lots of emotion, high skill and the down-side is he will make mistakes. As long as he's not as careless as he was against Boston in the conference final last year it's a risk/reward proposition the Penguins are able to live with.
Mike (Kalamazoo, MI)
So let me get this straight. When Dallas & Columbus' game was called when Rich Peverly had his heart issue, it was 1-0 CBJ on a score by Nathan Horton.So, like when Det-Ana replayed the postponed game from Jiri Fischer's collapse, they started tonight's replay 1-0. Nathan Horton apparently did not play in the resecheduled game (injury, I think).I would guess that Nathan Horton may be the first person in NHL history to officially score a goal in a game he never officially played in!That craziness aside, do you think the speed and offensive creativity of the Wings' youngsters and a goalie that tends to step up in the playoffs be enough to steal a round from the mighty Bruins like they did with Anaheim last year? Why or why not?
Scott Burnside (3:15 PM)
Mike; I admit I was totally baffled by the whole Dallas/Columbus thing too. Why not just start from the time of the incident? Oh well. As for the Wings they're not much of a prize for the Bruins finishing first overall. I will be curious about the Wings' youthful players and how they react to playoff hockey. They played well in pressure situations down the stretch but this will be different. This series is going to be fascinating but don't think the Bruins will be stopped at least not this early in the going.
Greg (Norwalk CT)
Can the Lightning win the series without Bishop? Are u hearing that he will be back?
Scott Burnside (3:16 PM)
Greg; Tough call. I picked Tampa in seven and am having some buyer's regret on that one. Tampa scores four on Carey Price and it's not enough to win? Yikes. No word on Bishop's return and he didn't skate this morning with the team.
Scott - Really enjoy your coverage. After their heartbreaking loss in game 1, does game 2 become a must win for the Blue Jackets to keep the series from getting away from them?
Scott Burnside (3:18 PM)
Boone; You are too kind. I think that's fair. I think the extra off day helps Columbus given their youth. Practice at this time of year is a luxury and I'm sure Todd Richards will make good use of this. But they need to come up with a W on Saturday and then use the emotion of playing at home for Games 3 and 4 to their advantage. Going home down 0-2 will only add to nerves trying to give the hometown fans a show.
Sean (Washington, DC)
Hi Scott, Thanks for chatting. Sabres fan here. If you were in Garth Snow's position, would you give up the #5 pick this year or defer it until next year? Next year's draft is considered to be much better, but they could be better or worse (hard to gauge the Isles) I'm happy either way as a Sabres fan!
Scott Burnside (3:20 PM)
Sean; I would never give up a pick for the '15 draft given the top-end talent in Connor McDavid that will be available. Either way the Sabres are going to get good players out of that deal.
With Oshie sitting tonight, it made me wonder why. If it were a concussion, i wouldn't think they'd allow him to skate 2 out of the last 3 days. What are your thoughts on this?
Scott Burnside (3:22 PM)
Jeff; It may be that the symptoms are coming and going which is sometimes the case with a concussion. Looks like Steve Ott will take his spot with Alex Steen and David Backes on that line. Tough loss though. The good news (and a bit of a surprise) is that Vladimir Tarasenko is back in. Key addition.
Patrick (St. Louis, MO)
What do you make of Steve Ott on line 1 for the Blues tonight, with a rusty Backes centering and Alex Steen completing the trio?
Scott Burnside (3:23 PM)
Patrick; Good follow-up. Talked to Steve Ott when I was in St. Louis recently and he's going to be a key figure for the Blues I think especially if he stays with that top unit. His style of play is built for the playoffs and as long as he stays out of the box he has the potential to chip in some important offense.
The Red Wings will beat Boston if?
Scott Burnside (3:24 PM)
Matt; If they're able to use their speed to neutralize Zdeno Chara and if Jimmy Howard plays like he did against Anaheim and early in the Chicago series last year.
which series are you covering? which series do you wish you were covering?
Scott Burnside (3:25 PM)
al; You mean you didn't stay up to read my purple prose after the Pens/Blue Jackets game last night? I am in Pittsburgh to start and would have been happy anywhere. Both the Avs/Wild series and Chicago/St. Louis are going to be fun and compelling I think.
How'd you come up with the Wild as an upset pick? The Avs have done nothing all season except be consistent. I realize experience has weight in the playoffs but so does youth, energy, speed, etc.
Scott Burnside (3:27 PM)
Bob; I think the Wild will have learned from their thrashing at the hands of the Blackhawks last spring. Jason Pominville is healthy, Matt Moulson gives the Wild another layer of scoring. The goaltending is scary and you're right the Avs are one of the great stories of the season. But I just figured that at some point the blue line will crumble at least a little and without Matt Duchene to start thought the Wild would have a legitimate shot at the upset.
Hi Scott, I have a question about nerves in the playoffs. In your experience talking with players, do you find that it's more common for players to embrace the emotion of playing on the big stage to energize themselves, or to downplay the it and simply try to treat it like "just another game?" Do coaches tend to favor a certain approach in prepping their team?
Scott Burnside (3:29 PM)
Matt; I think it varies. Columbus players, for instance, have talked about soaking in the atmosphere, embracing it while I think perhaps more experienced teams will try and keep things more like regular season games in terms of their preparation.
Based on the fact that Garth Snow made the trade in the first place, perhaps he should not be the one making the decision about which first round pick to send to Buffalo.
Scott Burnside (3:29 PM)
Mark; Fair comment.
If the Rangers get the type of production you would expect from players like MSL, Nash and Lundqivst, could they be a team that makes a run at the cup?
Scott Burnside (3:31 PM)
Fred; Absolutely. The issue for me has been they haven't been able to produce that sustained level of top play for very long. I thought they'd chase the Penguins for top spot in the Metro and that never happened. Could they get on a roll with those skilled players and Lundqvist in goal? For sure. Now, the Flyers are also a team that has that potential too and their top players have been excellent for long stretches of the season.
Marc (Malden, MA)
I don't think Tampa lost that game because of their goaltender. They got BADLY outplayed and could have lost 8-4.
Scott Burnside (3:32 PM)
Marc; That is a good point. I didn't see much beyond the highlights but it's unfair to suggest Lindback at fault for the loss. Was there a Tampa player within 20 feet of Dale Weise when he scored the OT winner?
You're McLellan... do you go with Niemi or Stalock in Game 1?
Scott Burnside (3:33 PM)
Jeff; Niemi will start which I think is the right call. But if I'm Todd McLellan (and I rarely pretend that I am) I don't wait long to give him the hook.
Any thoughts on Fleury's performance last night? Was it enough to make you think he's corrected his game (seeing as 2 of the 3 goals scored against him were on breakaways) or do you still need to see more from him to inspire confidence?
Scott Burnside (3:34 PM)
Justin; Need a larger sample. Remember a year ago he was okay early against the Isles and then started to crumble. But I don't think he was bad in Game 1.
Craig (St. Paul, MN)
Should the Wild move Andrew Brunette to the bench as a special assistant or something? Making Patrick Roy have flashbacks couldn't hurt.
Scott Burnside (3:35 PM)
Craig; That's a great idea. Wonder if they'll be running highlights from that classic '03 series at Xcel when the series shifts there.
If the Pens cant get to Conf finals, do you see Bylsma or Fleury back in Pitt next season? Fleury to me looked shaky at times and I dont think he is the goalie to lead them to the Cup this year,,,your opinion?
Scott Burnside (3:37 PM)
Cory; I think it will depend on when/how the Pens go out. If they lose to Columbus hard to see Bylsma returning. If they lose in the second round and look bad doing it, ditto. If goaltending is a factor then I would imagine the team would explore moving him or possibly buying him out. He has one year left on his deal and a limited no-trade clause.
I can not wait for tonight's Kings - Sharks game. Do you have a time machine that I can borrow?
Scott Burnside (3:40 PM)
Adam; I am with you. My pal Pierre LeBrun is out there and there's going to be a great buzz in that building tonight. So many people like the Kings to win that series and I get it but they're not invincible and the Sharks have a lot going for them especially with Tomas Hertl back. If he can get into a groove it allows Todd McLellan to move Joe Pavelski back to center and that gives them depth down the middle like few teams possess.
prediction on tonight's Hawks vs Blues game?
Scott Burnside (3:41 PM)
John; Blues 3 Chicago 2 OT (I always pick games I'm not covering to go to OT as I'll be watching them and not having to worry about when they end.)
if the flyers win game 1, it will give them a ton of confidence and they will win the series. true or false?
Scott Burnside (3:43 PM)
Joshua; I think that's pretty fair. They play so poorly at MSG that if they steal Game 1 a lot of that doubt will or should dissipate and it also ups the pressure on the Rangers.
I don't feel that the Flyers are being considered a serious threat to the Rangers even with all their scoring depth and a top five player in Claude Giroux. Why is that and how far do you think they can go?
Scott Burnside (3:44 PM)
Eric; Another good follow-up. I think the goaltending disparity between Emery/Mason and Henrik Lundqvist is at the heart of a lot of that. And I think defensively there is a perception the Rangers are much better although I'm not sure that's necessarily the case. But anyone who's watched Claude Giroux the past few months knows he's a man on a mission. Should be a great tilt.
I'm not sure why you're getting so much flak about your Wild pick. The Wild have been getting healthy, they're scoring, and have had solid goaltending. That seems like a recipe for success leading to the playoffs to me.
Scott Burnside (3:45 PM)
Lonzo; Thanks. Avs have a pretty distinct advantage in goal, though, with Varlamov. Can Bryzgalov narrow the gap? He has to. And if he does I think the Wild have an excellent chance to win.
Marc (Malden, MA)
I worry Columbus doesn't have enough offense to stay with Pittsburgh.
Scott Burnside (3:47 PM)
Marc; Ryan Johansen is key obviously but the Blue Jackets are a sneaky balanced team. Guys like Mark Letestu and Boone Jenner have picked up the pace offensively in recent weeks. Also, may be close to getting Foligno and Umberger back which adds to the arsenal. But I think you're point is a valid one especially with the Pens now back to pretty much full health.
Andersen was good, Lehtonen shaky. Bobrobsky good, Fleury shaky. Price/Lindback both shaky.Who will have the shakes tonight? And what are they gonna do about it?
Scott Burnside (3:49 PM)
Jesper; I thought Bobrovsky looked human on the game winner from Brandon Sutter. A lot of people have been down on Ryan Miller lately but I think he'll steady the ship. I would be most concerned about Antti Niemi of the goalies going tonight in terms of the dreaded shakes.
Sharks fan here - Not oft is it that my boys are largely picked to lose a first round series (Thanks, by the way, for the vote of confidence!) so do you think that fires up veterans like Boyle, Thornton, Marleau, etc.? From the interviews, I see Boyle is pretty amped up. You have them winning, but do you see the underdog tag helping my Sharks?
Scott Burnside (3:51 PM)
Nick; I think there's something to that. Boyle playing for a contract and he's as competitive a guy as there is. Actually not going to the Olympics probably helps guys like Joe Thornton and Dan Boyle and Logan Couture even though it must have been a crushing disappointment. Still, underdog or not they've got to get goaltending in order to saw off Jonathan Quick in the Kings net. Tall order but I think it's possible.
As a Wild fan anything beyond a single victory in the playoffs this year is a step in the right direction for the organization. I made a bet with my uncle at the beginning of this year that the Wild would win the Cup in the next 5 years. What do you think of my chances?
Scott Burnside (3:52 PM)
Joel; I think the goaltending situation needs to be resolved before they're in the Cup discussion. Is Darcy Kuemper really the long-term solution? Might be. Loads of good young talent and Parise and Suter and Pominville all locked down contract-wise so I think the possibilities of a championship in that window do exist.
Paul Maurice: good hire or great hire for the Jets?
Scott Burnside (3:54 PM)
JC; Good hire. Another team that needs to get its goaltending situation straightened out before they can think about stuff like the playoffs.
Why are your picks always wrong?Olympics, playoffs, finals...everything. Have you ever thought about reversing your picks so you might get it right?
Scott Burnside (3:54 PM)
Sheldon; How do you know I didn't do that this spring? (I didn't but it's an interesting strategy to consider.)
brendon (valley forge)
flyers weakness is clearly defense. However, rangers do not have anywhere near the type of depth up front that the flyers have. Does that cancel out and then the goalie is the determining factor? I feel the flyers PP alone is enough to pop a few on lundy and take the series.
Scott Burnside (3:56 PM)
brendon; Let's assume both teams get quality goaltending I think the Flyers depth up front is superior unless those veteran Ranger guys get hot. We'll know a lot more about how this is going to play out tonight I think. Do love the way the Flyers have responded to Craig Berube. Great story and really have nothing to lose after the way this season started.
Patrick (St. Louis, MO)
If Ryan Miller falters after games 1 & 2 at home, do you think Hitchcock goes with Elliott in Chicago or rides with Armstrong's big prize to whatever end?
Scott Burnside (3:57 PM)
Patrick; No. I don't think you see Brian Elliott unless Ryan Miller gets hurt.
I am really worried about Detroit for the B's. They are the type of team that won't "poke the bear" The B's can sometimes snooze through the first couple of games of a series against an opponent that won't challenge them physically (like the Caps two seasons ago). If they do this against Detroit, they may not recover in time.
Scott Burnside (3:58 PM)
Marc; I think that worry is well-placed. Claude Julien talked about the Bs' first-round issues the other day and this is definitely a team against whom you cannot sleepwalk and hope to somehow sneak past. That said I think the Bruins will be more than ready and I expect them to start at a high level.
Scott Burnside (3:59 PM)
Okay folks, time to close. Thanks as always for dropping by. Be well. Until next time.