Chat with EJ Hradek
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN The Magazine's EJ Hradek will stop by to chat about the NHL season.
Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.
Keep up with what Hradek has been up to through his blog on ESPN.com.
Send your questions now and join EJ to chat Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (3:02 PM)
We're getting EJ!
Tyler (New Hampshire )
Does the long wait/rest for the players, hurt Boston or Tampa more? Also can the Bruins survive without Bergeron for a game or 2, maybe the whole series?
EJ Hradek (3:07 PM)
I think it hurts Tampa more. They were on such a great roll. Everything was working well together. They will have a longer layoff. A 10 or 11 day layoff between games. I think it hurts them more. That said, I think they have a couple of things going for them. They open the series on the road. That will give them time to shake that rust without having the pressure of playing at home. That will be a benefit. The other benefit for them is the unfortunate part for Boston is the mild concussion to Bergeron. Though, I don't get a "mild" injury. A mild injury is one that happens to you, not to me. Bergeron is important to the Bruins. While the longer layoff hurts Tampa more, there are some things that do help them.
Rich (Currently in San Jose)
What has happen to the Sharks? What are the chances of them losing the next two games to the REd Wings?
EJ Hradek (3:09 PM)
There is a chance. The Red Wings have been playing well. They scored a huge victory in Game 5. Those are big wins that give you momentum. These are two teams playing really close competitive games. Over the past couple of years, San Jose has had an advantage in wins, and right now they're up 3-2, but Detroit is going home for Game 6. Niemi is going to have to be a difference maker for San Jose, just like Jimmy Howard did for Detroit in Game 5. He was the only reason the game was so close.
Do the Flyers make a play for Dwayne Roloson this offseason?
EJ Hradek (3:11 PM)
Well, at this point he can be an unrestricted free agent. Tampa is having a lot of success. He's playing well. He and the organization might decide that they want to come together with another deal. With Roloson, when you get into your 40s, you're probably looking at a year to year thing. It might depend on what he's looking for in terms of dollars and term. If he comes on the market, it would be wise for the Flyers to inquire about his plans. But for the Flyers, I think it would be better to have a longer term plan. While the window is short with some of their players, they do have some talent there. So, they should address the situation for the longer term. I will be curious to see how they weigh in on a lot of issues with that team as we head into the offseason.
My selection when this great playoff season started was Canucks and Bruins could you still see that happening. Tim Thomas looks great but a key injury could hurt the Bruins. Plus I can not figure out why, but the Canucks are not looking dominate at all. Thanks
EJ Hradek (3:14 PM)
They are two of the final four teams, so yes, I could see that happening. Would that be a good series? Absolutely. When you get to the Cup Finals, you'd have two terrific fanbases in Vancouver and Boston. We all know the hunger for hockey in Canada. The Bruins haven't won a Cup since 1972. I believe today is the 41st anniversary of Bobby Orr's memorable leap after giving the Bruins a Cup win. You'd be talking about Luongo and Thomas, two high end goalies. There would be a lot of great matchups and storylines.
EJ any news on the Phoenix situation lately? I was up to speed on it for a while but have not looked in the past 2-3 weeks.
EJ Hradek (3:17 PM)
The city council in Glendale, where the arena is, appears to be ready to make a deal with the NHL to keep the team in Phoenix or Arizona or Glendale for another season. They are going to provide a fund of $25 million to help with the NHL's losses. With that, the team will stay in Phoenix for another season. The city council, the NHL, the potential buyers will try to work out an arrangement that will work out for everyone. What that does do, however, for those of you in the great city of Winnipeg, you may now be the new home of the relocating Atlanta Thrashers. These are talks on going. The Thrashers could move to Winnipeg in the fall. These are things that have been discussed, but are a long way from being finalized. These are the up-to-date happenings.
What do you think Tyler Seguin will do with his chance to play now that Bergeron is down with an injury?
EJ Hradek (3:19 PM)
It's an opportunity for the young man. He's been in the NHL for a full season. He has been pretty fortunate in coming to a good team. Most high end prospects come into a team that's struggling, that's why they had the high draft pick. Seguin will have an opportunity. His big picture development has been helped by the way the Bruins have handled him. It's a chance for a really good player to be in a playoff situation. I'm sure he's thrilled to be in it.
EJ Hradek (3:20 PM)
They have a particular role and a particular way that they want him to perform. We'll see in the excitement of a conference final if he can handle that. For him, this is a great opportunity.
Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)
EJ, I am a Pens fan so I hate the Flyers and love seeing them go down in flames, but at this point even I have to admit that their goaltending situation has shifted into the absurd. And this has been going on for nearly 20 years! How have they not learned yet? If you are Snider/Holmgren/Laviolette don't you have to make a free agent play for Bryzgolov or try to trade for Corey Schneider? You might have to give up Jeff Carter for cap reasons, but at this point with Giroux and JVR emerging they don't really need him...least impactful 40 goal scorer in league. Would you do that?
EJ Hradek (3:23 PM)
You would think so. But, as you said, this has been going on for a while. It's hard to know exactly what their plan is. The decisions they've made there has been to spend money on their forwards and pay average or less on their goaltenders. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. We'll see if management tries to do something different. You'd think they would, but there are also salary cap issues to consider. I'll be as curious as you are as to what they do. They need to make a move to help their short term and long term goals.
Lil Paul (Chicago)
If Atlanta moves to Winnipeg, you see them in the Northwest Division, Minnesota moving to Central where they belong and Nashville moving to the Southeast?
EJ Hradek (3:24 PM)
I think that kind of thing is a possibility. But at this point in time, I have no knowledge of what they will do at this time. Schedules are something they like to plan out far in advance. There is a lot to think about with moving teams in and out of divisions. If we do see a relocation of Atlanta, I would think the league would be considering all of their options.
EJ Hradek (3:25 PM)
This is all based on having the possibility of a relocation. We should know more about it in the next week or two.
John (new york)
Who is your choice for Conn Smythe from remaining teams as of today....perhaps Tim Thomas ?
EJ Hradek (3:26 PM)
That's a good choice. I would not agree. I think he would be on my list. Roloson would be on my list. Based on what I saw in the second round by Ryan Kessler, I don't know what else he can do for the team. He's been unbelievable. I also think Datsyuk is another guy that I would strongly consider.
Joe Thornton (San Jose, CA)
EJ, any truth to the rumor that I would rather tank the playoffs now than make the Finals and have to go back to Boston?
EJ Hradek (3:27 PM)
Zero. Next question.
Michael (Tustin, CA)
The Ducks relied so much on their top line that it seemed to finally catch up to them during the playoffs. What moves can be made to relieve some of that pressure on Getzlaf, Perry and Ryan?
EJ Hradek (3:29 PM)
I like the Ducks. In the playoffs, they ran into a really good team that matched up against them well in Nashville. How many teams have three elite forwards like that? So few teams have guys like that with size, skill, toughness. They have young guys like Luca Sbisa. You have to hope Hiller recovers. They've got a lot to work with. I like their future. At some point, you're going to have to replace Selanne, who may or may not return for another season. They have a lot of talent on their roster.
EJ Hradek (3:30 PM)
Enjoy Sharks-Wings Game 6. Enjoy the rest of the playoffs. Follow me on Twitter: @EJHradek_ESPN.