Chat with Barry Melrose
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, 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 Monday at 2 p.m. ET!
Barry Melrose (2:01 PM)
Without a doubt this is the best mood of any chat I've been in in 2013.
Eric (los angeles)
Hi Barry, not trying to be a homer, but the Kings played so strong for so long that they cannot be written off as a fluke. Why does it seem fans, oddsmakers, and hockey experts do not seem to be buying on a repeat? Heck, have you ever seen a Cup winner returning 100% of the team?
Barry Melrose (2:03 PM)
It's a case of anyone being able to repeat. It's just too hard. LA will be one of the favorites, but if you remember, last year LA wouldn't have even been in the playoffs, if the season was only the first 50 games. They got their coach fired. That can't happen in a 48 game season. You have to get out in a hurry.
seth (maine )
tyler seguin is doing very well in Swiss league how do you think that will translate to nhl this year
Barry Melrose (2:04 PM)
He's a great young talent. He's going to put up bigger numbers each year as he matures. Going to Europe was good for him. It's not too physical of hockey. He had success and he stayed in shape. He should be ready for the start of the season.
Barry, got the sportjackets dusted off? Status of mullet? Ready to go?
Barry Melrose (2:04 PM)
I'm definitely ready. The ties are all squared out. Socks are being cleaned. My pregame activities are all set. I'm ready to start ASAP.
Do you think the wild will bring up some of their young prospects to start the season( with the exception of Granlund)? Seems like talk has been positive around them and they would be in better shape than many players have been waiting.
Barry Melrose (2:05 PM)
The main stars will determine Minnesota's start. Parise, Koivu, all of those guys. That is a great offensive lineup. They will have to be the leaders. I don't think it matters about their secondary players.
Matt Almour (Tampa)
Barry, what are your expectations for the Rangers?
Barry Melrose (2:06 PM)
I think they're one of the six best teams in the NHL. When you look at their team from last year, you add Nash, strong in net, they're one of the favorites.
Cody (Mankato, MN)
Barry!!! Lockout is finally over! We can start asking real questions again! Once the CBA is signed, do you expect a flurry of deals to occur? If so, from who?
Barry Melrose (2:06 PM)
There are a lot of guys that have to be signed. That's the main thing. Overall, these teams have to get them signed and signed quickly. That will be the flurry of action.
Great to have hockey back. Two questions? Do you see Roberto Luongo coming back to Florida as a Panther? Also how can Florida make it two in a row making it to the playoffs
Barry Melrose (2:08 PM)
I don't think so. I don't think Florida has the kind of money that it takes to pay Luongo's contract. But Florida, they know the formula - good goaltending, good special teams and younger players getting better and better. They're going to make it the way they did last year, if they have any success at all.
Coach, should a team like the Rangers approach this regular season like the Heat have been this season (i.e. don't over exert and focus on having fresh legs for a possible long playoff run)?
Barry Melrose (2:09 PM)
This is a sprint. You don't have time to worry about how you're feeling at the end. You can't have a losing strength of any length. You can't have major injuries. You have to start the season good, do good in the middle and finish good.
Alex Herbst (North Brunswick, New Jersey)
Hey Barry, with the lockout now over, which team do you think is most prepared to surprise us with their performance?
Barry Melrose (2:10 PM)
Oh, for a surprise. If I'm looking for a pure surprise team, I would probably look to Edmonton. I think they're ready to start becoming a regular playoff team. I think they could be a good surprise. A team that I like in a short season is St. Louis, a big, physical, young team. They could do well in a shortened season.
Do you see the Blackhawks facing an immediate hurdle by having to play 2 weeks on the road when the Ice Show comes to the United Center?
Barry Melrose (2:11 PM)
That's certainly not something that you would love as a coach, but the way you'll sell is, guys, we go on this road trip and play well, we basically have a quarter of our road games done. If we come out on good shape, you'll be in a good spot. In a short season, you're looking to get your team together and a road trip is a good way to do that.
I'm really nervous for the Bruins this year without Thomas, do you think Rask can step up and be the goalie we need to make a run?
Barry Melrose (2:12 PM)
We know he can play in the NHL, the question is can he play 48 games in a short period and play well. I like the Bruins in that they don't have a lot of new guys in the lineup. You're not putting together a lot of new pieces. But their season hinges on Rask.
Garrett (Long Island)
Hey Barry! If the NHL could choose, what is the most ideal conference finals and stanley cup finals matchups?
Barry Melrose (2:13 PM)
You want the Rangers in the Cup finals and you'd probably want the Blackhawks in it. Chicago-New York would be the perfect Finals for the NHL.
Billy Ray Candyass (SoCal)
Barry, let's talk Ducks. Do they keep Perry, Ryan and Getz? Or do you see them trading one of them?
Barry Melrose (2:14 PM)
I would keep them. I think that line is showing when they're on top of things they're one of the best lines in the world. They won a Cup. They're on the right track. I think they're pretty close to being a good hockey team. Goaltending has to be better than it's been last year. If you don't get good goaltending you're not going to win in the NHL.
Why do you think that it took so long to get this CBA done? This deal basically looks like the deal that NHLPA put out there in early December before Bettman and Daley went on their rants about the negotiations and Daley saying the 5 year limit is the hill the owners would die on (yeah that worked)
Barry Melrose (2:15 PM)
I don't think about it. It's too frustrating. People don't negotiate until they have to. We finally got to the point in the season where both sides had to and we went for 16 hours. It's very frustrating that this didn't get done in Sept. or Oct.
How do you see the flyers doing this year and do you have any news on Chris pronger?
Barry Melrose (2:16 PM)
I don't think you count on Pronger player ever again. If he does, it's a bonus. As far as the Flyers, it's goaltending. What do you get out of Bryzgalov. They have some good young players, but they go as far as their goaltending.
Jimmy (New York)
Barry, Any inside information on the schedule or dates? Other than what we already know? What are you hearing?
Barry Melrose (2:17 PM)
I hear that there is still some dates that they're trying to figure out. It looks like it will still be a few more days. 30 teams, 30 buildings, trying to get everything ironed out and lined up is a major job. They're on top of it, but there are still some things to get tweaked.
You see Detroit making any big splashes in the trading department?
Barry Melrose (2:18 PM)
Yeah, they could use to make some moves. They got shut out in free agency, which is very surprising. Lidstrom not playing is a shock, not seeing him on the point. Detroit will probably be the most interesting team to watch, because of those things.
Blues win their first cup this year?
Barry Melrose (2:19 PM)
I think they will be more dangerous in the playoffs this year than last year. There are a lot of people who say you have to lose before you know how to win. They'll be much more mature in the playoffs. I like how they're built. I like the size, I like how young they are.
Chris ((New Hampshire))
I was hearing some thoughts about more playoff teams for this year due to the shortened season. Is that in the works?
Barry Melrose (2:20 PM)
Buccigross is talking about that all of the time. He wanted to add another team and a wild card play-in game. That's the biggest knock I've heard from other people and argue about it all of the time that there are too many in the playoffs, but 16 of 30 in the playoffs is good. I think that's enough. I don't think we need any more.
Contract length limits?
Barry Melrose (2:21 PM)
It's to make sure the owners don't go crazy with contracts. It's all to protect the owners from themselves. That's why they have the cap, the contract length limits, the new rules about front loading contracts. It only matters to a small number of players in the NHL about havinga 6, 7, 8 year limit.
Barry, do you think the lockout gives an advantage to teams whose rosters were more certain going into the lockout? Which teams do you see having that advantage right now?
Barry Melrose (2:22 PM)
I like that fact. Boston. Nashville. The majority of the players have been there before. LA Kings that won the Cup don't have a lot of changes. I like those teams that should be able to get off to a good start than those that added 5-6 new players.
Shortened season = grueling grudge matches between existing divisional rivals? Boston - Montreal; Philly - NYR?
Barry Melrose (2:23 PM)
Yeah, those games are more important. 48 game season, the games are basically worth twice as much. When you're only playing conference and division games, they're even more important than that. You don't have 5-6 games to get going at the start. You can't have a 5-6 game losing streak.
Brian (New York)
How do you see Rick Nash fitting in with the Rangers?
Barry Melrose (2:24 PM)
Score. Score. Score. That's why they got him. That's the only reason they got him. If he scores, they look like geniuses and they win the Stanley Cup.
Kenny (cloud nine)
Let's get straight to it. Cup prediction?
Barry Melrose (2:24 PM)
Woooh! Cup prediction!...I am going to go Minnesota-New York.
Barry: Will Kopitars injury hinder the Kings long term? Will Quick be ready to go from the start?
Barry Melrose (2:25 PM)
Oh boy, they need both of those guys. Kopitar, if he's out for any length of time, that's huge. He's so important to that team. That's a huge loss. No team can afford to lose their No. 1 goaltender for any length of time, especially Quick, who we all feel was their best player in the playoffs.
Barry, what is the biggest weakness and the biggest strength for the Pens in this short run??
Barry Melrose (2:27 PM)
The Pens' strength is the talent level. Goaltender, defense, Malkin, Crosby. The weakness is probably how they were manhandled by Philly last year. Was that a fluke? Every team is looking at that tape and seeing how they can do the same time.
Barry, good job as always on ESPN and NHL Network. Now that we have a season, how do you feel about the Blackhawks? Healthy Hossa and Toews should help the offense out more. If Crawford plays like he did against Vancouver in 2011 and better D play, do you see them challenging LA and St. Louis for the West?
Barry Melrose (2:27 PM)
Crawford is the key. I hate to blame one guy, but he's the reason that they lost to Phoenix last year. He needs to be a better goaltender. If they had Smith in net last year, Chicago probably wins the Cup last year.
Atlantic the best division in hockey? Flyers, Rangers, Guins, Devils and the young and upcoming Quebec Islanders
Barry Melrose (2:29 PM)
It's good, but you look at the Pacific Division, it's good. You have so many good teams now. The old Norris is good - Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis. There are so many good teams. There aren't many dogs. The cap is working. Edmonton isn't as bad as they have been. Colorado is getting better and better. That division certainly is one of the best, though, no doubt about it.
Barry Melrose (2:29 PM)
I'm so glad to be sitting here to be talking about the NHL and the games coming up! It's such an exciting time for hockey fans.