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 11 a.m. ET!
Scott Burnside (11:00 AM)
Hello all. Wow. Two weeks from now the trade deadline will be a memory and the last mad dash to the playoffs will be underway. Now, where were we?
Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)
Scott, do you think Bettman and the owners are happy with the precedent established by the Getzlaf/Perry contracts as the new lanscape for star player contracts under the new CBA? Specifically that both players took the extra year to stay with the home team and their annual salaries are consistent and do not feature a 15 year variability where they make 30 million in year 1 and then 50 cents in year 15 (something only a handful of teams can afford to do). Isn't that what the League wanted all along during the CBA negotiations? And now that it has been established that all superstar players will likely have cap hits over $8M without being able to cook the books on the back end, does that mean third and fourth liners are going to eventually take the pay hit to make up for it?
Scott Burnside (11:03 AM)
Jesse; I think this is exactly what the league had in mind. They told GMs for years they hated those so-called cheat deals and the new CBA reflects that. And good on the Ducks for finding a way to keep both homegrown stars long-term. After next season I expect the cap will go up so it will be easier for the Ducks or teams that follow this pattern of keeping their own stars to fill in their rosters. It's not perfect, of course, when you commit that kind of money to two players but better than the alternative I think.
Will (Brooklyn, NY)
Could you see the Penguins making a run for Jagr?
Scott Burnside (11:04 AM)
Will; I think the whole free agent fiasco of two summers ago when Jagr looked like he was coming home and then signed with Philly has killed all those thoughts as far as the Pens are concerned.
Marc (Malden, MA)
Getting this in early. I'm starting a campaign, the Patrice Bergeron for MVP campaign. Ok, I know he'll never win it, but it's time he's in the discussion. Bruins are a top 4 team, his line has carried them all year, he's almost a pt/game, best defensive forward in hockey, top 5 in +/-, plays against opponent's best line every night and never takes a night off.
Scott Burnside (11:06 AM)
Marc; Big fan of Patrice Bergeron. Classy, understated and a guy who has overcome significant injury issues to become a true leader on a championship team. In some ways I think winning the Selke is as much a testament to Bergeron's skill set as winning a Hart. And you're right, his numbers offensively will likely preclude him from winning the MVP hardware but might not keep him from winning another Cup and being invited to take another shot at a gold medal with Canada next year in Sochi.
Hi Scott, What are your impressions of Brodin as a 19 year old rookie? Will Matt Dumba be with the Wild next year and what line would he be on? Nice problem to hAVE.
Scott Burnside (11:07 AM)
Todd; Got a chance to see the Wild in Nashville a while back and was impressed with Brodin and obviously he's found some chemistry with Ryan Suter. As for Dumba the Wild have lots of nice moving pieces up front with Coyle, Granlund etc. so Dumba will really have to impress to be on that roster out of camp next year but you're right that is a nice problem to have for a team that is slowly building itself into a contender.
Mike (The State of Hockey)
Appears Yeo has found some consistent lines. Where do you see the Wild finishing in the west come season end?
Scott Burnside (11:10 AM)
Mike; Good follow-up to the Brodin question. I liked the Wild to win the Northwest and I think they've got some swagger now and will keep the Canucks at bay and end up with the third seed. Now that doesn't mean much as we know come playoff time but I would think winning a round isn't out of the question. Beyond that pretty tall order to knock down an Anaheim or Chicago in the second round. But pretty good problem to have after last season's disappointment (and the one before that and, well you get it).
do you see the rangers making any trades? they seem to always need PP help, whether that means a winger or an offensive-defenseman. Or do you think they have the pieces in their minor league system (kreider was just called up)
Scott Burnside (11:11 AM)
Jeremy; Keep an eye on Dan Boyle. As our Katie Strang reported yesterday the Rangers are keen to bring Boyle back into the Tortorella fold (he played for Torts when the Bolts won the Cup in '04 of course). Nice fit pending the asking price.
Why are the nhl ref so terrible? They are predictably wrong, and dont care
Scott Burnside (11:13 AM)
Jeff; Don't think that's the case at all. No tougher sport in the world to officiate. And there remains mixed signals from the league about how they are to officiate the games. What is boarding? How tight is to be called? How closely are they to call the contact with the goaltenders? Better directives from the league and you'll see more consistency on the ice in my opinion.
can you amnesty players who have NMC's?
Scott Burnside (11:15 AM)
brett; Good question. I believe there are no restrictions other than you cannot buy out a player that is hurt which is why the Rangers and Canadiens were prepared to simply not play Wade Redden and Scott Gomez respectively until there was an alteration in the CBA to allow for immediate buyout of those players.
my blueshirts have been so inconsistent but do you think they will make the playoffs and once they get in can they make a deep run like everyone expected? they still have the King!
Scott Burnside (11:17 AM)
JB; As we saw with the Kings a year ago anything is possible even from the 8th seed. And the Rangers are the kind of team that plays a style that is condusive to playoff success. And with Lundqvist anything is possible. Don't like their chances against Pittsburgh if it ended up a Pens/Rangers first-round match-up given how easily the Pens have handled them during the regular season but how about a Habs/Rangers series to start? That would be fun.
katie strang mentioned the cap will go down next year, but you wrote that you think it will increase after next year. what's going on with the cap situation?
David Clarkson is going to be a coveted free agent, don't you think? Especially with how thin the centre position is. Where do you see him ending up? Any chance he stays in Jersey?
Scott Burnside (11:21 AM)
Jeremy; Sorry if that sounded confusing. The cap will go down next season to $64.3 million but the early indications are that revenues will rise and push the cap back up again after next season which will give teams more flexibility in terms of inking longer term deals.
Scott Burnside (11:22 AM)
Andrew; (Sorry for the disjoined order) I would be shocked if somehow David Clarkson doesn't end up with the Devils. But you're right he would be a nice addition and of course being a Toronto native there will always be the idea that the Leafs might be an attractive destination if he decides to test the open market.
Jim (Grand Rapids, MI)
Good morning Scott, 2 quick questions: Do you think Kenny Holland will make some noise come trade deadline, and really other than the travel, how does the realignment help Detroit?
Scott Burnside (11:25 AM)
Jim; Tough spot for the Wings who are in that great mass of teams that one day look like playoff-ready and the next (as in last night versus the Wild) look ready for an early tee time. Having spent futures in recent years (Kyle Quincey for instance) I would be surprised if Ken Holland makes a major move. Important for the Wings to see just how their young group of players is going to develop and bringing in another veteran or two doesn't help that process especially when they're not really a Cup team (in my opinion). And the realignment will be a boon for ticket sales with historic rivals like Toronto and Montreal making more frequent visits and the local television ratings should take a jump with fewer late-night games which helps generate more revenues. In short, a good thing all around for the Wings.
The Flames have been inconsistent the whole season when does their front office blow it up? As a Kings fan would love to see Iginla in LA for Bernier. Makes sense for both teams.
Scott Burnside (11:28 AM)
Alex; The question of organizational direction in Calgary is like the riddle of the Sphinx. But you're right. The Flames aren't a good team and while they probably should have tried to move Iginla two or three years ago when his value would have been higher I agree it is time. Problem will be if GM Jay Feaster is looking for the moon (ie. first round pick and a young roster player) he's going to find it difficult to find a buyer. That said the Kings would be a nice landing spot (but watch for Boston to make a push for Iginla too). Interesting times for the classy captain and the Flames in the next two weeks.
Who would you favor in a Kings - Ducks series?
Scott Burnside (11:30 AM)
Greg; How great would that be? Both teams have Cup experience although you'd have to give the edge defensively and likely in goal to the Kings. The offensive edge would go to the Ducks but all in all hard to separate the two over a seven-game series. Since you asked I'll take the Ducks just because it's so hard to repeat and at some point I think the Kings will hit a playoff wall.
After the Hawks-Anaheim game there's now the "anaheim is the team to beat in the ewst"...while watchign the game seemed like besides the terrible 64 seconds of play that the ducks came back and took a lead, the hawks had the upper hand the entire game...who do you think is the "team to beat"...personaly i think they both are...2 dominant teams on pretty much the same level
Scott Burnside (11:33 AM)
will; Terrific game and you're right on the back and forth nature of the game. As per the previous question I think the Kings, Ducks and Blackhawks are simply in a different place in terms of their level of play. But if you're thinking ahead to a possible conference final one of those teams will be knocked out. Which one? Tough call. But I do like how the Blackhawks are built and they still have that terrific core of players from '10. For all three teams, of course, the question is how does the goaltending stand up? Emery and Crawford seem to have answered their critics. At least for now.
Nathan (St. Louis)
Are you still sticking by your St. Louis pick at the beginning of the year? What are your thoughts of the Blues trading Perron for a defenseman? What teams would be interested do you think?
Scott Burnside (11:35 AM)
Nathan; Tough road ahead of the Blues. As noted the Kings, Duck and Blackhawks are going to present some mighty huge road blocks en route to a possible Cup final berth. That said I will stick with my prediction. Jake Allen seems to be a guy for whom that team loves to play even though he's just a rookie. And the Blues are finally getting healthy up front which has been an issue for much of this season. And if pressure was an issue it won't be come playoff time given the Blues' play.
What would be a realistic haul if the Sabres traded Vanek, pomminville, or miller? I assume vanek would bring the highest return?
Scott Burnside (11:37 AM)
kurt; You're right although all three would represent a significant addition for a team looking at building for the future both long-term and short-term. But a first-round pick, NHL ready young player and a top prospect would be a starting place I would think for Vanek. Maybe slightly less for Miller assuming of course the Sabres were interested in dealing a guy that has proven in the past he's one of the best in the world.
Assuming the Penguins defensive fortitude of late isn't just a flash in the pan, how can the Hawks and Ducks still be considered better teams? Watching that game last night, its hard for me to imagine either team (any team for that matter) being able to beat the Pens 4 times out of 7 in the playoffs.
Scott Burnside (11:39 AM)
Sarah; Fair point although having watched the Penguins crumble defensively against the Flyers last spring in the first round I think it's also understandable to have a little skepticism regarding the Pens' overall team defense until they prove it in the post-season.
How does Joe Sacco still have a job? So much talent in Denver and they play such uninspired hockey.
Scott Burnside (11:41 AM)
Matt; Hard to get a handle on just what's going on in Denver. The whole Ryan O'Reilly fiasco must have had some effect on the team's play. There have been injuries. And the Erik Johnson trade hasn't exactly moved the team forward given how well Stewart and Shattenkirk are playing in St. Louis but you're right this is a team that should be a lot better than it is has shown thus far. Interesting off-season looms assuming they can't crawl back into the playoff hunt in the west.
How awesome was watching that Hawks-Ducks match last night? That game was great!
Scott Burnside (11:42 AM)
Ben; Almost makes you forget the stupidity of the lockout, no?
What do you make of SJ? Are they just going through a funk or is it time to re-tool and maybe trade Clowe & Boyle and maybe even Thornton or Marleau?
Scott Burnside (11:44 AM)
Bill; Looks like GM Doug Wilson is trying the difficult task of retooling on the fly. Big win last night against Edmonton but appears the Sharks would consider moving Dan Boyle, or Ryane Clowe or maybe others. Delicate move for a team that has kept its fan base at least partially content with annual trips to the playoffs. Make those kinds of moves and then miss and there will be a ripple effect. Would it be worth it? No guarantees either way but it does seem the time for simply maintaining the status quo is past for this team.
Aaron (Long Island)
Hi Scott. Any players that you can see the Islanders targeting? Or do you think they stand pat and wait until next year for guys like Strome, Nino, Reinhart and Matt Donovan?
Scott Burnside (11:46 AM)
Aaron; Isles still in the hunt which makes Garth Snow's job more difficult. Does he try and move Mark Streit or Lubomir Visnovsky or sign one or both? Blowing big lead to the Sens the other night is a kickin the shins but no doubt there would be a market for one or both of those players if the Isles are looking ahead to next season (aren't they always?). Might be fun to add a player or two for a change and try and overtake the Rangers or Devils. Nah. Never mind.
Ian (New York)
Do you see the Habs adding any players at the deadline?
Scott Burnside (11:48 AM)
Ian; Terrific first season so far for GM Marc Bergevin and I would think the addition of Michael Ryder for Erik Cole might be their deadline move. Unlikely to add much salary as I think Bergevin is keeping his powder dry for the off-season. That said, Habs appear to be the kind of team that could win a round or two in the post-season. Maybe some depth on the blue line but I wouldn't expect a big trade deadline splash given the chemistry that exists for the Habs and the impressive play of their youngsters.
Neal (Menlo Park)
Scott, how's that sale of the Coyotes going? Or is Bettman kind of liking being an owner too?
Scott Burnside (11:49 AM)
Neal; No, I don't think Mr. Bettman is relishing his role as owner (although he did a nice job inking Oliver Ekman-Larsson to that deal). Next couple of weeks we should know more my sources tell me. Of course as we approach the fourth anniversary of the league taking over I'm pretty sure someone has said that about a hundred times and here we are.
So who's next in line to fire their coach and hire Lindy Ruff?
Scott Burnside (11:52 AM)
Nick; Not sure there's an obvious answer to that but I would be surprised if Ruff isn't behind another NHL bench come training camp. Now that he is a legitimate Plan B for a GM/owner (as was the case a year ago when Bruce Boudreau became an option for the Ducks and then Randy Carlyle became an option for the Leafs etc.) I think you have to watch what happens with the Lightning who look like a longshot to make the playoffs and the aforementioned Avs and perhaps even the Flyers.
Why do we insist on hybrid icing when no-touch is so much better? It greatly decreases the risk of injury and takes one more subjective decision away from the linesmen, who already have enough to worry about out there. It's not worth a broken leg to win a race and touch up the puck.
Scott Burnside (11:54 AM)
David; I have no problem with no-touch icing although I think the traditionalists have a point in that you want to keep puck battles in the game. I'm not sure why it's taken so long to get to a hybrid icing model. I agree that you want to erase the potential for cataclysmic injury on an icing play but I think the hybrid, while adding to the linesmen's duties is a good compromise solution.
The Kings young defensemen have stepped in nicely in the absence of Mitchell and Greene. With neither of those guys on the fast track to returning, do you see Lombardi making a move for a big, bruising D man to solidify the blueline for the playoffs, or will they run with the younger guys? And if both those guys happen to come back in time for the playoffs, who sits: Muzzin or Martinez?
Scott Burnside (11:55 AM)
Carlos; The Kings keep finding terrific young pieces to fill holes and Voynov and Muzzin are two of them. That said I think you're right on that apart from Iginla as previously discussed GM Dean Lombardi will be on the lookout for a good, solid depth defenseman to help push the Kings towards another long playoff run.
Chuck (Chicago area)
Crosby has been great all year but is there anybody more exciting than Patrick Kane this year?
Scott Burnside (11:57 AM)
Chuck; Terrific renaissance for a young guy that's ridden a rollercoaster the past couple of years. Crosby in a different league in terms of his level of play and hard to imagine he won't win the Hart in a landslide but interesting to see how Kane and Toews end up vis a vis MVP consideration. Both definitely in the mix.
How much smaller do you see the goalie pads getting? Smaller the better.
Scott Burnside (11:58 AM)
Jason; Agreed that smaller is better but so much to consider vis a vis safety and the relative size of goaltenders. Bottom line this is a debate that's been going on for a decade now. Don't expect any immediate, obvious changes. That said, agreed, smaller is better. And sooner is better.
Scott Burnside (11:59 AM)
Okay folks. Thanks for stopping by. In Chicago for Kings/'Hawks and Avs/'Hawks next week so should be fun. Until next time.