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 noon ET!
Islanders have had some nice wins lately. Do you think they have turned a corner and what do you think will happen with Vanek?
Scott Burnside (12:00 PM)
Hey all, Welcome to our weekly chat. Hope the New Year is a prosperous and healthy one. Now, where were we?
Scott Burnside (12:03 PM)
Jordan; No doubt the Islanders are playing their best hockey of the season right now. Of course the bar was set pretty low through the first couple of months, no? As of now they are eight points out of the third spot in the Metro and the last wild card spot. That's a lot of ground to make up and a lot of teams to jump over. That said look at the strides the Flyers made after a miserable start. My guess is GM Garth Snow will watch closely the next four weeks to see how much more ground his squad makes up before deciding on what to do with his team and specifically Thomas Vanek. He can't afford to hang onto him if he thinks he'll walk in July given what he gave up in the early deal with Buffalo. Interesting times ahead that's for sure.
Could you see the Avs making a deep playoff run?
Scott Burnside (12:06 PM)
Dan; Not sure there's been a better story team-wise since the start of the season than the Avs. Even when they hit a bit of a dip last month they managed to keep the damage to a minimum. I'll be shocked if they don't settle into the third spot in the Central and that likely means a first-round date with St. Louis. Pretty tough road to travel to get by the Blues given their playoff experience compared to that of the Avs. Interesting to see if Joe Sakic/Patrick Roy make a move to shore up the blue line. Even if the Avs got through the Blues chances are then that they'd face Chicago. Ouch. Still, that's why they play them, no? Better to be having this discussion than the discussion about which players the Avs will sell off which has been the case the last five or six years.
Can the Bruins withstand the loss of Seidenberg and do they need Eriksson healthy to make it back to the Cup?
Scott Burnside (12:10 PM)
Shawn; Not a good start to the trip west and they've got L.A. tonight then San Jose, at home to Toronto and back on the road to Dallas and Chicago next week. So, good test for the Bruins who are trying to figure out life without D. Seidenberg who might be one of the most under-appreciated D-men in the league. No doubt Peter Chiarelli will be looking to plug that hole come trade deadline time. As for Eriksson I would say, yes, he is crucial to Cup hopes. The Bruins' success in '11 and '13 was predicated on rolling three and often four solid forward units. Eriksson is key to that.
Hi Scott, USA hockey question. If Parise, Orpik, and Paul Martin are not healthy who would be in line to take their place? Saad, Yandle, Jack Johnson? Thanks for all the great coverage.
Scott Burnside (12:12 PM)
Matt; I think Saad is likely to be the next forward to move into a roster spot unless it's a center. As for the blue line I think Orpik will be fine and Martin is set to be fully healthy by the time the tournament rolls around. Would think Jack Johnson would slide into a spot if Martin can't go or even Orpik for that matter. And thanks for the kind words.
Tim (Savannah, GA)
How do the various team level management groups feel, generically, about the risks that the Olympics pose to their key players?
Scott Burnside (12:16 PM)
Tim; I think the prevailing feeling among ownership is that the costs and commitment to being part of the Olympic tournament isn't worth the return in that it's so hard to quantify whether it's 'worth it' to the NHL. It's incredibly important to the players and even with difficult time transitions as will be the case in Sochi and was in Turin there is still tremendous value in my view to having the best players in the world play on this stage. But it's definitely a divided issue. Sochi will be interesting because this is the first under the new CBA and the NHL/NHLPA asked for a received a more favorable set of arrangements from the IIHF/IOC. In theory at least. We'll find out if it comes to fruition next month and that will have a lot to do with future participation.
With the Stars being on a very cold streak, where do you see them towards the end of the year now, and do you think they will be buyers or sellers at the deadline?
Scott Burnside (12:21 PM)
Cole; The Stars still give up too many shots and are not good enough defensively to shoulder their way into the top eight in the Western Conference, at least in my view. Even with Vancouver and Minnesota in a bit of a swoon in recent weeks they weren't really able to make up the ground they needed to. With the Avs continuing to collect points the Stars' only shot is to be a wild card and I don't see that happening. So, if I'm Jim Nill, I'm looking at trying to shed some assets in terms of getting younger and deeper along the blue line.
Mr. Burnside, every year the NHL is trying to increase scoring and they always come up with ideas that never really quite work. I've always wondered why the NHL doesn't reverse the rule they made during the 1950's Montreal Dynasty. Back then, when a player committed a penalty, he had to serve the entire two minutes no matter how many goals were scored. The Canadiens were so dominant they made it once a goal was scored, the penalty was over. Why not go back to having a player serve the entire two minutes, no matter how many goals are scored. It certainly would increase scoring.
Scott Burnside (12:23 PM)
Kyle; I would have no problem with that at all. What I like about it is that even though it would be a dramatic change to the current situation it's based on historic precedent. Not sure I can see the GMs getting on board with it but it is an interesting way of trying to boost offense.
How much weight do you put into the claims the Craig Berube is the reason the Flyers are playing so well at this point? They have had the same core for a while now... isnt it just as likely they would be playing just as well under Lavy?
Scott Burnside (12:33 PM)
Rob; Such an interesting question especially when the coaching change is made so early in the season. Remember it took Craig Berube awhile to get things turned around and it looked like it might be much deeper than simply a new face behind the bench. Remember when Chicago fired Denis Savard four games into the 2008-09 season and Joel Quenneville took them to the west final. Could Savard done the same? Bottom line is the Flyers are getting balanced scoring and much better team defense than under Peter Laviolette and the proof is in the standings.
Danny (Las Vegas)
Can the Sharks survive with seven forwards unavailable due to injury?
Buzzmaster (1:19 PM)
Hey everyone, we ran into some technical issues that prevented Scott from finishing up his chat today.