Ok puck fans, before turkey comes hockey chatsky. Let's get it going.
Will the Blackhawks make the playoffs?
YES. I know the West is much tougher than the East but I think they're ready to make that step. There are a few more moves up Dale Tallon's sleave, including acquiring a center, but even as it stands this is a playoff-ready team.
Pierre -- What do you think of the following realignment: Moving Fla to Seattle, placing that team in the NW division. Booting Minnesota, moving them to the Central Division, and placing the Preds in Florida's old spot? Thanks!
I love the logic. Unfortunately Mr. Bettman will do everything in his power to avoid any kind of re-location. Should be interesting to see what happens with the Panthers over the course of time,however. These aren't great times for them tight now.
Is Marc Savard the most underrated player in the NHL? Boston's excellent start has brought some attention to his abilities, but he's been one of the top playmakers for years.
Chris, nice to hear from you again. Yes he is very underrated, especially since improving his defensive game under Claude Julien. Check out Scott Burnside's excellent piece on the Bruins today to find out more on Savard. Despite Savard's excellent play, I think he'll be hard-pressed to make Team Canada 2010. Thornton, Lecavalier, Crosby, Getzlaf, Richards _ that's tough sledding as a center to make that team
i was listening on cbc hotstove about al strachan mentionted the possiblity of the nhl being back on espn as early as next season. What are the chances that the nhl is back on espn next season?
I have to be careful given who my employer is David but I think the chances are better than they've been in the past two years. Let's keep our fingers crossed.
Dan Boyle or Brian Campbell?
The next two years, Dan Boyle. After that, Brian Campbell.
Would the Wild be smart to trade Gaborik as soon as he's healthy and had a few games under his belt or wait until the deadline?
As soon as he's healthy I would move him. The loner they wait the less they will get in return in my opinion given that he's UFA July 1. Then again, maybe there's still a chance they sign him !
Do you see the Bruins staying on this hot streak for a long time or do you believe they will come back down from the skies down the road?
I think they're legit. At some point Montreal will narrow the gap and they'll be neck and neck to the end. But I don't think the ballon will burst. They've got four solid lines, a good blue-line and good goaltending.
Pierre, is the Steen trade a sign of things to come from Burke? Or is this another fire sale of prospects to get vets for Wilson?
Well first of all Cliff Fletcher made the deal, not Burke, he's still not officially signed yet ! (although Burke certainly knew about it). But yes, I think you'll see Burke come in and try to shed more salary.
Maxim Afinogenov and Hank Tallinder return to the Sabres lineup tonight against Boston after being benched for poor play. Do struggling players often respond positively or negatively from benchings?
Hate to sound vanilla Adam but it really depends on the player. Some guys when they get scratched it tugs at their pride and they come back and play well for a long time. Others sulk and give up on their coach. really depends.
Ok, will the Thrashers make the playoffs? why or why not?
Manny I hope so but I don't think they will. Not enough epth up front
Pierre,Will Mats Sundin give us a hometown discount?
There's a discount and then there's the kind of discount the Rangers need. Unless they move some bodies I don't see them signing him at this point. But I know they want to. Vancouver is the front-liner in my opinion. They're playing well and they've got tons of cap room
Will eric staal start putting the points up on a consistent basis? Also will Tim Gleason or Frank Kaberle play tonight against philly?
I just check with the Hurricanes and they weren't sure yet whether either would play. It's possible. As for Staal, no question he will turn it around, I guarantee it.
Hi Pierre -- love your work. Thoughts on the way the canadiens roster is structured. It seems built for the regular season, but I dont see the grittiness and physicality of a team built for the more greuling and intense playoff runs. Can they upgrade here to avoid being pushed around like they were by Boston and Montreal last year?
Thanks Sean. The one thing that bothers the most right now about their team is their lack of high-end, blue-line depth after Markov, Komisarek and Hamlrik. They need to find another top-four guy. And I suspect Bob Gainey will try to do just that before March 4
What is a reasonable haul for the wild to expect back for gaborik? Something similar to hossa last year?
Yes I think so. First-round pick, top prospect and perhaps a servicable player
I was at the Kings/Flames game last night. Are the Kings really that bad? And do you know what Sutter has against Europeans? Seriously the Flames only have one on their current team.
Sutter loves what Sutter knows. Sutter hockey. Hard-nosed and blue-collar. Hey, it worked for Anaheim two years ago. As for the Kings, they're in full rebuild mode. Lots of good looking kids on that roster. Just won't be ready until next year or the year after that
Will Vesa Toskala ever regain his top form and perform consistently enough to be a true No. 1 goalie?
Great question, he's been in a tailspin for a while now. He was terrific last year but hasn't regained that edge. I suspect he might be available come March 4 as well
If Leafs are shedding payroll, who is the big UFA's they are looking at next year?
Hard to say Dave since Burke hasn't taken over the job yet and make that determination either. But off the top of my head, Jay Bouwmeester is a top young blue-liner who is slated to be UFA.
Followup to the relocation suggestion. Moving teams around destroys their rivalries. The Flyers and Leafs had an amazing rivalry before the lockout and afterwards both teams were entirely different and the rivalry died. Flyers vs. Leafs used to be a highlight of the season for me and now it is not special anymore. Be careful what you wish for!
Joe, I agree Flyers-Leafs isn't the same anymore but that has nothing to do with re-location. Both teams are in the same conference and remain in their respective divisions just as before the lockout. The only reason the rivalry is dead is because the leafs have sucked since the lockout.
So, you're Ray Shero, what are your plans for the defensive core with Whitney and/or Gonchar returning soon. Letang and Goligoski get the most back in a trade, but others are UFA after this season.
Whitney is the guy I put on the market to see what I can fetch. But only after Gonchar is back and everyone is healthy. Would look for a top-six winger in return.
What do you think the Penguins have to improve on to win this year? Do you think Marian Hossa will regret his decision to go to Detriot? Who do you think will win the Stanley Cup this year?
Joe, the Penguins have really impressed me in the way they've overcome the loss of Gonchar especially. He's a horse for them. And they've kept on winning again without Fleury for a second year in a row. But at this point Hossa still made the better odds-on choice. San Jose and Detroit are head and shoulders over any other team in the league right now
Hi Pierre, did you have a good time at the Roy ceremony?
Yes thanks Jason. I've been in the business 15 years and I've rarely see that kind of emotion in an NHL building. Very touching evening.
Do you see the jackets in the playoffs this year as a competitive team or not or no playoffs at all
No playoffs this year Don, but they're finally on the right track. Next season I think they're in. Problem for them is that they're in the Western Conferfence, way better than the East where they'd have a shot this season
Hi Pierre. Sorry to keep bringing up Gaborik but this is not really a Gaborik question and more of a rules question. Many of the good teams are very close the the Salary cap. How does the cap hit work for a team that picks up a player like Gaborik and his roughly $6M contract midway through the season?
Excellent question Joe and one that is misunderstood by many fans I think. Basically, the deeper you go into the season, the easier it is for a team to pick up a big contract. The actual cap hit to a team is the number of days a player is on the active roster. So a $6-million player picked up halfway through the season is actually a $3-million cap hit, etc.. That's why there have been so many deals at the past few trade deadlines because the top teams finally enough cap space to acquire players
Is there any chance that the Stars will make the playoffs with Morrow out for six months. Also when will the Stars play defense and give Turco some help
So much talent on that team, it's stunning to see what is happening. But something's not right. There are dressin room issues there in my opinion. Still, they're six points out of the final spot with 62 games to play. Still lots of time.
Another follow up on the relocation question. Boston and New York need to be in the same division. All major sports have that rivalry. Bring it to hockey!
That's true about the other sports Adam but for years the Bruins' main rival has been Montreal, which of course is unique to hockey. C'est la vie
will jeff carter make the allstar team? does he deserve to?
Yes if he keeps up the goal scoring he'll be picked by the league I'm sure. (FYI, I spoke to Jeff for a blog that will be posted momentarily)
Is Joe Pavelski a darkhorse candidate for the United States in 2010?
No question. I'm not even sure he's a darkhorse. He should definitely be considered.
Pierre, Are teams allowed to pay a portion of a players salary when they are traded? if not do you think they should change that so we can see more trades?
No, they are not allowed to pay a portion of a player's salary in a trade like other sports. That's why so few trades are made since the lockout in the first three months of the season. Brian Burke actually suggested at a GMs meeting that the rule be changed so some money could be absorbed in order to facilitate trades but the league's head office doesn't like the idea
When do you see the NHL adjusting the schedules abit more so they can promote their best players nationwide more? As it is now the west coast only sees the likes of a Sidney Crosby in person once every 2 seasons.
Brandon, this season's schedule is actually an improvement over the three seasons before that when some teams didn't see Crosby at all in an entire season. This season everyone plays everyone at least once if not twice. It's not too bad a compromise. The NHLPA has suggested an 84-game schedule where every single team plays at least a home-and-home with the other conference teams. That way you are guaranteed to see Crosby or Ovechkin or Zetterberg no matter where you live. It might come up at the Board of Governors meetings next month in West Palm Beach (I will be there :) )
What's going on with this talk about Claude Lemieux and a tryout with the Sharks? How does this benefit the Sharks at all? They picked up the veteran leadership in the offseason and Lemieux would only slow the team down.
I'm told it's a major long shot for him to ever make it up to San Jose. First of all, it's important to note that it's the AHL team that signed him, not the NHL team. LONG SHOT
Hey Pierre. Do you think any team is at all interested in Petr Prucha? He doesn't play and the Rangers need to dump some serious salary to even make an attempt at Sundin.
Prucha makes $1.6 million, which isn't too too much, and will be a free agent at season's end. So he shouldn't be that hard to move. But honestly I haven't heard his name at all. That doesn't mean he wont' move but I'm just saying he's not a name that's comes up when I talk to GMs.
do u think tha sabres can get back to their winning ways like they started this year against a good bruins team...
They wont win again until they embrace Lindy Ruff's desire to play better defensively. If they continue to be a selfish, offense-only team they won't win games
Does Team USA take a chance on Tim Connolly for the olympics? With all that open ice, those hands of his could really do some damage, assuming he's healthy.
Not unless he can stay healthy for a good chunk of October and November next season. Second of all, Vancouver 2010 is using NHL sized rinks so there won't be much open ice after all
Just read the MVP column for the 6th or 7th time and I am still expecting it to change... how did Patrick Kane not make EITHER top 10 list being top 5 in scoring?
Food for thought but there's more than scoring when it comes to MVP voting. But he is worthy of a look for sure
My brother (Tom Adams from the question above) was on TV last night fist pumping after two of the flames goals. Two part question: Is his fist pump as good as Tiger's? What value is his fist pump to the flames?
1. No 2. None
will tom brady be back in 2009 and what to do predict for the patriots in 2009?
Am I the only one who thinks Sundin to the Rangers is a bad idea? I'd prefer to see an elite winger to spread Gomez, Drury and Dubinsky to 3 lines with a top wing at each one's side. Thoughts, Pierre?
Iggy, Sundin remains an awesome offensive force and a great leader. The Rangers need a bit more offense in their lineup. To me he'd be a great fit. Drury and Gomez on one line, Sundin and Naslund on the other, and Dubinsky and Zherdev on another. Now you'r e talking
HOw do you feel about people saying that this or that team didn't play well against the SHARKS because they were tired or alot of players were injured? It makes me angry that they can't admit the SHARKS are just better! Also, tired of hearing about the SHARKs "choke"' job of the 2nd round of the Stanley Cup play-offs! HOw do you like that new coach of the SHARKS! He is doing a great job! GOOOO SHARKS!
As many of you already know, I picked the Sharks to win the Cup in September when many people had stopped believing in them. They still have a lot to prove but so far so good. Todd McLellan is proving to be an excellent signing as head coach. The Sharks look organized and disciplined.
I know there's more to it than scoring but Kane plays a lot better 2 way hockey than he gets credit for.
Agreed. He'll look good on Team USA 2010 !
HOw soon do you think Ron Wilson can turn that toronto team around?
Great coach. But there's still lots of rebuilding to do here in Toroonto. I would say they'll sniffing a playoff spot maybe by 2010-11
What is in store for the future of my St. Louis Blues? Last night they were bailed out by Mason, but I love the attitude they're showing in their games gives me hope. I also like their "This is our house" mentality they showed with the 3 early fights in Anaheim. They may not be good yet, but I like their direction.
Well they won't make the playoffs this year but I like what they're doing. Totally hammered by key injuries this year, from Erik Johnson to Paul Kariya to Andy McDonald. Tough to win when that happens
Hi Pierre- A follow up to the question earlier about the cap. If my team started the year with 3 mil in cap space. Does that mean come the trade deadline i can pick up a 3m salary? Or can i pick up a 6m salary who is now only owed 3m because another team payed his salary the first part of the year?
Yes $3 million in cap space at the trade deadline is more like $12 million in cap space if you know what I mean. Cause the incoming players only count against the cap for about one fourth of the season
Zetterberg, Franzen, Hossa. I've read that Holland doesn't view Hossa as the rental he once did, which makes a lot of sense to me. However, I don't see any way that the Wings can keep Hossa and Zetterberg, even without Franzen in the mix. With their cap situation, I see either Zetterberg/Hossa and Franzen, and I'll eat my foot if they let Zetterberg go.
Ron I cal tell you from my talks with Holland that you're right, he wants to try and keep all three. But it will be tough. Zetterberg is priority No. 1 and they've been exchanging coutner-proposals. Should hopefully get done over the next few weeks. Hossa they can't talk to until January because he signed a one-year deal last summer. They're talking to Franzen right now. It'll be tough but one thing Holland can do is trade a few bodies next summer to make room for Hossa.
OK guys, that's it for this week. Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends. Cheers