The latest out of Detroit is that Babcock is reshuffling his pairings. Is he getting a jumpy early on in the season?
Well I do not think he is jumpy, but there are always additional pressures on the coach of the defending champs. Players change, it is inevitable when you win a Stanley Cup. Your players motivations change. But the good thing is, you know what it takes to win, but sometimes it is hard to get it out of your guys the second time around., Now they have had some injuries, Holmstrom is just returned after missing 9 games, and defensively this team has not been as rock solid as we have come to expect Red Wing teams. They have given up 16 more goals than the Sharks, which is a lot. Yes it is early, but it is never to early to remind your team of what it takes to be successful; and I think that is Mike Babcock's intention.
What are my stars gonna do with Avery? AHL? Hopefully we can get our chemistry together and push up the West. What do you think? Lastly how about Modano playing like 28 instead of 38? Thanks Scott
Certainly these are unsettled times in Dallas. You are still dead-last in the West, but only 6 points out of the last playoff spot, but that it 7 teams to jump over. It is alarming for a team that many, myself included, were expecting to play for a Cup. As for Avery, it is hard to imagine that he will ever play for for the Stars again, unless he can prove to his teammates that he has changed. So he may play for the AHL, or he may get put on waivers. But his 4 year deal is going to be way more than teams want to claim, even for half of what he is making. I think there is too much downside when it comes to him and teams will backoff. In terms of team chemistry, this is not all Avery's fault. There have been a lot of injuries, and the goaltending has not been there, and many players are not delivering, save Modano, as you rightly point out. Maybe this is the issue that brings them all together. It promises to be interesting regardless of how this plays out.
Scott, do you think Brodeur's injury could, in a strange way, actually help the Devils by keeping Marty fresh for the stretch run and playoffs?
That could be an interesrting byproduct. They have performed well without Marty after a rough start. They are a strong road team playing well at home and are in 7th place, and right behinf Philly. One of the issues that has been raised in the last three years is whether Marty wears down come playoff time. So perhaps they will get more milage out of Brodeur when he coems back. But that is a big IF, coming off this particular injury and having missed so much time. The flip side of the coin is that the time he missed may not allow him to get into a groove.
With so many games going to overtime and teams playing for the single point, could you see the NHL going to a 2 points or nothing format with no overtime period, just the shootout? More teams stay in the hunt longer, but it doesn't necessarily make for better hockey.
Certasinly there are lots of people who are not in favor of the current points system. I do not think you will see OT doen away with or the shootout. I think some would like to see OT go to a second, 1 or 2 minute session fo 3 on 3. But most people would like to see team rewarded for regulation victories. So whether that means going to 3 points for a regular time win or 2 points for an OT win is to be seen. It does make it difficult to make up points, given the current point system, since so many teams are getting points in ganmes that go beyond regulation which does not allow for much movement in the sntadings once you hit January. I do not expect much change, however, at least in the near future when it comes to this issue.
Is B.Johnson a better goalie than Jose Theodore at this point? Johnson has been much more consistent and other than the Montreal game, Theodore has been very inconsistent, so why are they still splitting the starts almost 50-50?
One of the great issues confronting one of the most dynamic NHL teams. The Caps have been hit by injuries, which has tainted their overall play and made it hard to assess their goaltenders. Jose Theodore's history is one of being widly inconsistent. That is what you get with him, and I think it was expected by many. I think the Caps were hoping to see the Jose Theodore of last year's playoffs, and the last third of the season. He is 8-6-1 with a GAA of 3.08 and his save % is .888. Those numbers do not add up when you look at the 2 years $9 million contract he signed. It is not value for the buck. Johnson, on the other hand, who makes 825K has been by quite a large margin the best golatender. Johnson is 7-4-2, with a 2.59 GAA and a save % .913. But here's the rub, the Caps will probably win the Southeast, go to the playoffs and probably win a rounds. Johnson has not done that while Thedore has. So I think they want to keep all their options open heading into the spring , which means seeing more of Theodore than one may expect. And it may payoff come playoff time.
Are the Bruins going to sign Tim Thomas to a long term deal?
I hate to speak for the Bruins, but I think that would be priority No. 1. Thomas has done everything asked of him and he is a major reason why the Bruins are the best in the East. He leads the league with a 1.83 GAA and is second with a .942 save %, and it seems it would be a tremendous shock id the Bruins do not lock him up, aI'm guessing for three years. Because if he becomes an UFA someone will be offering him top dollar and significant term.
It is apparent now more than ever that the Rangers need another defenseman and another scorer. But with their cap situation what it is, do they have any options at all?
Well there are always options, it is a matter of how you execute them. There are rumors about Mats Sundin, and no doubt he would be a nice fit on a team that has proven to be very inconsistent and without the dynamic scoring punch that their first few games of the season suggested would be the case. And they are struggling on defense. Redden has proven to be a defensive and financial liability, he signed a 6 year $39 deal this offseason. And Michael Rozfival, who signed a similarly bloated deal at 4 years $20 million, has not helped the cause. So in order to get a deal, the Rangers would need to shed major salary, which is easily said than done. But it looks like the Rangers will have to find the answers within the dressing a room. A season that started off with a lot of promise has quickly turned gloomy.
The penguins will need to add some muscle and grit for the playoffs. When Gonchar and Whitney comeback, that will give them 9 defenseman. Who do you see them moving and for who (possibly)??
I think you can count on Ray Shero being active at the deadline. Of course last year he got Hossa. I do agree that maybe they could use more size up front, but does this team need to place LaRaque? I do not really think they do. I think going after a player like Gaborik is more likely.
Jason Spezza is on a hot streak right now, but he really hasn't lived up to his initial hype. Other than reduce those crazy dipsy-doodle moves he tries too often, what can he do to raise himself to another level. Or can he?
That has been the questions Sens fans have been asking for a long time. If it were not for the hype, they would look at the numbers and think "what a fine NHL player." But he came with a lot of expectations as a guy who would be at the top of the scoring charts and a guy who would lead the Sens to the promised land. He has not done that, but what he has done cannot be overlooked. But he does try to make the cute play too much, that rarely works in the NHL. That has been maddening for coaches and fans, but he is still a fine, playmkaing center, and his play is one of the reasons the Sens have gotten out of the basement. He is still only 25 years old. So there is lots os tiem for Jason Spezza to learn and become a better all-around player. Now will he do it in Ottawa, or somewhere else? Quick side note, he was named one of the players of the week, this week, by the NHL.
Being a Sharks fan I'm having a great time so far, but as we all know its a really long season. Besides injuries what do you think could trip up this dream season?
I think the same thing that tripped up other wildly successful teams of the past, like the 95-96 Red Wings. Sometimes come playoff time it can be injuries, bad luck or running into a hot goaltender. The Sharks will have to face questions about choking. Self doubt, or the doubt that comes from the outside could be an issue. They need to get past the second round. At this stage it is hard to imagine that they will not get to a Western final, but I thought the exact same thing at this same stage of the season last year, so go figure.
Hey Scott, any news on the Red Wings and Zetterberg contract talks?
No update. I must admit I have not been on top of it daily. But even with a guy like Hossa in the mix and fitting in so well, I still have no doubt that Holland will get Zetterberg under contract and he will not be walking away from the Red Wings anytime soon. He is the anchor of the Red Wing offense.
Scott, Will the caps trade nylander and if so when and what will they get for him?
They will not be trading him until they get healthy. I expect that barring some long-term injuries that Nylander will indeed be traded before the deadline. Again, depending on injury holes that may be present at the times, I think the Caps will look for defensive depth. I do not think they will make a goaltending move, unless they can do something about Theodore. But I would look for them to improve their blueline, and they will find plenty of willing suitors for Nylander.
Nothing exposes shortcoming at goalie like the playoffs. Do the Red Wings have a chance to repeat with their current struggles at that position or do you see them making a move at some point to get stronger?
It is funny, it would not have been surprising to have contemplated this same question a year ago, even with Hasek and Osgood holding the fort. Of course we know how Osgood came on and played lightsout from the middle of the first rounf until they were champs. I think the same questions will dog the Wings right through the playoffs. It is the nature of the beast. Both golatenders are talented, but they do not have the profile of Brodeur or Luongo, even though Osgood has three Cup rings. Yes, their goaltending may not be as formidable on paper, but I would not expect them to make any moves. I think they are comfortable with the tandem they currently have.
Scott what is going on with Bryzgalov and the Yotes? I know the team is young and will struggle more often than not, but one huge plus, so I thought, would be their goaltending. He's been pretty awful!
Yes he has. In fact awful may be charitable, especially haveing given up 7 last night against the Hawks. It is a bit of a mysterty. I talked to Darren Pang, who boradcasts Coyotes games, and he thinks Bryzgalov has top-notch tools. But he is way out of the groove. Right now Mikael Tellqvist is by far the team's best goaltender and that is not good for a team that is desperate to make the playoffs. They miss Olli Jokinen and they need consistent goaltending, and they are not getting it. I would suggest that the Coyotes playoffs chances grow more dim as a result of these struggles.
I was at the Rangers game last night when the crowd started chanting "Sloppy Seconds" -- leading into my question: what are the chances that Avery comes to NY. It seems to be the only place that will accept him.
It is interesting that you mention that, because there is no doubt that his stock went through the roof in NY. He thrived in New York and the Rangers record was great with him in the lineup. Now, the Rangers have no cap room, and they could not afford him even if they picked him up on re-entry waivers. So despite the seemingly good fit, I think his time is done in New York as it seems to be done in Dallas.
Thanks as always for the questions and we will do it again next week, same time same channel.