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December 6, 7:55 AM ET
Chat with Pierre LeBrun

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:00 PM)

Greetings puck heads, let's drop the gloves.

Eric(Palm Desert,CA)

If the Rangers were to make a serious attempt at signing Mats Sundin, who would they try and trade to clear up the cap room?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:03 PM)

Those are exactly the kinds of decisions they still haven't made up for sure Eric. I can tell you Rangers GM Glen Sather is expected to meet with Mats Sundin this weekend in New York. From there, the Rangers will have a better idea I think if Sundin is serious about joining them. But keep in mind he's also met face to face with Vancouver, Chicago and Montreal _ among other teams. Rozsival ($5-million cap hit) is the name rumored right now but right now that' sjust a rumor. They could also throw a few guys in the minors like Prucha.... Time will tell.

King (Howell, NJ)

The Devils are doing a pretty good job of keeping the ship afloat despite all their injuries (especially Marty). Your thoughts on the "State of the Devils" right now?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:07 PM)

King, are you in goal tonight for the Rangers at New Jersey? But you are right, somehow the Devils have survived and at times thrived despite the massive injuries. The play of Clemmensen has also saved Lou Lamoriello from making a trade he probably didn't want to make. Goal-scoring is always an issue but the return of Rolston is big. This is a playoff-bound team that will be a dangerous first-round foe with a healthy Brodeur back in net.

Travis, Canada

Pierre, be honest when will the house of cards the league and or The Commish is trying to sell us, with the league is fine and everything is going well for all clubs? The way I hear it, there might be as many as 12 American clubs now ready to fold by next season.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:09 PM)

Travis, I was at the Board of Governors meeting in West Palm Beach. I can tell you, no one is pretending all is fine. Of course Bettman is going to be as positive as possible but that's his job. But if he talked about ''uncertainly" going forward and that's a first for him. Other governors were more blunt with us, they're goin to have to hang on over the next two years or so. It's a dark picture to be sure and we'll see if teams are smart enough come next July and not throw away money like drunken sailors.

Travis, Canada

Pierre, you have to start throwing your weight around by telling ESPN to give you a set weekly chat time, alot of the other chat hosts have a set time, so maybe I should be in on your next contract talks.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:10 PM)

Travis, it's actually my fault that this chat wasn't on Wednesday like usual. I was scheduled to travel back from Florida that day so we had to move the chat. (My flight was actually cancelled and I didn't get home until yesterday).

Tina (Short Stop)

Who do you think will win the Sundin seepstakes?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:12 PM)

Tina, a very pertinent question on your part. Vancouver, NY Rangers, Montreal and Chicago as you may have heard are the big front-runners. The Rangers as I said earlier in the chat are meeting with Sundin tomorrow. Even Mats himself I'm told still hasn't figured out what he's going to do at this minute so it's pure speculation on my part but I'll go with New York followed by Vancouver as my top two picks

Cozy (Wonka Land)

I am a Ranger fan but I am not sure Graves deserves his jersey retired. What are your thoughts?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:15 PM)

No question he does. Not every player who deserves to have his jersey retired by his team necessarily has to be a Hockey Hall of Famer. Look at Wendel Clark in Toronot. Graves was an integral part of the '94 Rangers team and a beloved player by fans, not only for his on-ice work but also a charitbale man in the community.

Fish Tapes (East Hill)

John Sim was put on waivers this week. What does that say about the islanders front office. Considering he was hyped as a big free agent signing last year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:17 PM)

Fish Tapes, I'd remember anyone pretending Jon Sim was a big free-agent signing. He's a depth player at best.

Nor ( The Mall )

Is Kessel ready to become a star in bean town?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:18 PM)

I did a blog on him earlier this sason Nor. GM Peter Chiarelli has seen a huge difference in him both on and off the ice. It's called maturity. He's the real deal and Team USA will benefit come February 2010 !

Paul

Biggest surprise so far this season and biggest dissapointment so far (team or player).

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:20 PM)

If this is my buddy Paul from Toronto, I'll see you around 11 p.m. tonight. Bring the egg nog. If not, ignore that. Biggest surprise? Boston. I had them pegged for a playoff spot, but not this dominant. Great to see. Biggest disappoinment? Dallas. It's not all Sean Avery's fault. Can't believe how crappy that team looks.

Figgs (nasdaq)

Does the Nhl regret expansion? Seriously, Tampa, Nashville, Miami, Columbus, etc. Will these franchises survive the tough economic times ahead?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:23 PM)

They definitely don't regret it because they filled their pockets with millions and millions of expansion money at the time. Will they all survive? I can tell you this, the NHL will bend over backhards to jump in and help out any team in distress. Remember Ottawa and Buffalo just a few years back?

Ashwan22 (Providence, RI)

Pierre! Shea Weber...best Dman not named Lidstrom in the NHL right now?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:23 PM)

I absoutely love the guy. If he was playing in a better hockey market you'd hear a lot more about him. He's the right-handed Dion Phaneuf and probably better. And he's a lock for Team Canada 2010

Marc (Malden, MA)

How does Bettman still have his job? There's way too many teams, the television contract stinks, ratings are terrible. This guy destroyed the NHL.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:24 PM)

Short answer, he got his owners a hard salary cap.

Ken Rose (Thunder Bay)

Who was the most convincing hockey player? Russell Crowe in Mystery Alaska, Paul Newman in Slap Shot, or Keanu Reeves as the Goalie in Youngblood?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:24 PM)

Paul Newman, God rest his soul.... Greatest sports movie ever

Cuz (Merrick, NY)

Any word on Sundin Pierre? Really hoping he lands at MSG

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:25 PM)

Cuz, you may seen I answered this earlier. Sundin is meeting with Rangers brass over the weekend. He's in town for a poker event (seriously)

Jason (Bmore)

Since the Pens have definately suffered with the attrition of defensive players, how much of an impact do you see Whitney or Gonchar having when they return?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:26 PM)

Not sure I'd say they've suffered too much Jason, have you seen their record? But yes, espeically Gonchar, once they him back watch out. He's a huge cog on this team in all areas of the game.

Window Tom (River Dale NY)

Hey Pierre, When should we expect Dipietro back in the net?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:29 PM)

Window Tom, I'm told Rick should start practising with the team sometime next week. After that, it depends how he feels and how quickly he gets up to speed.

M Gilson (the Village)

Pierre what are your thoughts on the Blues? Really dissapointed Kariya is still MIA. Boyes and Berglund look great, but does this team have what it takes to maybe make the 8 seed?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:29 PM)

M Gilson, I don't think there's any way the Blues make the playoffs. Really by no fault of their own _ I can't think of a team that's been hit hardest by key injuries. They've got some nice young pieces moving forward but I think this season is lost

The Maid (Albany, NY)

Any news on the Sabres Pierre? The thought of them moving just breaks my heart

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:31 PM)

For what's it's worth, both minority owner Larry Quinn and commissier Gary Bettman told me in no uncertrain words that the Sabres were not moving.

T.T.L.A (Draddy)

There is no doubt Stamkos has all world talent but is he physically ready for the NHL?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:32 PM)

I think he is ready, but I think joining such a terrible team is hard on his development. He'll be ok over the long run, he's the real deal

Dancin Nancy (NJ)

Tough Isles game last night! Thought we had the Pens down 2-1...uughh. Should we not be that dissapointed with the losses considering the Tavares sweepstakes?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:34 PM)

The problem with cheering for your team to be last is that it dones't guarantee the No.1 overall pick thanks to the lottery.

Iron Lung ( Belmar, NJ)

What is the story with Briere in Philly? Is he ready to return to action soon?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:35 PM)

Iron Lung, I spoke with Briere last week. He's out about another 3-4 weeks. It's killing him not to be playing but getting him back healthy for the second half will be huge for the Flyers

Fish Tapes (East Hill)

Pierre, I am an avid Islanders fan. (One of the few that is actually left) Last year they promoted Sim as a second to first line player on their broadcasts and in the Newsday. Are we supposed to trust their management decisions!

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:37 PM)

Wow, I did not know that Fish Tapes. Biggest problem on your hands right now if the arena. If the financing doesn't come through for a massive reno, I don't feel too good about the future of that franchise

Dancin Nancy (NJ)

Follow up on dissapointing Dallas Pierre...what's the word on Turco? He is so frustrating right now and looks lost!

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:38 PM)

Turco has certainly been an enigma. Him and I talk from time to time... He's a great guy, a really proud athlete and I can tell you this is killing him. But keep faith, his track record tells you he'll come around

Bailey Girl (Massapequa)

Is any one in west going to be able to stop the Sharks?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:40 PM)

Detroit has the wherewithal for sure. They're the Cup champs and they have to know how come playoff time. The Sharks are the best team in the league right now, no question, but the road to the Cup still goes through Hockeytown come spring

Greg (Herndon, VA)

Now that the CAPS are getting healthy again, which Hershey call up do you think has made the best impression and who do you think has the best chance to stick on the lineup for the rest of the year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:42 PM)

To me that's an easy one Greg _ Karl Alsner. He's a young stud defenseman. They wanted him to get a bit of seasoning in the AHL but I think he's hear to stay. He's going to be in Washington's top four on defense for a long, long time.

Eddie (back seat in a cab with Aileen

How will the winter classic pan out this year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:44 PM)

That's up to Mother Nature, right? One of these years the NHL's gamble with nature will blow up in its face. But if the weather holds and the conditions are safe again to play a game, should be a dandy. The Hawks are one of the best stories in the NHL and a perfect host for this year's event.

Abe Froeman (Chicago, IL)

Really looking forward to the Winter Classic Pierre. Will you be in attendance? How are things coming along for the preparations?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:44 PM)

Yep, Scott Burnside and I will be both be on hand. So far so good I'm told

C-Man, Eastern Shore

Pierre, how long do you see Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby both remaining in the top 5 in scoring? Something has to give at some point.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:45 PM)

If they both remain healthy, they will both end up in the top five in my opinion. Top two? That's harder to tell given Mr. Ovechkin's talents...

Mad Mike (Houston)

Pierre: What do you as the difference between the 08/09 edition of the Sharks and the previous years. Same guys, but this year sure looks like they will get a different result. They do not appear to be playing at a lower level or mailing it in. your thoughts, thanks.....MM

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:47 PM)

Mike, first of all, not same guys. Dan Boyle, Rob Blake and Todd McLellan make all the difference in the world. All three are Cup winners and bringing those rings in the Sharks dressing room is a factor you cannot ignore. And Boye shows you what an underrate star he is. His visiion and puck-mobility skills are through the roof.

Clay Bertrand (New Orleans, LA)

With the news of Green maybe returning tonight, do the Caps now take off and hit their stride? Can't say enough about #8 lately. What a beast

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:48 PM)

Needless to say Clay, the Caps in my opinion have the Southeast Division already wrapped up. But I think what's really exciting for Caps fans now is whether they can challenge Boston, Montreal, NY Rangers, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia for the conference tittle. I say they can.

Jess (Rutgers)

I have always had a crush on Scott Stevens! Is there any D-men in the league that remind you of him? Physical Play, Solid D, and Great leader?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:50 PM)

Jess, probably the guy that comes to mind the most is Dion Phaneuf right now. He'll plow a guy in mid-ice like Stevens but is also an all-around great player

The dude (Hawaii)

Surfs up! when is Hockey coming out here?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:51 PM)

sorry man, I don't think ever ! But if it ever happened, consider myself a transplanted resisdent.

Matty C (Pinewood)

Tell me about Dustin Brown Pierre? Future star of the NHL?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:51 PM)

Matty, I've mentioned Dustin a few times this season in blogs and chats. I'm huge on him.The full package and a young leader. Another Team USA 2010 guy.

Jimmy A (Bizcuit's headlock)

What is your favorite NHL jersey of all time?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:52 PM)

I love the Vancouver Canucks hockey stick jersey from the '70s, which they know wear all the time again.

Brian Fantana (San Diego)

Love your work on Hockey Night in Canada Pierre. What should the B's do about the goalie situation? Keep mixing things up or find another home for Manny Fernandez?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:54 PM)

Thanks Brian, how's Ron Burgendy doing? . I think if Peter Chiarelli gets a good offer at the march 4 trade deadline for Fernanez he'll seriously look at it, but otherwise I think he'd be content to let Manny walk away July 1 and bring up Tuukka rask to back up Thomas next season. Good depth in goal.

Ryan Callahan ( Jackson, NJ)

What aspect of the team will Boston look to get better in come trade deadline?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:54 PM)

I would be surprised if the Bruins didn't try to add some depth on the blue-line. To me it gets a little thin after Chara and Wideman

Kari ( 6k)

How are the Red Wings coping with the Economic fall out of the auto market collapse in Detroit?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:57 PM)

Great question Kari (Taco?). You may have seen they've offered up some $9 tickets. But basically, the owner Mike Illitch is willing to back this team through tough times is what I've been told. It's a great sports market despite the economic difficulties _ Tigers, Pistons and Wings all have great support. Is there an NFL team there? I'm sure attendance will take a bit of a hit in all those sports but they'll survive

Denim Creeper (Riverdale, NY)

Pierre, is this the year Canada finally brings the cup home with Montreal?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:59 PM)

Denim, it would indeed be a great story if the Canadiens pulled that off in their Centennial year. But right now, despite their solid record, there's something that's not just right about them. Which is why Bob Gainey has got himself back into the Sundin mix. If he stirkes out on Sundin, look for him to make a fairly signifciant move or two before march 4. He wants to win now and knows the roster right now isn't qutie up to snuff.

The Man (Massapequa, NY)

How big of a star is Iginla if he doesn't play way out in Calgary Pierre?

Pierre LeBrun
  (3:00 PM)

Well I can tell you he's a huge star all over Canada. But you're right, if terms of league-wide attention, you can just imagine if he were a ranger or king.... And I can tell you, he's one of the nicest guys in the league. He's the real deal. The NFL would only dream of having model citizens like Jarome Iginla.

David Ferry (Louisana)

What is Parise's upside? He looks unreal

Pierre LeBrun
  (3:02 PM)

40 goals, 85 points, and a trip to Vancouver in 2010 for Team USA. Priceless ! Ok folks, our hour is up. Talk to you again next Wednesday at 4 p.m. Cheers