Scott will be here soon!
Let's get started!
Scott, Who will Mats Sundin go to? I recently heard that the Flyers have dropped out of consideration. Where do you think he will land?
If I knew that I would buy a lotto ticket right away, because this is a huge mystery. If it is just about money than no one can offer more than the Canucks, and their offseason deal still stands. Any other team would have to convince him to take less money and then create cap room by demoting players to the minors etc. I think the rangers will still make a serious attempt for him. It will take some doing and rearranging, but I will guess it will be the NY Rangers.
I know they have a great record, but after nearly a third of a season, should I be worried that my Red Wings aren't in sync defensively?
I think that is a fair point There is no question that they are where you expected them to be in the standings, second only to the Sahrks, but they have been prone to giving up more goals than in the last few years and there have been lapses. Nick Lindstrom is off a bit from what we have come to expect. And the goaltending has not been as solid as people expected with Osgood and Conklin sharing duties. But the Wings are resilient and when you are Cup champpions you know what it takes, so I do not think there is any panic in Motorcity as we speak.
With the Ducks against the cap, do you see anyway they can go out and get another scorer for their 2nd line?
Well, there is no question the Ducks do not have a lot of room when it comes to the cap. They would like Bobby Ryan to mature quickly. With Francois Beauchemin out long term it does hamper what they can do as far as a trade, so I think once again, as they were a year ago, they are not likely to be involved in a lot of high-end purchases.
After this past week do you think that the Caps are poised for a nice winning streak since they are finally getting healthy? How about this for a stat, the team is 8-0-0 in Alex Semin's last 8 games and 13-4-2 with him in the line-up this season!
You should be a hockey writer, becasue those are good numbers. Absolutely having a healthy lineup with Semin, Fedorov and Mike Green should do wonders for any team. The Caps did stumble a bit, as might have been expected, with the injuries they suffered. But when healthy, I am not sure there is a more exciting team in the NHL, and with respect to the Bruins (and again, when healthy) they may be the best team in the East.
Will Fleury's return maybe get the Pens going again? Couldn't help but notice how drained Sabourin looked this past week
I think it has been a little too much to expect Sabourin to become this year's Ty Conklin. We all remember how Conklin saved the Pens last year when Fleury went down with injury. Sabourin has not done that in relief and you are right, the Pens seem to not be in the same zone they were a year ago with Conklin. That is not a slight against Sabourin, but Marc-Andre Fleury is the man in Pittsburgh and his return in important.
Any updates on the Shanahan story?
No although I think what may be an interesting byproduct of the Sundin signing, when it happens, is that it may open up a job for Shanahan. Teams that are looking at Sundin and fall out of the running may turn to Shanahan; and although he does want to stay close to the NY area, that could change over time. I think the Sundin signing will be the first shoe to drop and then we will see movement with Shanahan.
Scott any word on Martin St. Louis? Always frightening when you see a player go down like that
No I do not have an update, although I am aware of the incident. I do not think it was as serious as it first looked. But I must admit I do not have more information on that.
Devin Setoguchi??? The goods or product of who he is playing with Scott?
Maybe it is a little bit of both, but when you look at the Sharks history they always find talent in the draft. They are the example when it comes to drafting and developing top-notch NHL talent. Setoguchi is another one of the gems and he is the real deal. Yes he is playing with great players, but he is not riding Joe Thorton's coattails. He is full value.
Well Sean, there are two parts. What is next for you and what is next for the Stars. For you, learning to behave like an adult, learning to be a good teammate and learning to stop putting yourself above everything else. That is way you are in the behavioral modefication program. But seriously, good luck to Sean Avery in figuring it all out. But the Stars problems were not all Avery's fault. But now they can focus on the task at hand and not worry about a player who did not want to be part of the process in Dallas.
Were you one of the people that noticed the only team that played the trap during the 8 - 5 Devils v Rangers game was none other than the Rangers?
That might have been the case, but for one night, anyway, the Devils looked like the '77 Canadiens. A strange night indeed. And not a banner night for the Rangers.
Scott, I got tickets to this Thursdays Wings-Sharks match-up. Any predictions?
Always dangerous to put too much emphasis on a regualr season game. But going back to an earlier questions about the Wings' defense, if they cannot get up for a date against the NHL's best team then there are problems in Detroit. I expect a great game, and Todd McLellan will want a nice homecoming. It will be interesting to see who Babcock goes to in net, and I assume Osgood. I will give you a prediction, Red Wing 5-4 in a shootout.
A couple of years ago I though Max Afinogenov was going to be great. Now...not so much. He appears to have a lot of potential but more often than not just can't seem to finish what he starts.
I think Buffalo are of a similar mind Afinogenov. After a breakout year, it looked like he was going to finally make good on his enormous talent and potential. He was an important part of a Sabres team that went to a second-stright Eastern final, but he may have been riding the coattails of Drury and Briere, because as a leader he has not been able to answer the bell. And I would not be surprise to see him dealt before the trade deadline
Who would the Devils have to trade to get some scoring help?
Well they did put up 8 on the Rangers, and I think they have scored four or more in in five of their last 11, and over that time they are 9-2. This is a team that has missed Holik and Rolston for much of the season, and that bolsters their depth. Lamoriello usually plays his card close to the vest at the deadline, so I would be surprised if they make a move. This has been a team that has trhived without Brodeur and if they can get him back by March, that may be the biggest move you see the Devils make.
Scott, at the beginning of the year I had expectations for the Hawks being serious Cup contenders in 3-4 years. With the way they have been playing lately, should my expectations be higher?
Yes, they should be. I think the expectations are growing inside the dressing room each day. I think people expected big offensive numbers, but wondered if their goaltending and defense could get them into the playoffs. But Joel Quenneville has done a great job of imposing a sound and defensive gameplan and he has made the Hawks into a team that can compete with most teams in the West. I am not suggesting they can beat SJ in 7, but they are definitely a playoff team and very definitelty a team that is much better rounded than people expected they would be at this stage in the season.
Do you think that Ilya Kovalchuk will go to a new team next year?
I think he will go to a new team at some poitn but I am not sure when. He can become an UFA at the end of next year. There is not any impending deadline for the Thrashers to move him, but it seems almost a given that he will want to play somehwere else when his contract ends. The Thrashers remain one of the NHL's worst teams and if I were the Thrashers I do not know why you would not be of thinking of moving him to speed up the rebuilding process. I know they say they are not interested in moving him, but I think it is just a matter of time and who the GM is when the deal takes place.
Considering how much better we are without Daniel Briere, any chance the Flyers try to move him to get a decent goaltender with the cap room it opens?
I think you are being a little hard on him. There is no question that the Flyers are playing very, very well and appear to have a wealth of scoring depth, and there will always be questions of golatending questions in Philly. Biron has been a bit uneven, but he proved last season in the postseason that he has the tools. He is a more than capable goaltender and Briere was also a big part of the Flyers success last year.
Any chance the Blue Jackets trade for some scoring this year? If so who would they target?
One of the interesting things for the Jackets is how close they will be to a playoff spot. They are desperate to make it there for the first time and if they are close I think GM Scott Howson will get the green light to go get scoring help. I think that is the obvious area where they need help. I think they would look for a center to play with Rick Nash. I am not sure of the specific person, but that would be my guess if they are in the playoff hunt.
Scott how good are the Bruins right now? and can they sustain this through the entire season??
I think the Bruins are very good and they are full value at their position in the East. They have a nice blend of physical players have a nice scoring blend, and have been getting great goaltending from Thomas and Fernandez, and for the most part have remained healthy. For barring major injuries, I see no reason why they cannot or won't be the No. 1 seed in the East when the dust settles in mid-April.
Do the Kings have what it takes to sneak in a playoff spot this year Scott?
I'd like to say yes, because I think it would be good for the NHL and they have been impressive. We talked to Terry Murray and Bill Randford about some of the changes in LA, as far as team defense, and Erik Ersberghas been a surprise in goal, but they are still young and the West is very deep. It will be interesting to see if they are tempted to make a move to add a veteran scorer if the Kings stay close. I think, in the end, they are still a year away; but it is fun to see them stay close.
Can the canes get back on track and still get to the playoffs?
That is another uphill battle. I am not sure if the the injuries along the blueline and the goaltending issues, with Cam Ward out, add up to a playoff berth for them. The one good thing for them is that there are six or seven mediocre teams in the East, 3 or 4 of which will make the playoffs. I do not think they have enough to win the Southeast, so they are going to have to get better defensive play and goaltending if they are going to make the postseason.
Which Flyers team is the real one: The one that had a terrible start, or the one that seems poised to take the division lead away from the Rangers?
I think it is the later as opposed to the former. Watching the emergence of Jeff Carter and the continued evolution of Ricahrds as a team leader and a heart-warming return to the top of the scoring list for Gagne, there are a lot of good things going on in Philly. I think the early inconsistent play may have been the function of different personalities in the lineup and maybe a bit of a hangover from the surprise run. But I do think the Flyers are the real deal.
If the Rangers start to slide down the standing do you think Sather will pull a Lou and ax Renney?
certainly there is always pressure on coaches in NY to succeed or give that apperance. I think Tom Renney is a great coach and has done a great job in New York. But certaily the expectations are higher. They were supposed to be more dynamic on offense and defensively they may have taken a step back, with a lot of criticism being placed on Redden and Rozsival and frankly Lundqvist has had some off moments as well which has resulted in difficult times. I think it would take a protracted losing streak before a move was made, and I think installing himself behind the bench would only make things worse for the Rangers.
Thanks again, I am in Dallas, where it is surprisngly bitterly cold and will be checking in with the Sean Avery-less Stars, and look forward to chatting next week!