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December 12, 12:23 PM ET
Chat with Pierre LeBrun

Pierre LeBrun
  (3:59 PM)

Hello ESPN puck heads ! Let's rock and roll

Alex (NY, NY)

Why aren't the Rangers playing Peter Prucha more? He has more talent than Dawes, Sjostrom, Korpikowski, etc. and even Callahan and Dubinsky are not scoring. You'd think that a guy who scored 30 goals a couple of season ago would get more ice time.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:01 PM)

Seems pretty clear to me Tom Renney simply doesn't trust having him in the lineup. Especially on the defensive side of things.

Kessel (Boston)

Hey Pierre, with as well as the Bruins have been playing, do you see them adding another foward up front via trade and a defensemen considering they are currently without Ference or Ward? By the trade deadline....

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:01 PM)

Phil, congrats on the season so far. You're looking good. I do think your GM, Peter Chiarelli, will undoubtedly look to add some blue-line depth before the deadline.

Ben (PA)

Hey, how come Jeff Carter isn't on the All Star ballot with 22 goals this season, and Danny Briere is on the ballot while he's spent most of the season hurt?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:02 PM)

Ben, for me to answer this question I would have hide the fact I could care less about the all-star game. And I won't hide it. That wouldn't be fair to you.

Dan (Chicago)

Hey Pierre! Any idea when the last time all Original 6 teams have been at or above .500 this far into the season? What are your thoughts regarding all of them staying above .500 for the rest of the season and their chances in the playoffs?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:04 PM)

No clue on your first question Dan but I think Toronto clearly is the team that may lag in the end. I don't think they'll make the playoffs but it is fun to see the rest of the Original Six teams doing so well. How about a Detroit-Chicago Western final and an Eastern final featuring any combination of Boston, Montreal or the Rangers? Sign me up !

King (Howell, NJ)

Do you think the Devils should move Rolston to play with Parise and Zajac? It could get his offense going.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:05 PM)

King, I think you'll see Rolston moved up soon eough. Sutter was waiting until Rolston got a few games under his belt. Plus the top two lines were going well so why break them up right away

Boss Ga (NYC)

Settle this argument for me - you're starting a team TODAY, who you taking: Parise or DiPietro?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:05 PM)

Parise

Chris, South Pasadena, CA

Pierre, love your work on Hockey Night. What's the NHL Players Association's take on the Avery situation?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:07 PM)

Thanks Chris. Privately, I believe Paul Kelly was angered at the one-sided reaction not just from the league but also from media and fans against Avery. In no way does anyone at the NHLPA condone what Avery has done over the last few years but I think it's only its duty to make sure he gets treated fairly and that is exactly what the union is doing behind the scenes.

Rory (New York, NY)

Hey Pierre, great column, always goes down smooth. It seems like a 50% chance the Rangers sign Mats Sundin. If the rumor of Avery for Rozsival turns out to be false, how else do the Blueshirts clear the cap room? Putting Lauri Korpikoski back in Hartford and getting rid of Petr Prucha doesnt open up enough space, right?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:08 PM)

Rory, thanks. That's the multi-million dollar question for sure. I think dumping Prucha and maybe another player might give them enough cap spac to sign Sundin around $4 million. But we'll see.

cdub, South Pasadena, CA

Honestly, am I the only guy tired of the Sundin chatter? He didn't want to go to a contender last year/every year, and now he's essentially lining up as a high priced mid-year stop gap.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:09 PM)

I'm as guilty as anyone for constantly updating his situation all season long. It's hard to ignore. He's such a big name and a great player. The good thing is, it's coming to an end this week.

Guy (Appleton, WI)

I am getting a great vibe on this Blackhawks team the more I watch them. I thought going into the year they may be a couple years away from competing for a cup but now it seems that time horizon is moving up every time I watch them. Are the Blackhawks missing anything to make a run at the cup this year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:11 PM)

Guy, I second that vibe. I know I'm supposed to remain objective but I find myself cheering for that team on many nights. I just think they're such a great story right now. The United Center is jammed packed every night. It's amazing to have hockey back in Chicago. I think if Huet continues to play well Dale Tallon will think long and hard about trying to move Khabibulin and use that cap space to acquire a center. Maybe Nylander? Maybe take a run at Forsberg. They are both options.

Kevin Philadelphia, Pa

Since the flyers have been on such a tear as of late do you think that will cause the rangers to heavily pursue the likes of Sundin, and or Shanahan?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:11 PM)

Kevin, I guess you haven't seen, but it's down to the Rangers and Canucks for Sundin. We should know over the next few days.

Chris (Sunnyvale, CA)

I'm a bit perplexed that the Avalanche would even consider bringing back Forsberg this year. Beyond his history of injury issues, this team isn't even really a playoff-bubble team. Wouldn't the Avs be much better served by allowing their team to continue to their transition into Paul Statsny's team, rather then make another attempt simply to get into the playoffs? On that same note, is it time for the team to move on from the Joe Sakic-era as well? He's been an amazing player, but other then their shock second round appearance, they've been hanging in the middle of the pack and not really a cup contender for years now.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:12 PM)

Chris, nice to have you back. I agree with you. The Avs have bigger issues and more important needs. Look for Philadelphia to make a heavy push again for Forsberg. I can guarantee that.

Chris (Sunnyvale, CA)

Who would you rather develop your blue-line around; Shea Weber or Dion Phaneuf?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:13 PM)

Shea Weber, by a hair. They'll both play for Canada at the Olympics next season.

Bruce (Detroit)

Pierre - interesting to hear your take on Sundin Saturday night and the possibility of Hossa landing in Vancouver next season as well. That said, is there any hope of Holland somehow resigning him? I'd rather see him with Zet and Pavel here than up there.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:14 PM)

Bruce, the Hossa-Vancouver rumor was actually from Al Strachan, not me. That said, I know for a fact Holland will do his best to re-sign Hossa but it's going to be a challenge with Zetterberg and Franzen also needing new deals. I suspect either Hossa or Franzen will hit the market.

Chris (Sunnyvale, CA)

Brian Burke has blown the horn that changes are coming to Toronto, but with a lack of valuable pieces on their roster (or their system for that matter), what realistic changes can or should Burke make this year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:15 PM)

Kaberle could be a viable asset at the trade deadline if he choose to waive his no-trade clause

Glen Sather (La Quinta,California)

Pierre What moves do you see me making to make room for Mats Sundin? Cheers.Merry X-Mas.Glen and Ann Sather

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:17 PM)

Slats, I'm glad you came to your senses and finally asked me for advice. You guys would have won a Cup by now had you listened to me before. If you can't find a taker for Rozsival, dump Prucha and Rismiller in Hartford and hope Mats is ok with the hair cut.

Zack, Pittsburgh,PA

Do you think the Penguins need a tougher and harder coach than Therrian?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:18 PM)

Zack, believe me from the Penguins players I've spoken to, they don't get any tougher and harder than Mike Therrien !!!

Gennadiy NY

Pierre, if the rangers do sign sundin does he make their team better?or should they just leave their roster the way it is ?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:19 PM)

That's an interesting question. In the end, I think he does make them better. He's big-time clutch scorer, a great leader as well. The Rangers haven't scored at will this season. I think they can use his offense.

Matt (Boston)

At this point of the season, who is your pick to win the Northeast division, Montreal, Boston or Buffalo?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:20 PM)

Boston. Something's not right in Montreal

Jason(Detroit)

Does Patrick O'Sullivan have a shot at making the US olympic team?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:21 PM)

He's got an outside shot. He'll need to remain consistent _ he's been terrific of late. Interstestly, his GM in LA, Dean Lombardi, has been added as a scout for the U.S. Olympic team so that may help

Adam (Chicago)

The blackhawks look phenominal. I know this team is short on playoff experience, but how far can you see this team advancing in the playoffs?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:22 PM)

Adam, let's face it _ San Jose and Detroit are the class of the conference. But after those two teams, I think Chicago is as good as anyone. Based on that, let's hope for at least a second-round push.

Marc (Boston)

Is Guy Carbonneau on the hot seat? That is, hotter then it usually is in Montreal?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:22 PM)

I don't think so. Gainey likes him as a coach. The changes will come via trades, not firings

Ethan(LA)

Pierre due you have an update on Ersbergs groin injury? Also since Terry Murray will likely want "experience" in net and that means he will play Jason Labarbera over any call up, is this where the kings start to slide?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:25 PM)

Ethan, I just exchange emails with Kings GM Dean Lombardi to get an update for you on Ersberg. Lombardi said is looks like two weeks although with groins you never know.....

steve (seattle, wa)

Pierre, How does a team decide which player to call up? for the game against the Red Wings the Avalanche called up Phillpe Dupis when they have other higher rated prospects.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:26 PM)

Depends on the organization. Usually the assistant GM of the NHL team also doubles as the GM of the AHL team. He'll have insight for the NHL head coach and NHL GM as to who to call up.

Dan McBride (Long Island)

Pierre, are the Rangers cup contenders being that 9 of their "wins" have come via the shootout? Without the shootout they're a 0.500 team!

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:27 PM)

That's a valid observation and one that I have also made. Right now I think Philly is the best team in the division. The East is wide-open so the Rangers based on that remain contenders but I like Boston and Philly more.

Rob, San Diego, CA

Any moves going to happen besides maybe Sundin?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:29 PM)

The Flyers may make a move or two soon with Randy Jones coming off IR. They need to dump a body.

Jim (miami, FL)

The Panthers have been doing well of late. Do you see the Panthers making any moves after the holiday roster freeze, including Boumeester?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:31 PM)

Jim, nice to get a post from a Panthers fan ! Wasn't sure any existed (just kidding, kind of). Jim I think Jacques Martin will try very hard at signing Bouwmeester come the New Year. But I think it's clear if Bouwmeester doesn't want to sign Martin will think very seriously of moving him before March 4. He doesn't want to lose an asset for nothing July 1.

Zack, Pittsburgh,PA

Can Crosby and Malkin lead to the Penguins to the Stanley Cup?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:33 PM)

yes I think they can. They are in the weaker conference. Boston and Philly are looking tough right now but once the Pens get Gonchar and Whitney back they'll go toe to toe with those teams

eric(baltimore)

Is there a better line in hockey right now than the S.O.B. line in DC?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:34 PM)

Probably not but Gagne-Richards-Knuble ain't too shappy

Chalfont, PA

Pierre, Has there been ANY talk about teams switching back to wearing their white jerseys when playing at home. As a diehard New York Rangers fan, it STILL seems strange to me to see the Rangers wearing their blue jerseys at the Garden. Please tell someone in charge to switch this back to the way it should be. Mike

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:34 PM)

I just check with a league official and he said there has not been any talk making that change sorry

steve (seattle, wa)

Pierre, With Fleury, Broduer and Loungo all missing long periods of time who do you see winning the Veznia this year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:35 PM)

I think the 3 clear contenders are Thomas, Lundqvist and Nabokov. NHL GMs vote on this award and they traditionally are big on track records and seniority. So that may hurt Thomas.

Joe (Bordentown, NJ)

Hey Pierre, Do you think the Flyer's have a shot at trading some of their young D for Jay Bouewmester?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:37 PM)

As I said earlier, first Florida will try hard at signing him. But yes, if Bouwmeester gets shopped, Philly has the depth to get into the mix

Michael (Tustin, CA)

I went to the Ducks/Rangers game last night and have to say that the Ducks performance was one of their worst of the season. Why aren't they clicking and what changes can be made to turn things around?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:38 PM)

Michael, it's interesting you say that because I was talking to Ducks coach Randy Carlyle a few weeks ago and he was also perplexed. he said the team plays a good period, or sometimes two good periods, but never 60 minuters. Not a good sign. A trade up front might be the answer.

Jason (Bmore)

Do you have any beef with the ballots being stuffed for Sid, and eventually eclipsing Jagr's record?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:40 PM)

None whatsoever. He's the best center on the planet and deserves to start in the all-star game. Although again, I don't care at all about the all-star game. I think it should be scrapped. Useless event.

Adam - Hanson MA

Will Sundin have a huge impact right away...or will it take him some time to get his legs under him?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:40 PM)

He's in great shape. In fact, he was skating yet again today in Sweden. But timing is always an issue with a player. I think it'll take him about a month to find that.

Michael (Tustin, CA)

If Scott Niedermayer retires at the end of the season, what can the Ducks do and what should they do with the cap room available?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:41 PM)

Potential unrestricted free-agent defensemen July 1 include Jay Bouwmeester and Mike Komisarek.

Marleau (San Jose)

Do I have to win a cup to silence my doubters once and for all?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:42 PM)

Probably. But you playing great this season. Oh, and I'm coming to see you this weekend. ESPN.com is sending me to San Jose to chronicle your team's success. So I'll talke to you this weekend. Cheers

Joe (Baltimore, MD)

Pierre, after witnessing Alex the Great's performance last night is there really any debate as to who will wind up winning the Maurice "Rocket" Richard trophy this year? Side question do the Caps have a chance to make it to Cup Finals if they keep getting healthier?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:43 PM)

Vanek won't go away but yes, I would pick Ovechkin for the Rocket Richard Trophy. Side answer _ I still dont' like your goaltending

Johnny Yang (Buffalo)

Pierre, I'm looking forward to the game at Wrigley. Are you going? What kind of game do you expect?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:44 PM)

Johnny, I am indeed going along with Scott Burnside. I think it'll be fantastic. The league is allowing a few of us media guys skate on the ice on Dec. 30 and that's defintely going to be neat. As Ron Burgundy would say, ''Neato."

Mike Gaspar (California)

Pierre, what kind of upside do you see for Doughty and Quincey in LA?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:46 PM)

Doughty is going to be an all-star defenseman. There's no question that. Quincey has the talent to be a top-four blue-liner. Impressive that the Kings were able to snag him off waivers although Detroit didn't have much choice, They're so damn deep they had no room for him !

John (Edison, NJ)

Do you see a record of 16-6-7 as 10 games over .500 or for what it really is, 16-13?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:47 PM)

Well that's the debate, isn't it? The point for overtime and shootout losses has changed everything. In my humble opinion, I count the .500 mark based on points accumulation. So 16 points in 16 games is .500.

King (Howell, NJ)

Should we leave you and Chris from Sunnyvale alone?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:48 PM)

My wife might object to that :)

Matt (Boston)

Pierre, they are generalizations for sure, but wouldn't you agree that it's ironic that Ovechkin plays more like a Canadien and Crosby plays more like a european?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:49 PM)

Matt, I've long ago stopped with those types of nation-based comments.. makes no sense. But as for Crosby, he plays a pretty tough game in his own way, believe me

Mark

Pierre, Question, how good of a coach is Claude with the Bruins. He seems to be the perfect coach for the city of Boston. tough coach, fundamentility sound. How many coaches do you think would have benched Kessel in the playoffs last year, and look what it has done for him this year, playign out of his mind. Thank you

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:50 PM)

Quite frankly, I don't understand how two great organizations in Montreal and New Jersey fired this guy. He is a great coach and right now he's definitely in the running for the Jack Adams

Steiny (NYC)

Will Barry Melrose ever be a coach in the NFL again?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:50 PM)

Maybe in Oakland? :)

Jason (Phoenix)

The Devils have won 9 of their last 12, and the offense has picked up with Brodeur out. When he returns, if the offense maintains it's strength, should the Devils be considered favorites in a tough division and conference?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:51 PM)

I like Philly the most in that division and when Pittsburgh gets healthy they'll be tougher. And if the Rangers get Sundin .... well, you get the picture. Tough sledding for a good Devils team

Taylor (Miami, FL)

Pierre, If the Panthers offered Jay Bouwmeester and/or Tomas Vokoun to Colombus in exchange for Rick Nash, do you think that Colombus would accept the offer? Pierre, Despite putting up superb numbers, do you think Craig Anderson would play strong enough to carry the Florida Panthers as a number one goalie if Tomas Vokoun were to be dealt? (Because WE NEED SCORING NOW) P.S. There are some of us out there.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:53 PM)

No. They would never trade Rick Nash. Second of all, with Steve Mason and Pascal Leclaire forming a solid 1-2 punch, they don't need Vokoun. Anderson is a great story, I got to talk to him two weeks ago and he's a solid guy. But if I'm Florida I keep Vokoun because you're not totally, totaly sure Anderson can keep it up. He's been a backup all his career in the NHL.

Garrett (California)

Pierre, What do you think of Melroses and the Lightnings war of words?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:54 PM)

I'm tired of it.

Travis (Canada)

Pierre, how much truth to the rumours that the Bruins amongst other clubs might have been interested in Burke as G.M?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:54 PM)

Travis, the son of the owner, Charlie Jacobs, denied it completely.

Marc (NY)

Hey Pierre, if you were a GM for an NHL team, who would you rather sign, Marian Gaborik or Eric Staal

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:55 PM)

Eric Staal, hands down. He's more durable.

Nicholas Backstrom (Minnesotta)

No love for me Pierre?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:55 PM)

Sorry Nicky, you're having a great year but we can only nominate three guys !

Marty (Ottawa, Ontario)

With all the turmoil going on with the Sens for the past 3 years or so, do you think it's time for them to clean house and start from scratch, or is there still a good enough nucleus of players/personnel to take this team back to the Stanley Cup Finals?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:56 PM)

They need to re-tool the blue-line. Too slow and not good enough.

Shawn (Cape Breton)

So if, and I agree "Something's not right in Montreal" what would you do to fix it

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:57 PM)

I'd start by taking a heavy run at Bouwmeester if he's made available; if not him, then Kaberle. The PP needs another solid point man.

Scott (B-lo)

Speaking of Vanek...is he the real deal? Please silence the doubters.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:58 PM)

No question. He'll score 40-50 goals every season for the next decade. Maybe Edmonton was on to something with the offer sheet, eh?

Wayne Gretzky (Glendale)

Is my team really sitting in 8th after 31 games? Could this finally be the year we make it in? Pierre, please tell me I'm not dreaming.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:58 PM)

Gretz, great to hear from you. I have to say I'm surprised. You're a young, young team and the West is tough, tough, tough. Hope you can hang in there but I don't like your chances.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:59 PM)

Ok cool cats, I'm out of here. Sorry I couldn't get to all the questions. keep them coming !