Hello puck heads. Let's get at it !
in order for the caps to make a deep playoff run this year, what move if any shnuld the caps make around the trade deadline?
Sergio, I've been concered about their goaltending most of the seaosn but Theodore is coming around. Johnson has been solid. The thing about Theodore, too, is that he likes the playoffs. He's advanced to the second round all three payoff years he's started. Worth noting. In the end if I'm George McPhee I might want to add some depth on the blue-line. But all and all, pretty deep everywhere as is.
Pierre have the kings surpassed your expectations or this season? Also will next season be the year you predict they make the playoffs?
yes they've been a littler better than I thought. The young core is turning the corner. Still don't like the goaltending but love the rest. Blue-line cops of Doughty, Johnson, Quincey plus Thomas Hickey... what's not to like. Tough to say what I'm goin to predict next week, let alone next Setpember, but I am leaning towards thinking they're playoff-bound in 2009-10
Does Montreal have too many starters in the All-Star Game?
Yes the Canadiens do. But the fans have spoken. They're hosting the game so let them have their fun.
Will Doug Weight be traded?
I would think Garth Snow would leave it up to Doug and Weight was quoted last week saying he no longer wanted to be a rental player.
What went through your head when you saw Jarkko Ruutu try to bite Andrew Peters?
The flyers are going to find themselves in a real cap squeeze in the coming weeks when everyone is healthy. The only thing postponing a move is the mounting injuries that keep us under the cap! What do you the flyers doing to get under the cap?
Well it's no secret you can get under the cap by sending players to the AHL. Or you can trade a body or two. It's not that difficult really.
Do you think the bruins are that good or were they just beating on weak and struggling teams?
I think they warrant their first-place standing. Not sure what you mean by beating up on weak teams. They play the same teams as anyone else. I do think they might be in for a bit of a slump at some point but they're still a Cup contender.
The Kings really need a goal scorer right now. Last year their defense stunk and this year its their offense, what should they do?
Keep an eye on them July 1. This is just me but i wouldn't be surprised if they took a serious run at a big name like Marian Hossa (if he's not re-signed by Detroit)
Is Datsyuk the best all around player in the NHL? He's the full package. I cant think of another player who has the offensive AND deffensive skills that he has shown lately. Is another player better than 13?
Yes very underrated despite his consistent output, probably because he's so quiet. But believe me or not, I would take Zetterbeg over him
The Thrashers have only had one good season since they became a franchise, so what will it take for the Thrashers to actually be a team that can be a cup contender?
Better ownership. They are once again among the smaller payrolls in the league. Plus the owners are embroiled in legal battles. That filters down. You can't win if your owner doesn't want to win
I'm happy to see the Penguins getting off the "schnide" with a win last night. However, with the recent lack of offensive production, it looks like a trade for a scoring winger is on the horizon. Whom do you believe would make a good fit with the Pens, and who should they offer up to the trading block? I think if they could make it happen, Bobby Ryan in Anaheim looks like a great Rookie that would fit nicely.
Once Gonchar comes back, likely next month, then the Pens will have a surplus of quality defensemen. Move one of them, let's say Whitney, in exchange for a top-six winer. That's what I would do. One guy that's available, mostly because he hasn't been very good, is Max Afinegenov in Buffalo. Maybe a fresh start playing with great players like Crosby and Malkin will do him good...
Pierre, It is a crime that Alex Ovechkin is not a starter in the all star game! How do fans not realize that he is the best thing in the nhl since the Lemieux/Gretzky days?! The NHL has to do something about this, right?
Ovechkin will be named tomorrow when the NHL announces the rest of the East lineup. So he's not on the ice for the opening faceoff. Who cares !!!!
What do you think the Blackhawks need to do before the trade deadline to really challenge teams like the Red Wings and Sharks?
As the youngest team in the league, might be wise to acquire some experience. The playoffs are a whole new deal and the hearts will be pounding come spring time in that Hawks dressing room. Maybe a guy like Recchi in Tampa would help, for example...
When will the media stop talking about changing the rules, etc to get more scoring in the game? There is nothing wrong with the game, if you ask me, I think coaches need to start coaching more players on how to shoot better! It is so nice to see some players go down and pick a corner every now and then. The problem is with the scoring ability of the players, not the rules or size of the goalies!
I fully agree and wrote a column earlier this season talking about how the game was terrific right now.
The all star starters are a complete joke, but the flawed system allows this. What I don't get is the West reserves. How do guys on a first place team like Hossa and Zetterberg get beat out by players with 10 or more less points. I might be ok with it if they were being rewarded for exceptional defense, but Hossa and Zetterberg are exceptional two way players (Hossa since going to Detroit). They have a plus 11 and 13, while the players who made it are -11, -8, -6 and +1. There are a half dozen worthy all stars on this team and the rest is a complete joke.
The NHL has a tough job every year with this. They like to have all 30 teams represented. Nabokov and Kirprusoff should be on the West team as well but were overlooked. It's not easy to fill it out and take care of everybody
While I know your feelings about the All-Star game in general, what is the Western Conference All-Star snub lineup?
My colleague Scott Burnside is writing that as we speak. Look for it on the site today.
How do you feel about Sakic v. Gilmour? I don't like enforcers or anyone who couldn't otherwise skate a shift taking up a roster spot but I don't have a problem with stars dropping the gloves. If we could get rid of enforcers we'd have less fights but we'd still have them...and they'd probably actually mean more too.
Mark, great question, but I think I emptied my soul on the subject in my Question of the Week blog which is now posted
Hey Pierre, needless to say the Wild have fallen on hard times. Do you see them being able to lure key FA's to Minnesota this offseason in order to bolster their offense upfront? If we just had about two more scorers upfront we'd be a dangerous team, thanks!
They'll have cap room on July 1 with Gaborik leaving and they'll use it for sure. They'll be aggressive.
Can the Wings repeat? Is there a goalie controversy in Detroit?
I don't know if there's a goalie controversy or not, but I do think it's interesting that last season it was understood that Osgood was simply spotting Hask some rest during the season but come playoff time Hasek would start. Oops. And now this year Conklin is stealing starts from Osgood. Funny,
Can you give us your opinion on what USA Hockey needs to do to ?right the ship?? Doesn?t seem like USAH has a high enough development program. Caps out at Tier II Jr right?
A few saves from their goalie and they might have been right there with Canada in the world juniors. I wouldn't overreact because of it.
I want Mike Richards to fight Cindy Crosby. What are the chances they actually fight. And I mean fight, not have Crosby cheap shot Richards when he's not looking.
They almost fought if you remember near the end of a playoff game last spring. They actually have tremendous respect for each other. They were world junior teammates for Canada. And they'll both likely be teammates again for Team Canada 2010 in Vancouver. Sorry to disappoint you !
Just gotta ask what you think of the Ruutu thing. If you're getting face-washed and unable to do anything about it, are you suposed to just take it forever or at some time can you exact unorthodox retribution to make it stop? In a big scrum it's not always easy to get your hands free to protect your face...While I think biting is cheap, I'd still advice youngsters to keep their dickskinners away from sharp edges.
Far be it from me to give advice on this since I routinely led my team in penalty minutes every season. But the ''code" I believe prohibits biting.
PLB: Who do you think feels worse about Malone leaving Pittsburgh, him playing for a horrible team or the Pens for playing like a horrible team without him.
This must be from by buddy Bobby Torrens in Toronto. He's the only guy who calls me PLB. But to answer your question Bobby, both camps are losers for Malone leaving. He took the money and he's miserable now. And the Pens are miserable because they don't have him. Reminds me of when Khabibulin chased the money to Chicago and left the Cup champs in Tampa
What is the biggest head scratcher as far as the All Star roster goes?
Well, Kiprusoff leads the NHL in wins and Nabokov is second. And neither is goin to the all-star game at this point.
Pierre, of the below expiring contracts, whom do you see the Sabres moving at or before the trade deadline? -Kotalik, Connolly, Spacek, Paetsch, Afinigenov, Numminen
They will try hard to move Afinogenov. I think they'll keep the rest if they're in a playoff spot
I know it's just an All Star game, so it doesn't really matter, but if the NHL is going to insist on taking a player from every team, don't you think they should expand the rosters? Thats what MLB did. I mean, Dustin Brown, Mike Madano, Kieth Tkackchuk are in, and Hossa, Sharp, M. Koviu are out? It's dumb.
Adam, if memory serves me correct, and thanks to a few beers ove the years if doesn't always, the league actually shrunk the rosters a few years back because the teams were too big and some players only played a shift or two....
do you think McBite shouldve been suspended?
after watching team usa in the world junior and was disappointed with their performance, so what next for USA hockey?
I think they'll surprise in Vanouver 2010
Will the rangers advance past the second round this year?
With this current lineup _ no
when the postseason starts who do you see being in goal for the Redwings.
are the bruins the team to beat in the NHL?
The Ducks have continued to play up-and-down hockey. Can they still be considered a legit threat for the Stanley Cup and what changes need to be made to improve the consistency of the team's play?
In order of Cup contenders at this point in the West in my opinion: 1. San Jose 2. Detroit. 3. Chicago 4. Calgary. 5. Vancouver 6. Anaheim
Pierre, Does Sundin get on the board tonight?
Goal and an assist _ but no fight
Hey Pierre! Last night was a good night for Detroit, your thoughts?
They sleep walked through the opening months because the Cup run took too much out of them emotionally. Now they're back.
The NHL is said to be considering playing games on Christmas day. Do you think that is a good idea?
When will the Blues make the playoffs?
If they stay healthy, possibly next seaosn
Rafalski the most underrated defensive, yes/no?
Certainly overshadowed in Detroit by Lidstrrom and Kronwall. But a great, great blue-liner
why should i participate in these chats if my questions never get answered?
Sorry Nick, I get about 400 of these question and only have time to answer about 50. I try to vary the subjects as much as possible. Thanks for logging on buddy !
After the 4th Blackhawks loss to Detroit, it's obvious they need to mature before they can compete with the big boys. But they are young, fun to watch and have tons of raw talent. How long until they can really make a run at the cup?
Of course no one reallys knows that answer Dave but perhaps keep in mind that the Pens made it to the final last spring with a similar young and talented team. Obviously the West is tougher and Detroit and San Jose will be tough to beat, but the Hawks are in great shape to make runs for the next few years
How concerned are you with biting in the NHL?
Can the Carolina hurricanes be consistent enough to beat out the capitals for the division.
I don't think so. The Hurricanes have been better since Paul Maurice took over behind the bench but they don't have what it takes to reel in Wash
With Richards calling Ovechkin a dirty player, do you think some players are getting irritated with Ovie playing a physical game but not being willing to drop the gloves? If I'm the Caps I tell him not to fight but I can see how it would bother some players.
Ovechkin shouldn't change a thing. He's a dynamic force and when other players start saying things like that you know he's doing his job.
Which team is going to be a good team to watch come playoff time?
I think the Hawks will be fun to watch. I know I'm hoping to go cover them myself. They are the ''IT" team this season even if they probably aren't ready to go all the way
Pierre, how's Afingenov & Connolly to Minnesota for Nick Schultz sound?
Great if you're Buffalo
Who wins a fight? You or Gare Joyce?
Probably Gare. He's got more experience and he's in better shape than me.
Pierre couldnt agree with you more about who cares about the all star game. Its an exhibition game and I think its a good thing for a mid season break but why try and guilt players to play a meaningless game? Winter Classic all the way
Kris (Draper?), if I had my way, and I've told Gary Bettman this, I would cancel the all-star game outright. But the league uses the event to reach back to sponsors and corporate friends.... it's got nothing to do with the on-ice event...
How would you rank the cup contenders in the Eastern Conference?
I guess I asked for that one. The East is so much harder to predict. No great teams, just a bunch of good ones. But here's my best guess: 1. Boston 2. Philadelphia 3. Washinton 4. Montreal 5. New Jersey 6. N.Y. Rangers 7. Pittsburgh
What do you think Kings need to contend next year?Any free agents that you would traget if you were the kings GM?
How much of Todd McLellan's early success is based on the team that he has and how much of it is based on his coaching style?
Sheila, best thing Todd did was right after he was named coach last summer he took Patrick Marleau out for dinner and told him about his coaching philosphy and his plans, etc... It was a great start to a relationship between captain and coach. Look at the year Marleau is having now. The whole team feeds off that.
who do you compare drew doughty to?
A young Dan Boyle that might be better than him over the course of time
Which should be the most dominant in the next say.. five years: Chicago, Pittsburgh, Washington or Boston?
Hey Pierre, What's with the pens lately? Do you think Crosby needs to step up the on ice leadership or is it something Therrien needs to work on in the locker room? Thanks for all the great articles it's tough to get good hockey analysis in Iowa
Love to hear from our Iowa hockey fans. Keep it coming. The Pens lost too much last summer not to stammer a bit _ Hossa, Malone, etc.. and replaced them with lesser talent in Satan and Fedotenko. Plus don't underestimate not having Sergei Gonchar in the lineup since the start of the season. Fourth in Norris Trophy voting last seaosn, he led the team in minutes played and is key for transition game, PP and PK... huge huge loss. Once they get him back next month that'll help. Still, there's something not right about this team. The chemistry doesn't seem to be there this season....
How do you feel about the way the all star starting lineups turned out? 4 teams essentially representing 30!?! Even though I am from Montreal I do not feel that the four Habs really represent the quality of players that should be there. Thoughts?
Jonathan (Roy?), the fan voting was a joke again this year. But as many people know,I don't care enough about the all-star game to get worked up about it. perhaps they shoudl stop fan voting and let the league choose the full lineups but whenever possible it's smarkt for any league to involve fans in whatever they can....
Who wins in a fight? Alexander Semin or a wet noodle?
Semin in a 12-round split decision. On that note, see ya next week puck heads ! Feel my love