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January 9, 9:58 AM ET
Chat with Pierre LeBrun

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:00 PM)

OK puckheads, we're back for another round of our weekly hockey chat. I apologize ahead of time that I can't get to everyone. I get 200 questions and can only answer about 40 or 50 of them in my time slot. Thanks again for joining in and let's go !

Ford HIbbs, St. John's NL

HI Pierre; How close are the Red Wings to siging Henrik Zetterberg, what will it take to sign him and how much cap space do the Red Wings have left for 2009/2010.Enjoy your hotstove on hockey night in Canada Thanks Pierre Ford.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:02 PM)

Love Newfoundland ! Last I checked the Wings and Zetterberg's camp were going back and forth... hard to say when the breakthorugh will come... Wings don't want to pay less than $8 million. So Zetterberg has to decide what he wants. Make way more money July 1 ona crappier team or stay with the best organization in hockey.

Doug, New Jersey

Pierre - Who do you think sits for the Devils to make room for Shanahan? Rupp? Madden? Pandolfo? Is there a bigger trade in the works to bring a dman in?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:03 PM)

Doug, I really don't know. Last I checked they were only carrying 12 forwards right now so I'm not sure why anyone would be losing a job

Ddog ( Santa Barbara, CA )

Do you think the Pens can rebound using the old trapping style that helped New Jersey win the cup?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:04 PM)

Ddog, every team in the NHL basically traps. It's a question of how much and to what degree. But that was their best game in a long time last night in Philly. Should be a doozy tonight with the Caps in town

Kevin O'Neill Vancouver, BC

Hi Pierre...love your work on HNIC and I think you might be the tempering voice between Strach and Milbury. My question is this: What are the Odds that Mr. Bettman will see the error of his ways and admit that the the s-caleed 'Southern Footprint' didn't work and that the league really needs to reorder itself and move forward...even if it means chopping some franchises; especially today in light of the economic crisis that we're in-including Canada...the timiong may not be better.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:05 PM)

Thank you Kevin. I think the commissioner will fight for all those markets to his end. He strongly opposes contraction and will do everything in his power to protect those markets.

Bill (Tampa, FL)

Pierre. As a fan of hockey in general I would hate to see Lecavalier leave Tampa. But as a fan of the Bolts, the possibility of getting yolung studs like Higgins,Plekanec and Gorges, plus draft picks is exciting. Should we do it?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:07 PM)

Purely from a hockey trade point of view, the time is right to move him. The Bolts are going nowwhere and it's time to rebuild. But form a business point of view, how are you going to sell any tickets in Tampa without Vinny? That's exactly the debate going on within the Lightning brain trust. I think if I owned a team in a non-traditional market like Tampa I would want to keep my biggest star

Mike, San Francisco CA

Is there anyone in the league more under-rated than Ryan Clowe?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:08 PM)

Steve Mason? or David Krejci? or Zack Parise? But Clowe is a good one, no doubt. Gets his nose dirty in the front of the net a la Thomas Holmstrom

Colby From NY

Where do you think Connolly and Afinogenov will end up this season? Ive lost hope for resigning Max, but do you thing Connolly still might get resigned even though his injury track record?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:09 PM)

Not sure Colby. Connolly has so much talent. I'm sure the Sabres will want to give him another try but obviously at a discount. We'll see.

Jim Neveau Chicago, IL

What piece (or pieces) do you think the Blackhawks need to go out and get in order to solidify their chances of making a good playoff run this year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:10 PM)

Jim, experience, experience, experience. They are the youngest team in the NHL. If I were Dale Tallon I would pick up a veteran voice or two at the trade deadline so when things get tense in the spring there will be a voice of reason. Maybe a Mark Recci from Tampa?

Ethan(LA)

Pierre waht does it say about the Kings when they don't even step up and make the lightning account for running Drew Doughty? After the game both coaches and players said someone should have answered but the Kings didn't stick up for their teammate.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:10 PM)

That's part of the learning curve for a young team. Leadership is an acquired skill.

Sid The Kid(Pittsburgh)

Hey Pierre do you think I should fight Semin tonight for his comments in the media, and who is more likely to drop the gloves tonight: Me/Semin or Malkin/Ovechkin?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:11 PM)

I don't think you or Semin should ever drop the gloves. Although at least you don't slap people like Semin does. Malkin and Ovechkin have a serious hate on for each other going back to incident in Moscow a few years ago. That would be a nasty fight but Malkin doesn't drop 'em

John (England)

If you're the GM of the Habs, what would you be willing to give up for Vincent Lecavalier? Do you think a trade is possible that could make both clubs happy?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:13 PM)

I'd be willing to give up Plekanec and Higgins, a first-rounder and a top prospect. But not Josh Gorges. The Montreal blue-line is not that deep and the Canadiens can ill-afford to lose a good D-man like Gorges at this point.

Chris (Sunnyvale, CA)

Hey Pierre, do you think it's harder to win a Stanley Cup in the modern day with 30 teams and the huge influx of European players or in earlier years with mostly North American players, but less teams so the talent pool was much more condensed?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:13 PM)

It's harder to win that ever. Dynasties are more difficult to maintain as the talent pool is spread more evenly by free agency and a cap system.

Ethan(LA)

Pierre besides Hossa what other goal scoring free agents do you think the Kings will go after in the summer? And do you definetly think they will make a move?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:14 PM)

Maybe Gaborik. But I think Hossa is the guy they like the most.

Paul in Tampa, FL

What do you think of Shanny signing with the Devils?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:16 PM)

Not surprising. Him and Lamoriello had been talking all year. They needed to wait for the Devils to be able to do it cap-wise. Shanny gets to remains close his family in New York. The Devils' PP get a shot in the arm. Makes a lot of sense.

Andrew (South Side, PA)

Is there any rivalry with storylines as juicy as Washington-Pittsburgh? With the mystery behind the AO-Malkin falling out coupled with Semin's comments about Crosby (not to mention each player's dynamic talent), it definitely looks to me like the type of games any fan of hockey has to be drawn to.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:17 PM)

It's a beauty, which is why we sent Scott Burnside to Pittsburgh to cover it for ESPN.com. But in terms of a true rivalry that has its roots from on-ice only, nothing beats Boston-Montreal right now.

Frank, Milford, PA

When is the trade deadline and what are the Rangers going to do for offense? This team can't go far in the playoffs the way it is constructed.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:18 PM)

The trade deadline is March 4. I do think Glen Sather will look long and hard at a forward at that time but until then he's a little cap-challenged

Mikko (Atlanta, GA)

Pierre, Everybody Needs Get Updated Information Now showing 7 picks for the eastern playoff spots and what teams will fight for the 8th spot?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:20 PM)

Ok Mikko (how's Saku doing?). Here you go. 1. Boston 2. Washinton 3. Philadelphia 4. Montreal 5. New Jersey 6. Rangers 7. Pittsburgh Bubble teams fighting for 8th: Florida, Buffalo, Carolina

DCHAV, ChiTown

Hey Pierre. I asked you before about Jordan Staal for the Hawks but since he just got an extension he's obviously off the market. I'm still kind of obsessing about acquiring Spezza from Ottawa. I think he's been struggling and the team obviously needs to make some changes and if he becomes maybe the Hawk's 2nd line center and not the focal point of the team he may get back to being an elite player. Anyway these 2 teams would be interested in a trade (possibly for some of our glut of defenseman). What would need to happen for it to work? Thanks a lot!

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:22 PM)

Actually I'm not convinced Staal is off the market just because he signed. I think that makes him even more trade-able because it's a decent contract. But for now the Pens see him as being an important part of their team. As for Spezza in Chicago, I doubt it. The Hawks realize that in a year and half both Kane and Toews will need new, expensive contracts. So picking up a guy like Spezza who has a million years left on his deal for lots of money doesn't make sense. I think if the Hawks pick up a center it'll be somebody with shorter term left on his deal

Steve, Chicago

How far do you realistically see the Hawks going in the playoffs this year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:23 PM)

Detroit and San Jose, to me, are head and shoulders above the rest. So it's likely the Hawks will have to play either one in the second round. That's where I think their journey will end. But I hope I'm wrong. There's nothing better for the game right now than the hockey revival in chitown

Grant (Helena, MT)

Pierre - Help me in off the ledge, Brother! I'm not so worried about Kessel - in fact the next month on the Sofa might yield to us a rested Tazmanian Devil in the playoffs, but Bergeron's Noggin' and Sturm's Knee appear to threaten the Bs ascension back to prominence. What's the next move for Chiarreli? Thanks.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:24 PM)

Bergeron I predict will be back in February. Look for the Bruins to add a forward come the march 4 deadline. But otherwise, suck it up ! Look at the rash of injuries teams like Washinton, Montreal and Philadelphia have had to endure. It's about time Boston had the same !

Bill (Syosset, NY)

With the addition of Shannahan, does this make the Devils one of the scariest/deepest teams in the East? Where do you see them finishing now?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:25 PM)

Not really, He's a solid veteran and will help the power play but he's way past his prime. I wouldn't get too too excited. The Devils are a good team but I'd be shocked if they could make it past the secound round of the playoffs

Ed (San Jose)

I'd say the Pens troubles mostly stem from the back end but they can't wait for Gonchar to come back. They also didn't get anyone to fill Ryan Malone's spot on the 2nd line. Chances of them trying to get him back or possibly going after Sean Avery?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:26 PM)

Malone got too much money from TB. Pitt doesn't like that contract. Sean Avery? I don't think so.

david (maryland)

I listened to Hotstove on HNIC talked about the future of the coyotes. Which franchises could be relocated or contracted in the next 3 years islanders, coyotes, predators, panthers, or thrashers?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:27 PM)

That's the multi-billion dollar question my friend! No one knows, not even Gary Bettman.

Marc (Boston)

If I ask you to tell me that a player is good, will I get on your chat? I guess I should ask you to tell me how good Alex Ovechkin is instead of asking you about things that I can't see with my own eyes. I'll give it one more try though. Can you give me any rumors at all? Obviously Vinny Lecavalier is one, but what's up with Jay Bo in Florida? Tkachuck in STL? Erik Cole in Edmonton?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:28 PM)

Marc, chill out buddy ! Bouwmeester _ Panthers will try to sign him one more time... if he says no.. .he's a gonner

Matt (Nashua, NH)

Your goatee is cute.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:28 PM)

Well thank you very much. I trim it myself :)

Adam from Visalia, CA

San Jose and Detroit could be the best game of the season this coming Saturday. San Jose is on fire at home and Detroit just pounded the Sharks a few weeks back. Who wins on Saturday?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:29 PM)

Sharks in overtime. Coach Todd McLellan was not happy after that 6-0 loss in Hockeytown. I agree that will be one of the great games of the season

Ryan , Ca

Can someone tell me why the Sharks still arent getting the credit they deserve? They won 7-1 last night and theres no mention of the NHL's best team in the headlines. Instead I get to read about how some viewers are still "melting" over a game played two weekes ago. ESPN should be chagned to ECB ( East Coast Bias )....

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:30 PM)

Ryan, I wrote a 2,000-word feature on the Sharks at Christmas time and in September picked the Sharks to win the Cup. Pay attention !!!!!

Spencer (Erie, PA

Ive been hearing rumors that Sid the Kid never really recovered from his high ankle sprain last year, and management rushed him back. To me, he looks slower and doesnt hustle as much. Any chance this is true?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:31 PM)

Not true. And if you watched last night. you'd see he was flying.

Danny (Detroit)

If Alexander Semin came at you throwing fists .. or I guess flailing arms .. Would you fight back? Wings/Ducks tonight, who ya got

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:31 PM)

ha ha, LOL.... guess I'd try to bear hug him. Wings win tonight

Mike (Boston)

Hi Pierre, I have been hesitant to get too excited about my Bruins because I think that they lack the veteran experience to make a deep playoff run. However, their ability to overcome so many injuries (Sturm, Kessel, Lucic, Bergeron, etc.) has really impressed me. Do they have what it takes to do some damage in the playoffs or do I need to get my Red Sox hat out of the closet?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:33 PM)

I thought that was a real statement win for them last night against Montreal. Mind you, the Habs were just as banged up if not more with Carey Price, Saku Koivu, Chris Higgins and others out... Still, the Bruins are indeed the cream of the crop in the East. What will be telling is how they handle the hype that comes with the No. 1 and all that come spring time....

Seth, Columbus, OH

Can the Bluejackets break the playoff drought this year? Clearly they have a strong future.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:34 PM)

I think they'll fall short this year but Steve Mason finally gives them the kind of franchise goalie they have craved since inception. The future looks bright

Andy (Mt.Airy, NC)

The Hurricanes always seem to be missing a "piece of the puzzle". What piece do you see they are missing right now?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:35 PM)

They need a forward. I know they were fishing around Jussi Jokinen of Tampa for a while but that trade never materialized... But that's where the Canes would like up upgrade, up front

James (The Basement)

Hi, Pierre! With the recent emergence of Steve Mason, what should Columbus do about any potential goaltending controversy? $3.6 million is an awful lot to pay a backup if they keep Leclaire around...

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:36 PM)

Great question James. (I believe this is james Bisson, who actually does live in my basement apartment folks). I asked Jackets GM Scott Howson that very question recently and he seemed pretty content to finally have a potent 1-2 punch in goal. So at least for this season I think they'll stay put with what they've got in goal

Jim D (NJ)

How can such a great program go through a downward spiral like indiana is incurring?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:37 PM)

ah..... no idea ! I'm a puck writer from Toronto !

Ben (Montreal)

Hi Pierre, I am hoping the habs could get away with not giving up Pacioretty in any Lecavalier deal. Should I prepare myself for this eventuality? Or will the habs be able to do this deal without him.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:38 PM)

Ben, Max's name has not come up in any chatter I've heard.....

Steiny (NYC)

Is Tavares going to be traded?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:38 PM)

He was traded last week, from Oshawa to London.

Steiny (NYC)

Are both Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez going to be with the Bruins next season?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:39 PM)

At this point the Bruins haven't decided that. But my gut feeling is that they'll re-sign Thomas, bring up Rask, and dump Fernandez.

Steiny (NYC)

Do you think the top defenseman thus far in the season is Dan Boyle?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:41 PM)

It's funny you should ask. I was emailing some of my media colleagues this morning and we were debating the Norris Trophy race. Right now the four guys I believe in the mix are Chara, Boyle, Weber and Lidstrom (of course). I actually have a Shea Weber feature story coming out tomorrow on the site. Look for that. But Boyle has been dynamite. Must have felt good for him to pound the Lightning last night.

SabreTooth (Rochester, NY)

Why doesn't Derek Roy get the respect he deserves? He's a point/game player and only four centers (Malkin, Thornton, Datsyuk, Getzlaf) scored more points than Roy during the 2008 calendar year. But you almost never hear about him from either national media. Why not?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:42 PM)

That's what happens when you play in a small market like Buffalo. But you are right in that Roy should get more attention. One thing people around the league don't like about him though is that he has the propensity to dive.

Chris (Baltimore)

Pierre, which players currently in the minors do you expect to make an impact before the end of the season?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:44 PM)

If the Wings get banged up on the back end, look for either Derek Meech or Jonathan Ericsson to get a look. Both are NHL-ready but the Wings are do deep. Meech played the other night against Buffalo but hasn't consistently been in the NHL lineup

Jon(Los Angeles)

It seems Jack Johnson will be coming back possibly this weekend, what does his return do for the kings?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:46 PM)

Talk about a blue-line build for the future. Doughty, Johnson, Quincey, Greene and maybe next year Thomas Hickey... nice group to build around

Wendy (Vestal, NY)

Hi Pierre, with my Penguins and Sid the Kid slumping, I'm starting to wonder if Alex Ovechkin isn't the more consistent player regardless of team standings. Your thoughts?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:47 PM)

Wendy, I get a vote for the Hart Trophy and at this point it's goin to Ovechkin for sure. But the season is only halfway there. I have a feelin the Pens will turn this around

Pat (NY)

Pierre Lebrun..thats a hockey name. you were born for this my friend

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:48 PM)

LOL, my (late) mother would agree.

Wendy (Vestal, NY)

Do you think the Sens are serious about a goaltending change bringing up Brian Elliot, or are they just trying to shake things up with Gerber and Ault.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:48 PM)

Wendy, if Elliott can win a few games, I thin Gerber's days as a Senator are numbered

Ben (Virginia)

Pierre, are you as tired as I am of people (*cough*Penguins Fans*cough*) complaining about Ovechkin going after Malkin almost 2 months ago? If he's getting hit, maybe he should deter that by hitting back. Seems logical doesn't it? Should be a great game tonight!

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:49 PM)

I agree. They're both big boys who can handle themselves. No need to whine about it.

Alex (Boston)

Initially I was incensed when the Bruins, whose offense struggled, traded Brad Boyes for Dennis Wideman who has since developed quite nicely. Who do you think got the better of this trade looking back at it now?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:52 PM)

Great question Alex. Right now both teams are happy like pigs in mud. Boyes is a pure goal-scorer, Wideman is a top-2 blue-liner and those dont' grow on trees. You love it when trades work it like this and both teams are happy

Danny (Detroit)

Heads up Pierre - Maltby is benched tonight and Meech is gonna play 4th line wing. Babs isn't happy they were out their for two vs Dallas.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:52 PM)

Thanks for the update Danny ! That's one of the reasons the Wings kept Meech over Quincey is because Meech can play forward and D.

Maz (New York)

It won't happen, because Hank won't ever leave Detroit, but if he tested the open market, who would make more money: Hank or Hossa?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:53 PM)

I agree that Zetterberg will probably end up staying. But if he did hit the market, no one _ not even Hossa _ would touch what Zetterberg woudl get offerd. You're talking $'10 M a year

Jim D (NJ)

Do you think the outdoor game should have been played in NY this to close out Yankee Stadium.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:54 PM)

Jim, that's actually what the NHL was planning to do but logistical problems with old Yankee Stadium killed the idea. That's when the Hawks swooped in and offered up Wrigely as a replacment.

Mike(San Diego)

Since the Blues seem to be headed for another top 3 pick, who do you see them drafting? I like the youth movement that they have going and think they could be a force 5 years from now.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:56 PM)

They've got good youth at both the forward and defense position. But my guess is that if they were drafting first overall they'd take Hedman. But that's just my guess, I haven't heard that from their scouts

Dave (Irvine, CA)

Pierre-I know my Isles are dreadful and all but I think most people need to take into account that they have over 260 man games lost to injury and we've barely hit the halfway point of the season!!

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:59 PM)

True, but they'd still be a bad team anyway. At least there's some decent youth on the way. Josh Bailey might prove a great pick. The Islanders kept moving down in the draft before finally taking him. OK folks, I gotta run. Talk to you next week