To all you Ranger fans out there, you'd better hope your team starts showing up, or else it could cost your coach his job!
Barry, How exciting are the new-look Devils? How long do you think it will take for them to shed their image as a boring trap-system team?
You gotta give the Devils their due, which is a very appropriate saying right now for them. They score a lot of goals, are fun to watch, and they're getting Marty Brodeur back. They're doing this without their best player. They're a great story.
The Bruins finally snap their losing streak, but I'm worried about scoring when Michael Ryder isn't in the lineup. Do the B's get some more scoring at the deadline?
It's amazing that you're worried about Michael Ryder, who Montreal gave away. How times change! The Bruins lost four games in a row, but every game was by one goal. They are a solid team. Everyone would like to add players, but you're lucky if you're a Bruins fan. They're a great hockey club.
How about this race for the 4-8 seeds in the east! Who do you see as a contender or a pretender in that log-jam?
You have to think that Carolina and Pittsburgh are on the outside looking in. They're five points out with 26 games left, which means they have to win three more games than Florida, Buffalo, Montreal, or the Rangers. That doesn't sound like a lot, but it is. I think it will be a great race.
Hey Barry, Despite the win last night, are the sharks starting to show some weaknesses?
I don't think so. You can't win every night, no matter how good you are. The Sharks, Detroit, and Chicago are the three best teams in the West, and it will be a great battle, but dollar for dollar, I think the Sharks are the most talented team.
Hi Barry, how do you feel about the Canucks this seaon? Do you think they have a legitimate shot at winning the Cup?
Your first question should be, do they have a shot at getting in the playoffs? I'd say yes. They have always been good defensively, and are starting to come around offensively. They're looking like a good hockey team, but I don't think they can get past any of the top three teams.
What changes would you make to get the Penguins back to the team of last year?
You have to change their mental makeup. This is a team that is talented and skilled but is playing an unskilled game. They are not a confident or fast team right now. When you play slow, you take away their strengths.
How do you see the Flyers finishing out the season and heading into the playoffs? What seed are we looking at? Any last minute trade acquisitions?
The Flyers are always active at the deadline, but they have cap issues. Will Briere be back? I don't know. They are trying to finish in the top 4 in order to get home ice in the first round, which would be a good achievement for them.
Asked EJ yesterday, and he still thinks Lunqvist is a top goalie. Personally, I don't see it anymore. He's allowed 4+ goals in over 20 percent of his starts! That's not a top tier goalie.
I agree with you in that he's not playing like a great goaltender right now. He's proven over the long haul that he's upper-echelon, but he's a lot like the Rangers right now...he sees a lot of shots, a lot of outnumbered chances, and a lot of shots right in front of the net. There are 25 teams at least who would like to have Lunqvist.
Do you think the Wild can sneak in to the playoffs this year?
Yeah I do. I think the Wild are playing better. the West is wide open. It'll be a fantastic finish in the West. Vancouver seems to have righted the ship. Columbus is playing well, even St. Louis is playing well. It'll come down to health and hot streaks.
Barry, how'd you like the Stamkos hat trick last night? and do you think the islanders will trade away their vets for young players and draft picks?
He was by far the best player TB had last night. He was very active and had the puck a lot. Maybe the best game he had last year. The Islanders will trade anybody and everybody--they need to get some young stars. Everybody over 25 on the Islanders is up for a trade. They will try to be very active, and they should be.
Do you think with the long term injury to Brad Richards, and Brendan Morrow not coming back till the early playoffs, the Stars will try to make any deals to get another big name at the trade deadline, or will they just do the best to make the playoffs in the tight western conference with what they have?
A lot of it depends on how they play the next two weeks. Losing Richards was tough. They seem to have overcome the Morrow injury. If you see them lose, say, go 2-4 the next two weeks, you'll see them be active. If not, they'll be less aggressive. But again, it all comes down to salary cap room.
Can we talk about how much Montreal are laying an egg right now, and how much 95 percent of the NHL are enjoying it?
Montreal's in trouble. You see it in the Kovalev situation, where he's been told to stay home for a few games. Their power play is atrocious, along with a host of other problems. They're in trouble, no doubt.
Do you think getting Paul Stastny back will be enough to get the Avs into the playoffs?
It's gonna be tough. They are two points behind, which means they have to outplay four of the teams ahead of them by quite a bit. Getting Stastny back is great, but it will be tough for them to climb over all those teams.
Barry, do you think the sabres are going to hang in there for the playoffs? and do you think that they have the team already to make a run or need a piece or two? and what are they missing
They miss Vanek a lot. They are still finding ways to win. The do have a lot of weapons. Stafford is starting to score. If this team can stay healthy right now, I think they will make the playoffs. They're 5 or 6 points up on Pittsburgh and Carolina, so they have a bit of a cushion. They have a lot of good players, so I think they'll stay in it and make the playoffs.
Do you think the Panthers are going to end up in the playoffs or falling short like last year? If they do how far do you think they will go?
I like the Panthers. They are a great story. They won a big game in NJ, when no one wins there. This Bouwmeester cloud is looming large for them, but I love the way they're playing. More Florida fans should get out and see them! There was nobody at the game last night. That has to change.
HI Barry, What should the Ducks do to obtain (maintain) a playoff spot? The penalty problem is killing them, and despite showing more scoring potential with Selanne back, the D-men aren't doing their job. Is it time for a trade, and for what position?
The Ducks are against the salary cap, so they don't have a lot of room to do things. They need to be the team that we've seen with good defense and good goaltending. They are a good hockey team who can't add much with the salary cap, but I think they make the playoffs. They'll just have to do it with the team they already have.
Barry, do you think it's ridiculous that some people are suggesting that Weeks and Clemenson start over Marty because of how well the team has played while he's been out?
I think it's ridiculous. It's Marty's team. Weeks and Clemmensen know that. I think the NJ backup will play more next year, but Marty will be back at the end of February, and I think you'll see him play just about every game until the playoffs. Everyone knows that.
Hi Barry, With Chris Osgood giving up lots of goals, do you think the Wings will turn the reins over to Ty Conklin, or do you believe they'll stick with Chris?
It's going to be whoever is hottest going into the playoffs. They'll play similar amounts of games. I don't think the Red Wings are as worried about their goaltending as everyone else.
What should the Canes do to improve at the deadline? A D-man perhaps?
They've got a couple of defensemen hurt last night. They would love to have a defenseman, but so would 15 other teams. The Canes need to win games with the team they've got. I thought Carolina played pretty well in their loss to Boston.
I know that Manny playing a lot early in the season will be a factor, but when are Tim Thomas for MVP talks going to heat up? Do you think he is a deserving candidate?
I think he's had a great year. He's certainly a guy you look at for the Vezina. If you look around the league, there are a lot of guys having unbelievable years. If he was playing more games, I think he'd have a better case for it. He's been a great story and is certainly one of the best goaltenders in the NHL.
With Patrick Sharp injured, what will the Hawks be looking to do to help make up that big loss?
He's only supposed to be out a few weeks, which is good. They will score goals, even without Sharp, so they just need to ride it out. He'll be back with plenty of time left for the playoffs.
Tell me about the St. Louis Blues. They are playing well right now and have a lot of young talent. Do they move Tkachuk and what can they get for him? Do they have a shot at the playoffs?
Right now they do. That might change the way they are thinking--they may not be sellers right now. But if they stumble, Tkachuk will be the guy they will want to move. Everything changes.
Settleit once and for all....Crosby or Ovie?
Wow. Ovechkin's been a better player this year, though Crosby was better last year. We're not going to settle it for the next ten years. Crosby may be the more complete player, but the way Ovechkin is playing right now, you have to give the edge to him.
Will a loss tonight to the Islanders seal Renney's fate?
It'll be tough. They are in the 8-spot, they are not scoring, their defense has been erratic--this could be the last nail in the coffin. It could spell the end of Tom Renney. This is a very important game for Tom Renny and the Rangers. They need this game bad.
We're going to have a great finish in both divisions. We have six weeks of great hockey coming up!