Ok guys, let's rock and roll
Will the Rangers make the playoffs?
No clue Steiny, if I did for sure I'd actually make money gambling, not lose :) But they have played better under Torts.Tough thing for them right now is that Carolina and Pitt are on fire. Their hope has to be to beat out Florida or Montreal
Is Gary Roberts a future hall of famer? 1st ballot?
Andrew, Gary has been one of my favorite players, but I don't think he'll be Hall material when all is said and done. Cam Neely barely got in and he's considered the great power forward of all time
What is your take on if the playoffs started today. how do you like the match ups in either the western or eastern conferences?
Well the two matchups right now that really catch my eye is Hawks-Canucks in the West and Caps-Pens in the East. That's what it would be if the playoffs began today. The young Hawks will be so much fun to have in the playoffs with the United Center rocking, but the Canucks are perhaps the hottest team in the West since Feb. 1 at 12-3-0 snce then. If Luongo does his thing in Game 1, how would the young Chicago team react? As Pens-Caps? What else needs to be said. Bring it on !
Are the Ducks cooked? It seems that the trade deadline aquisitions are not ment to help this year or that the team is just not able to pull it together right now. What do the Ducks need to get back to contender again for next year?
Hey folks ... hang tight. Pierre is having some computer issues, but he should be back soon!
sorry guys, my Internet blew up. I'm back now
Hi Pierre, I'm a big fan of your Work, and I walked right past you at the Winter Classic and forgot to get an Autograph :( I'd like one so when are you in Vancouver??
Thanks Har, but I'm glad you didn't ask for an autograph. I'm just a journalist ! Great time in Chicago, though eh?
My Canucks have No Offensive Depth, I think there wrong for not Aquiring anybody, just somebody at the Deadline. Are they roayally screwed if a Top 6 Player goes down upfront??
forgot to answer your question. Well, I would also have liked to see them acquire some help at the deadline but GM Mike Gillis refuse to pay the crazy prices that were out there for rentals. You'll be happy the team still has some of those young assets down the road.
Will there be no more organized fighting in the league in another year? Do you eventually see the NHL without any fighting? I personally hope not.
This is such a heavy topic. I can't give it justice in this forum only to say that I think outside pressures on the game will see fighting decrease over the course of time.
Do you think the Blues will make this playoffs this year? Also, what are your thoughts on youngsters David Perron, T.J. Oshie, and Patrik Berglund?
It would be great to see the Blues back in there, it's amazing to see them claw back into it over the last few weeks after most of us left them for dead at the all-star break. I think in the end they'll fall just short but what a great future. Oshie, especially, is really impressive, a two-way guy with great hockey smarts.
Hey Pierre! Would you say most of these slumps/streaks will stop soon? Will Boston, Washington, and San Jose win the rest of their games? Will Pittsburgh lose some? Who's going to be hot down the home stretch and who's hot not that won't be?
Interesting question Joe. I was talking to Dennis Wideman of the Bruins today and he saying how much more desperate the playoff bubble teams are right now than teams at the top and those desperate teams are playing better hockey because there's no tomorrow. Time for the top teams to play like it's the playoffs !
I can't figure Buffalo out! Is the problem that Lindy Ruff is not getting through to these young players, or is the Rieger/Quinn philosophy of banking on these young players to turn into superstars proving to be a failure? Thanks.
You and me both. A month ago I did a big feature story on them for ESPN.com because I was convinced they were on their way up for good. But the injury to Vanek coupled with the one to Ryan Miller really took the wind out of their sails. I'm convinced if those two guys never got hurt they'd be sitting in fifth right now
Hey Pierre, I was wondering what you think about the burn out in Boston that's happening. If you were Claude Julien, what would you be either doing or telling the players to get them back on track. Also, how deep do you see the B's going?
Rick, you probably just saw what Wideman told me today. But to add to that, it's like the top seeds in Boston, San Jose and Detroit are all struggling because they're waiting for the playoffs to start. It's like the regular season was one month to long for them. They need to re-focus and finish off the stretch run sharp.
Can the Penguins catch the Devils?
Love getting the questions from Georgia! No I don't think the Pens can catch the Devils but I will tell you this _ Pittsburgh could be a dangerous darkhorse come mid-April. They've got their swagger back and the Kunitz/Guerin pickups were tremendous
Pierre, Paul Maurice has the Canes gunning for the playoffs, and hopefully peaking at the right time. Do you think Maurice needs the playoffs to keep his job for the 2009-10 season? Thanks
Hunt, unless I misread the tea leaves in Carolina, I think the plan all along was for Paul to probably move up into the front office next season and Ron Francis to take over as head coach. But then again, maybe Paul is having too much right now !
What should the Penguins do with Satan?
Andrew, he's UFA July 1 so they can just let him walk away and pretend it never happened !
Whats the point of the no-change icing rule if you are going to allow a 3 minute tv timeout? This is the best they could come up with?
Bob, that was indeed a problem last year. But this season, TV networds aren't allowed to go to TV timeouts on a icing exactly for that reason.
Piere, when do you think Ilya Kovalchuk will be dealt? The Entry Draft or the trade deadline next season?
Luke, I think if the Thrashers find out after the season that he doesn't want to do an extension, then they'll try hard to deal him at the draft or in the summer. No question. But if he's showing like he wants to talk extension, that will buy him some time
I like your little beard
This is me blushing :)
What are the chances of the Blues making it to the playoffs this year with all of the uncertainty of the West? As a lifelong fan, I'm trying to hold out hope and save my nails every time I think of them making it even though I'm sure they'd be one and done if they do..
Answered this earlier Woody, I hope I'm wrong but I think the young Blues will fall just short
Hey Pierre, any predictions for the Memorial Cup? Maybe Calgary and Windsor in the final?
No clue ! Following 30 NHL teams every night leaves me no time for junior hockey sir !
Of positions 5-10 in the East, which two teams do you see as not making the playoff cut, and why? Also, first-round what matchups do you want to see?
I think at this point I'd have to say Florida and Buffalo are out. First-round matchup I'd love to see if Caps-Pens
Hey, Pierre. Now that Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin seem to have clicked pretty well in Pittsburgh thusfar, does this finally put to rest the search for a scoring winger for Crosby? How do you see this playing out next season?
Yes Crosby is definitely well taken care of now. I spoke with Bill Guerin just about 90 minutes ago and he says he's having a blast playing with Kunitz and Crosby. Guerin is UFA July 1 and Kunitz is signed long-term. If Guerin has a big stretch run, it woudnl't suprise me if the Pens looked at bringing him back for one year
Pierre, I'm a huge Devils fan and am so happy with the way this year has gone. With the Bruins having lost 5 of 6, and only leading the East by 6 points, and having played two more games than the Devils, is it reasonable for me to think the Devils can overtake them for the conference lead?
No question. The Devils are the best team in the East right now, if not the NHL. They're 19-4-0 since mid-January. They're rolling four lines and Marty is back. D-a-n-g-e-r-o-u-s
Hey Pierre, what's your take on the Rangers bringing Avery back? The Stars made what many consider a pretty strong statement by letting him go. What're the Rangers saying????
Wendy, the Rangers are the only team who wanted Avery. To me it showed how desperate the Rangers were to save their season and also try and bring some jazz to a lineup that has had no identity all season long. Desperate? yes. Will it work? maybe
By the way, thought everyone should know that Ak Bars Kazan beat Avangard Omsk (Jaromir Jagr's team) today to level up their second-round playoffs series. Now which other ESPN,.com guys give you that kind of timely reporting !!!!!
Pierre, the Pens are RED HOT...what's your take on how far they can go in the playoffs? I personally believe they have the potential to win the east again, but I don't know about hoisting Lord Stanley. Realistically if the Pens keep getting good goal tending and the stars keep showing up, could they claim the East again? The Cup?
LIke I said earlier Andrew, I was talking to Bill Guerin today and he can't believe how well his new team is playing and feels they defintely have as good a shot as anyone. The thing about Pitt, too, is that it went to the finals last year and has that experience. I still think New jersey is the best team right now in the East but Pitt is a scary darkhorse
Pierre, Love the blog and the insight you've brought to ESPN.com. Quick question: Since Dan Bylsma took over head coaching duties, the Penguins have looked like a completely different team. Dare I say, the team many of us expected the Pens to be out of the gate. They are controlling the tempo of every game, employing a very aggressive forecheck that other teams have not been able to counter. If the Pens continue to play a similar style, do you think they will be one of the "teams to beat" in the East, regardless of their playoff seeding? The only team I think the Pens would have trouble with in terms of personnel is the Bruins. Could the Pens be the team to beat even if they end up with the 7 or 8 seed? (Side note: Man, I feel bad for the #1 or #2 seed if they end up playing the Pens in the first round!)
Jake, every thoughtful and detailed question, which I pretty much answered earlier in other posts... The Pens are not the team a high seed wants to face, that's for sure. You'd rather get a slumping Montreal or a teetering Rangers team instead. By the way, how about Philly-Pitt in the first round, hello !!!!
QUESTION TO PIERRE LEBRUN AT.4.40 PM HI PIERRE WHOS GONNA BE NEXT NHL COACH FIRED
If Edmonton doesn't make the playoffs, I think Craig MacTavish finally gets it even though I'm a big fan of the guy.
Ovechkin or Malkin MVP?
How about Parise?
Sean Avery or You in a fight?
Definitely Avery. he would kill me. I enjoyed the odd scrap back in my mullet-wearing days while playing hockey in Northern Ontario but I lost every single one. But a beer-drinking contest? Now you're talking.
Pierre, What is your opinion about the Isles youth line and their success as of late? (Okposo, Bailey, Tambellini, etc)
There is indeed light at the end of the tunnel. We're beginning to see that thare are pieces to build on. The key for the Isles is to land John Tavares with the No. 1 pick. Now you're talking.
Do you think the Devils have what it takes to go all the way this season?
Rebecca, yes I do. I love banking on teams that have big second halfs and that's exactly what the Devils have done.
What's the deal with the Bruins right now, just a tough strech or should I be worried about them going into the playoffs? I can't handle another 1st round defeat like the last few years.
LIke Sasn Jose and Detroit, I think the Bruins are tired of the regular season and want the playoffs to start. So there's a bit of a lack of focus right now. Also, not to make you crazy, but I would be concerned as a Bruins fan about whether this team can handle the pressure of being a No. 1 seed. I know Montreal couldn't last year.
Hey Pierre, what's your opinion of fighting in hockey??
John, most of my career I was a big defender of it. Loved it and believed it had an integral role. When Todd Fedoruk had his face cave in on him in a fight two years ago, it made me re-think my stance. I'm still not ready to say I want fighting gone, but I do concern myseflf with hoping we can find ways to make it safe, which the NHL GMs discussed this week in Naples.
Do you think Marty Biron has finally claimed the #1 spot for the rest of the season?
Amanda, yes. I was talking to Flyers coach John Stevens today and he talked about Biron looking better and Biron having that playoff experience from last year. Sounded to me like the coach knows who his guy is. But that doesn't mean Biron will start every night. I think Stevens likes to have both guys in there and keeping Biron fresh
You are the GM for a new expansion team and you have the first pick, you can pick any player that is in the league right now, who do you take? A. Malkin B. Crosby C. Ovechkin D. Other
Pierre, what do you think the chances are of a Western Conference Finals seeing the Blackhawks face the Calgary Flames? Wotherwise, a WCF without the Sharks or the Wings?
It's very plausible. The Flames are a battle-tested squad that can do some damage. Their window is now. The Hawks are very young so I worry about that but their skill level is among the highest in the league. The way Osgood has played in Detroit and with San Jose's past playoff hicc-ups, the Flames and Hawks and even Vancouver could surprise
Big time Devils fan here. Our 3 Cups aside for the moment, the Devils have a history of doing well in the regular season and then getting bumped in round 1 or 2. DO you see this year's team as a team ready to make a Cup run or more like a one and done team?
Cup run my friend. The East is wide-open but right now they're my pick
Hey Pierre, huge fan. Just wanna know, what do you think of the Sharks this year?
Well buddy, back in September when all my media guys had jumped off their wagon, I still picked them yet again to win the Cup. One of these years I'll be right, no? I just liked the additions of Blake and Boyle and the new coach Todd Mclellan. Fresh voices with Cup rings. They're not looking very good right now, but I think they're looking ahead to the party and wanting to skip March
what do you think of the oilers play lately, and their deadline day additions?
I really liked the addtiions of Kotalik and O'Sullivan but quite frankly, am not that impressed by their play of late. They need to tighten up in front of Roloson.
Does Mike Green have a legitimate shot to win the Norris trophy?
Yes. I think he's in the mix along with Chara, Weber, Boyle and Lidstrom.
Folks, I have to run. Cable guy is here to fix my internet. Sorry for the technical problems today. Will make it up next week ! Cheers