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March 17, 6:43 AM ET
Chat with Pierre LeBrun

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:00 PM)

Hello puck heads, let's rock and roll !

lou, long island

PB, I thought Carey Price would be a Vezina candidate within his first 3 yrs in the league. As a NYR fan, I was happy he couldn't stop anything in the shootout last night but why the ongoing struggles?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:01 PM)

Lou, great point by you. I think Carey Price is one of the biggest surprises/disappointments of the NHL season. In my mind, he hasn't been the same since his meltdown in Philly in last year's playoffs. I'm beginning to wonder if Montreal didn't rush him. After all, he still only 21. To me, he lookis unsure on some plays and lacks confidence. A story to keep on eye on for sure.

Steiny (NYC) [via mobile]

Is it true that Oren Koules and Len Barrie are no longer on speaking terms? What are you hearing about this situation?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:03 PM)

I'm not sure if that's true or not Steiny, sorry.

Scott (PA)

Hey Pierre. Does NJ win the east? How about the president's trophy?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:04 PM)

I said two weeks ago that the Devils would win the East, and certainly I think they're the favs to represent the East in the Cup Finals. Check out my blog tomorrow morning but you'll see that the Devils in fact have the best record since the halway point of the season in the entire NHL. Prez Trophy? Wings.

Jim Bourbonnais, IL

The Blackhawks' subpar play of late has me ready to jump off the possible Cup darkhorse bandwagon. Is there anything you can say that'll help me keep the faith?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:05 PM)

Well Jim, I share your concerns, which is why I wrote about it Tuesday morning... I think the young bucks are feeling the heat a little right now. But the good news is that help is on the way. Sammy Pahlsson was actviated from IR today and that'll be a boost. But i will tell you this, I'd be hard pressed not to pick Vancouver if it's Hawks-Canucks in the first round

Sean (TR NJ)

I was wondering what your thoughts on the Panthers making the playoffs are they need it bad and if they dont make it was not trading Jay a very big mistake?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:08 PM)

That's a great observation Sean and one that I was going to make tomorrow in my morning blog as well.... I was the first guy to give jacques martin credit for having the cohunas to not deal Bouwmeester March 4 but if they miss the playoffs, oh dear... But you can't play the second-guessing game, that's too easy. The one thing that's going to haunt Florida possibly is that they've won only three of 11 shootouts this year _ that's a lot of points left on the table.

Brandon (Pittsburgh, PA)

What are the chances that Bill Guerin is with the Penguins after this year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:09 PM)

Well if he has a strong playoff, I'm sure Pens GM Ray Shero will give it some thought, but not at the $4.5-million price tag he had this year. If he wants to come back at a discount and played well with Sid, Shero would probably think about it.

Brook (Chicago, IL)

I think Detroit's Andreas Lilja might be one of the worst decision makers in the game. Am I crazy or are there others out there who notice how bad he looks? I would note that Detroit has been much better lately with him out of the lineup...

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:10 PM)

I think you're beeing a little harsh Brook ! But clearly he's notthing more than a 5/6 defenseman so really, there expecatations aren't that high anyway... But he might be a guy whose job is in trouble next season if Ericsson has a good camp

Luke Pittsburgh PA

Who do you think will get the Hart?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:12 PM)

My three candidates right now, in no particular order, are Zach Parise, Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin. I actually have to list five guys when I put in my official Hart Trophy ballot with the Professinal Hockey Writers' Association. Parise may surprise many but keep in mind the guy is second only to Ovechkin in goals and top five in points and the Devils didn't have Brodeur for three months....

Tyler(Raleigh,NC)

Pierre. Hurricanes end the drought and make the playoffs?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:13 PM)

Yes I think so. Starting tonight against New Jersey, the Canes have eight of their remaining 11 games at home. Florida, Buffalo and Montreal are fading.... I think the Canes get in

Jason (Phila, PA)

Hi Pierre, any chance Bylsma gets some COTY votes?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:15 PM)

No way. Too late in the year when he took over. He's done a great job, but keep in mind all the great candidates that have been there all year: Julien, Sutter, Babcock, McLellan, Quenneville (almost all year), Trotz (if Nash gets in), Hitchcock (if Columbus gets in), etc... Lots of candidates.

Dan (Bridgewater, NJ)

Stanley cup finals! Your prediction

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:16 PM)

Devils-Sharks. I can't give up on San Jose now _ I picked them last September !!!! But Detroit, Calgary and Vancouver could easily be there as well

Joe (Pittsburgh PA)

Hey Pierre, Big Pens fan here getting ready for a long playoff run. Will Miroslav Satan be available for the playoffs? And will the Pens bring him up?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:18 PM)

My guess is that they would bring him just before the playoffs since salaries stop counting against the salary cap after the regular season. But I'd be just guessing, haven't spoken to Ray Shero in a few weeks

Mike (NYC)

Would Brodeur be able to concentrate on his game instead of Avery, in a possible Rangers - Devils matchup in the playoffs?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:19 PM)

Hadn't even thought of that possiblity until you just mentioned it. Devils-Rangers would be great again ! Well, Avery would get an unpsportsmanlike penalty if he did that stick-waving thing again in ffront of Brodeur. NHL refs were told to call that if he ever did it again.

Jason (Phila, PA)

Sean from Trenton NJ needs to go back to his English class

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:20 PM)

Some people would argue so do I :)

Roza (NYC)

Who got the better former Buffalo center NYR in Chris Drury or Philly with Briere?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:20 PM)

A tie _ both teams would be disappointed at this point, the Rangers because of Drury's play and the Flyer because of Briere's injuries...

Jay (Thirteenburgh, PA)

Good job, you make hockey on ESPN.com. Do you have a vote for MVP and who do you choose? Malkin all the way.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:21 PM)

Thanks Jay, I answer this earlier but Malkin/Parise/OV the obvious three candidates in my mind

Dan (Bridgewater, NJ)

Where do you think Bouwmeester will go after this season?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:22 PM)

My guess is Edmonton, Calgary or Vancouver. He's a Western Canadian boy and I think he misses home.

Richard (Greensboro, NC)

I know it's early, but who in the top few teams in the East do you think Carolina would match up against best in the playoffs?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:23 PM)

I think Boston is vulnerable right now. They don't look comfortable as the top seed and I think they're ripe for a possible upset. I could be wrong, but that's just a gut feeling

Mike (NYC)

Who do you think is going to be 4-8 in the east when the season is done?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:24 PM)

4. Pitt 5. Pha 6. NYR 7. Carolina. 8. Florida. 9. Buffalo. 10. Montreal

Kevin (Chicago, IL)

What is your take on the Senators and there future, do you think it was a bad idea not to move Spezza at the deadline? A

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:27 PM)

Actually Kevin, they've been pretty darn good under new coach Corey Clouston, going 12-6-3.... so I think GM Bryan Murray is hopeful things have finally turned around going forward although obviously it's too late to make the playoffs. As for Spezza, they've got until July 1 before his no-trade clause kicks in. Plenty of big moves are made at the June entry draft so Ottawa still has lots of time to pull that trigger if it feels it's the right move.... I'm just not sure how you replace his offense.

Bill (Pomona California)

Hey Pierre, since the Kings probably won't make the playoffs this years, who will be the goalies next year, or the odd man out if you prefer - Bernier, Quick, or Ersberg? Will Bernier be ready for the NHL next year? Thanks!

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:28 PM)

I think Quick is the No. 1 guy next year, which leaves it to Bernier and Ersberg for the No. 2 job.... Bernier needs to have a big camp, he was very disappointing last September

Brent (Connecticut)

Pierre, one thing that people overlook about the Devils is that they're 9-1 and overtime and almost never reach the shootout. To me, that's the mark of a winning team; teams that don't get points out of losses. The Sharks/B's/Wings all have a lot of OT losses, and in the playoffs, those translate to simple losses. The Devils have the best total won/loss record in the entire NHL, at 46-23, and it's mainly because they always play for two points.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:29 PM)

Right now, they're the best team in the NHL, pure and simple. But we'll see how Detroit and San Jose regroup for the playoffs when it really matters. The Wings know what it takes... But yes, I'm not sure who in the East can beat New jersey right now...

Scott Alexandria Va

Pierre even though the Caps have played shoddy in the past 2-3 weeks don't count them out yet. Getting Pothier, a good moving puck dman, back and fresh will be as good as a trade and he should help Green a lot on the blue line. The played better last night in their own end and as the playoffs near I think Boudreau will have them more focused behind the blue line. Thoughts?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:31 PM)

I'm not counting them out at all Scott, I think they're in for a long playoff run and wouldn't be surprised if it's Caps-Devils in the conf finals... but I'm just saying no team in the East is playing as well as NJ right now

John (Eden Prairie, MN)

Many "experts" used to say that Detroit was so good in the regular season because the Central division was weak. With the great success of all 5 teams this year, why isn't Detroit getting more respect for being in what I think is the strongest division and still managing to be the best team in the NHL? I know they have been good for a long time, but greatness shouldn't be ignored just because it's expected.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:33 PM)

Good point about the Central, John. I think you don't hear that much about Detroit because from my perspective as a writer, what else can I say? I've written countless times that they're the best organization in hockey and they're the current Cup champs. One thing about the media business John that you need to understand is that telling people that the sky is blue gets boring after a while. Us media hacks like to follow the fresher stories... so there's been lots written about Chicago and Washinton and Boston this year because of that... new stories to tell... but I can tell you none of us has forgotten the Wings. They rock.

Gene Mullett (Cowtown, OH)

Do you think the Blue Jackets have any kind of team or are they only going as far as Mason goes?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:35 PM)

They're a good team Gene. Mason is huge for them but I also like the system Hitchcock has them playing, takes advantage of opponents' mistakes. Vermette and Williams were terrific pickups. Not sure they can upset any of the top three seeds but I'm sure you'll agrree just making the playoffs for the first time in franchise history would be a lot of fun !

brian (nyc)

with the rule change post lockout that there has to always be a winner, how many more wins do you think it will be worth to Brodeur's record when all is said and done. Will it also hold up as goaltenders will now be starting their careers in an age where there are no ties?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:36 PM)

Well he's got 27 shootout wins, tied for the most with Henrik Lundqivst since the shootout came into effect four years ago... you can't discount that factor and Brodeur himself has acknowledged it.. still even without those 27 shootou wins he would have easily eclipsed patrick next season....

Jon (Boston)

Pierre, Everyone is throwing Mike Green's name into the ring for Norris trophy. But isn't the Norris trophy best DEFENSEman? Last I check, Green had a great shot, but didn't play a whole lot of defense. More goals doesn't mean better defender. Who are the REAL contenders?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:41 PM)

Jon, the Norris has been all about offense for a very long time, going back to when Paul Coffey and Brian Leetch won a few... My colleagues and I at the Professional Hockey Writers' Asscoiation vote on the Norris as well and it's always been a guy that's had big offensive numbers... I share your frustration but it's too late now to change 30 years of voting... Luckily in the last decade it didn't matter because Lidstrom was in a league of his own... But my guess if these are the guys that will get the most votes after the regular season: Chara, Green, Weber, Listrom, Boyle

Joe Detroit, MI

You picking San Jose means they will win best of 7 with home advantage to the Wings. How do you figure with bad playoff experience and their recent play of late?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:43 PM)

I picked them Joe just to honor my September pick. I'm sure I'll change my mind 10 times before the puck drops in mid-April :) Detroit looks awfully good

Mike, San Jose CA

The Sharks look awful. I do not think they'll choke in the 2nd round this year - at this point I do not think they'll get to the 2nd round this year. I can't see them beating anyone in a 7 game series right now. What do they need to do to turn this around?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:44 PM)

I'm sure if I knew Todd McLellan would phone me ! This is when you hope that all those Stanley Cup rings Doug Wilson acquired last summer in Blake, Boyle, Lukowich and McLellan comes through and settles an anxious dressing room

Bob(Pittsburgh)

How about Crosby for MVP if he keeps up the streak hes on? Could he possibly keep Malkin from getting it?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:45 PM)

Well you see that's just it with Pittsburgh. You've got two superstars, two guys that deserve Hart nominations every single year. It's called vote-splitting !

Mike (NYC)

Hi Pierre, you just put Montreal to finish 10th. Bad move on firing the coach, or were they going to start sinking anyway?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:46 PM)

Only Anaheim, Phoenix and Colorado have a worst record than the Habs since the midway point. That doesn't sit well with how I feel about them.

Craig (Wyckoff, NJ)

If the Norris was actually for defensive abilities Scott Stevens would have walked home with a few...

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:47 PM)

Bingo

Craig Lindsay Ontario Canada

What do you make of the strong play by this Junior team the Islandesr are currently employing. Sign of positive things for the future or just a mirage (they better be careful or they may lose Tavares).

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:48 PM)

Hello Lindsay, Ontario, I've spent a few nights there over the years.... It's always dangerous to read too much into late-season play by teams that were knocked out long ago.. same in all sports... but the Isles do have some good youth...

Dave (Winnipeg)

Hey Pierre, why aren't the Leafs giving Pogge the bulk of the starts until the end of the season to position themselves for a better draft pick? Finishing 9th or 10th in the East is the worst case scenario for this season.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:48 PM)

Great question and I don't have the answer other than I know upper management isn't convinced Pogge is ready

Vaibhav, Boston, MA

Do you think Havelid will have a big impact for the Devils in the post season?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:51 PM)

I think he was a very underrated pickup by the Devils, kind of like when the Wings grabbed Brad Stuart at last year's deadline

Cody (Virginia)

Hi Pierre, why is it that the only time ESPN wants to cover hockey, its about how "people" want to take fighting out of the game? Why won't they cover it more for the sport?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:52 PM)

Cody, Scott Burnside and I have been writing about the ''sport" all season long. Not sure what you're talking about.

Mike (NYC)

Any chance the Rangers can re-sign both Zherdev and Antropov?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:53 PM)

I think it really depends on how this all plays out... if the team does well and those guys are central figures, then yes, they'lll get offers. But if Antropov for example is a bum come playoff time, see ya later

matt (detroit)

Did the red wings make a mistake not keeping kyle quincy over guys like lilja, lebda, or chelios?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:53 PM)

Yes, and Ken Holland will be the first to tell you... hey, the guy has a million Cup rings, you can't be perfect all the time !!!

Tony (Newport News, VA)

How can Crosby not get mentioned in MVP discussions..? I know Malkin has the inside track, but Crosby has played fewer games and has been dominant in the past 10 games.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:54 PM)

Sid The Kid gets a vote from me every year, he's awesome. But the fact he missed a few games will hur thim in the voting cause that's the point with the Hart vote, durablity as well as production

Chris (Sunnyvale, CA)

The Sharks had a very tough loss last night. After spotting Phoenix 3 goals in the 1st, they finally started to show signs of being the Sharks of earlier this season - only to lose the game on a questionable penalty with about 30 seconds left. Can the Sharks take the positive play in the 2nd and 3rd period as motivation or does the 1st period form and the eventual loss put more negative pressure on the team?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:56 PM)

I think right now it's mostly negative Chris. They need to pull this together ASAP

eric(baltimore)

To defend Green: +22 rating. Without him the Caps are 7-7 and allow half a goal a game more.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:56 PM)

Nice one

Tyler (Littleton, CO

The Avs are obviously done this year. What do you think they need to do in the short-term to get back in the hunt for 2010? Something on the goalie front?.?.?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:57 PM)

They need more than off-season tinkering. Time to blow this baby up. As Adrian Dater wrote int he Denver Post today, lose the rest of your games and draft Tavares !!!!

Adam (Hoboken, NJ)

Does Zach Parise have a chance at winning the Hart even thought Ovechkin will probably end up with more goals at the end of the regular season?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:58 PM)

Definitely. I guarantee you he'll end up top-five in voting

President Obama (White House)

If I had to pick the 16 teams to make the playoffs and then proceed by picking the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and Stanley Cup victors... Who would I choose..?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:59 PM)

Big boy, you lose points for not coming to the Winter Classic at Wrigley right in your back yard on Jan. 1. I'm still not happy with you about that. But maybe you'll go watch some caps games in April ?

Pierre LeBrun
  (5:00 PM)

OK puck heads, another fun chat this week. Hang tight and don't be afraid to drop the gloves.