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March 20, 12:31 PM ET
Chat with Pierre LeBrun

Pierre LeBrun
  (3:58 PM)

OK cool cats, let's talk puck

Steiny (NYC)

Joe Sakic is trying to come back before the season is over. Why is he rushing? The Avalanche are not going to make the playoffs.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:00 PM)

Welcome back Steiny. Pure speculation on my part but I wonder if he doesn't want to make sure he doesn't play another game or two in an Avs uniform for the last time in case he either retires or plays for another team next season. Some people believe he might want to play for his native Vancouver next year to cap it all off, plus the Olympics are there... But that's all speculation at this point.

Jim Bourbonnais, IL

Hey Pierre, Who has a better chance of making a playoff run: the Blackhawks or the Blue Jackets?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:01 PM)

The Hawks. They've got more firepower and overall they're just a better team. Obviously Mason is a wild-card for Columbus because he can just steal a game and maybe a serious but in the end just making the playoffs for the first time in their history is a big-enough accomplishment for Columbus

Woody, Columbus, OH

Does Tyler Bozak at U of Denver project as a top six forward, and is he a kid who could end up on an NHL playoff roster after the Frozen Four?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:04 PM)

Well, let me put it to you this way, we hear there's more than a dozen NHL teams trying to sign him. So that should tell you all you need to know !

Joe, NYC

Hey Pierre! If the playoffs started today, the Caps would play the Penguins. First question - prediction for a series like that? Second - which other possible series are you really excited about this year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:06 PM)

Caps in seven (home ice) but that's not a confident pick on my part. Theodore is a question mark and the Pens have been a better second-half team... Would be a great series thought. Other series I hope to see include Detroit-St. Louis, Washington-Montreal or Pittsburgh-Philadlephia

Prashanth (Chapel Hill, NC)

Hey Pierre, quick question about the Wild West. Supposing that every team stays in the spot that they are right now, wouldn't it be more envious to be the #2 seed in the West than the #1? I think a road through Edmonton and Calgary/Columbus would be much more envious than a road through Anaheim and Chicago/Vancouver

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:08 PM)

Clever observation. For a long time the top seed in the West was about being able to possibly avoid Calgary in the second round. But Vancovuer's monster second half kind of makes that a moot point. Fact is, there ain't no easy way to the Cup in the West.

Liam Hart (Norton, MA)

Who wins in this game: Team World or Team North America?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:09 PM)

Team World in a shootout :)

Seth (Fort Worth, TX)

Are Dave Tippett's days in Dallas done?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:11 PM)

Only Tom Hicks knows that answer. I know that rumor is ciculating and I think it's crazy. Name me a head coach who could lose his best defenseman, Sergei Zubov, his best forward, Brenden Morrow, his second-best forward, Brad Richards, also put up with several other injuries and then pretend that the team is just as good? Give me a break, the coach is not the issue in Dallas

VJ (Moncton, NB)

I was wondering what your take on Montreal is, and why they seem to have caught the Sens cancer?(solid win last night, but still lots of room to improve) And is it just me, or is Carey Price flashing his glove a lot more lately, maybe to show everyone it's not as weak as they think?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:12 PM)

The Habs lack leadership, pure and simple. Other than Saku Koivu and Max Lapierre and Chris Higgins a few others, I'm not sure how many guys on that team really care about winning. With half the team headed for free agency, the good news for Montreal is that they can clean house if need be.

King (Howell, NJ)

Pierre, any concern with the Devils right now or just a slight bump in the road losing 3 of 4?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:13 PM)

I call it the 552 hangover. So much buzz and spotligh on Marty's record and then it's like the next day comes and you're like, 'Oh, we still have to play games before the playoffs?' Minor bump.

Andrew Wilson, Reno, Nevada

The majority of people believe that the Sharks and Red Wings will meet in the Western Conferance Finals. Now home ice will be important especially with these two teams but I think both teams can win at each others arena at least once. So in my opinion the real defining factor if this matchup happens is that it will come down to goaltending. Both teams are great but have tendencies and goaltending is a big one. The Wings have no idea who their starter is. Osgood has the experience but hasn't played great and hasn't been consistent. Conklin has had a better year than Osgood and has playoff experience from the 06 Stanley Cup but still he isn't steller. The question is will the Wings bench Osgood. For the Sharks Nabokov has had better days. Sure he has a lot of wins but that can be credited to the Sharks defense. His stats aren't terrific and are hovering the middle. So the question for the Sharks is if Nabokov can turn it up come playoff time. But my true question is if you had to pick right now who would win the Sharks or the Wings and in how many games?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:15 PM)

Puck head from Reno ! Love it. Nice analysis Andrew, well put. As you probably know, I picked the Sharks back in September to go all the way so I must remain true to my pick !

Josue (Ottawa, Ontario)

Hello M. Lebrun Happy to know you come from Hearst. I lived in Timmins for the last 4 years, that is all my high school. Bonjour, de tous les gens du Nord de L'Ontario. lol Anyways, wanted to know where you think saku koivu and alex Kovalev will end up if they dnt sign in montreal ?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:16 PM)

Bonjour a toi aussi, fellow Nothern Ontario native ! I think for Koivu it's two options _ back in Montreal or maybe in Minensota with his brother Mikko No clue on Kovalev, that's a real wild card.

George ( sherwood Park, AB)

Hey Pierre, belated congrats on your little girl!!!!!!!!! anyway, here's a quick note about the 3 point games A)don't like them b) see A seriously, OT drags, then the shoot out if the NHL is set on keeping it, make it 2 points for the win, regardless if it's regulation,ot, ot the shoot out......no single point. secondly, to speed things up, how about Burkes idea- 1 minute penalties - i think there should be no penalties in OT, award a penalty shot for all infractions, with both teams getting a shot rather than 3 on 3 coincidental penalties too. any player getting a penalty in OT cannot take part in shoot out. thx, see you on HNIC.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:18 PM)

Sherwood Park, home of Ken Hitchcock ! Here's the thing about the three-point games and why they're here to stay: the league likes the fact it keeps the standings tight and helps the parity... Look at the races in both conference, the NBA would kill to have that.

Alex M., Frederick, MD

How much of Simeon Varlamov will Capitals fans get to see for the rest of the year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:19 PM)

Well I guess that depends on Mr. Theodore. My gut feeling is that if Theodore has one bad game early in the playoffs the Caps will have no hesittation to throw the rookie Varlamov into the playoff fire....

AJ: (Pittsburgh, Pa)

Do you think the Penguins have to get past the first round of the playoffs for Malkin to win the MVP?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:20 PM)

AJ, the voting for all major trophies, including the Hart, is done before the playoffs start. They are regulatar season awards. The winners aren't announced until June but the voting is done before a single game is played for the playoffs.

Adam (Sandusky Ohio)

Im a big time Blue Jackets fan and im so excited with the year they are having. We dont have as many goal scorers as many teams but we have good role players. So do you think it is possible that we get past round 1 of the playoffs, considering we make it?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:21 PM)

You should be excited, these are heady times for the Jackets and their fans. The top seeds in the West will tough to take down but you've got a goalie that can steal a game and possibly a series. That's the deal breaker.

Ben (Trenton, NJ)

Hey Pierre, are the East teams more competitive as a whole then the West?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:22 PM)

Ah... No. I think more than ever that I can recall in recent history the West is so much better than the East.

Dan (Rochester, NY)

Bonjour Pierre. I am still holding on strong to my Sabres playoff hopes but things are starting to looking dim. In my opinion Lindy Ruff is a great coach but do you think it is time for Ruff to leave Buffalo or should we be looking at the GM? One final question, playoff run??

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:23 PM)

Dan, can't blame the coach or the GM for the star goalie getting injured _ which has really hurt the Sabres _ or their top goal scorer being out for a long period, which also hurt....

Mike (St. Louis, MO)

With the Blues being so close to making the playoffs, and getting key players back from injuries next year, do you see them going after any free agents this off season?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:25 PM)

Mike, as you probably heard earlier this month, the Blues made a serious inquiry about Chris Pronger in Anaheim. The price was too high at the time. But I think the Blues will make another call to Anaheim for sure come June. He's got one more year left on his deal at $6.25 million... Former Blue and a fan favorite... I think St. Louis will at least try that route again and see if there's a trade fit with the Ducks...

Chris (Sunnyvale, CA)

Big game in the Windy City tonight between San Jose and Chicago. JR is back in the lineup (probably) and Marleau is out because of the birth of his second child. Who ya got tonight, Pierre?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:25 PM)

Sharks 5, hawks 4 OT

Adam (Dallas, TX)

If the Blues make the Playoffs, given everything they have gone through this season, is the Jack Adam's Award a no-brainer for Andy Murray?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:26 PM)

He's certainly deserving but there are so many who are this year. Ken Hitchcock, Brent Sutter, Joel Quenneville, Todd McLellan, Claude Julien _ a long list of great candidates and Murray should be included on that

Sean Avery (NY, NY)

Hey Pierre, With Torts behind the bench, me back in the mix, and Antro and Morris coming over, how many rounds do you see the Blueshirts winning in the playoffs? Sure, I know we havent locked up a playoff spot yet, but assuming we are a 6 or 7 seed, how do you see us doing? Yet another 2nd round and out?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:27 PM)

Well if you end up playing Washington, for example, that's a compelling matchup for your team Sean because maybe Lundqvist vs. Theodore is the difference in a possible upset. Then again, the Caps can score at will and you guys still have to try very hard at scoring goals... But you'd have a chance there... Against New jersey? Not so much...

Luke Pittsburgh PA

I know you think Parise should win the Hart, but who do you think will win the Hart.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:28 PM)

Malkin

Drew, CO

Do you think Joe Sakic will come back for a final year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:28 PM)

No clue.... but if you're forcing me to guess... yes

Will (Washington, DC)

If you are the Bruins, who do you want to/not want to see in the 1st round?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:29 PM)

I think you want Montreal. The habs have been burtal for two months and if they somehow back into the playoffs the Bruins can pound them into submission

John - Grand Rapids, MI

Hey Pierre, I think I went back in time when I watched Cujo last night! Anyway, which team would you be most excited to see make the playoffs, that is on the outside looking in?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:30 PM)

I have to say the team I'm cheering the most more right now, even thought I'm suppossed to be unbiased:), is St. Louis. I love the way the Blues have battled back from all the injuries and the buzz in the market, etc... I really hope they get in

Curtis (Dallas, TX)

The Canucks have been hot since Feb 1. How far will they go in the Playoffs? Speaking of Vancouver, what is Luongo's chances as starting for CAN in 2010?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:30 PM)

Yes you're right about Vancouver, Curtis... I think they're a real darkhorse threat to a go a couple of rounds. They've got two forward lines scoring and one of the game's best goalies... And they enter the playoffs on a roll.... watch out

Adam T (Dallas, TX)

As a lifelong Blues fan, it would be total vindication to watch the President's Trophy winning Sharks team play and lose in 7 games to an upstart Blues team as the 8 seed. What 1st round match-up would you most like to see?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:32 PM)

LOL... yes I believe I remember when that happened to St. Louis.... I'd love to see Pitt-Wash

Jose (North Carolina)

Eric Staal has been a real shaky player. I believe a strong reason behind this is because he's really never had a consistent productive winger to play with. Any chance Carolina makes a pitch for a big name winger to play with Staal?(gaborik?)

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:33 PM)

Well i think you're beeing a little harsh on Eric but to answer your question, No I don't think they would make a pitch for big-name winger like Gaborik. Money is an issue an the Hurriacnes have a tight budget.

Mike (NYC)

Hey Pierre, which teams do you think will 4-8 in the east once the season is over?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:34 PM)

4. Philly 5. Pitt 6. NYR 7. Carolina 8. Montreal. Changed my mind from last week when I had Florida instead of Montreal... I'll probably change my mind again next week and put Florida back in ... LOL

Paul (Cincinnati, OH)

I asked Barry a few minutes ago, but he bailed, so I'll ask you Pierre. I start growing a playoff beard for my Wings the night they make the playoffs (which is usually sometime in December) and last year started a trend of different styles of facial hair per round. Assuming the winged wheelers make it to the finals, give me 4 new styles to choose from. Kenny Holland = Greatest GM in any sport/any city

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:36 PM)

I admire your playoff dedication. Have a Molson Canadian on me. First round _ George Clooney/George Micheal 8-oclock shadow beard second round _ Pierre LeBrun/Owen Nolan goatee Third round _ goatee plus side burns Cup finals _ bushy full beard

Dan (San Francisco)

Why isn't Patrick Marleau being considered at all for MVP? His season last year was atrocious and were it not for the late season push, they would have been out a lot earlier then the second round. But this year, he's already surpassed his career high in goals and the Sharks, despite lots of injuries are poised to win their first President's Cup.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:37 PM)

He's had a great year Dan, I agree, but not any greater than his own linemate Joe Thornton, who has also been terrific. the Malkin and Ovechkin seasons are just hard to beat

Hook (Southern Maryland)

What are the odds the Caps go to the Stanley Cup?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:40 PM)

According to Vegasinsider.com, they are 6-1, which is fifth-best behind Detroit, San Jose, New Jersey and Boston

Jim ( Philly)

Pierre, Are the Flyers the deepest team in the east? A lot of gaol scores of this team. Do you see them getting out of the east?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:41 PM)

Certainly love their depth up front: Richards, Lupul, Carter, Gagne, Briere, Hartnell, Giroux, Knuble _ wowsers.

rob (philly)

What's more likely to drive an opponent to take a cheap shot at Alex Ovechkin: his goal celebrations or all the times he runs guys? I think it's the latter, but for some reason noone is talking about it.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:41 PM)

I agree with the latter.

Ethan(LA)

Kings just couldn't make the playoffs again this year. So do we tank for another high draft pick or play hard to spoil?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:42 PM)

Play hard and try to play for pride. Big strides taken this year. Drew Doughty is a superstar in making

Bryan (Pullman, WA)

Hey Pierre, are the Wild done for the year? Do you see them making some major changes this summer?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:43 PM)

I think Gaborik will leave, so that's a big change. But I also wonder if they miss the playoffs that maybe Jacques Lemaire will feel it's time to move on possibly... we'llsee

john( jersey)

how badly would the nhl like it to be the caps vs the pens and the devils vs the rangers in the 1st round of the playoffs?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:43 PM)

Badly

Jerry (Washington DC)

The Caps have been really inconsistent lately. I know there is a flu-like virus going around the team and we have had some minor injuries, but I am really worried about the playoffs. We are struggling to get secondary scoring and I've watched closely and think Theodore is playing really good hockey despite a porous Caps defense. What do you make of our chances in the playoffs where NJ, the Canes, Philly and Pitt all seem pretty hot?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:44 PM)

I watched them live last night here in Toronto. Right now they're playing like they're bored and want to get the playoffs going. Theodore is the key

Jmerms - NYC

does mike richards get any selke votes this year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:45 PM)

He will on my official ballot. :)

Clint, Ontario Canada

Do you think that this year's run in the stanley cup play-offs decides the fate of Roberto Luongo's career in Vancouver?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:46 PM)

Interesting question... he's got one more year on his deal after this season.... he's a guy that desperately wants to win a championship... a good run would help him sign an extension

Big Zee (Las Vegas)

Pierre....why do teams historically like the Leafs and the Oilers make a big push in the last 4 weeks of the year ..could it be no pressure to win that factors in the equation?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:47 PM)

In the Leafs case, since they've been out of it since Christmas, it's all about being loosy-goosy and having no pressure

Andrew (South Side, PA)

Who do you like for the Selke? Shouldn't Jordan Staal be on the short list?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:48 PM)

Pavel Datsyuk is the best two-way player in the NHL. Mike Richards is a close second

Kev (NYC)

The Rangers defeated the Devs last year with smiliar teams, they have more momentum coming down the stretch...you can say Marty is back but that didn't matter last year as Avery clearly got in his head...Can the Rangers knock off the Devs in a possible 2/7 Matchup?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:48 PM)

I don't believe so.

devin howell michigan

pierre who should play frist round os good or ty

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:50 PM)

I let Ozzie start the playoffs because he's got the ring from last year to earn it, but I have him on a short leash ....

Scott (Dover, DE}

Hey Pierre, who would be your vote for the vezina?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:50 PM)

Luongo and Mason are my two top guys

Dylan (Milwaukee) [via mobile]

Who is responsible for Colombus's unexpected success?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:51 PM)

Ken Hitchcock

Bob(Pittsburgh)

At what point do you stop reading through the responses to the QOTW? Seemed like a lot of hate going through the comments this week.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:52 PM)

Believe it or not, I read them all. Took me four hours last night to read the Hart debate. And yes, too much hate for my liking but I think we have a lot of young passionate fans who lack a bit i the maturity department... STill, good debate !

Glen Sather(Upper West Side)

Pierre,how am I doing?What are your early oberservations of my hiring John Tortorella and bringing in Sean Avery,Nik Antropov and Derek Morris?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:53 PM)

Well, Glen, you're the highest paid GM in the NHL so you're doing pretty darn well. Seriously though, so far your late-season moves are saving your hide. Well done... so far :)

Jeff (East Bay, CA)

Pierre...Are any of my beloved Sharks taking home any hardware this year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:54 PM)

McLellan might get some love in the Jack Adams, maybe Boyle gets nominated for the Norris... hard to say

Greg (Portland, OR)

Pierre, It's probably too late now for him now, but why was Scotty Bowman never really mentioned as a possible coach of Team Canada? I do remember the Russians trying to entice him to help their team in 2002. Seems to me the best ever would have made a difference in 1998 at least. Thanks!

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:55 PM)

Well, he did coach Team Canada at the 1981 Canada Cup.

Marc (Boston)

Any chance the Bruins DON'T lose to the habs in the first round?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:55 PM)

Can't see Montreal pulling their usual upset of Boston this year. Not this year.

Allie, Oregon

what's your thought on another NHL team on the west coast?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:56 PM)

Would love a team in Vegas. Then I'd move there.

BK (Brookline,MA)

Who do you dislike more? Strachan or Milbury? The the tension is palpable.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:57 PM)

I love them both. We're a happy family at Hot Stove :)

Larry (New York)

Hey Pierre, How bout that kid from Heast, Claude Giroux?...How good can he be?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:59 PM)

Sweet hands, he's the real deal. Of course, all the Northern Ontario natives are the real deal !!!! On that note, talk to you later puck heads _ the playoffs are slowly but surely coming !!!!