Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

April 27, 12:45 PM ET
Chat with Scott Burnside

Scott Burnside
  (4:00 PM)

Greetings all. Got to love the playoffs, no? Controversy, upsets, blown leads, blown gaskets, it doesn't get any better than this.

matt (md)

please tell me im not gonna have to wait for a 12th year to see the caps make it past the first round

Scott Burnside
  (4:01 PM)

Tick, tick, tick. Time will tell but it's hard to believe the Caps will let this one slip away. Of course it was hard to believe they'd give up two at home to start this series.

Rob: (Belmar, NJ)

It seems to me that I'm the only person who believes the Rangers have a chance tomorrow night...what do you think?...and please tell me that the NHL is going to discipline Brashear in some way for that cheap shot on Blair Betts!

Scott Burnside
  (4:02 PM)

Six games. And of course they have a chance. Just not a great one. Still, that's the beauty of this game. I was at last year's Game 7 in Washington and there weren't many who gave the Flyers much of a chance. But Martin Biron was terrific, the Caps didn't capitalize and then took a penalty in overtime and bingo, it was over. Lots has to happen for the Rangers to advance but it is so in any series.

JJ (Boston)

Bruins, Caps, Penguins: Which team comes out of the conference?

Scott Burnside
  (4:03 PM)

I still like the Penguins but I am curious to see how they'll match up against Boston. Could happen as soon as next round or it could be a conference final. And the Caps, if they advance, will have lots of momentum.

Kirk (Detroit, MI)

Six games for Brashear? A little excessive, don't you think Scott?

Scott Burnside
  (4:04 PM)

No, for Brashear a lot of baggage plus there were two incidents in one game. Six is about right. Not that the Caps will miss him. It's like Georges Laraque in Montreal and before that Pittsburgh he's a better story than a player.

Steve (Lansing, MI)

Now that the Sharks are on the verge of blowing it even earlier than they normally do, will people finally realize that the Red Wings are head and shoulders above everyone else in the West when it really matters?

Scott Burnside
  (4:05 PM)

I would agree with you if it weren't for the fact that the Sharks aren't done - yet - and it wasn't all that long ago that the Red Wings coughed up a first-round series to an 8th seed from Edmonton.

Neil (portland, OR)

Did you think Talbots fight was the turning point in the game Saturday? It seems clear Carcillo had the upper hand. Any thought on why Carcillo engaged him in that situation?

Scott Burnside
  (4:06 PM)

Neil; good question. I wrote that the players, at least, believed, it was some sort of catalysts. We'll never know whether Ruslan Fedotenko scores without that fight to make it 3-1 and so on but the guys in the room (the Pens' room at least) believed it was important so I guess it was important. Who knew getting publicly throttled would be such an important thing in a hockey game?

Brian (WA)

As a longtime Canucks fan, I'm used to watching my team have good regular seasons, only to fail to put it together in the playoffs. Against the Blues, though, the Canucks played outstanding defense, got stellar goaltending, checked the Blues all over the ice, and for the first time, got signficant postseason production from the top line. Am I nuts for thinking that this team has the ingredients to do what Bure and Co. couldn't pull off in '94? Mark Messier, if you are out there, I still curse you.

Scott Burnside
  (4:08 PM)

Not sure about cursing Mark Messier but there are lots of folks who believe the Canucks are that kind of team. Most will like them to beat either Calgary or Chicago if that's how the second round matches up and then give the Red Wings (again if that's how it falls) a real run in the conference final. Must admit I still don't think they have enough scoring depth but I also didn't think they'd handle the Blues in the fashion they did.

Sean (TR NJ)

Hi Scott thanks for the time. What are your thoughts on the Flames vs Blackhawks series? Any chance the Flames make it out of this one? Also, how do you feel about Vancouver next round?

Scott Burnside
  (4:12 PM)

I am impressed with how the Blackhawks have not been overwhelmed by the emotion/pressure in what is the first go-round for most of them. This was especially true after dropping two in Calgary to allow the Flames back in the series. I have to believe that the 'Hawks have a good chance tonight especially as the Flames look like they'll be without Dion Phaneuf.

Sean (TR NJ)

There seems to be teams on the rise to watchout for next year ie: Kings, Jackets again, etc... but would you put the Panthers with that group next year minus Jay Bo. I hope so they are my team and I am starved for playoff Panther hockey.

Scott Burnside
  (4:15 PM)

Sean you and the dozen or so Panther fans left. It's too bad as the Panthers always seem to be a day late and a dollar short and I don't see it being any different next year. Bouwmeester is as good as gone and even with Keith Ballard and Bryan McCabe that's a big hole on the blue line to fill. And then there's the fact no one can score on the Panthers' roster. And because the franchise is seen as a wasteland it's hard to attract quality free agents and so the cycle continues.

Steven (Washington DC)

Is Bobby Ryan injured? Do you buy the skate repair story?

Scott Burnside
  (4:15 PM)

Great question. Don't know. I did like the skate story but it did sound kind of fishy. Guess we'll find out in about six hours. The Ducks' chances go down significantly if Ryan isn't in the line-up, that's for sure.

Travis ( Lancaster, PA)

With Varlamov taking the reigns in net for the Caps, should Theodore begin to worry about his spot on the team

Scott Burnside
  (4:17 PM)

Oh, I think the worrying should have started some time ago for Mr. Theodore. Where the real worry is, however, is in GM George McPhee's office as he now appears to have a $4.5-million back-up next season.

Arlington, VA

The NHL rules clearly state that the last person who touches the puck is in possession of it. While it may be a cheap hit, according to the rules it wasn't illegal. How much of this is a make up call because of torts suspension. The rule book needs changing, don't blame brash for finding a loophole.

Scott Burnside
  (4:18 PM)

Actually the NHL has gone out of its way to cut down on late blows to the head of defenseless or unsuspecting players. It's been mandated by the league and as you know the rule book is full of elements that require an official's interpretation. Still have no problem with this supplementary discipline.

Big Joe (San Jose)

Hi Scott - Can I be on the olympic team now?

Scott Burnside
  (4:19 PM)

Joe, call me later tonight and I'll let you know. Right now you've got a seat on the taxi squad but the meter's running, as in running out.

Dan (Montana)

Is there any chance Khabibulin stays with the hawks next year?

Scott Burnside
  (4:19 PM)

I would say almost none unless of course the 'Hawks win the Cup and he decides to play for $1 million.

Dan (Montana)

Duncan Keith = most underrated defenseman in the West? NHL?

Scott Burnside
  (4:20 PM)

One of them. I think he's a guy that is going to give Steve Yzerman and the Canadian Olympic brain trust a hard time because he has played so well and has all the elements you'd want in an Olympian.

Joel, Denver

Scott, how will the west shape up? Do you see a game seven happening, or will the second round be set after tonight?

Scott Burnside
  (4:23 PM)

Never afraid to publicly humiliate myself with predictions but I say both series are done tonight. Think the 'Hawks will pull it off in Calgary and Anaheim will get the home win and avoid a trip back to San Jose Wednesday.

Steven (Washington DC)

What's wrong with Nabokov? He can't keep his five hole closed and he's just looked a little slow. Do you think he's hurt or just a bit off?

Scott Burnside
  (4:24 PM)

Steven, Nabokov remains a bit of a playoff mystery, no? So solid in the regular season - and not just this season but almost every year - but come playoff time just can't seem to get in sync with his team, can't seem to be 'the guy' to get them over the hump. He's been out-played by Hiller this series and frankly it wouldn't surprise me if that continues tonight.

Adam (Lake George, NY)

How do you feel about allowing NHL coaches to challenge calls, similar to the NFL? This game is so fast paced that mistakes are made, and I think that teams should get a chance to dispute a call once and a while, especially if the game's on the line.

Scott Burnside
  (4:25 PM)

In theory that job is done by the NHL folks in Toronto in the so-called war room. They're the ones that rule on goals or no-goals. If you're thinking challenging a penalty that would be interesting but I think it would take away the flow of the game and take away what little control the on-ice officials still have.

Ryan, Columbus

Were you at any of the CBJ games this past week? Game 4 was rockin even though the Jackets got the bad end of the stick. Does the outlook for the Jackets look good?

Scott Burnside
  (4:27 PM)

Ryan, did not make it to Columbus but loved the excitement there. Too bad it ended the way it did but let's be honest that was pretty much a foregone conclusion given the Red Wings' experience. The key for Columbus now is to keep moving forward and that means finding a number-one center to play with Rick Nash and convincing Nash to sign on long-term with the club. It only gets harder now.

Schedule Guru, PlayoffLand

Any idea when the Bruins next series will start? This is a pretty long layoff so i'm hoping the game is as early as Friday - is that possible? Thanks

Scott Burnside
  (4:31 PM)

Don't know exactly but I am guessing Thursday or Friday. With two Game 7s in the East it will make it rushed but am guessing television will want a couple of options for Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Just a guess. And you're right, it's a long layoff. Better than the alternative, though, no?

Steve (Hoboken)

Scott!! Talk to me about the best series in the East that no one is talking about...Devils/Canes. Who comes out on top tomorrow?

Scott Burnside
  (4:33 PM)

Agreed that this series has little buzz but lots of emotion and terrific back-and-forth battles. Like the 'Canes but maybe I'm partial to southern weather. The goaltending has been a wash with Cam Ward playing very well and Zach Parise has gone dry for the Devils. Watch for Eric Staal to have another big game Tuesday.

Dan (Montana)

Did Mike Keenan give up in Game 5 by pulling Kipper after four goals? He has done it before, but he clearly alienated his goalie and is veteran team.

Scott Burnside
  (4:34 PM)

Dan, I don't think so, I think Keenan was likely looking ahead just as John Tortorella (and Jim Schoenfeld) were looking ahead in pulling Henrik Lundqvist. Those two guys will have to stand on their respective heads to give their teams a chance to stay alive. Might as well be rested when they do it.


where does Ovie's goal Friday night rank on his all time list? Also, considering Varlamov seems to have fixed the Caps achilles heel, why do you feel the Pens are a better team?

Scott Burnside
  (4:36 PM)

CC, just shake my head at the latest Ovechkin gem. As for the Caps, if they do beat the Rangers they'll still have yet to beat a team that can mount any kind of offense at all let alone a team like the Pens that has the top and third scorer in the regular season and the top two scorers in the post-season. Different animals and the Caps have yet to prove they can win at this level against that type of competition yet.

John (Gulf Breeze, FL)

Scott, I'm writing about the playoffs for my school paper but theres not much interest. any advice?

Scott Burnside
  (4:41 PM)

John; Well, I would pose the question to your readership what is it they like or don't like about the game. Maybe they've never been or never watched. Good for you to spread the gospel of the ice my man.

Mike (VA)

If the Caps win tomorrow, is VarLAMov capable or mature enough to lead the caps further in the postseason?

Scott Burnside
  (4:43 PM)

Mike, that's a great question as the Caps will play a team with a lot more going on than the Rangers offensively. That's why it's not out of the question we could see the return of Jose Theodore. Look at teams like Anaheim, Carolina even Edmonton that used two goaltenders in various rotations and ended up having playoff success. Wouldn't that be a story, Theodore coming off the bench?

Joe, NYC

Scott, you said the Caps "still have yet to beat a team that can mount any kind of offense at all let alone a team like the Pens that has the top and third scorer in the regular season and the top two scorers in the post-season." Keep in mind that they had two of the top three scorers in the regular season and then their next highest points man was Chris Kunitz who was a Duck 70% of the season (and he had as many points as Brooks Laich). The Penguins offense is the most lop-sided offense in the league, much more than Washington's (with 4 players above 70 points).

Scott Burnside
  (4:44 PM)

Good point but throw in Bill Guerin and the emergence of the Jordan Staal, Tyler Kennedy, Matt Cooke trio as a dangerous third line and I don't think you can compare the Rangers' popgun offense to what the Pens would bring to the table or Carolina or even New Jersey depending on how it shakes down for the Caps in a possible second round match-up.

Jeff (Virginia)

Scott tell me about what happened to the Lunquist? Is it mental, physical, or what? He was dominant in the first four but in the last two he's been pulled and Varlamov has looked like the veteran.

Scott Burnside
  (4:46 PM)

Jeff, hard to tell although I think being under constant assault from the start of the playoffs must take its toll. Plus you wonder if the other stuff going on around the Rangers; Avery in and out, Tortorella lashing out and suspended, has had any impact on Lundqvist's focus. It shouldn't but, hey, it's the playoffs and things can get pretty wacky.

Justin (PA)

Scott, is the rest before the next round always good or is there an advantage to coming off of a seventh game without a long rest?

Scott Burnside
  (4:48 PM)

Justin, I think as a one-time thing coming off Game 7 might not be a bad thing. The Flyers came off that overtime winner against Washington a year ago and waxed Montreal in five games. The Sharks, however, came off Game 7 a year ago against Calgary and then never really seemed to get their legs in a tough series against Dallas. Ultimately resting aches and bruises is always better than not even if it takes a period or two for teams like Detroit, Boston or Vancouver to get revved up again.

Chris (Illinois)

Scott tell me who will win the mvp award and what series game should I be looking forward to watch.

Scott Burnside
  (4:51 PM)

Chris, don't know who will win the Hart Trophy but my vote went to Evgeni Malkin. And i'd be watching every minute of all four games tonight and tomorrow. And then I wouldn't turn my television off until they handed the Cup to someone in early June. Go the distance Chris.

Mike Tyson (LA, CA)

Shane Morrisonn is my kinda guy!

Scott Burnside
  (4:52 PM)

Yes but what's with all the N's and Rs? Shaone Morrisonn. Bet he's a Pogues man.

Zach Dallas Tx [via mobile]

If the Sharks are going to come all the way back which role player will need to step it up most?

Scott Burnside
  (4:53 PM)

Well, isn't this why they got guys like Jeremy Roenick and Claude Lemieux and Mike Grier? Or are they too tired? Everyone will point their finger at Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau and they've still got to bring more to the table or the Sharks are finito.

Eric (Chicago, IL)

Blackhawks season ticket holder here! THe UC was almost as loud as the Old Stadium during Game 5! Hoping they end this series tonight! With the way the defense and Khabi are playing, do you think the Hawks can get past SJ or Van in round two?

Scott Burnside
  (4:56 PM)

Eric, glad you're enjoying it. It's nice for 'Hawks fans to get a taste of playoff living. But the Canucks or San Jose will be a totally different experience for the 'Hawks. Plus there's the danger of a letdown after winning a round for the first time since, when, 1996? It won't get any easier, that's for sure. Enjoy this one first, that's my advice.

Bobby (Washington, DC)

How can you say the Caps haven't shown they can beat good offenses? Did they not take 7 of 8 points in the regular season against the Pens? Or take 7 points from the Bruins?

Scott Burnside
  (4:57 PM)

Bobby, regular season might as well be a million miles away. Just ask the San Jose Sharks.

Andrew (NY)

Regardless of all this speculation, Tavares is still #1 on your board right?

Scott Burnside
  (4:59 PM)

Yes. This often happens with a prospect that gets so much attention there's a pre-draft backlash. Isles will take Tavares. I think you can take that to the bank. Or at least a bank that hasn't gone bankrupt.

Chris (Illinois)

Scott will the Capitals win game 7 at home?

Scott Burnside
  (4:59 PM)


Chris (Detroit, MI)

What's your take on offensive performance being taken into account for the Norris trophy? Should more goals by a defenseman overshadow better defensive talent with fewer goals?

Scott Burnside
  (5:01 PM)

I think it's a balancing act for voters (I am among them). I voted for Zdeno Chara because I thought he is the most complete defenseman in the league, provides offense, plays big minutes against the other teams' top players, physical, leads by example. He is not as dazzling as Mike Green, that is obvious, but that's not what this award is for. But it's a tough one to call.

josh, lincoln, RI

Scott, Love your comebacks and answers, enjoy i am calling Bruins vs Canucks in the Cup finals

Scott Burnside
  (5:02 PM)

Josh you are a wise man.

Scott Burnside
  (5:02 PM)

Okay folks. Thanks, as always, for taking the time to join us here. Let's do it again next week.