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May 20, 10:52 AM ET
Chat with Pierre LeBrun

Pierre LeBrun
  (3:57 PM)

Greeting from beautfiul Chicago puck heads. Let's get it on.

Dave (Winnipeg)

Hi Pierre... I saw Cody Hodgson score his first pro goal as a member of the Manitoba Moose on Saturday's Game 2 WCF. He looked great the whole game in both ends. Will he be going straight into the Canucks lineup next season?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:00 PM)

Hard to tell Dave. Depends on so many things. Who does Vancouver keep among its free agents, who does the team bring in as free agents, and what kind of camp does Hodgson have? But I do think he's got a realistic shot.

KEVIN OTTAWA

HEY PIERRE I LOVE SEING AND HEARING YOU ON RDS AND TH HOT STOVE.QUESTION MY HABS IS THERE ANY LIFE IN THE BELL CENTER.SEEMS NOTHINGS HAPPENING? THANKS KEVIN1959

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:01 PM)

Kevin, thanks my man. I've been focused really on the playoff games that I'm covering and haven't check in on the Habs lately. But as you know, the team is in the process of possibly being sold and I wonder if Gainey is waiting for that shoe to drop first.

tom nj [via mobile]

Are you related to the Cleveland Cavs star hoopster?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:02 PM)

I wish. I wouldn't have to work for a living. But no, LeBrun and LeBron are not even spelled the same. Too bad !

David (maryland)

I know that the bankrucpty case between jim balsille and the nhl is a mess. What are the chances that meidation is successful between jim balsille, jerry moyes and the nhl?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:03 PM)

That stuff above my paygrade David but as a pure guess from knowing the parties invovled, I would say no chance

Mark (Charlotte, NC)

Has 'Little LeBrun' (Melanie)watched any of the games with you? If so, has she let out an appropriate timed Garggle or Cry during the game?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:05 PM)

Little Melanie, who turned four months old today (man I swear that was yesterday), hasn't seen enough of the old man to watch any hockey... I've been on the road pretty much since early April. I've got a great boss who send me home as much as possible to see her but my duty is covering all four rounds... The hard part is when Melanie is old enough to watch hockey is to explain to her why her hometown Maple Leafs have been a brutal organization for 42 years. Not sure how old she should be when I break that news to her.

Luke Cranberry PA

If the Pens and Wings meet again, do you think the Pens would win?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:08 PM)

I was just discussing that possible rematch with Scott Burnside today on the phone.... The funny thing is, even though the Penguins are a wiser, more experienced team this time around (should they beat carolina), the Red Wings (should they beat Chicago) have actually improved on paper with Hossa plus a more developed Helm and the emergence of Ericsson... And the Pens, on paper, you have to think are somewhat weaker _ Guerin/Kunitz/Cooke vs. Hossa/Malone/Ruutu.... Given what I've seen first-hand from the Wings in these playoffs, I'd be hard-pressed at this point to pick vs. them. But I haven't decided for sure yet

Shawn (DC)

Do you really believe the Pens would beat the Wings if they met in the Finals? The Wings are winning despite the play of Hossa and Datsyuk. Imagine if they wake up!

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:09 PM)

Great point Shawn. Right now other guys like Cleary and Samuelsson are stepping up. So deep...

Joe (MI)

When does detriots guys start laying the body? They haven't been making as many big hits as last years run. Whats up?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:10 PM)

Joe, not sure I agree with you at least in the Anaheim series. Ryan Carter still has the proof on his face from Nicklas Kronwall. And Ericsson has laid the body as well. Listen, it's not a team built for that. They can play physical when pushed in that direction but this is a skill-first team and so far it's worked out ok for them :)

Steve (Raleigh, NC)

Pierre: Thoughts on the goalie interference penalty to Eric Cole that led to the no goal call against the 'Canes on Monday?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:11 PM)

Sorry bud, didn't see it. Was in Detroit. We had the game on TV at the Detroiter bar but no sound... so I wasn't catching everthing... but the beer was oh so cold :)

Mike, Detroit,MI

Two questions. 1.Who's a more balanced opponent for the Wings, Pens, or Canes? 2. What's a Western Conference team gotta do to beat Detroit?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:13 PM)

While Carolina's speed is a huge weapon (ask Boston), Pittsburgh remains the more dangerous opponent in my mind. The 87-71 combo is tough to beat and hard to coach against. As for your second question, Anaheim certainly came close. I think trying to be as physical as possible with the Wings but also staying out of the box _ so obviously a tough line there _ is the key with Detroit. Easier said than done.

Ivan ( Detroit, MI)

Hey Pierre, Thanks for taking the time to do this. How impressed are you at how the Wings keep rolling along with minimal scoring from Hank(minus empty netters), Pavel, and Hossa?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:14 PM)

Hugely impressed. Makes me wonder how the hell I picked San Jose to win the Cup. Mind you, to my defense, I picked the Sharks back in September and decided to be loyal. Anyway, yes the Wings, four lines deep with good players in the press box. In the six Wings games I've covered in person this spring, at times guys like Samuelsson and Holmstrom have been on the fourth line. Geez.

Jason, OH

Pierre, thanks for writing that great article about Chris Osgood. You are one of the few nationally who have given Chris his due. Even after his performance yesterday I heard people talk about how his numbers are only a result of his longevity and not because he is that great. What more does this guy have to do? He sure backed your story up with a stellar performance last night!

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:17 PM)

Thanks Jason. Osgood is a guy that deserves his due. That was the motivation in me giving him that kind of national attention in the piece. I mean, I'm among the guys that over the years has doubted him at times but I've come around because I've covered enough Wings games over the past few years to realize his true impact. His numbers are so much better than guys that get way more respect. And sure, Ozzie will still have his bad games in the regular season, but he's been money in the playoffs and that's all that should count.

Rick (San Diego, CA)

Why are the Hawks seeming to give the Wings so much time and space? I thought the Ducks did a much better job of playing them tight and not alowing them room to move.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:19 PM)

That's a good observation Rick and I think in a perfect world Joel Quenneville would like his team to tighten up more. But at the same time, you are who you are (someone famous said that, right?). The Hawks are a skill-based team, the Ducks had one offensive line and three lines that tried to combine physical energy with defensive play. All four Chicago lines can forecheck and score. You have to play to your strengths. The Hawks deserved that one last night just as much as Detroit. They played a heck of a game. Getting 39 shots on Detroit should be worth half a win in itself.

Jeff in Canton, MI

How do you see a potential Wings/Pens final shaking out? Do you think the Pens play with a little extra motivation given that Hossa is now with the Wings? Who takes it?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:19 PM)

Ive already touched on this possible Finals matchup but yes, the whoel Hossa/Pittsburgh thing will be fun at least for a day from a media point of view :)

Jason (Ellicott City, MD)

Patrick Kane is a top __ player?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:20 PM)

Defiintely. Let's not forget he's only 21. This year's Hobey Baker award winner is 25. Kane will be a round a long time and be a major player on this team

Justin (McConnellsburg, PA)

With the Pens winning 3 of 4 games while dressing seven defensemen which way would you go? Stay with seven or go back to six defense and twelve forwards?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:21 PM)

Tough call for me because I haven't covered the Pens this year other than Game 7 last week against Wash.... But coaches in a perfect world always prefer a 12/6 split

Andre (California)

What adjustments do you make for next season if you're the Sharks?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:23 PM)

Andre, where to start? I could go all day. Such a tough situation. This is a well-built team with a great draft record but obviously this spring proved once and for all that there's something just not right with this core. Making matters difficult is that Marleau/Nabokov/Thornton all have no-trade clauses.... I think if you find a team that wants one of them you sit down with the player and ask them if they're ready for a move. Much like Toronto did with Bryan McCabe even though he also had the no-trade and how Phillly might do with Briere even though he also has one...

Jason (Ellicott City, MD)

Who is the 2nd best 2 way hockey player?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:24 PM)

1. Datsyuk. 2. Zetterberg 3. Crosby

Jason (Ellicott City, MD)

Should we engrave the Red Wings names into the cup now?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:26 PM)

Might as well wait three more weeks :)

Joe (MI)

Is Filppula, Hudler, Samulsson the best 3rd line in hockey?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:27 PM)

I'd say so. Although Ladd-Bolland-Havlat ain't too shabby !

Josh (Philly)

Do the Pens sweep?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:27 PM)

Nope.

Howie (Philly)

How tough is Mike Richards? He played the whole season with a torn labrum in both shoulders!

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:28 PM)

Big-time tough. that's one of the many reasons he's a lock for the 2010 Canadian Olympic team. Here's a forward line I would put together if I was the Team Canada braintrust: Brendan Morrow-Mike Richards-Shane Doan. Pass the aspirin !

John (Gulf Breeze, FL)

Pierre, I wrote in a couple weeks ago about writing in my school newspaper about hockey. I wrote about Sidney Crosby being better than Ovechkin. You agree?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:31 PM)

It's a debate that's fun to have because there's no wrong answer. At this point having covered both players a fait bit over the last few years, here's where I'm at: I would take Crosby over Ovechkin by a hair. I actually believe Ovechkin has more offensive talent in his arsenal but I strongly believe Crosby at this point has that Messier-like playoff quality about him. I mean, do you need to say more about the last series? Sid the Kid may not win as much hardware in the regular season compared to Malkin and Ovechkin in the next decade, but I doubt you'll find a more clutch player come spring time

John (Gulf Breeze, FL)

What's your opinion on the Pens mascot Iceberg?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:32 PM)

He seemed kind of cold to me when I met him

B-Diddy (Munstoeville, WYO)

So is there any way the Coyotes aren't in Phoenix next year? My folks spend their winters down there and they say that the city's going to make it awfully hard to make them leave for at least the next two years...

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:32 PM)

Impossible to know at this point. Messy legal situation that's far from over. Stay tuned.

John (Winnipeg)

Pierre, I'm stumped. The pens called up many forwards from Wilkesbarre, but noticeable absent was Finnish star Janne Pesonen. How do you see his future playing out in the NHL?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:33 PM)

Sorry John, no clue, maybe ask Burnside in his next chat since he's covering that series. Cheers

Mike (Pgh)

I understand that people from NC are upset about the hits on Ruutu and Cole. But if Ovechkin wasnt suspended/fined (and his drew a penalty) shouldnt people want consistency so nothing should be done to Eaton/Cooke?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:33 PM)

Good point

Tom (River North)

Pierre, everyone says Chicago is probably a year away, but what are they going to do about their goaltending? They probably can't re-sign Khabibulin, so is Huet up to the task?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:36 PM)

Great, great, great question. And at this point no answer. The Hawks front office hasn't decided that one yet. Huet has three more years at $5.625 million a year and Khabi is UFA. Quite frankly, I don't think Khabi has been great in these playoffs. He's been good at times and last night I thought he was terrific. But overall, he entered the final four with the worst save percentage of the four goalies remaining... I think you live with Huet and bring up either Crawford or Niemi

Ron (Detroit, MI)

Do you think Nicklas Lidstrom is the best defenseman you have seen on your lifetime based on his offense and defense?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:38 PM)

yes, because at 37 I'm too young to have watched Bobby Orr play. in the post-Orr era, Lidstrom definitely stands alone. In fact, I was saying the other day to someone in the Joe Louis Arrena press box that I regret for the first time not giving him my first-place ballot vote for the Norris at the end of the regular season. I went with Chara. But now having seen more of Nick live in these plyaoffs, I realize he hasn't even lost a step at 39. Amazing.

Josh (Scranton)

Why does Evgeni Malkin tend to disappear for games at a time? Is it a matter of effort or fatigue?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:39 PM)

It's certainly frustrating for Pens fans I'm sure. 87 never takes a night off.

Wild Fans

Why Don't we have a GM or Coach yet?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:40 PM)

Patience... last I heard Chuck Fletcher, Pierre McGuire and David McNabe were the favorites in Minny for the GM job...

Tom (River North)

Pierre, what's the better beer: Labatt Blue Light or Molson?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:42 PM)

I hate both. LeBrun's top five beers: 1. Pilsner Urqel (Czech) 2. Mill St. Organic Lager (Toronto) 3. Sam Adams Lager (Boston) 4. Stella Artois (Belgium) 5. Dos Equis (Mexico and because the guy in the commerical is cool)

Henry and Linda Staal (Thunder Bay, ON)

Pierre, we just wanted to let you know that our two sons are playing against each other in the Eastern Conference Finals. Not sure whether the national media has picked up on that yet. Thanks.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:43 PM)

haha... I think many of us have for sure, especially in Canada ! What a great bunch of kids you have Henry and Linda _ humble and polite, good ol' Canadian kids. I just hope Eric and Jordan talk to each other after this is over.

Aaron

Do you think the canes have a shot without Ruutu and Cole?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:43 PM)

nope

Aaron (Det, MI)

Win or Lose, do you feel the Wings can keep most of the team intact or will the cap force them to go younger next year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:45 PM)

My sense is from the people I talk to around there is that if they can get Hossa to stay, they'll move out one or two defensemen and perhaps a forward to make room under the cap and go cheaper and younger in some places. So Helm and Abdelkater would likely be keepers next year as well as Ericsson and Meech on defense...

RUBEN (CYPRESS)

MICHAEL VICK IS ONE OF THE BEST QUATERBACK

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:45 PM)

How dare you enter my chat room

Dan - DC

How can some people compare Cooke's hit to Ovie's hit? Gonchar saw Ovechkin coming and tried to dodge him which resulted in a knee on knee collision. Cooke stuck his knee out and blindsided Cole. While I don't think Cooke will be suspeneded, he has a history of doing such things and in this case, intent is much easier to see as Cole did not see Cooke and Cooke stuck his leg out.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:45 PM)

Good point

Hank

Can I dare bring up the matchup that no one's talking about? Hawks vs. Canes. Who wins?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:46 PM)

sure you can ! Would be a great final. At that point if Carolina manages to upset three consecutive higher seeds I have to stay with them !

Matt (Grand Rapids)

Which Penguin will Detroit steal for less money after they beat them in the finals again?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:47 PM)

LOL.... I predict no one this time. But cross you fingers !

Joe (Winsor, ON)

What do the Leafs have to do to get things turned around and restore their name?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:47 PM)

OMG _ I don't have five hours to answer this :) But hiring Burke is a good start. Watch out over the next four months _ lotsa changes coming

Matt (Pittsburgh, PA)

If the Cup is a rematch, what will the Pens have to do different this year to come out victorious?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:48 PM)

Stay out of the box against NHL's top power play. Spend more time in Detroit's zone _ not nearly enough last year. Try to punish Detroit more physically. Find secondary scoring behind Crosby

Bill Simmons

God I hate Carolina! Go pens!

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:49 PM)

C'mon Bill, be fair !

Martin Brodeur

Aren't I the best goalie of all time?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:49 PM)

Nope, Andre "Red Light" Racicot is

Loup (ATL)

Where do you see the Coyotes situation going? Will this court-ordered mediation work, or are they doomed to be back in court as far apart as ever? Will the two sides make concessions? Perhaps agreeing to move the club, but to a more 'desirable' city (read: Winnipeg)? Or will it be 100% left to the judge to decide?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:50 PM)

my wife's the lawyer buddy, not me :)

Jesse (Carmel, NY)

After watching the Anaheim-Detroit series, who do you think go the better of the Whitney-Kunitz trade? Kunitz has yet to score a goal in the playoffs.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:51 PM)

That's true Jesse but Whitney struggled at times in that series as well.... I don't think either player has excelled in the playoffs

Evan (Los Angeles)

Will NHL GM's start re-thinking giving so much cash to goalies? Luongo, Kiprusoff, Nabokov, Lundvqist all out already..

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:52 PM)

Here's a point that should make a lot of GMs re-think their strategy: the defending champs, the team that has gone to eight conference finals in the last 14 years, is paying their goalie $1.7 million this year. That's about $4 million less than Chicago's backup.

B-Diddy (Munstoeville, WYO)

Who's playing net for the Avs next year? Clemensenn? Giguirre? Khabibulin? Do NOT tell me Budaj or Raycroft.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:53 PM)

Until the Avs hire a GM, no one can answer that question

Jon (Omaha)

Are hockey coaches around the country rejoicing over the possibility of the 3 best 2 way players in the finals?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:54 PM)

Good point... certainly good material for coaches to show kids in minor hockey about the importance of coming back to the defensive zone. That's an area of the ice the Lazy LeBrun rarely touched in his playing days :)

Josh (Philly)

Mike Richards should be #2 on your 2 way player list.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:55 PM)

That's true. Oops. ok my new list: 1. Datsyuk 2. Richards 3. Zetterberg 4. Crosby 5. Afinogenov... sorry scratch that last name

Loup (ATL)

Non-playoff question for a change. Kovalchuk has said that he is open to resigning with Atlanta if they can bring in talented players to play with him. With Brian Little and Zach Bogosian stepping up bigtime this year, what do they need to add to be competitive? To satisfy Kovalchuk? Or is that all just PR hot air on his part?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:56 PM)

I don't think it's hot air Loup, I do think he wants to stay if the team is competitive. Having a top-five pick in next month's draft will add another young asset as well.

Matt (Grand Rapids)

What are your thoughts about the terms of the extensions Hank and Franzen got? They are both long deals.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:57 PM)

They are long deals meant to bring down the cap hit. It's the average salary of a contract that counts yearly on the salary cap. The Wings added some bogus seaons at low salaries at the end of both contracts to bring down the cap hit. Other teams have also done it. It's a clever way of getting around the CBA and the NHL head office is none too pleased.

Wes (Tampa)

Pierre, I gotta admit. You answer questions WAAYYYYY faster than Burnside.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:57 PM)

I do a lot less thinking

Kevin (NYC)

Forget what you "think" should happen to the Coyotee's what do you "think" is the best case situation? Stay there, Ontario, back to Winnapeg, KC......

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:58 PM)

I want a second team in Toronto one day because it's a great market that's underserved. But I don't think Balsillie's backdoor attempt with a gun to the NHL's head is the way to go about it

Randy

Why is everyone writing off the canes so quickly? Their game one against Pittsburgh was far better than their previous two game 1s. Plus, the beat 2 of the best 3 teams in the east.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:58 PM)

True that.

Matt (Pittsburgh PA)

When will Chris Kunitz score his first playoff goal?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:59 PM)

tomorrow night

Jesse (Carmel, NY)

Who has the best playoff beard left in the playoffs? All the norsemen on Detroit can certainly bring it with the blonde/red combo, but I am partial to the Billy Guerin salt and pepper G.I. Joe look. You can only see Erik Cole's eyes these days.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:59 PM)

Kris Draper has a pretty good one

Matt (Grand Rapids)

I'm amazed how the Red Wings constantly find very good European players that they get late in the draft or sign to pro deals. Are their scouts that much better than other teams?

Pierre LeBrun
  (5:00 PM)

ah, yes

Rob (cali)

These arent the two best teams in the west playing for a trip in the finals, that happened in round 2.

Pierre LeBrun
  (5:01 PM)

yes I agree Vancouver had a great year

Ken Holland (Detroit)

How will the league respond to the fact that I am blatantly cheating the salary cap with the Zetterberg/Franzen contracts and could possibly do the same thing with Hossa?

Pierre LeBrun
  (5:01 PM)

Kenny, as I told you earlier this season, you're not cheating so it's ok. The league will try to fix this in the next CBA

Sean (TR NJ)

Do you think Seattle might be a good location no sonics they only support Mariners when they are good so Seahawks are the only other major team hockey could thrive there no?

Pierre LeBrun
  (5:03 PM)

My top five list of cities I would put a team in: 1. Toronto. They haven't had an NHL team in 42 years. 2. Seattle. Great, great market as proven by WHL support 3. Vegas. Why not ? 4. Winnipeg, It can work 5. Portland. If Seattle can't swing it

Pierre LeBrun
  (5:03 PM)

ok cool cats, this was a blast again. I'm off to catch a White Sox game tonight. Never been to that stadium before. Cheers everyone and look forward to our chat next Wednesday. Pierre