Hello puck heads, greetings from Hockeytown, USA. Let's get it going
Gees, talk about the curse of the hockey movies the last few years. Slap Shot's Reggie Dunlop-Paul Newman passes away, then Peter Zezel from Youngblood fame yesterday. Patrick Swayze is not doing well health wise either and don't forget Keanu Reeves career has not been the same since The Matrix.
Very sad about Peter Zezel. He was a great guy, very much beloved in the hockey world. I was pretty upset to hear about that yesterday.
If the red wings win tonight vs the blackhawks can this years stanley cup vs the penguins will be better then last years?
Well the Penguins will certainly be more battle-tested and less intimidated this time around. On the other hand, they lost Hossa to the Wings and never really replaced him. Guerin has been a fantastic fit on Crosby's wing, but I think we can all agree he's no Hossa. Still, I would expect a superb final. Wouldn't be surprised if it went 7.
Have you heard any rumors about who the Tampa Bay Lightning would receive in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings?
Not really John, been focused on the playoff series I'm covering. But I can tell you if and when the Lightning get serious above moving Vinny, the Kings would definitely listen
Do you know where I can put in my workmans comp claim?
LOL. Dude, I gave you $20. That should cover you. I warned you I was heavy!
hey pierre, im going to the source here, who will be in net for philly next year?
TBD. The Flyers have touched based with Martin Biron (UFA), and also Ray Emery (UFA). J.S. Giguere would be intriguing but they'd have to move serious cash
Would it be better if the Red Wings lost game 5 and then won game 6 so that they would more time to deal with their injuries?
Haha, interesting point Chris. I know from talking to the Wings they just want to win so badly tonight to get it done and over with. I understand your point though, with the Wings so banged up, a Saturday start does them no favors
Who do you like in tonights matchup?
Wings 4, Hawks 3
IF the Blackhawks win tonight , do they have a shot at winning the series ? Is the future bright in Chicago or is this just a flash in the pan ? Matthew , Chicago , Il
They're not beating Detroit 3 straight. But the future is indeed bright. Never mind just Kane and Toews, but Keith, Seabrook, Bolland, Brouwer, Versteeg _ gotta wear shades
Assuming the Wings advance, aren't they still the clear favorites over the Pens? A lot of national columnists have gotten on the Pittsburgh bandwagon -- the same one that broke down last year. I know Sid and Geno are killing it out there, but it seems to be like the Cup was decided in the Detroit/Anaheim series.
I wouldn't say clear favorites _ but favored yes. Wings are an awesome machine. I think the Lidstrom/Datsyuk/Draper injuries have people wondering if Pitt can take advantage of it. Should be a great series
Can the hawks win tonigh without Khabibulin? He seemed like he made up for a lot of mistakes and kept them competitive in the first three games. Huet looked suspect in game 4, how say you?
Huet wasn't very good Sunday but let's give him the benefit of being off for six weeks. One period (Friday night) does not make up for six weeks off. let's see if he can shake off the rust tonight
How impressive has Jordan Staal been this postseason. Defensive assignment on Carter, Ovechkin and then his brother and held his own against each of them.
Big-time impressive. Look at the depth both the Pens and Wings have down the middle Pitt _ Crosby, Malkin, Staal Det _ Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Filppula As all the throwback hockey executives and coaches have always told me during my career _ your great teams are always built down the middle
Will the health and rest of whatever team plays Pittsburgh be a factor in the finals? Both Det and Chi have significant injuries right now. If we don't close this out tonight, does this favor Pitt?
usually, Pitt would want the West to go 7 and triple overtime, but given the current Wings injuries, maybe cheer for a Saturday start to take advantage of that
There is talk that this Pens team isnt as good as last years, but I think the whole is greater than the sum of the parts this season. Would you agree?
It's a good debate. On the one hand, they really never replaced Hossa. But on the other hand, Crosby/Malkin/Staal even better this time around and more confident heading into the finals...
The Pens have proved showed, depth, experience, maturity, and poise. Is there anything missing in this mix to overcome a winner from a conference that has won the cup the last two years?
They've got more experience, but still way less than Detroit. That gap never changes because the Wing have been doing it for 14 years.
Did you foresee this kind of play from Guerin coming this postseason?
Not a chance. Holy cow, Barcelona just scored. Two-nil Barcelona over Man U in the Champions League Final
Bigger Suprise: Penguins sweeping the Canes or Ward missing the game winning lob from Talbot?
If the Wings win tonight, games 1 and 2 will be on Sat. and Sun. Would Game 3 be on Tues. or Wed. then?
Notihing is official yet but I believe Gmes 3-4 would be Tuesday and Thursday
Since Marcus Naslund retiring and opening up $4 million in cap space for the Rangers, do you see them going after Marion Gaborik? They desperately need goal scoring.
Haven't checked in on the Rangers since they were knocked out but it's plausible as a concept
With the impending free agencies of Nikolai Khabibulin and Martin Havlat, do you see the Blackhawks letting them walk partly because of the importance of locking up Towes, Kane, and Duncan Keith to long-term contracts under the current salary cap structure?
Great questions. They'll have some decisions to make. My guess is that Khabi walks and Havlat stays
Are we playing to prove to Hossa he made the wrong decision.
Pierre, Assuming that the Wings advance (whether it is tonight or in game 6) to the Finals against the Pens, who do you pick in that matchup? I wonder when Lidstrom, Datsyuk, and Draper are going to return, but feel confident in Ericcson, Leino, and Filpula. In your opinion, do the Wings have enough to overcome Crosby, Malkin, and those pesky Penguins?
You'll have to wait for my official prediction for this. We'll have that up tonight if it's over or whatever night the West final ends
Do you personally feel like all of the conspiracy theorist fans' arguements hold any water in regard to the Penguins gaining an advantage because of questionable calls in their favor?
There's no truth to that stuff. Believe me, I know all the NHL guys and refs and officials. They are total pros. that's fan-made up stuff
what is up with that capitals and nationals with steroids?
no clue. The NHL and Caps are investigating but at this point they don't believe it to be true. We'll see
no clue. The NHL and Caps are investigating but at this point they don't believe it to be true. We'll see
DO YOU THINK THE DETROIT RED WINGS ARE THE MONTREAL CANADIENS OF THIS MODERN NHL?
YES I THINK THEY ARE. EIGHT CONFERENCE FINALS IN 14 YEARS AND FOUR STANLEY CUPS IN 11 SEAONS WORKS FOR ME
Pierre, if the Wings win tonight will the Cup Finals start this weekend? I am trying to plan business travel and want to wait until after the Cup is awarded. An eight day layoff just for NBC would be awful. It would also greatly help the Pens to get this thing started right away while Lidstrom, Datsyuk and Draper are still banged up.
As far as I know, but the NHL has not confirmed this, I believe if Detroit wins tonight then Games 1-2 go back-to-back Saturday-Sunday here in Detroit. Then Games 3-4 go Tuesday and Thursday in Pitt
If it is a Pens/Wings rematch, rank (in order) the top 4 players (in a vacuum, not in terms of how important they are to their respective teams).
1. Crosby 2. Malkin 3. Lidsrom 4. Zetterberg 5. Datsyuk 6. Franzen 7. Gonchar 8. Hossa 9. Kronwall 10. Staal
Any insight to the Lidstrom injury? Has he skated at all?
Did not skate Sunday, Monday, Tuesday or today. He rode the bike today. Babcock said today that he though Lidstrom would be ready for next game
Pierre, next time you are in Chicago, take a bus or one of the shuttles to the many bars in the West Loop. That said, how worried should I be about Lidstrom? I know Detroit can beat Chicago without him, but Pittsburgh will be a different story.
Thanks Tom, great advice. Maybe next time I'll rent a car, too :) You saw my Lidstrom note before
Assuming Detroit wins their series: With all the off-season drama surrounding Hossa turning down the Pens and signing with the Wings, do you think there is an added bit of motivation from the Penguin's players (not fans or local media) to prove him wrong, or at the end of the day do the players really not care too much about that?
I think there is. If fact, I know there is. But I doubt they'll say it for public consumption
I am really worried about the most beloved Wing Captain Lindstrom. It is so shocking that he isn't playing...do you know anything more than "lower body" injury? I am reading it isn't that serious but it must be for him to miss 2 playoff games for the first time in his career...right?
Lower body is all we know buddy. It's the playoffs !!!!
Are the redwings hiding lidstrom and datsyuk in fear the hawls will goon out on them for the havlat hit.
no, they would never do that.
If Huet does not perform well tonight, do you think that will force the Hawks to sign Khabibulin for next year?
Well, Huet is slated to earn $5.626 million a year for three more seaons. Good luck moving that contract.
If Detroit wins, who is the Conn Smythe?
My pick was Lidstrom until he got hurt. If he's back for the Cup Finals I won't change it
It seems that everyone has now counted the Hawks out of the series and moved on. What effect do you think this will have on the game tonight, if any?
Wouldn't be suprrised if the Hawks won. They're a bunch of great character kids. Problem is, I don't see them winning three straight
Do you think the Red Wings are a more physical team than the Penguins? And will that be a determining factor in who wins the Stanley Cup? assuming detroit makes it there
I think they're pretty even in that department
Do the Pens enter the Marian Hossa sweepstakes this Summer in the event the Wings fail to resign him? Does this become "bulletin board" material that the Pens use in the Finals, assuming Detroit advances?
I think Hossa re-signs with the Wings
Assuming the Wings finish the series tonight. Your thoughts on the Wings depth giving the Penguins trouble during the next series?
Both teams are pretty even up front but I think the Wings have better depth on defense.
With the Red Wings potentially ending the series tonight, what are your views about the 6 day layover between the conference finals and cup finals? Is Bettman making a bad decision by not closing this gap and potentially losing attention to the NBA?
If series ends tonight, Cup Finals likely to open up Saturday
do the pens have enough scoring depth to take the wings?
They've got enough scoring depth, it's their D I'm worried about
After witnessing Malkin's play, I have to admit he is the best russin in the league, and deserves the Hart this year. How would you vote?
The voting for the regular-season awards, like the Hart, is done BEFORE the playoffs. I sent in my ballot to the NHL on April 11. My Hart votes went as follows on my official ballot. 1. Ovechkin 2. Malkin 3. Parise 4. Datsyuk 5. Crosby
Yes likely June 5 start if Hawks win tonight
How is Detroit able to stay under the salary cap? All the talk in Chicago is how they won't be able to keep all their guys and stay under the cap.
Osgood _ $1.7 million Huet _ $5.625 million Khabibulin _ $6.75 million
Does Detroit have enough offense to play with the Pens? Everyone knows that Osgood is good for 4 or 5 goals if you out shoot the Wings
Ozzie has been awesome in these playoffs. Also, when Datsyuk returns, the third line is Hudler-Filpulla-Samuelsson or Clearly-Fippulla-Samuelsson. yes, there's enough offense in Detroit
pierre duse hossa hade to what he did in game4 to win tonight for the wings
one goal from him should be enough
Do you think that as crazy as it sounds that people are still taking the Penguins too lightly? Especially by relying on the too many questionable calls going their way arguement?
No one should take them lightly. Ask Washington
"I think we can all agree he's [Guerin] no Hossa" I agree. Guerin has 14 points this playoff series (only 2 on special teams) vs Hossa's 12 (half of which are from odd man situations). I'll take the guy who is a bull in front of the net, vs another fancy stickwork player on Sid's line.
:LOL. OK, now I'll poll al 30 GMs. haha
Lidstrom never misses a playoff game. After missing two in a row, do you think his injury is worse than just a random "lower body injury"? Do you see him coming back if the do indeed move on to the finals?
Derek, it's the playoffs. The CIA couldn't find that out :) It's a final in Rome _ Barcelona wins the Champions League title !!!!!
Do you expect "a lot" of movement at the next entry draft?
From what I've heard from GMs over the last 10 days or so, yes, there should be a few moves
Pierre, while you're in Michigan, make sure you try Bell's Oberon, a Michigan beer. I highly recommend it.
Consider it done !!!!
hawks have a snowballs chance tonight?
How big of a hit to the Caps chances of rebounding next year was the loss of Federov and Kozlov to the KHL? They seemed like the only 2 guys other than Ovechkin who showed up against the Pens.
Well, Fedorov hasn't decided what he's doing yet. Not sure if you saw what his agent told me yesterday but it's on the site. Kozlov is gone to the KHL, yes. Either way, they're a couple of old Russian guys. More room for young Caps to have a role now. Not sure they're big losses.
I hear the word dynasty thrown around in football with the Patriots and steelers. Yet I havent heard it in the same sentance as the Red Wings. Would you put the Wings of the last decade or so in the dynasty category?
yes, and I've used the world with them several times in my copy over the last year
How great would it be to see Jeremy Roenick finish his career up as a Hawk? With the new attitude to bringing back the old Hawks, think this would be great.
Well I know it won't be in Detroit :)
Assuming the Wings win this series and Cup were does Hossa go if he leaves and what do you think he can make in comparison to the offers last year with a cup on the resume now
I think he's staying
how's your playoff beard?
Stayed with the goatee only buddy
Theres been a rumor going around that Federov will play in Russia and not return to the NHL, have you heard anything about that?
yes check out the story I put out yesterday on the site
What shoes go with a sequined purse, pumps or flats?
What do you think is the biggest need for the boston bruins this offseason
blue-line. That got exposed by Carolina.
Do you think that there is too much days between playoffs games? Why not to return to the simple "1 day off" between games.
Totally agree. I also think no hockey should be played past may 31. Start the regular season in mid-September, playoffs April 1, and never have more than one day between games
Great coverage as always Pierre. Two questions - is Darryl Sutter going to coach Calgary next season? What's the chances of Balsillie's bid going through?
Thanks BWAB? Sutter is thinking about coaching but wants to talk to a few other candidates first. So we'll see. I don't think Balsillie will win out, but I'm not a legal expert
Rumor has it that if Detroit wins tonight, the finals will start on Saturday. If this happens, will the change in schedule not clearly favor the Penguins due to the injuries in Detroit. If the game had already been scheduled, how can the league even consider changing what is already written when it would clearly benefit one team?
Because the league and the TV networks are concerned nobody would care about the Finals anymore if there's nine days off between rounds
Listrom never misses a playoff game. Given that he's missed 2 straight after tonight, do you see him coming back in the finals if/when the Wings finish off Chicago or is this injury worse than they are letting on?
Babcock seemed pretty confident today that he would return for the next game. We haven't had the opportunity to talk to Lidstrom since he got hurt so we don't know what he's thinking
with all the notariety of some of the match ups this spring, wouldn't an 7-8 day layoff kill the nhl's good vibe?
Pierre, what are your thoughts on the Pens dressing 7 defensemen...since it appears that Gonchar is healthy, do you think they would be better suited staying with this, or bringing Dupuis back in place of Boucher?
Well, they're on a 5-game win streak with the current set-up so not sure you want to toy with that
Has Osgood all of sudden become a great goalie or is he just having a great series?
Read my column from earlier in the series. I think a lot of people are beginning to finally realize we've underrated the guy for a long time. He's a battled-tested veteran who gets the job done
is roenick for real, does babcock hate americans?
Babcock's two kids are Americans so I highly doubt that
Is the epic rematch of Detroit-Pitt going to be overshadowed by a Lebron-Kobe matchup?
not in my country !! haha
Why do people keep calling Ozzy the 'weak' link, come on! Does he have to win a cup to quiet the critics? Oh wait...
Who's faster, Messi or Ovechkin?
With the free-agent defensemen class being so shallow, do you think Rob Scuderi has played himself out of the Pens' price range?
My guess is, like Orpik, he'll find a way to stay
Please address the potential disadvantage that the Red Wings will have in regard to the possible Cup Finals scheduling change
Well, not sure what I need to add. Obviously starting Saturday would be tougher for Detroit given the injuries to Lidstrom and Datsyuk. No question
What does Ozzy have to do to earn respect? The press still calls him the 'weak' link?
not me !
With Roy turning down the Avs for family reasons (Yeah right who really would want to coach that team right now) were does that leave granato and the Avs?
still in limbo until a GM is hired
Do you remember a time when one series was still going on and so much was written as if the series was already over?
haha... very true... would be funny if Hawks came back to win series.... I guess people didn't like what they saw Sunday
Pierre, Are the Penguins becoming the Avalanche of a decade ago? always aquiring players at the deadline for draft picks.
you definitely can't do it every single year. Even Detroit stayed put this year at the deadline
Should the Wings make the finals, does Detroit have the advantage in coaching?
certainly more experience
I'm kind of new to hockey. In basketball they are so specific about injury (right hip, left knee, sore lower back). Why are they so vague in hockey when it comes to injuries?
great question TJ, and welcome to hockey. You won't want to leave. It's long been the hockey custom to hide or lie about injuries in order to protect players playing through pain. the league actually rule on this again in recent years and said teams don't have to disclose nature of injuries
Looking in the future, what are the chances the hawks can keep they're whole young core of talent together for a good chunk of years?
well Rick, they won't be able to keep everybody. The cap won't allow for that. So they'll have to pick and choose which core guys they want to build around. But there's plenty to choose from
Who was your favorite NHL team as a kid?
Le Club de Hockey le Canadien de Montreal
Should Detroit advance, how much will home ice advantage play into the final matchup?
That's a nice advantage to have although even the young Penguins last year were able to win a game at Joe Louis. That's an important thing for them to have in their psyche
assuming the hawks don't resign him, any chance khabiulin ends up with the flyers?
Yeah he's probably a guy the Flyers would look at July 1 but again, depend on $$$$$$. Flyers have big cap issues
Have you heard anything about next years salary cap?
yes just yesterday I got a note from both NHL and NHLPA sources which said the cap will either be flat or same as this year or about $2 million less. It depends on whether or not the players vote to add on a five per cent inflator to the cap _ which is their right in the CBA. They've chosen to do so every year and the betting money is that they'll vote yes again. So that means the cap should more or less close to where it is now, somewhere around $56 million.
how does hossa stay when detroit has just under 6 mil in space and only 16 players locked up?
Wings intened to trade a few blue-liners because they're deep there; but only if Hossa wants to stay. The conversation between the two camps resumes after the playoffs. We'll see what happens. Ok puck fans, I'm off to Joe Louis Arena. Thanks for the questions this week and talk to you next week !