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September 16, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Pierre LeBrun

  (3:58 PM)

Where did the summer go ?!?!?!?!?Let's get this chat rockin' and rollin '

Sal (San Jose,CA)

Pierre, how good of team will the sharks be this season with heatley on board? You see them going further this year then previous?

  (4:01 PM)

Interesting that you should ask Sal, was just on the phone with Sharks head coach Todd McLellan two hours ago... Lots of change in San Jose, notably Heatley's arrival but as McLellan pointed out, GM Doug Wilson also made wholesale changes to the third and fourth lines where gritty guys lie Scott Nichol and Jed Ortmeyer will give them a bit more sandpaper. McLellan confirmed that Healtey and Joe Thornton will begin as a 1-2 punch with Devin Setoguchi on the right side. The pressure on this group is huge after yet another playoff flop. But I do think the makeup of this team is better off than a year ago.

Jim (Bourbonnais, IL)

What do you think of Patrick Kane saying that this season is "Stanley Cup or bust" for the Blackhawks?

  (4:03 PM)

Nothing wrong with aiming high. After all, this team went to the conference finals last year so anything less would be a disappointment. The Wings may have taken a slight step backwards (although not much), the Sharks have a ton of pressure to finally win, the Ducks look good but lost Pronger... the Hawks may indeed have a window here. One thing that worries me is Cristobal Huet in net

Henry (Pittsburgh)

Will Eric Tangradi make the team this season?

  (4:03 PM)

No clue. Sorry.

Eric (Boulder, CO)

Where do you expect Detroit to finish the regular season after the departure of Hossa, Hudler, Samuelsson, etc...?

  (4:04 PM)

The Wings still have that great core led by Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Lidstrom and Kronwall and some nice young relief in Ericsson and Abdelkader and Helm... but they lost more bodies than they wanted to this summer, especially Hudler. They've got I think the best coach in the NHL so they'll be right there with the other contenders but they'll need to earn every point this season

Jason (Antigonish, NS)

Who will shake out to be Vancouver's top eight on the blueline? Does Gillis have any plans to move any of the ten defensemen on one-way contracts? Keep up the great work, Pierre, love your work.

  (4:08 PM)

Tough to say at this point so early in the camp Jason. I actually spoke with Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault yesterday and it was clear he hadn't make up his mind yet in that area. Obviously Salo, Mitchell, Bieksa, Schneider, Edler and Erhoff are locks.... that leaves O'Brien, Baumgartner, Lukowich and Nycholat fighting it off for one or two spots and I ive Lukowich and O'Brien the edge there

Matthieu (France)

Do you think that Dallas can be rebuilt quickly by getting for example some Blueliners as Zubov left? Being a big fan of Dallas i wish they can go through the playoffs this starting season like in 2008 at least. Secondly, do you know if its the last season of MO? As he will get 40, for his 20th season, im afraid he retires at the end of the 2008-2009 exercice, especially after the retirement of Roenick, his last main contender for his records. Keep the good job you're doing Pierre. faithfully from france!

  (4:09 PM)

Yes I think Modano is done after this season. I think he wanted to come back for the Olympics in large part.

Andy (Lynchburg Virginia)

Pierre,Where do you see Phil Kessel ending up and what do you think the Bruins will see in terms of a return on the deal, either via a trade or offer sheet?

  (4:11 PM)

Toronto is charging the hardest at Kessel right now. The Leafs offered two first-round picks and a second-round picks for Kessel and lower picks. Boston I'm told wants a player in return in the deal so the two sides continue to talk and in fact Boston plays here at Toronto tonight and I'm told Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli and Leafs GM Brian Burke were slated to meet again. Nashville and Minnesota have also shown interest in Kessel although the Wild I don't think have spoken to Boston in a while. I spoke with Preds GM David Poile yesterday and he reiterated his interest in Kessel ''if the price was right."

Liam Hart (Norton, MA)

Can Todd Bertuzzi get back on his game with a good center in Detroit this year and some good health?

  (4:14 PM)

I don't think we'll ever see the 40-goal Todd Bertuzzi ever again. But you might see the 25-goal, gritty Todd Bertuzzi in Detroit

Scott Gomez (Montreal,QC)

Pierre, thank heavens you are here!!! I need some help with my French homework. This classroom stuff is hard.

  (4:15 PM)

Scott, as I told you the other day, I live in Toronto not Montreal.

Chris (Sunnyvale, CA)

Hey Pierre, great to have your chat back. It's been a long summer as a Sharks fan. The latest playoff failure, the turmoil surrounding the leadership of the team, the Marleau trade rumors and finally the acquisition of Heatley. With the Sharks shipping out half their forwards from last season and a third of the defensemen, how do you compare the 09-10 Sharks with the Presidents Trophy winners from last season? Has Doug Wilson made the right moves and changed enough faces to develop a new attitude in the locker room?

  (4:16 PM)

Chris, always a regular on the chats, nice to hear from you. I pretty much touched on all this earlier. I think Todd McLellan stripping the letters tells you it's boot camp this year. There's a new attitude there this year. Will it be good enoguh? That's up to Nabokov and Thornton

Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)

Pierre, how many Staals will be on the Canadian Olympic team? Jordan is exactly the type of player an "all-star" team needs to play defense and kill penalties. Eric is a lock. Marc maybe in 2014.

  (4:16 PM)

Jesse, I'd love to make room for all three but my guess is that only Eric will make it. Jordan perhaps is hurt by the likely presence of a guy like Mike Richards

Shane Doan (Phoenix, AZ)

Pierre, should I put my house on the market? Know of any good condos in Hamilton? Although I think I would like it much better back in Winnipeg. I still have my old Jets jersey ready to go.

  (4:17 PM)

Shane, keep your house for another year. But this time next year, be ready to move !

Travis (Laramie, Wy)

I know the Avs are in a world of trouble this year but how do you see Craig Anderson fitting in and helping the squad. Also, do you see Matt Duchene jumping right to the Avs lineup with Arnason heading to the NYR and Sakic hanging up his skates?

  (4:19 PM)

Craig Anderson is a great guy and an underrated goalie and I'm glad he's finally got the chance to be a number one goalie. But he's on possibly the worst team int he NHL and he's playing goal in a division that features Roberto Luongo, Nikolai Khabibulin, Miikka Kiprusoff and Niklas Backstrom. Gulp.P.S. I think Duchene will have a solid rookie campaign

Ken Holland (Detroit, MI)

Pierre, twelve years for Hossa! Twelve years for Luongo! These long-term contracts are ridiculous! I want to know who started this trend. I think the league needs to step in here...

  (4:20 PM)

It actually wasn't you Ken that started the trend but rather the Calgary Flames when they gave Miikka Kiprusoff a long-term deal that pays him peanuts in his final year which he never intends to fulfill and thus circumventing the cap. That's the original cap-breaking contract that led to all these long-term deals with low AAVs

Travis Callender (Laramie)

A quick prediction of your divisional winners in all the divisions. I have Calgary, Chicago, and San Jose in the West and Washington, Philly (with stellar goaltending), and Boston

  (4:21 PM)

Still mulling that over :)

Jeff Cannity (Raleigh, NC)

Last regular season the Carolina Hurricanes had the second fewest minors and majors and first in overall fewest Penalty Infraction Minutes called against them. I feel that is one reason they got so far in the playoffs. Jimmy R. has bulked up the team a lot in the offseason, and I'm nervous that we are going to start playing a much too physical, undisciplined, penalty-riddled type of hockey (too many adjectives?). Should I be worried?

  (4:22 PM)


Gerry (San Francisco, CA)

Hi Pierre, it's nice to see you again on ESPN SportsNation and thank you for answering some of my questions from last season! My question to you is, do you believe Doug Wilson will get his walking papers if the Sharks underachieve again this season?

  (4:22 PM)

I think the Sharks need a long, long trip into the playoffs this year for everyone who works there to keep their jobs

Joe (Prague)

Hey Pierre! I'm really looking forward to the season to come! It's been a long, awful summer (considering I'm a Caps fan...watching Pittsburgh win the Cup). But anyways, what's the one thing that will keep the Caps from winning the Cup? I asked that to Scott Burnside the other day and he said goaltending. What else? Also, how long do you think other star players will hold out on saying how badly they want to play for their countries in 2014 too?

  (4:24 PM)

Prague, one of my favorite cities. I love that place.Caps: I'm a little worriest about their depth at center. Not real impressed with anyone after Backstrom unless you consider Laich a center. GM George McPhee has to address this during the season

bob (canada)

how good is jordan staal

  (4:25 PM)

He's just scratching the surface

Joe Brown (Anaheim, CA)

LeBrun- Do you see the LA Kings contending for a playoff spot this year? They've got a lot of young talent with Kopitar, Brown, and even Frolov, but what are their chances?

  (4:26 PM)

Yes I see the Kings making the playoffs this season. It is finally their time. Smyth and Scuderi were perfect veteran additions to a young core that's grown together. This should be an exciting time to be a Kings fan

lbj (ny)

who will be better sidney crosby,evgeni malkin or jordan staal when their careers are over

  (4:26 PM)


kyle (cle)

lebron is better than lebrun

  (4:26 PM)

Well, Lebron certanly makes more money than LeBrun :)

david (bos)

michelle beadle is really hot

  (4:27 PM)

Never heard of her but I'll take your word for it :)

Federico (Arlington, VA)

John Carlson and Karl Alzner have been making some noise at caps camp so far. Is there any way one or both make it to the big club and/or some of the vets get traded?

  (4:28 PM)

I'd be shocked if Alzner didn't make it. His time is now.

Rory (New York, NY)

Hey Pierre,One of your colleagues in the mock fantasy draft said that Sean Avery would anger/disrupt teammates within a matter of weeks this season. Am I alone in thinking Aves knows he is on his last legs and loves NY, and will be on his best (relative term) behavior?

  (4:29 PM)

I agree, I think Avery will be fine with Torts. He loves NY and doesn't want to screw this up.Don't put any stock in that fantasy message board stuff, none of it was serious.

Charlie (Hickory, NC)

Hey Pierre,Do you believe my Senators are done trading? I keep waiting for to happen after removing Heatley.

  (4:30 PM)

I think they're done for now... Cheechoo/Michalek were nice top-six additions up front.



  (4:30 PM)


Rick (San Diego, CA)

How do you see the Pacific Division ending up this year. I still think the Ducks have a superior team to the Sharks. They can ice 2 good forward lines and I fee have a better Blue Line corps. Do you think the second line of the Ducks (I call the Finn Line if it is Selanne, Koivu, Nokelienen) will be able to score enough to take the pressure off the (RPG Line of Ryan, Perry Getzlaf)?Thanks Pierre and I am looking forward to another great season of writing from you.--Rick--

  (4:30 PM)

Still mulling over my predictions but Ducks and Sharks battling for the top seed with a greatly improved LA and healthy Dallas right behind.

Bob (Pittsburgh)

Do you see any type of hangover for my Penguins?

  (4:32 PM)

Yes I think it's hard to avoid it. Detroit had a tough time in the entire first half last year. If the Pens can get to January still within a five or six points of their division lead, they'll be in great shape

Brendon (Oakland)

Does Heatley make the Sharks Favorites in the West, and if you were coach how would you fill out the top 2 lines?

  (4:33 PM)

Coach McLellan told me today that he's starting with Thornton between Setoguchi and Heatley so I guess that means Pavelski will be between Marleau and Ryane Clowe. Not too shabby !!!!

Doug (Toronto)

Any insider info on the kessel deal? Don't like all this stuff I'm reading about us including all these picks....doesn't burke eventually have to send one of our 100 d-men out of town

  (4:34 PM)

I can tell you, as I reported last weekend for ESPN, that Burke has indeed offered two first-roud picks and a second-rounder for Kessel plus lower picks in exchange. But Boston wants a player back as well. We'll see what happens. Both teams were slated to talk again today

tyler (hello)

New to fantasy hockey here.....why has everyone got Kovalchuk going so low? I mean Knuble going like 30 spots ahead seems a little crazy to me.....what am I missing?

  (4:36 PM)

I guess you're in a fantasy league that includes plus-minus. Players on bad teams have bad plus-minus ratings. Players on good teams have good plus-minus ratings.I hate the plus-minus in fantasy and in fact in the Toronto Media Hacks Hockey Pool (where I'm commissioner) we do not include plus-minus. We replaced it with shootout goals.

Jason (Ellicott City, MD)

Can you believe the low rating Ovechkin got in NHL 10?

  (4:36 PM)

Is that a video game or something? I'm 37 years old man, I don't know what you're talking about !!! haha

Michael (Atlanta, GA)

How do you see the Thrashers going into this season?

  (4:37 PM)

I actually they might surprise. I love their blue-line with the addition of Kubina and I think Antropov will mesh well with Kovalchuk up front. Could be a bubble team

Matt Jackson (Dallas, TX)

Hey Pierre. Opening for my Stars Tonight. Preseason at least. Why is everyone so down on my Stars? We have a great top 9, solid young back 6 and a goalie with something to prove. Is Crawford really that awful? Thanks

  (4:38 PM)

Tough team to figure out. Spoke with Brenden Morrow yesterday and he feels if everyone stays healthy they should be in the mix. A lot rides on my man Marty Turco (great guy). he needs to rebound big time

Brett (Philly)

This has been bothering me for a long time... when the teams got chosen for the Winter Classic this year, there was an article that said "Right Venue, Wrong Team" - i'm not trying to be a homer here, however, as fans of the game and hopefully people who want to see hockey back on espn highlights (more than just red wings and penguines with the occasional rangers/flyers/sharks/bruins), why would you write that article? Not promoting, and almost saying it was the wrong choice, could have jaded peoples opinions of this amazing event. The flyers might not have Ovi or Cindy but they do have two of the leagues most dynamic players ... and now one of the best defenders ever to play. Do you regret not being more positive or do you still favor stars over exposure of this sport?

  (4:39 PM)

I didn't write the article although I think by good friend Scott Burnside did. I have to be honest with you Brett _ I don't care who plays in the Winter Classic. I'm already tired of outdoor hockey. Yawn.

Frank (Las Vegas)

Pierre, the Sabres fans are rabid for some changes to improve the team. Ownership says we have a good team and it will grow from within. If you were the owner what would you do?

  (4:41 PM)

This team was in a playoff spot and playing great hockey last February before star goalie Ryan Miller and star goal scorer Thomas Vanek both went down with long-term injuries. Very few teams could lose their best two players and surive. Let's see how they do this year with those two guys healthy

bobby ((East Lansing))

I keep thinking back to beginning of last season when Alex Semin was arguably the best player in the NHL until he got hurt. What kind of steps do you see him taking this year, I personally feel like he needs to grow up a little in order to utilize his all world talent?

  (4:42 PM)

I wouldn't be surprised if the Caps trade him within the next year. This is the last year of his deal and I don't thin the Caps want to give him the kind of cap space he'll warrant in his new contract

Liam (Philly, PA)

Die hard Leafer. With all the added toughness this team WILL be hard to play against...but can they make a playoff spot? And would squeeking into the playoffs be a good thing for this team that could use some high draft picks? Thanks!

  (4:43 PM)

One thing Brian Burke reiterated to me again today when I was at the Air Canada Center for the Leafs' pre-game skate: this team is NOT rebuilding. He doesn't believe in the PIttsburgh-type long overhaul. He wants to win now. So he's not interested in high draft picks.

bryan (DC)

What kind of production do you see from Nicklas Backstrom this year especially since hes been skating on that first line with Knuble and OV?

  (4:44 PM)

Huge, huge, career-high numbers

Jim (Phila)

What are your predictions for the Flyers this year? D looks really good, forwards are still deep and I think Emery will be solid for them, especially playing behind that d.

  (4:44 PM)

It's all about the goaltending _ isn't always with the Flyers? haha

Jeff (Columbus, OH)

Can Coach Hitch and the Bluejackets build off there first playoff run?

  (4:45 PM)

They really need solid contribuations down the middle from guys like Vermette and Brassard. That will be key

Jason Karnosky (Madison, WI)

Pierre, What is you Gut feeling on the Phoenix Coyotes situation? Will they be playing in Glendale this season, or will they be moved?

  (4:46 PM)

Glendale this year, who knows next year....

Casey (Denver, CO)

I went to Avs camp on Monday, nothing crazy out of the ordinary. (Duchene did play with Hejduk and Jones was interesting). The attitude was very upbeat for a team that did so bad last season. Can all these new faces and new feelings somehow manipulate a better season than last year?

  (4:47 PM)

I love Duchene but I think they'll be near the bottom in the West. Be patient with the rebuild !

Brandon (NY)

Gaborik with sore groin. Is Glen Sather the only one that didn't see that coming?

  (4:48 PM)


Mark (Houston, TX)

Hey Pierre. One question. Will Carey Price be able to pull off a successful season this year? Do you think he's has enough time to grow up and be one of the premiere goaltenders in the league?

  (4:49 PM)

Who knows is the answer, but this is indeed a huge year in his career. This is your prototypical ''make or break" season for him

robert ((east lansing, MI))

What is going on with Versus not being able to be seen on DirectTV. This is exactly why ESPN needs to get back into the game once the contract runs out

  (4:50 PM)

Don't know bud, I live in Canada :)

Drew (New Orleans)

How will the Blues finish this year with Kariya, Johnson coming back? Better than 6th in the conference?

  (4:51 PM)

I expect big things from the Blues. Maybe Chris Mason in goal isn't among the elite netminders but the blue-line and forward group, now healthy, is loaded and talented. Fun times ahead in St. Loo.

Joe (New York)

What is your take on the Islanders this season and how do you think the young guys like Tavares, Okposo, Bailey, etc. will fair?

  (4:52 PM)

They're going in the right direction but will again miss the playoffs. Patience !

Daniel (So Cal)

Being a Detroit fan I think the Central will be the toughest division this year. What do you think?

  (4:52 PM)

I totally agree. Central is now the best division in hockey. Jackerts, Blues, Hawks and Wings will all make the playoffs in my book

Stu (Phoenix)

Pierre - what do you see as being the biggest surprise of the 2009-10 season and the biggest disappoinment?

  (4:54 PM)

Biggest surprise _ Atlanta being better than most people think, maybe good enough for eigth in the East (maybe)Biggest disappointment _ Winter Classic

Mark (Philly)

Sid breaks the 40 goal barrier this year, yes or no?

  (4:54 PM)


Cate [via mobile]

Are my Rangers legit Cup contenders this year? Do you think Gaborik will stay healthy all season?

  (4:55 PM)

playoff team yes, Cup contenders no

bucknut sanchez (toledo ohio)

hockey sucks the only fun is the fights

  (4:56 PM)

Dude, you live in Toledo.

Drew (New Orleans)

If you're drafting 4th overall in your fantasy league, with Ovie, Malkin, and Crosby already off the board, who do you take?

  (4:57 PM)

Joe Thornton (Heatley effect)

Stefan (Leaf Land!)

Any chance Nazim Kadri could play in a few games this year for the buds? His skill level is off the chart! Great hands!

  (4:57 PM)

Maybe... but Ron Wilson was telling us today at the Leafs skate that despite all that talent, Nazim needs to build up upper body strength. Needs to grow from teen's body to a man !

Nick (Montreal)

Hey Pierre, heres my questionWho are the maple leafs going to be turning to for scoring this upcoming season?

  (4:58 PM)

Don't laugh but look for John Mitchell to have a surprisingly decent season

  (4:58 PM)

OK guys, gotta run. Was great to read some familar names today. Talk next week !