So, where were we?
Scott--what do you think the chances of Fluery and Jordan Staal making the Canadian team at this point into the season?
Michael; I think Fleury's chances are excellent of being one of the three netminders named. I think the better question is whether he is one of the two starters. I think he has earned that right.
QUESTION TO SCOTTBURNSIDE AT 4.20 PM HI SCOTT WHAT DOYUOU THINK OFOURAVALANCHE SO FAR
Ray; Love them. Wonder what will happen now that they've hit a bit of a bump.
With little cap room and needing to address several needs. Do you think the wings should keep brad stuart due to his high salary cap hit. Am I the only one a bit surprised how much he is making?
Jon; Brad's $3.75 million probably isn't out of line when you consider how good he was two years ago during the Wings' Cup run and he is a top four defenseman.
With all the injuries to the Devils defense, do you see Lou trying to trade for a top 4 D-man and a 2nd line center because Elias is not a center but probably play there when he returns.
Marc; I rarely try and speak for Lou but it has been his history to always look within for answers before he makes a deal and he will be loathe to give up prospects to try and land a top-four defenseman. And the bottom line is that the only top four defensemen available - and there are few - are ones that are overpaid and/or underachieving.
Scott, what do you expect from Wideman the rest of the way now that his playing time seems reduced? I have both him and Cam Barker on my roster - which one will be more productive?
Sam; I am the wrong one to go to for fantasy advice but all of the Bruins are struggling offensively now and I think Dennis Wideman is a terrific young prospect. So do the Bruins. Cam Barker is likewise held in high regard in Chicago but the question remains whether they can keep him along with the rest of the great young blue liners there. My guess is Barker may be gone by the end of the season.
Why are the devils so good on the road and when they go back to newark they do not look like a playoff contender
Josh; They're one of the great mysteries of this young season. Sometimes you'll see teams try and do too much at home, put on a show if you will. Hard to imagine a Jacques Lemaire-led team being that different at home compared to the road but they are definitely a different squad home and away and that's got to be driving fans at The Rock crazy.
How about them Sharks!!!? SJ fans should have been worried when both Pavelski AND Setoguchi went out with injuries. But Patrick Marleau and Nabokov have been carrying the team of late. Now that they're 15 games into the season, do you see a more attractive package in SJ? Or are my fellow teal fans doomed for another dissapointng postseason like last year. (And the year before that. And the one before that)
Benjamin; I did our power rankings this week. Moved them into #2 for what it's worth, tops in the Western Conference. They are becoming the team most people thought they would after the acquistion of Dany Heatley. And kudos to Patrick Marleau for shaking off the loss of the captaincy to play as well as he has. Canadian Olympic team anyone?
Scott, what do you think of Ladd's hit on D'Agostini on Friday night? And for that matter, what do you think of the rash of head high hits that have occurred so far this year?
David; I didn't feel as strongly about the Ladd hit as I did about Mike Richards' blindside hit on David Booth. Didn't think Tuomo Ruutu's three game suspension was enough for smashing Darcy Tucker from behind. In general I think the NHL errs too often on the side of caution when handing out suspensions which I think does a disservice to the vicims. No suspensions no deterrent.
How long do you think I will be out for?
Ovechkin; I expect to see you back by the end of the week at the latest. Just a guess but we were told that if it had been the playoffs you would have been back in Sunday's game against Columbus.
Scott, do you think somewhere Kevin Lowe is laughing at Brian Burke regarding the Dustin Penner signing?
Alisa; I think if Kevin were the spiteful type, and I don't think he is, he might be enjoying some of Brian Burke's struggles in Toronto. But until his Oilers can stop being shut out twice a week he won't be too smug even though Dustin Penner is finally fulfilling his promise.
Hey Scott, I love your insight and thanks for chatting. Have the Avs finally come back to Earth?
Craig; Anyone tell you you're a wise man? I think it will be a fascinating week for the Avs who have lost two in a row. They're at home for three (Phoenix, Chicago, Edmonton) and the pressure is on to stop two games from morphing into six or seven.
Well now that Briere (again) and Gagne (mr. brittle) are hurt, where do the Flyers go from here?
Allan; A bit harsh but certainly the Flyers will miss Simon Gagne and Daniel Briere even if both have had trouble, historically, staying healthy. That said the Flyers are as deep offensively as any team in the league and with James vanRiemsdyk and Claude Giroux ready to accept bigger roles I don't think they'll miss a beat.
Phil Kessel - Plays tuesday? I realize he isnt in game shape yet...but he has been skating with the team correct? what sort of impact do you expect?
Joe; Phil Kessel should make his debut with the Leafs tomorrow. He practised today with Matt Stajan and Jason Blake my colleague Pierre LeBrun tells me. I think his impact will be immediate. The Leafs' power play is already clicking and he'll step right in and contribute.
Scott,You're the new head of the NHL! What do you do about Phoenix?
DanD; I move it to Nashville. Oh, wait, you've already got a team. Just kidding. I find someone who's willing to give it another year, maybe two, and then start making exit plans for Southern Ontario or Quebec City (assuming the city/province are serious about building a new rink).
Scott...do you think the Canucks are a contender once we get all our healthy bodies back?
Darius; I must admit i am still not sold on the Canucks' offensive depth and with their murderous road schedule coming up once the Olympics come to town I am not sure I put them in the contender category. That said, when Daniel Sedin and Roberto Luongo plus the other supporting cast returns the Canucks look very solid. Just not sure you can get all the pieces in the right place at the right time to make a long playoff run - assuming the Canucks get there at all.
Hey Scott, i saw your video with Pierre on the race for the calder trophy, and the early surprises. I didnt hear no mention of Del Zotto. Why is that?
Mike; Shameful oversight on Pierre's part. Okay, mine. No question Mr. Del Zotto has been an important part of the Rangers' impressive start. Not bad for a kid that is just nicely 19.
The Islanders kids look like they are starting to get it....they have a tremendous amount of young talent.....you think they could surprise some people and stay in the playoff hunt ?
Mowgli; Agreed this has been an impressive stretch for the Isles. Let's see if they can keep up the pace for a couple of weeks before we start thinking playoffs. It's not rocket science but Dwayne Roloson has to keep carrying the water if the Isles are going to keep surprising folks by staying in the hunt. Can't think of anything better for that franchise.
Kari Lehtonen. What do you do if you're Don Waddell?
Jason; You wait and see if Lehtonen ever gets healthy. Let's say it's Christmas. If Ondrej Pavelec and Johan Hedberg are still holding the fort you find a partner and ship him out of town.
Scott- What on Earth is up with the Carolina Hurricanes. Eastern Conference Finalists to 9 game losing streak and having a goal differential of -12 over the last 3 games... what is goin on in Raleigh?
Daniel; Great question. The wheels sure have come off in a big way. Eric Staal, hurt yesterday, has been a shadow of his former self. Rod Brind'Amour hasn't been a factor. Cam Ward often left to his own devices and even though it's not all his fault he hasn't help much. Blue line breaking down. It is amazing that this is basically the same team that went to the conference final.
what do you think of the tampa bay lighting start are the playoff contenders
Evan; Some nights the Lightning look like the real deal - two dangerous scoring lines, mobile defense and solid goaltending. And then they fall apart for a game or two. I still think they're a playoff team but they've got lots of work yet to do. The good sign is that Steven Stamkos is for real and both Mary St. Louis and Ryan Malone are off to great starts.
Hey Scott, Kings play Pittsburgh this Thursday. How much should I use this game as a barometer for the season? Thanks!
Bill; good question and sometimes it's hard to tell with inter-conference games that don't really mean as much as say a Kings/Sharks game or a Pens/Flyers game. Probably a better test for the Kings who will need to reassess where they're at team-wise periodically as the season goes along.
hey scotty, watching some clips of KHL highlites on line begin to realize the game would be so muich better playing on an olympic size rink, what do you think are the negatives and positives of this switch?
Mike; I am not a fan of the big ice surface. Was in Italy for the Olympics and often teams can afford to play a passive, trap-like game by sitting back in the neutral zone because the surface is too big to generate true North American style forechecking. Check out the action in Vancouver in February (small ice) and I think you'll find this tournament is 10 times better than Turin.
Does Steve Stamkos get the credit he deserve?When people talk about good younger players,its only Ovechkin,Malkin, or Crosby.
Stephen; Well, Stamkos has only played in about 90 NHL games and I think he's getting lots of attention so far this season - which he deserves. I think there is a lot more discussion this season about young players beyond Ovechkin, Malkin, Crosby. But they are still the gold standard, nothing wrong with that.
Scenario: The Isles end up winning the cup...who do you let lift the cup first?
G-rant; Butch Goring. Or Martin Biron unless he's been traded.
DO YOU THINK THERE IS ANY CHANCE KOVULCHUK COMES TO THE WINGS
Kris; virtually none. Not really a fit economically or in terms of what they'd have to give up in trade.
Scott- What do you do about Chris Higgins if you're Tortorella? Will he catch on like he did two seasons ago with Montreal? He's not injured, he just can't buy a goal.
John; I know it's early but Higgins has that kind of lost look that some players get when they come to New York, like it won't matter what happens it's going to be gruesome. Good guy so hope it turns out better for him but so far not much of a bargain in that deal for the Rangers.
Should fans of hockey be happy about the NHLPA's recent issues? Does this almost insure an extension of the current agreement?
Steven; I think the players would have extended the deal beyond the end of next season anyway but with the departure of Ian Penny et al and the leadership vacuum at the top of the heap I think it's a given the CBA will extend to the end of the 2011-2012 season so that's good news for the fans who fear another labor disruption.
I said that replacing Gretzky with Tippett was the best thing for the franchise. What do you think about Tippett so far in Phoenix? Is he a coach of the year candidate if the 'Yotes keep up this pace?
Paul; I am a big fan of Dave Tippett and think he's done a nice job although it's always good to keep in mind that Gretzky had the Coyotes in 5th place at the All-Star break a year ago and the wheels came off. There is so little offense in that line-up I wonder how long the 'Yotes can keep it up but good on Dave Tippett for the team's terrific start.
What are you early picks for the Calder and Jack Adams trophies?
Dave; This very second I would go with Ryan O'Reilly with Del Zotto and Tavares behind him. As for Jack Adams, Joe Sacco no question in Colorado followed by Dave Tippett and Terry Murray.
It kind of continues to be swept under the rug but when is Captain Serious going to return for the Hawks? They can tread water without him but more than anything I am concerned about Toews long term if he's struggling this much with a head injury.
Sean; I don't have any inside knowledge but expect the 'Hawks will be exceedingly careful with Toews. Not that you'd rush a young star back anyway but this is a team that is thinking big picture. Agreed, though, any kind of head injury like the one sustained by Toews is troubling and you have to wonder if there will be long-term issues he'll have to deal with.
Scott, why wasn't Marek Zidlicky given a misconduct for not having his sweater tied down during the fight with Crosby? Or do the refs overlook this rule when "finesse" players fight compared to known tough guys. Regardless, someone getting pummeled with their jersey over their head is awesome.
Jesse; Good question. Unless it came undone in the fracas. Refs don't have time to take note of who's fighting to decide how to call it so it was either done in the heat of battle or an oversight. Agreed, though, it was spectacular to see.
Hi mr Scott,Is there any way that my beloved Flyers trade away Briere? Waste of money and roster spot, maybe Canadiens would bite?
Daniel; Sorry, the Habs already have their quotient of undersized forwards.
Who do you consider the greatest competitor in the league?
Will; Great question. Mike Richards is up there. Shane Doan. Sidney Crosby. Alexander Ovechkin. Brenden Morrow. Pavel Datsyuk. Not a bad start to a list of guys you'd want in your line-up come Game 7.
What is the over/under on Columbus breaking out this month and taking the division lead? Columbus finally starts playing home games, and Chicago finally has to go on the road, that and the Jackets get Hejda back and Mason couldn't be much worse this month.
Matt; Good points all. Interesting stretch for the Blue Jackets to be sure. I had a chance to talk to Ken Hitchcock last week and he was raving about the skill level on the team although he was worried about getting through this injury spell and having them keep their focus. I am not sure that the young guys are ready to carry the freight back to the playoffs but this will be a good chance to find out if I'm wrong.
Scott, how can you forget me CAPTAIN CANADA, on your list of greatest competitors! Don't let Lebrun see this oversight, or he might pull your jersey over your head, EH!
Ryan; First I overlook Michael Del Zotto now you, Mr. Mullett. Mea Culpa. See you in Vancouver.
Once the Yotes move to Ontario, do you think they have a chance at winning a cup?
Ellen; I think the bigger irony would be if they move to Quebec City and win a Cup the following year as the Avs did the spring after moving from Quebec to Denver. Not sure it'll play out that way but fun to think about.
Are a lot of the players in the NHL religious?
Brandon; Interesting question. Not sure, percentage wise, but I think it's safe to say the place of religion is different than say in the NFL where players often pray at mid-field after games etc. I think hockey players, in general, are more under-stated than other pro athletes and that holds when it comes to religion, too.
Looks like the Wings are showing the resolve they are known for and are coming off a pretty good western road trip considering the adversity they have faced. I think to many people have written the Wings off too early. Thoughts?
Mike; Yes, too early for the obit but they've got lots of work ahead of them and they've got to soldify the goaltending situation; ie. is Jimmy Howard capable of giving them 30 to 35 quality starts? Right now it seems like an awful lot.
Scott, Where will Shanahan land, if anywhere? Why not Philly (injuries to Briere and Gagne -- could be season-long issues; plus Richards maybe not yet pure captain material)? Thoughts?
Gordie; Last we heard Philly was out of the picture and it didn't sound like that was going to change. Don't think you can parachute into a team like the Flyers and assume the captaincy so I think if Shanahan returns it will be somewhere else. Got to figure he's going to stay in the east to be close to family so that narrows it down even more. I wouldn't be at all surprised if this was it for the future Hall of Famer.
Thanks folks. Next week we'll chat from Toronto where I'll be at the Hall of Fame. See you then.