So, where were we? Here in Toronto getting ready for the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in a couple of hours. Let's talk some hockey.
Scott, it almost seems to be a decent thing for the Caps that Ovechkin is out, it forces them to learn to play without him...and it seems to be working....will the Caps be a better team when Ovechkin returns to action because of his leave?
Nick; That's an interesting theory. And certainly the silver lining for teams that have to re-jig their line-ups to compensate for the loss of a top player hope they'll stumble on some lesser lights who will take advantage of new opportunities; like Tomas Fleischmann who had two goals in Saturday's win. So, yes, it's possible the Caps will be a better team when Ovechkin returns possibly later this week.
man, those devils sure do stink. no way they make the playoffs this year. oh, wait...
pete; Ouch. But fair comment. Who knew the Devils were going to bring back Jacques Lemaire and then win 42 straight road games.
What's up with the Hawks? I feel they should be better than this.
Zach; Well, they're 8-5-2 and two points out of first in the Central so that's not chopped liver. But I see your point. I think injuries have made it hard to assess where many teams are at including the 'Hawks. With Hossa set to return in a couple of weeks and with Jonathan Toews possibly back tonight I think you'll see more consistent performacnes from the 'Hawks in coming days.
Hi Scott, thanks for holding these chats and enjoy your work. Do you think the Canucks actually have a shot at Peter Forsberg if he decides to come back or will Foppa pass because of his Avalanche allegiance?
Kirk; Thanks for the kind words. As for Forsberg I think Vancouver has a strong shot at landing him if he decides his wonky foot can stand the rigors of the NHL schedule. I wouldn't hold my breath, though, and he may well be one of those cases of be careful what you wish for given the potential for distraction if he signs and then is in and out of the line-up. My guess is he's done. But I also have a lousy track record when it comes to predictions (see Devils comment above).
Scott,As Rick DiPietro gets closer to his comeback (and that the Islanders would never tell they're 15-year-boy to sit the whole season out), you mentioned that the Isles will be selling Martin Biron. Cam Ward just went down, and the Canes picked up Manny Legace; with that void already being filled (and quickly), where do you think Biron will wind up if and when DiPietro comes back (and can make it through 10 games without re-injuring himself)? Obviously this depends on where Biron will go, but what sort of compensation do you expect the Islanders to receive? Although the team has played much better as of late, traffic, strip malls, and the Islanders' offensive woes are constants on Long Island. What kind of offensive threat do you see someone giving away in exchange for a solid and proven number one goaltender like Biron?Thanks for your time, and I look forward to your response.-Eddie
Eddie; I think it's inevitable that if DiPietro gets clearance to play that GM Garth Snow will try and move Biron. That said, with the Isles playing well the last thing Snow wants to do is pull the trigger on a deal too quickly and then have DiPietro go down again and leave himself thin in goal. As for a possible destination another writer sent in a question asking if Buffalo might be a destination. Possibly. But right now no one is looking for a starter beyond Carolina which you pointed out. As for return unless a team is trying to unload salary - and the Isles aren't really in the market to bring on older, expensive players - I think you're probably talking a second or third round pick, maybe a prospect.
A couple weeks ago you answered every question from someone named Mike...so I hope you get to this one...who do you see Miro Satan signing with...Possibly the Penguins with all the injuries they have had?
Mike; This week am answering questions from people in 'M' states so you're lucky. Interesting idea, Satan going back to Pittsburgh but I think the Pens will wait out the Malkin injury before doing anything like adding another body especially with Max Talbot rehabbing, too. Bottom line is that Satan isn't really a good fit there.
Hi Scott, The Wild have a good week winning 3 of 4 games. Even though they are on the road, they have two winable games against the Leafs and TB before they play the Caps. Can they ride this momentum and make some ground up?
Mike; Seriously, just a coincidence, two Mike questions in a row. Where was I?I think it's interesting how a number of the bottom end teams have started to make some noise like the Isles, Leafs and as you note the Wild. The good thing for Todd Richards et al in Minnesota is that they have great goaltending and now that they seem to have ridden out some of the transitional bumps I don't see why they won't play better on a more consistent basis. Still, I don't think they've got enough offensive juice to be a playoff team.
Aloha all. Hurricanes look a real mess. They need to shake things up with a trade. Chicago needs to find cap space for the future. Can they work something out? Would the Hurricanes take Campbell?
Simon; Welcome. No doubt GM Jim Rutherford would like to do something to try and get his team out of a funk and he's got a bunch of contracts coming up at the end of the year and would like to get some younger assets back. Don't think Brian Campbell is his cup of tea, though. The 'Canes wouldn't want to commit that much money/term to a guy like Campbell.
With Theodore's contract up do you think the Caps will make a play for Biron?
Jeff; Don't think so. I think, in general, the Caps are happy with Theodore's play this year and franky don't think Biron represents much if any upgrade.
What do you make of the comments by Halak's agent following another Price loss? Do you think it will cause some tension between the two goalies?
Joonas; Was just reading about Allan Walsh and his shots at Carey Price (on Twitter I think) pointing out his sorry won/lost record over the past months. Allan last year made some comments about Ondrej Pavelec and the Thrashers suggesting he wanted a trade after training camp etc. All of which got smoothed out quickly. Things like this rarely get smoothed out quickly in Montreal though so I think it has the potential to be a sore point for the two netminders, especially if Price continues to have an up and down time of it.
The Blues have a young and talented roster, but they aren't performing. Many in St. Louis speculate it is the system Andy Murray runs, do you see an early coaching change in St. Louis or does the team just need to play through their funk?
Dan; No question Andy Murray is one of the most demanding coaches in the NHL and he is pretty downright maniacal about details but people can't forget the terrific job Murray did a year ago in getting the Blues into the playoffs. Had a chance to John Davidson in Stockholm and he expressed concern about how his young players would respond to the expectations this season and he was right to be worried. I hope they give him a chance to right the ship.
The Wings seem to be struggling and look all but lost out on the ice some nights (Saturday night, especially). I know the Central division is packed and things look kind of dismal now. Can the Wings, when they get healthy again, make a serious push to make it back into contention for the division title? And is there any acquisition that they could make that would improve their scoring woes?
Jason; I doubt if GM Ken Holland will be doing anything dramatic personnel-wise although head coach Mike Babcock talked Saturday about how the team has to get their head around the fact they just can't out-score their mistakes like they did last year. They had played three solid games in a row before dropping the stinker on Saturday. I think it's early to write the obit although it's certainly not going to be the cakewalk to the playoffs it has been since the end of the lockout (and before).
Given all the injuries to the Bruins in recent days (Savard, Lucic, Krecji, Bitz, Thorton) do you think the win over Buffalo was a turning point, or am I doomed to watch scoreless hockey longer?
David; That scoreless drought that ended against Montreal last Thursday was painful to watch. But beating Buffalo was key and they have looked better. Like a lot of teams it's about holding the fort until the reinforcements get healthy.
Please tell me the wings will try and package a deal for J.S. Giguere.
Isaac; If Giguere goes anywhere look for him to end up in Toronto.
Hey Scott, Lecavalier looks like he needs a change of scenery fast. Have there been any rumors of possible trades for the superstar? Would Montreal still be interested?
Vince; My colleague Pierre LeBrun speculated on this last week when the Lightning were in Toronto and there is a distinct feeling of disconnect between Lecavalier and the Bolts right now although he and the team have played better of late. The key is that now Lecavalier holds the cards in terms of whether he would waive his no-trade contract or not. Montreal? Maybe. How about Los Angeles?
What is the ceiling for Gustuvsson??
Chris; Had a chance to watch in person Saturday and he was terrific. The good thing for the Leafs is that he's not a kid (ie. he's not Carey Price) who is likely to go sideways for a long time. Pretty confident, cool, reminds me a bit of Henrik Lundqvist. Still real early but pretty good first impressions.
After a couple weeks of the season, do you feel as though the Avs are a legit contender? I know it's early but many people picked the Avs to be terrible this year. Your thoughts?
Chris; I was on that 'Avs Stink' bandwagon all off-season. I thought last week was important as they had a good week at home (I know the Oilers snowed them under last night but that's going to happen). The good thing for the Avs is that by piling up so many points in the first month they can absorb the odd two or three game hiccup. I think what no one knows is whether they can avoid the eight or nine game slide that could undo it all. Craig Anderson's going to need some help but the Avs are still the story of the first month-plus of the season.
Great stuff as usual Scott. So how soon do you think before Nylander finally comes to his senses and takes the gig in the KHL? On a scale of 1-10 how childish have the sides been in solving this problem?
David; It hasn't been pretty has it? Wonder if Nylander (and Mrs. Nylander) wish now they'd stuck to the deal they first agreed to with Edmonton before he reneged and signed with the Caps. Just goes to show you there are really hockey gods.
With the lack of depth down the middle, and now injuries to drury and dubi, what do you think sather will do?thanks
John; Well, the Rangers are interested in Forsberg which is in keeping with the Rangers' history of bringing in stars in decline. But it's a real problem both the lack of depth and the injuries. The 'Canes may be looking to move some of their forwards whose contracts are up; Matt Cullen, Scott Walker, Ray Whitney. But the Rangers have little wiggle room when it comes to the cap.
Are the Sharks trying to resign nabby yet?
charlie; Wish I had an update for you but he's played well (one of the players of the week) as the Sharks have re-emerged as the top team in the west. Still, interesting that the Sharks were one of the teams interested in Gustavsson before he signed in Toronto. Hmmmm.
do you think the sharks need to add a proven defenseman to make a run for the cup? Seems like the offense is plugging away whoever is playing up front but I think the weak spot this year is lack of shut down defenseman. Who would be a good fit in your opinion?
Dalibor; I think with Rob Blake (when he gets healthy) and Dan Boyle I don't see that as a glaring weakness.
2 shutouts in a row, then 11 goals in 2 games. How much of Florida's problems could be blamed on their defense, and how much on their goaltenders?? Are Clemmensen and Vokoun just that inconsistent, is their defense incredibly inconsistent, or both (my choice)?? Is there any way to right this ship before a bad month or two puts the Panthers scrambling to make the playoffs, like they've attempted to do the past 2 years??
David; The Panthers are a counfounding team, no doubt about it. I saw Clemmensen was critical of the team's own-zone coverage after the 7-4 loss to Washington Saturday. But he's given up 12 in his last two starts so that's not good. Defense should be better given the personnel there even without Jay Bouwmeester (gee, how did that move or non-move work out Jacques Martin?). And there are persistent rumors GM Randy Sexton is trying to move Nathan Horton although the team denies it. They can still get back in the hunt but time's a wasting.
do you think alex goligoski and kris letang have done a good job so far with gonchar out?
ben; I think they have. I think Goligoski still leads the NHL in plus/minus (I know, a sometimes misleading stat) but with Letang hurt it will put more pressure on Goligoski. I know the power play went south when Gonchar went down but that's more a function of Gonchar's value than poor play by either of the kids.
The Ducks have won a couple in a row and appear to be playing decently well? Any chance they are coming out of their early season woes?
Jack; I thought before the season they could sneak up on San Jose and challenge for the Pacific title. Still think that and you're right they are finally starting to get their mojo going. Love the blue line there and if Jonas Hiller can keep up the strong play they should be playoff bound.
As someone who favors strict discipline for players who injure other players, do you think the full-season suspension for Liambas in the OHL was warranted? The hit looked more unfortunate than dirty...
Chester; I am with you on wishing the NHL would lay down the law on careless hits. I think that's the only way to deter them is to punish guys severely for blind-side hits and hits from behind. But I also agree that the junior hit that has made headlines (and the subsequent suspension for the rest of the season) wasn't as bad as we've seen in the NHL. But OHL commissioner Dave Branch I think was reacting to the outcome of the hit as much as the hit itself. At some point I think the NHL has to take into consideration what the impact of these kinds of hits is in handing out punishment.
What do you make of the 5-0 thumping the Sharks gave the Pens on Saturday? How much difference does Malkin/Gonchar (and Setoguchi/Blake) make if these two face off for the Cup?
Eric; I thought it was interesting and certainly a positive sign if you're the Sharks. Of course if any team knows that none of this matters when you drop the puck in mid-April it's the Sharks. Still, interesting to think about the possibilities of these two dynamic teams squaring off in a final.
Scott, We keep hearing Patrick Sharp's name come up in trade bait for thw Hawks. If traded what do you think the Hawks would want in return?
Mike; I think the only reason you're hearing Sharp's name is the pressure to ease some cap room for Kane, Toews, Seabrook and Keith. If Stan Bowman figures that's the only way to make it work long-term he'll be looking for a high draft pick maybe a prospect or two as opposed to adding an everyday player that would simply add to cap issues.
Back to the Junior hit, I think it is unfortunate that the result got him punished ... players with much more intent to hurt other players get off easier. Also, if the kid was wearing his helmet properly and it didn't pop off the results might have been different.
Paul; Agreed. Lots of issues with that incident including the differences in ages 16-20, all of that. Hard to compare the hit and then punishment to the NHL.
What happens with Raycroft once Luongo comes back. Clearly Luongo is still top dog, but to the Nucks try to move Raycroft since they have a capable back-up in Schneider?
Pete; Don't think so. Good for Raycroft to put in some quality starts and with Luongo not proving to be all that durable I doubt if Mike Gillis will be in any hurry to move a guy that has shown he can step in seamlessly at least in the short term.
Hey Scott, with the Captain returning tonight, can you give your pick?
Craig; Happy to. Chicago 4 Los Angeles 3 in shootout. Now, given my track record, mortgage your home and bet it all on the Kings.
James Wisniewski is the best defensemen that no one talks about. He does everything, hes like a mini Pronger sometimes
Rob; I think Shane Doan might agree.
Okay folks. Off to the Hall of Fame. Thanks as always. Let's do it again next week.