Well, where were we?
Hey Scott I am going to the Ranger game tonight.... what do you think, will I see them get even with Pens and win?
Garrett; Great chance for the Rangers to make some sort of statement. Lundqvist 5-10 in his last 15, Rangers outside the playoff bubble. I wouldn't be surprised to see them bring out an 'A' effort and squeak out a win. Or they could lose 8-3. Just kidding. Rangers win.
Do you think the Coyotes will ever find a good solid line? or will they be juggling the players around all season?
Josh; Hard to say but I think given the challenges facing Dave Tippett and the coaching staff I think it will remain pretty fluid. Guessing that as the season moves along you'll see more of the young guys that were part of the everyday line-up a year ago but who've been given a chance to mature at the AHL level this season.
What is your reaction to Tikhonov being loaned to the KHL? He's still a year or two away from the NHL, but he lived in the U.S. for most of his life, so he's more adjusted to the NHL-style of play. Is this the type of move that could also help the Coyotes by allowing Tikhonov to be an "ambassador" for players to get some of the quality young players back over to the NHL?
Paul; I think it's a marriage of convenience. Tikhonov played in the Russian elite league before it became the KHL and he of course has strong family ties there. But he wants more than anything to be an NHLer so I don't think there's much danger of him declining to return. For a player of his skill level this might be as good a place as the AHL to cut his teeth.
With all the injuries in new jersey what do you see happening when those players return. Their replacements have been playing well and it is going to be a tough call on who goes were
Andrew; Agreed that the Devils continue to defy logic by winning in the face of injury to key personnnel (David Clarkson the latest to go down)but I don't think the return of guys like Rob Niedermayer and Johnny Oduya likely this week that it upsets the chemistry as the young guys who were filling in understand that was their role. Plus the way the Devils roll the kids will get another shot in a few days.
carter + 2nd rounder for rental kovy - does atl do it?
brett; I doubt that would even get Don Waddell to pick up the phone.
Hey Scott, Mathieu Perreault started very strong for a youngster being called up to the show. His points have dropped as of late, but he remains a sticky presence. It seems he has a great ability to take the puck away and create a lot behind the net. What are the chances thing young guy gets to hang around, or at least becomes a regular by playoff time?
David; What I've seen of young Mr. Perreault I have been likewise impressed but that's the problem with young guys who flash for a few games when they first get called up and then see their game settle back. On a team that is as deep and talented as the Caps it's hard to imagine he'll find much of a place come playoff time barring injury to a skilled guy or two. Still, these games are invaluable and gives GM George McPhee lots to work with come next training camp or at the trade deadline.
What do the Flyers need to do start playing more consistantly. If the coach cant get the players to shape up, as seems to be the case, what is the next step? Also, what moves (trades) if any do the flyers make to better themselves to help make a run at a cup?
Doug; The Flyers are sure in a funk - woke up this morning outside the playoff bubble - but making trades is a difficult proposition at this stage of the season. Paul Holmgren isn't afraid to pull the trigger as we saw with the Pronger deal but he's got cap issues and he won't want to part with guys like Claude Giroux or James vanRiemsdyk and guys like Daniel Briere don't hold much value because of their contract status so don't look for much in the way of a shake-up that way. I think they'll just play through it and look for injured guys like Darroll Powe and Blair Betts and Briere to get healthy.
Do you believe the Islanders can make a serious playoff run this season?
Jack; Define serious? Just kidding. Saw the Isles in St. Louis and like what Scott Gordon is doing there but I think given their division which may be the best in hockey and their youth I think it's asking too much this season. Next? You bet.
Hi Scott, considering that Cooke got 2 game suspension for his hit on Anisimov and Richards got nothing for his hit on Booth do you think that there is double standard in NHL?
Ron; I'm not sure it's a double standard so much as a floating standard. I like that Cooke and Kaleta from Buffalo both got two games for dangerous hits. I just think there needs to be more uniformity in what kinds of plays generate supplementary discipline and I'd like to see the number of games go up so the message gets sent loud and clear. But this is a start.
Do the Jackets need to make a trade, shake up the room to get them out of this funk that they are in?
Ryan; Funny team the Blue Jackets. Tops in power play this year but can't keep the puck out of their own net even though they've got Ken Hitchcock behind the bench and the rookie of the year between the pipes. I think this is just a function of a very young team learning how to win consistently. Don't expect Scott Howson to do anything that will effect the core of young talent he has - and he's got lots - but rather tinkering stuff in the hopes the Blue Jackets can pull out of their defensive/goaltending funk.
Should I be worried about the Maple Leafs? I really want a top 4 pick.
Jr; Well, the way Carolina is playing you should worry about the number-one pick overall but given the other bad teams in the league the Leafs and 'Canes seem to be in a league by themselves, as it were. Your draft lottery pick is safe.
Looks like the Canes are having a front-office meeting after tonight's game. What happens in Raleigh? Who's released, traded, etc. Not much in terms of tradebait, outside Whitney, Wallin, maybe...
Dave; I think Jim Rutherford's got some interesting pieces that could be of interest to other teams; Ray Whitney is a proven point producer and a Cup winner and Niclas Wallin has long been under-appreciated. Scott Walker and Matt Cullen will both be unrestricted free agents this summer and both will have value as the trade deadline approaches. I think the question is what to do about Rod Brind'Amour who really seems to have hit the wall but has another year left at $3 million and a $3.6 million cap hit. Ouch.
The Sharks have been atrocious over the last week in getting the puck out of their zone cleanly. Even Joe Thornton has handed easy scoring opportunities to their opponents. How does a team this skilled fall into ruts like this?
Mike; I think you hit the nail on the head. Sometimes skilled teams find they can succeed without necessarily bringing an 'A' effort every night and that leads occasionally to sloppy play. The problem for the Sharks is that this usually manifests itself in the second round of the playoffs.
Why are my Ducks so awful?
Will; That is a question for the ages - or at least the first third of this season. Maybe too many new parts that still haven't meshed. Goaltending hasn't been as solid as one would expected. Saku Koivu has been a disappointment as have Joffrey Lupul. Ryan Getzlaf took longer (is taking longer?) to recover from sports hernia surgery. I still think they're a playoff team but they'd better get their act together if that's going to happen.
The Dallas Stars - contenders or pretenders? And do they need to make a move at the trade deadline to make sure they sneak in?
Josh; Stars are a great enigma. Haven't won more than two straight all year but by the same token haven't fallen completely off the rails. I like the goaltending tandem of Marty Turco and Alex Auld and love Stephane Robidas' play and the play of Brad Richards but I don't see them as any more than a bubble team and then one and done if they do qualify for the post-season. As for trades, interesting to see what happens with Turco who will or can become a UFA July 1. If the Stars falter look for GM Joe Nieuwendyk to try and deal the former Canadian Olympian.
Who do you like more Tuuka or Thomas?
Andrew; Right now I like Tuukka. But that's a pretty small snapshot in a pretty long season. Interesting to see if he can maintain this level of play or close what happens come playoff time.
How does Kessel fare in his return to Boston on Saturday?
Leo; The kid's been pretty darned good since coming back to the line-up (joining the line-up?)and I wouldn't be surprised to see him have a big night against the Bs. No love lost there between the two camps that's for sure.
So what's taking so long w/ Ilya? The team is as deep as ever, we're winning and reports indicate the team has offered a max deal (approx 9 yrs, $100+m). If all that's true and he hasn't yet signed, the results appears inevitable.
CC; I don't think anything's inevitable yet but you're right the two sides are talking big, big dollars and term. I still think the deal will get done but time is slipping away. If they can't get it done the look for Boston, L.A. and a handful of other teams to take a good hard look. Devils might be interested but frankly hard to picture Kovalchuk in a Devils' uniform.
Do you see the Preds maintaining their run?
Derek; If they continue their run they'll end up losing about four games over the next 65 so no. But they remain one of the great stories of the first third of the season. Hands up all you who thought the Preds would be sneaking up on Chicago for the Central Division lead? See. Told you. In the end, though, I think the Preds will be life and death to make the playoffs as they always seem to be.
Any chance that Doug Murray (a solid defensive defenseman) makes team Sweden or is he just not fast enough or provide enough offense for the Olympics?
steven; Good question. Was looking at the possible members of that Swedish blue line and with guys like Toby Enstrom, Alexander Edler, Anton Stralman, Jonathan Ericsson and vets like Mattias Ohlund I think it'll be tough for Murray to crack the line-up.
Could the red wings be like last years penguins or more like the ducks? Penguins is they get healthy just in time to get hot going into the playoffs and steal the whole thing. Or the ducks is that they underachieve but end up ruining the sharks seasons and pushed the wings to 7.
matt; I think either is a possible scenario. I don't see the Wings going into the playoffs and then being one and done no matter what. Assuming some relative health, of course. Getting Filppula, Franzen and Kronwall back and healthy for the post-season makes them as dangerous as anyone in the West. Trust me, even if they slide in as a 7 or 8 seed no one will want to face them especially San Jose.
Good afternoon Scott, any news on Booth?
Mustard; Still doesn't look good for Booth who seems a long way away from skating let alone playing. My colleague Pierre was going to talk to him today so stay tuned for a blog with more details.
With the Olympics getting closer, do you think Russia will throw out the super line of Ovechkin Malkin Kovalchuk? And for Canada, whom do you see as their super line?
Danny; Pretty scary to think about that potential trio coming over the boards for the Russians and I think it's entirely possible although you've got to figure Pavel Datsyuk will figure into the top six mix given his playmaking/shooting skills. As for Canada look for Sidney Crosby and Rick Nash to start together. Maybe Jarome Iginla finds a spot on the other wing or a guy like Martin St. Louis.
What is the best division in the NHL?
Ryan; I think it's a toss-up now between the Central with the Blues starting to make a move that's a tough place to play, and the Atlantic because the Islanders have made themselves part of the mix. Both have the potential - slim as it may be - of sending all five teams to the post-season.
What happened with Nicklas Lidstrom? Will he ever start scoring some goals or at least get more assists?
Steve; Lidstrom has just eight points and in fact is sixth among Swedish defensemen in points so far. Shocking. Still, he got off to a slow start last season, too. But it does make you wonder if Father Time is finally catching up with the sure-fire Hall of Famer.
Hey Scott, hope the day is going well and that you have time for one more sharks question. With Mitchell and setoguchi being healthy, and the third line playing well who gets the boot for the sharks? Does marleau move back to the 2nd line?
Dave; Just a guess but Marleau seems the most transplantable of the guys and I wouldn't be surprised to see him drop back. Nice dilemma for Todd McLellan to have, no? And my day is going well, thanks for asking.
You realize all of the Sharks fans just grimaced at the thought of seeing Detroit in round 1.
Mike; True. True.
What is it going to take for the media to acknowledge that the flames are an actual contender for the cup this year? It seems silly that they are disregarded so easily and quickly
JGL; Not sure anyone is being dismissive of the Flames but, like the Sharks, when you make a habit of spitting the bit come playoff time, all talk of contending is just white noise until you actually win a round. I think the Flames are a good team with a chance to go deep but they've got lots of guys who've failed to answer the bell come playoff time that will have to show something different.
Assuming Ryan Miller is the #1 guy for Team USA, who is your #2? Could a case be made for Anderson at this point?
Mustard; You are ubiquitous. But I like this question because I think Tim Thomas is still going to be the guy. And the longer the Avs play the less gaudy Anderson's numbers are going to be and I think that opens the door for Thomas and/or Jonathan Quick who's been pretty darned good for the Kings.
saw u said kovy could potentially end up on the b's... what would we give up/chances we get to resign him after the trade?
joe; Not sure exactly what would be in such a package but I don't think anyone takes on Kovalchuk without having a pretty good idea that you can lock him up long-term, not with what the Thrashers are going to want which will be a top draft pick or two, top prospect or two and likely a young player off the roster.
What moves do you see Minnesota making before the deadline? Harding?
Ryan; I think Josh Harding will be on the move at the deadline given that he has little chance of starting in Minnesota with Niklas Backstrom there. Not sure of his value, though, given his small body of work. Other than that don't really see anything of a blockbuster nature, that ship sailed when Marian Gaborik wasn't dealt last year.
Scott, do you have a legitimate reason for hating the Maple Leafs? You bash them five times more than any other club.
Tim; You'll have to get in line with the Devils' fans, Caps' fans and others to ask that question. Actually don't feel anything one way or the other about the Leafs. But when you don't make the playoffs in four straight years and are a long, long-shot to make it this year it's hard to justify any love.
Hey Scott, Hurricane here. How are you? I'm doing good. If you had to pick your Stanley Cup Final today, who would you choose?
Hurricane; I still go with my pre-season pick of Chicago/Pittsburgh.
Scott whats your opinion on the Brendan Burke story? Good or bad for hockey?
Mike; I though John Buccigross did a fine job with a sensitive story. Not just good for hockey but good for sport.
Nitty vs Smitty in Tampa, can I get Tochett's cell number to ask who starts every game???...it's starting to confuse me.
Steve; Interesting dilemma there as both have shown they can carry the freight. Ideally, I suppose, there'd be one guy giving you quality starts for the majority of the time but I am guessing Mr. Tocchet will take what he can get as he tries to coax his team into the playoffs. Right now, with a compressed sked because of the Olympics, pretty important to have two guys who can answer the bell.
Thanks folks. As always. Catch you next week.
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