We'll be by at 3 p.m. ET Thursday to chat some hockey!
Barry's running a little bit late today. Hopefully we'll get him soon to answer your hockey questions.
Hey everyone. We're having a hard time getting Barry, so we're going to have Matthew chat at 3:30. He'll be here in a couple of minutes.
I thought I'd seen everything. Ovie dropping the gloves makes me like him even more. Let's get to it.
What is your opinion on Ovechkin's "fight" the other night. I've heard mixed results about star players fighting...but Ovechkin took off the gloves and I personally wanted to see him fight.
I think if you're the coach of the Washington Capitals, you're excited that he wants to do it and relieved that Bradley came in. I have the same sentiment. Loved that he wanted to do it, but you need your star player scoring goals.
Do the Coyotes' really lack a scorer or is it the case that the system they play doesn't allow for their scorers to produce as often in exchange for fewer goals against?
That's a great question. I think it's a little bit of both. They don't have a personnel of a Washington, per se. But Dave Tippet is a defense oriented coach. Playing this system gives them best chance to win on any given night.
Matthew, last year especially, the Red Wings seem to have suffered from long, brutal, sometimes dirty (Hello Anaheim) series while the East's good teams had an easier road to the finals. With so many players on and off the injury list for extended periods of time, could the Red Wings actually get healthy late in the season and have fresher legs come playoff time than a lot of the other Western teams?
The Eastern Conference has long been an easier conference than the West. And yes, if they do make the playoffs, no one is going to want to play them in the first or second round. If they get healthy, they'll have something to prove and they'll have a lot of legs and a lot of energy.
Do you see any big upsets coming in the Olympics this year?
My three picks are still going to be Canada, Russia and Sweden. If you look at their rosters up and down, I don't see anyone beating those three. But if there will be an upset, I see the USA. They play a grinding style and Ryan Miller is playing as well as anyone in the NHL.
Matthew, thoughts on Gonchar's contoversial hit?
He's a skilled player and it was borderline. I don't think he should be suspended, but it was close. It was as close to the line as you can get.
Assuming - probably against realistic odds - that DiPietro manages to stay healthy for a while. Will Biron be moved by the deadline, or will the Isles keep him as insurance given his pretty small cap hit? If Biron gets moved, where do you think are some places he could land?
I think they'll move him. Going into that part, that was the plan the whole time. When DiPietro came back and proved he was healthy, they'll let him go. They'll judge behind the scenes and not let us know, of course, how healthy DiPietro is.
Where do you see the flyers finishing in the east?
I'm going to say in the 8th spot. They've put a pretty good run together here. Like Detroit in the West, no one is going to want to face this team if they're looking hot in the playoffs. They've underachieved all year long and could surprise a lot of people.
The Rangers still lack that secondary scoring does someone step up or does Glen Sather have to go out and get someone,If so who does he target?
I think he's going to have to go out and get someone much more. When you look at this team, they've had two years going through the same problem. They went out and got Gaborik, so a trade will solve that problem.
Matthew, will Ryan Miller have a second half of the season like the first and potentially win the Hart Trophy? Also do you see him playing every game for the U.S if he plays at the same level as with the Sabres? Thanks, Chris
I don't know if he'll play every game in that tournament. If they're playing a weaker team, they might go to the second guy. And I think if he stays healthy, he can definitely play at the same level. He's playing as well as anyone at that position.
Do the Caps have a shot at Kovy? Maybe Semin, Poti and a draft pick?
I think whoever presents the best deal has the best chance. They're talking to him. They'd have to get him locked up in a contract and Semin would have to be in the deal.
Will the NYR make the playoffs?
I think they will make the playoffs. I think they'll be right in the cusp in the 7-8 position, like Philadelphia. The goaltender is too hot. I think they'll make a trade to bolster the offense.
I've heard the Bruins being mentioned as buyers at the deadline, and perhaps trying to make a run at Kovalchuk. Do you see that as wise, since even when their players have been healthy (I know, it hasn't been often) the team does not seem to have the make-up for a deep run in the playoffs.
Again, if you're just trying to trade Kovalchuk to make a run at the Cup this year, no, I don't see them as a Cup contender. However, if you can lock him up long term, then anyone would be wise to do so.
Selke award goes too......J. Staal?
He was left off the Olympic team. He's had a good offensive year. I could definitely see him winning that. He's been good. Patrick Marleau, also a very strong candidate.
Jovo gets 2 games, but Gonchar none? And Richards didn't get any for blasting Booth into la-la land. How can the NHL be so inconsistent with suspensions?
They have a lot of people that go through a lot of tapes. They make decisions as a team. They just felt that it wasn't. I didn't think that Richards was a suspension. Jovo was. And Gonchar's was borderline. I don't always agree with them, but this time I thought they were right one.
If Malkin gets out of him funk, how dangerous will the Penguins be for NJ, Washington, Buffalo?
Very dangerous. You look at their team and the way they score this year withouth Malkin at the top of his game. This team could be very scary come playoff time.
Long-suffering Caps fan here (1st playoff game was 1987 Caps-Isles Game 4 in infamous series for Caps). I am tired of the Caps falling short. What is it going to take to make a run at the cup? Should they go after Kovalchuk or focus on a top d-man such as Kaberle? What would it take to get either? It is time to take a shot! Thanks
I think they need to. If there's a team that can use some help and has a chance at the Cup, this is one. I think you look for a goalie and a defenseman. You need to tighten up defensively come playoff time and the goaltending needs to be very very good.
Lot of games on the schedule. We'll talk again next week.
Barry won't make his chat this week (pressing hockey business) but Pierre LeBrun will be here at 4:30 p.m. ET to close things out.
Good day puck heads, I'm joining you from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto where the struggling Leafs take on the red-hot Flyers tonight.Let's talk hockey !
Pierre, is there any headway being made on naming a new NHLPA president? Are the players concerned at all about the lack of direction with the organization?
Jim, great question my friend. I checked into that last week and was told the priority at this point was to reform the constitution before hiring a new executive director. Which makes perfect sense. But a search committee has been put together to start interviewing candidates and longtime baseball union leader Donald Fehr is also helping out in both the constituational reform and the search for a new union leader.
Buccigross's list of ways all 29 teams would have a shot with Kovalchuk was very interesting. I would love to see Fletcher make a serious run for Kovy, and for what Buccigross suggested. What are your guy's thoughts on Kovy in the State of Hockey?
Cody, is there a hotter team than the Wild right now? Holy cow. I don't think the Wild will be a player in Kovalchuk. I think Chuck Fletcher will have a methodical approach to making this team better but selling off some future for a rental player (gone July 1) is not among his plans
i have a question for pierre. What are the odds that ilya kovalchuk will be traded by the thrashers before the march 3rd trading deadline? If he's traded what teams are interested?
I would say the odds are 60-40 that he's dealt. I think LA, Chicago, Philadelphia and Vancouver are among the team interested with more to come. Should get pretty interesting to say the least
Pierre, what was the better European bench clearing brawl....the recent one from the KHL or the Punch-Up in Piesteny from the '87 World Juniors?
Gotta be 87 in Piesteny baby ! I actually remember watching that on TV. I was 15 years old. Pat Burns was the assistant coach on that team, Brendan Shanahan and Theo Fleury among the Canadian players on the ice. Good fun all-around :)
Pierre, this Kovalchuk guy is way overrated. Hawks management would be stupid to ruin the chemistry of this team by trading two or three key guys that want to be here just to rent him for the playoffs, even if they would have to get rid of the same guys next year anyway. I have Dustin Byfuglien, Cam Barker and Kris Versteeg sitting here and they all say to tell Kovy that Atlanta is a great hockey city and he should stay there. He would never like Chicago, the pizza is terrible and the ladies aren't that great...and I would know.
Patrick, sounds like you're worried about moving from North America's greatest town to well... Atlanta....
Pierre, what is the hockey community expecting out of me at the Olympics? Do I still have the ability to be a major force at that level after getting my primary workouts from cashing checks in the KHL the last two years? Regarldess, word from overseas says the mullet is back and ready to go....
Jaromir, I miss you man. You were always a great quote. Although why did you turn down my interview request the other day? I was going to pay for the phone call?I think you're going to show us some flashes of the old 68 come vancouver. Can't wait
With the recent facial injuries sustained by Keith Tkachuk and Teemu Selanne, will the NHL ever consider mandating full mask helmets for all NHL players?
William, they can't even mandate half visors, never mind full ones ! NHLPA keeps voting down half visors
Peirre, The last thing the kings need to do is panic. With that said, what players do you think the kings are looking at and what would it take? Also whats your thought on a LA vs COL Winter Classic in the future?
They need more offense. They'll take a look at Kovalchuk and see what the price is, that doesn't mean they'll be players in the end...Ray Whitney is a cheaper pick-up and a great veteran.I also think Dean Lombardi wants to add a top-four D-man. Sheldon Souray just happens to be willing to waive his no-trade clause in Edmonton but only if he plays on the West Coast where his kids live. They live in California. Hello.
Hey Pierre. You know us Devils fans are always lookng for respect, but do you think we're justifed in believing Jacques Lemaire RIGHT NOW is the coach of the year?
He's a got a great chance. Award is voted on not by my people (writers0 but rather by broadcasters. Lemaire, Quenneville, Tippett, Sacco, Ruff _ all great choices
Will the Sabres make a move for Kovalchuk and if so, who can they give up?
would be shocked. Not Darcy's style
Can the Avs make the playoffs this year? It seems like everyone is saying that they have to slow down at some point.
They'll be touch and go. The kids may be getting tired. One statistic that worries me _ among the worst ranked teams for shots against per game. That puts a lot of pressure on Craig Anderson. At least he'll be rested during the Oympic break, which is a big break for Avs fans
Anaheim is awakening for its usual second half run, what do you think their ceiling is once they get Selanne (again) and Lupul back from injury? They arent a true contender with that defense, but their goaltending and forwards can cause some damage down the stretch.
Well in September I picked them to win the Western Conference with this lineup so that should answer your question :)
hey pierre. do you think the caps will make a trade to get them the cup? who do you think will leave in these trades fehr theodore maybe even alzner or semin? thanks
I've got a pretty good idea on what most contenders will do but GM GM is always a mystery. And that's despite the fact I talk to him a regular basis. He's been pretty quiet the last few trade deadlines _ doesn't like to give up future assets. I think he'll look to add a veteran piece would be my guess.
what is the nhls possible expansion plan
At this moment _ there isn't one. The question was asked again at the December Board of Governors meeting and Bettman told us again no current plan to expand. Relocation? Now that's a different kettle of fish....
I find it interesting that the Ottawa Senators AHL team suffers from the same fate as the big club. Great expectations and no follow through. What do you think the organization needs to do to turn itself around???
Wendy, honestly there were no great expectations at the NHL level this year. I can't speak for the AHL level, I have no clue there. But battling for one of the lower playoff seeds was exactly what the Sens' front office had hoped for
What do you think of Lindy Ruff?s coaching job with the Sabres this year? Where would you list him in your ranking of top coaches?
I have been on Lindy's bang wagon for a long, long time. Great, great coach and he's done a Jack Adams-worthy job again this year. There's a reason he's on the Canadian Olympic coaching staff !!!
Pierre, do you see any major rule changes to the league on or off the ice this off season?
Andrew, look for a rule on head shots come the March GM meetings, followed by voting on it at the Competition Committee level and then Board of Governors in June
Pierre,do you think the redwings will make the playoffs? Also, who do youlike for tonight's game againstthe hurricanes
I predict the Wings will finish 4th or 5th in the Western Conference. Tonight _ Wings 3, Hurricanes 2
Bryzgalov's looked pretty mediocre the last few games, and already I'm fearing a repeat of last year's Yotes collapse. Am I being paranoid, or should I brace myself?
At some point the Avs and Coyotes were both due for a bit of a reality check. But they don't take points away in this league. Hopefully the Yotes can recover from the slump. My concern with Bryz is wear and tear, plus he's got the Olympics coming. They need to spot Labarbera more starts like they did the other night
should I be worried about San Jose's ability to re-sign Marleau? I believe he is an UFA after this season.
I think Marleau wants to stay and the Sharks want to keep him but like a lot of Sharks, the playoffs will tell the tale
Any chance Waddell and Kovy are conspiring to trade him for some good players... that he can play with next year when he returns as a free agent?
How 'bout those Isles? I know it's early, but with the way Schremp (once highly touted in Edmonton) and Bailey (2008 first rounder already coming into form) are playing, plus Moulson and Tavares, is there hope for this team to actual amount to something soon, and for years to come?
I know when veteran Isles blogger Chris Botta is excited, it must be for real. People laughed when garth snow was made GM but I think he's doing a terfific job
Since you are up with the Flyers in town, have you seen anything different with the way Laviolette has been coaching the team to suggest his impact on this hot streak? Is he doing anything much different than what Stevens was doing?
yes, this team is way more active all over the ice, players in constant motion, no standing around. Check it out again tonight. YOu have to be in shape to play for Laviolette.
What will be the terms of Nicklas Backstrom's expected upcoming extension?
LOL, you want me to know that before Backstrom does?my guess: it'll be long, long term and between $5.5 million to $7 million a year
The Devils-Rangers game on Tuesday was the best game so far this season. But it also solidified in my mind what my heart has been trying to tell me...the shootout is not the answer. The end of the game felt cheap, even though the Devils won. Both teams, and the fans, deserved more. Any chance the NHL moves to 3 on 3 after 4 on 4?
not in the short term.
What do you see Slats doing before the March 3 deadline?
I believe he likes Sheldon Souray...
Will I ever win a playoff series for Ohio?
Pierre, 7 days before Caps Pens. How much would you pay for Sid and Alex to drop the mitts. What are the odds Cherry mentions Alex taking off the helmet and visor to fight Downie? 100-1?
I will be there to cover it next week. Can't wait. More importantly, it'll be less than month before OV and Crosby play again in the Olympics. Great stuff
With all the injuries, can the B's hold on to a playoff spot???
They'll finish sixth in the East.My updated predicted finish for the East:1. Jersey2. Wash3. Buff4. Pitt5. Philly6. Boston7. Rangers8. Habs
Will any NHL player ever have a cooler name than me?
Red Light Racicot.
Fantasy question: Pick one for the rest of the season...T. Rask or T. Thomas?
T. Rask-mas :)
Pierre: What's your take on the Burrows-Auger controversy? It doesn't make sense that Burrows would make something like that up. Was it worth the $2,500 fine?
Mickey, I wrote my take yesterday. Here ya go budhttp://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=4822525&name=lebrun_pierre
To me, Kovalchuk is a scorer with the ability of Alex Ovechkin, but doesn't really play much in the way of defense and sure doesn't hit anyone. He doesn't seem to have the heart of an Ovechkin, even if he has the same kind of talent. True or false?
Barnaby didnt get a chance to answer my question....but do you see any way the Rangers can improve theyre scoring via a trade before the march 3rd deadline??? Can they move any of the underacheivers in drury, redden and roszival?????
they don't want to move Drury and they can't move Redden/Roszy thanks for their ugly deals
What has reaction been to the news that Mike Danton will play for St. Mary's University? It seems like so long ago that he laced them up for the Blues, but it was only 2004. Sad story.
It got a bit of buzz in my country. Very weird story all around, right back to the beginning. If you Americans out there ever have a chance, try to get a hold of the excellent documentary done by CBC's The Fifth Estate on the whole saga. Great stuff.
Can we stick a fork in the Maple Leafs yet? Taylor Hall will look good in a B's uniform!
Edmonton wants more badly to be brutal while the Leafs actually don't... so I think B's may have to settle for Cam Fowler with the third pick... not bad though !
do you think the tampa bay lighting can make the playoffs and make a cup run and can they make a deal with the atlanta thrashers for illykovalchalk the scoring winger
1. No2. No3. No.
Pierre - After the spectacular 0-0 game between the Rangers and Devils, don't you think it would have been better it ended that way and not in the shootout. It would have continued a battle at the next game.
I hate the shootout, but the majority of fans love it. Then again, I hate a lot of things that kids today love :)
Hedman made a big impression early and although he's still is logging quality minutes, I'm not seeing a big impact like Myers in Buffalo. When do you think he'll rise to the next level?
Well Teddy, he's a year younger than Myers. When Myers was Hedman's age he was playing in the Western Hockey League.Next year at this time, talk to me again about Hedmam, who will be awesome.
Hey Pierre, any chance the Ducks send JS Giguere and a draft pick to Edmonton for Souray? I know this gives Edmonton two big contract goalies, but I think it helps both teams. Ducks get blueline help and Edmonton, at worst, gets cap relief at the end of next year and at best can showcase and then trade Giguere in the offseason. Thoughts?
Ducks have found no takers for Giguere. Too much money left on his deal ($7 million next year)
Why isn't Patrick Marleau being given any consideration for MVP?
Because he plays with Thornton, Heatley, Boyle... MVP usually goes to guys who have the perception of carrying the team alone.
Pierre, Scott Burnside tells me Atlanta is great. They have that big aquarium and the CNN center and everything. That is why Kovalchuk should want to stay there before he can even be considered for a trade to this dump of a town and this hack team...
LOL.. Sharpy. you'll sleep better after March 3 and you're still in Chicago. hahahah
Is a Kovy rental worth all the hype? How often does it actually lead to the cup ... see Hossa ...
Hossa was pretty darn good (I covered him most of 08 playoffs) as Pens went to Cup finals in 08... not worth that price?
Who'll be first to play again in the NHL - Radulov, Filatov, Hudler, or Zherdev?
Geez, awesome question. I'm going with Filatov
Will Toskala ever have an opportunity becoming a starter goalie? hasn't been at his best this season...
He's a great guy who hasn't been given much a chance here in Toronto... I think he still has the talent to do it as a starter in the right circumstances
What are the flames going to do via trade to boost their offence? Kovalchuck? Selanne? Whitney? Other? And who do they have to give up?
Dan, you should no better than to think any of us have any clue what Darryl Sutter is thinking ! LIke Lou Lamoriello, close to the vest !But Whitney would be a great addition
Hey guys, how you all going? I think the Ducks have way too much talent not to make the playoffs
Agreed Down Under !
Who do you have tonight Rangers or Sens
You picked them with that defensive core? For shame.
LOL... I always try for upset picks. Hate picking obvious. But still, touche !
I feel the Sabres are just a tiny bit short of being a legit cup contender. What move would you suggest Darcy makes to give us hope? (other than miller pulling a hasek from 98)
One more top-four D would make me more comfortable
GMGM said today in an interview that he expects the pickings to be slim on deadline day. Says too many teams will still be in the hunt and that he wants to and has the flexibility to make deals but isn't sure if he can.
So you see what I mean
At this stage who's your pick to be in the Cup Final?
Pierre, Is Kyle Okposo shaping up to be a more important part of the Isles' future than John Tavares?
don't think so. Remember that Tavares is still a teenager. Wait until this kid blossoms as a young man. Yikes.
Hey Pierre, who wins tonight, the Kings or the Ducks?
Kings, 5-4 in 17-round shootout
Pierre, other than Kovy, who (or what positions) should I be looking at prior to March 3rd?
Nothing, you're stacked !!!!!!!
do you see the Panthers making any moves to make a run this season? I'm getting tired of hearing about the future when the past is now ten seasons long of no playoffs.
They'll see where they are closer to March 3 and decided then if they're buyers or sellers. If they're too low in the standings, they'll try to move Vokoun
Pierre: Do you think NHL teams with multiple players going to Vancouver will suffer any letdown afterwords? Interesting stat: The 2002 Red Wings sent 11 players to the Olympics and ended up winning the cup. The 2006 Red Wings sent 10 players and lost in the first round.
The 06 Red Wings were felled by bad goaltending from Manny Legace _ to be perfectly frankI don't think the Olympics are that big an issue this year because they being held close to home
OK my friends, LeBrun has to run. Make sure to join the gang tonight on CoveritLive for Game of the Week fun... Talk to you next week !Oh, and let's go Cowboys !!!!!!!!!!