Greetings all. In Montreal looking at a great view of the St. Lawrence River and you can feel the city getting ready to rock with the Habs' first home playoff date of the spring. So, where were we?
At what point does Detroit need to hit the panic button and bring in Osgood?
Ryan; Good question. I'm not sure you often think of Detroit and panic in the same breath. But Ilya Bryzgalov has out-played Jimmy Howard in two of the three games. I think Jimmy gets the benefit of the doubt and starts Game 4.
I know the Devils played horrible against the Flyers in the regular season and now down 2-1 is it a must win on tuesday in Philly.
Tommy: I would think the way the game closed out yesterday, with the Flyers dominating the third and overtime, yes, the Devils need to even the series to have a legitimate hope of moving on.
Mr. Burnside! Do you think my Blackhawks can beat the Preds? Please say yes!
Nick; I do think the Blackhawks will beat the Predators. I thought they turned in exactly the performance they needed to on Sunday night to reassert themselves in this series. Should be fun in Nashville which will be rocking for Games 3 and 4. But Antti Niemi turned in a strong performance in a game the 'Hawks had to have. That's a good sign.
What are your thoughts on the Sutton-Leopold hit?
Andrew; You are busy. I feel bad for Jordan Leopold but felt the right call, or rather non-call on the ice and in terms of supplemental discipline, took place. Not to be too flip about it but there's a reason they say; 'keep your head up.'
B's slide past Sabres + Savard comes back for Round 2 Tuuka keeps it up Caps lose and we play Pittsburgh = Boston in conferences finals? What do you think??
Jonathan; You've got a lot of moving parts there but this first round has had lots of moving parts, no? But the way you've got it mapped out could very well happen. The Bruins have been impressive in Buffalo but they'll need to keep it going, keep the Sabres off balance without Thomas Vanek and with Ryan Miller looking human in Game 2. They can't let up but we're going to find out more tonight.
Scott, Who is OV and Washington to talk smack about Halak, when they are having BIGGER golatending issues of their own??? Please, I can't wait for Habs fans to give Theodore the busine ... wait, is Jose even starting???
Anthony; Actually Varlamov will start tonight. At least that's the sense out of the morning skate and that decision doesn't surprise me. As for Ovechkin trying to get in Halak's kitchen, we'll find out tonight if Halak can make Ovechkin eat his words. He's got to be better than he was in Game 2 or this one is going to get over in a hurry regardless of who's in net for the Caps.
At what point do Sharks fans give up?
Viktor; When one of their best defensemen, a Canadian Olympian, shoots the puck in his own goal in overtime in a 0-0 tie after out-shooting the opposition 51-17. Oops. Seriously, though, no other team in the NHL could find as grisly a way to lose a playoff game as the Sharks did Sunday night. Still, win Game 4 and it's best of three and you've still got to like their chances. Sort of.
What do you think about Varly starting tonight? I would have gone with Jose, what do you think?
Doug; I think it's the right call (until he goes sideways halfway through the first). He got the win the other night. Theodore has not played well in the couple of times he's played back at Bell Center. The fans will be insane tonight. Bruce Boudreau doesn't need to make that move tonight. If Varlamove can't get the job done then he can go back to Theodore in Game 4. They've already shown they can win with average goaltending in this series so I don't think it's a huge deal just yet.
Please look into your crystal ball and tell me the outcome of the Caps/Habs series. I don't think I can handle anymore OT games that cause me to go into cardiac arrest. Thanks SB.
Katie; Not good for the blood pressure? I like them when they end quickly like they have. I think the Caps win a tight one tonight and that sucks the life out of the Habs and it's over Friday in Washington.
At what point do you think that Detroit fans will actually realized that the Coyotes aren't an easy matchup? Every RedWing fan I meet thinks they will win in 6 still.
Andrew; I think they know now. As my friend and colleague Pierre LeBrun the 'Yotes won't know about Shane Doan until tomorrow. I think he's important in keeping the Coyotes pointed in the right direction. As for the Wings, it's win or forget it time for them in Game 4.
The Kings looked much better in game 2 of the series and got the win. If they continue to play like that do you think that they've got a good chance to win a round?
Allen; I picked the Kings to upset the Canucks in the first round and of course they've been in both games and were full value for the split. Can they keep getting to Roberto Luongo? I think this is where guys like Rob Scuderi (he helped set up the too many penalty the other night by shooting the puck into a crowd of Canucks at the bench area), Ryan Smyth and Justin Williams will prove invaluable.
With the Sharks come back with fury or will they fold? Also even if the Avs move on they will be short on guys. Someone gets hurt every game.
Harv; It has been more of the same already this spring for Sharks fans. Missing Dany Heatley is not good and I have yet to see any prognosis for his return Tuesday. I say they jump back in it.
Scotty i am trying to think far back, but its monday. Has there been two bigger dark horses in the playoffs at the same time like the the avs and yotes this year? And yes i call the yotes dark horses because they lack some top end talent a lot of these playoff teams have.
Steve; It's a good question and I think anyone who watched Detroit down the stretch agrees/agreed that they were the favorite going into this series. But I think back to 2006 when the bottom four seeds all won in the first round including Edmonton knocking off the Presidents' Trophy winners from Detroit. That was pretty wild.
What are the keys to the rest of the Flyers vs. Devlis series?
Russ; I think the Flyers dodged a big bullet yesterday taking eight minors in the first two periods, giving up two power play goals and still managing to win. The Devils will make them pay if the Flyers can't control themselves. As for the Devils, they have to be worried after Martin Brodeur was so strong yesterday in a losing cause. That's called squandering an opportunity.
What can the CAPS do to free up Ovie? I have noticed the HABS are really taking Ovie out of the game. Maybe with the Carlson, Fehr, et al. scoring we wont have to worry about Ovie's chances ...
Tirgari; It's been impressive what the Canadiens have done to Ovechkin especially on the power play (they are 0-for-7) and that will have to continue. And you're right, they've done a nice job of getting in his space, keeping him from making those sharp cuts across the offensive zone or driving and shooting off the rush. Nice job especially by Jaroslav Spacek.
Are you ready to change your pick for the Phoenix/Detroit series? Detroit may have more skilled players, but Phoenix is the better team and this time of the year playing as a team wins a lot more than a lot of big names.
Loup; I can't change my picks. They won't let me. I tried last year when I picked St. Louis to beat Vancouver and the Blues went down 3-0. But that series has been fun to watch. Let's see how the Wings respond in Game 4. Still think this is a seven-game affair in the making.
Long-time Caps fan here, and I was wondering after Ovechkin's comments about Halak if other Superstar players like Gretzky and Lemieux ever did something like this before or during a playoff series?
Dustin; I have to believe neither Gretzky nor Lemieux ever suggested another goalie was "shaking" but as a writer I love it. Ovechkin was great this morning, saying that it was what it was. Get over it. Perfect. We need more players like that (and we did earlier, actually with Tomas Plekanec). In other words, there's been no shortage of stuff to write about between these two teams.
Does Buffalo have a chance if Vanek is out for the entire series?
Daniel; Sure. Vanek didn't have all that great a regular season; 53 points in 71 games; but he's a dynamic force that in a playoff series would have the potential to be a game-changer. He scored in Game 1, for instance, and there's no doubt they'll miss him. But he's not a Zdeno Chara or Ryan Miller in terms of a body that simply can't be replaced.
With what you've seen so far, any chance you'll be changing some of your predictions at the beginning of the playoffs?
Jim; Well, I am sure surprised at Colorado and especially Craig Anderson. Those guys looked out of gas the last two or three weeks but they're hanging in, obviously. Still not over in that one, though. Tonight is huge for the Habs. Same for Boston if they want to make those of us who were dismissive of them look like idiots.
Scott, does last night's performance and the Avs very presence in the playoffs at all prove once and for all that Craig Anderson was the best UFA signing of last summer?
Ryan; Further to my comment from above, it was kind of ironic he turned in that performance the night before the Vezina Trophy nominees were announced. Not that anyone expected him to be in the final three (Ryan Miller, Ilya Bryzgalov and Martin Brodeur were the three) but Anderson sure has made something out of what was expected to be another lost season in Denver.
Is Sid's vision and smarts the best you've seen in awhile? Taking numbers out of this, he does positive things each shift.
brian; You bring up a really good point. Yes, he's got seven points in three games so that's pretty dynamic but his play to save a goal in his own zone in Game 2 was crucial. He dominates in the face-off zone. His play to set up the game-winner by Kris Letang was a thing of beauty. He is one of those rare players that really does make everyone around him better. And you can bet that watching him work as hard as he does in all three zones rubs off on the rest of his teammates.
I dont understand why everyone is down on the Bruins...everytime someone disregards them, whether it be an analyst or some other figurehead, the Bruins respond with a game that makes ppl go, "Wow, they have a shot." I understand that they are anemic on offense, but I think its about time that someone gave the Bruins credit and pick them to win this series in 7 games
Charles; Well, not having Savard, being the lowest-scoring team in the NHL, losing Dennis Seidenberg on the eve of the playoffs, I think they're all good reasons for being skeptical that they could beat a very good Buffalo team. Let's see what happens tonight before we start booking a space for them in the second round.
Justin Williams was scratched in game 2 and is going to be out of the lineup again tonight, is this a mistake?
Allen; I admit I did not know that. Guess he'll have to do his leading from the press box. I do know he has struggled mightily since coming back from a broken leg so don't know if it's just performance or if he is struggling with lingering effects of the injury itself.
please explain why ridiculous stunts like carcillo's faking getting hit in the head are not suspendable offenses. absolutely reprehensible
tad; I made note of it this morning and was likewise appalled. I think technically he could have been assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the same way players are given diving penalties for embelling hooks etc. Would have been nice to see that called in that instance.
Scott, where do you think Jagr will play if he returns to the NHL? Any chance he ends back up in Pittsburgh?
Andrew; Jagr sure gave the impression in Vancouver at the Olympics that he'd like to come back. And I think Pittsburgh is a possibility. The thing will be how much money does he want or will the situation matter more? If it's not about the money I would think Pittsburgh, the Rangers with whom he enjoyed great post-lockout success and Edmonton, a team that pursued him vigorously, would be in the hunt.
What team would you now favor to win the Stanley Cup with all the craziness that has went on so far? If Chicago gets goaltending like they did last night, I am not sure anyone can beat them.
John; I started with a playoff grid that had Pittsburgh and Chicago in the final. Will hang onto that for at least the next couple of days.
Although every series seems to be pretty even, do you think any team is in a "must win" situation for their next game?
Keith; I think the Habs have to win tonight to stay in it. Likewise the Devils must win as will the Red Wings on Tuesday or they'll be down 3-1 and done like dinner. And frankly, even though it's just 1-1, I think Nashville will need to win Game 3 at home to keep the pressure on Chicago and not get into a rut of 'here we go again' as the Preds have never won a playoff round.
Do you think Jose has played his last game as a Capital?
Mike; No. I think we'll see him again in this series in fact and if not in the second round.
Do you think Iginla will be traded this summer? There's all types of rumors circling around, I'd like to see Iggy go to a club that's on the cusp of winning, like L.A or somewhere that just needs that leadership and a player of iggy's quality. With his career he deserves to win a Cup.
Kyle; Yes, lots of buzz in Calgary about the changes they need to make after a disastrous season. I'd start at the top with GM Darryl Sutter before I'd start trading away my top player even if he did go sideways down the stretch. He had lots of help. But you're right, a team like Boston has already been mentioned given their need of scoring depth and the fact they've got lots of assets that the Flames might be interested in.
Don't want to seem like I am adding to the Crosby hate that is out there, but Crosby really didn't save a goal in game 2. The puck was just about to stop on a bank of piled up ice shavings. Great play though.
Philip; You may be right. It wouldn't be the first time the media (myself included) proved to be overly dramatic.
If the Devils lose in the first round for three seasons in a row, what do you think Lou will do in the offseason?
Joey; I think the better question will be what a guy like Paul Martin does. He's their best defenseman and about to be an unrestricted free agent. He likes New Jersey but if they bow out again in the first round he may look elsewhere for a home and that would be a big loss. Martin Brodeur another year older. Ilya Kovalchuk almost certainly headed to Los Angeles or somewhere else. It wouldn't look pretty. But as always Lou Lamoriello would fill the holes and the team would win the Atlantic again. Go figure.
how crazy would it be if the caps,sabres,and devils all got upset in the first round?
Jeremy; Wacky wouldn't cover it. Still a long way to go and a lot of hockey to be played before it gets to that point.
Do you see any top teams like Pittsburgh, Chicago or Washington, who have oodles of talent but long/short term salary cap issues, making a move for the number 1 pick from Edmonton?
Zach; No. I think the Oilers, as bad as they are, are resigned to building from the bottom up. That means hanging onto the number-one and shedding as many old, expensive players as possible.
What do you think the Savard's chances of playing in this series and what game might he get back for?
Brad; My sense is that it would be slim. Very slim.
Scott, what do you think it is about Montreal that gives the Caps so much trouble? They split the season series 2-2 (15-14 Washington in overall goals) and the two teams have split games 1 and 2. Does Montreal's team speed just give Washington's perceived defensive troubles more than it can handle or is this an aberration?
Frank; Bonjour. I think the Habs' speed up front and I think the Canadiens' defense, even though all six in the line-up are left-handed shots, are under-appreciated. Jaroslav Halak has been terrific so far. And Hal Gill, often mistreated by fans, has been solid as he was in Pittsburgh the last two playoff years.
Any chance LA would trade Doughty for Semin + Green?
Mike; Only if Dean Lombardi suffered from a rare disease that caused him to confuse the terms 'get lost' and 'sure thing'.In other words; Never.
Scott, Which building gives its team the best home ice advantage? Being a Hawks season ticket holder, the building certainly gets loud these days and the anthem is great, but I don't know how it stacks up with the other buildings in the league.
Evan; Well, we're going to find out how much a bonus it is to Montreal but right now it might be Philadelphia. That's a hard place for teams to play. Chicago should be up there and may yet be that way this spring although the Preds looked pretty calmn in Game 1.
What about Montreal trading a Goalie for Lecavalier?
Mike; Interesting idea. Would Vincent Lecavalier waive his no-trade clause to come home to Quebec? So much depends on who the Lightning hire as GM and then head coach. They'd better either trade Lecavalier or make him feel welcome again. Then they'd better make sure Martin St. Louis is locked down for the long haul as he can become a UFA in July 2011. But to your point; do the Lightning need goaltending? Ah. Yes.
Alright folks. Thanks for the time as always. See you next week. Will I be in Montreal for Game 6? Stay tuned.