Hello all. Welcome back. Now, where were we?
Hey scottYour thoughts on John Carlson and Karl alzner for the season ahead, it seems that they will be paired together on the d line for the caps.
Antonio; It will be interesting to see if Bruce Boudreau sticks with the kids playing together but both have got great tools and they're certainly familiar with each other from the AHL. I like it as a plan. We'll see how the delivery works out.
scott what do you think of the flyers chances to make another run this year?
luke; I'd like their chances more if their starting netminder wasn't already laid up with a bad back (Michael Leighton). Still, like the changes Paul Holmgren made and the blue line is rock solid as long as Chris Pronger comes back healthy (it says here he will). Should battle the Pens for top spot in the Atlantic which will be a huge bonus (ie. top three seed versus a 4th seed and much tougher test in the first round).
Scott, big Blues fan here. Do they make the playoffs? Time for all the young "talent" to finally mature.
Nick; Like the Blues as well. And I think the retirement of Keith Tkachuk and the absence of Paul Kariya will open a door in the same way we saw the top young talent in Detroit really blossom after Steve Yzerman retired and Brendan Shanahan went to New York. At least that's how it looks on paper. All said, I have the Blues in my playoff grid in the West.
I know it's still the pre season, but is any reason for optimism in Edmonton based on the young 3's play so far?
Spencer; Funny you should mention the Oil. Was talking to my good friend Mark Spector from Sportsnet (and an Edmonton resident) and he was raving about not just the Big Three kids but a couple of others too. You're right, still early. But after all the bad news the last three or four years the Oilers and their fans deserve a break.
any word on phoenix ownership coming to a end any time soon
thomas; Ha, ha, ha. Oh, sorry. Actually I figure this will actually get resolved sooner than later and I will be surprised if Matthew Hulsizer doesn't end up owning the team and keeping it in Phoenix. Of course this is Glendale and so surprise is the order of business there.
Putting aside the disconnect between the Kovy arbitrator's ruling that there was no intent to circumvent the salary cap and the ridiculous penalty the Devils were hit with, how unfair is it that no other teams (Canucks with Luongo, Hawks with Hossa, etc.) were hit with similar penalties for almost identical conduct? Are things really that bad between Lou and the main office?
Jake; I think it's fair to say other teams owe Lou Lamoriello big time as he took the big stick from the NHL while it seems other teams could likewise have been penalized. But remember Lamoriello has been one of commissioner Gary Bettman's most loyal soldiers. That said, don't see this as personal but business, as in the commissioner making sure the GMs do business the way he believes the CBA dictates they should do it.
Scott, the signings of both Aaron Asham and Mike Comrie seem to be solid for the Penguins. Thoughts?
Jason; A couple of questions out there about Comrie and the Pens. Agree that GM Ray Shero has done a nice job of plugging some holes first with Martin and Michalek on the blue line and then with Comrie and Asham. Both will gets lots of chance to prove themselves and I think they could be the kinds of moves that mean the difference between a long playoff run and not (ie. depth is king come playoff time).
Hey Scott, I was wondering about your thoughts on the Rangers this year and how you think they will end up this year with all of their new acqusitions
Philip; The Rangers are a strange squad, so little depth down the middle and yet lots of interesting young talent along the blue line and of course The King, Henrik Lundqvist, between the pipes. I think the lack of quality centers will be a problem and the Rangers are going to ask a lot of their young guys on the back end. All in all I don't see a playoff spot in their future.
Do you think that the Sharks might be that magical "one" player away from winning the Cup
jim; Yes. Jonathan Toews or Sidney Crosby. But seriously. I'm just not sure it's about adding that 'one' player or if this is a team that just doesn't have the right mix of players already in the mix? We have seen Pat Marleau, Dany Heatley and Joe Thornton in multiple post-seasons and clutch situations not get over the hump. Maybe it will all come down to Evgeni Nabokov leaving and the Cup will finally come home to San Jose. But I just don't see it.
How about my red wings? Cup run?
Billy; Define run? I like the Wings to challenge Chicago at the top of the Central and I like them to play the 'Hawks in the West final. Natural caveat is that they have to stay healthy but what team doesn't? Had a chance to spend a couple of days with the Wings last week and like their mojo.
Scott, I am a huge Devils fan. Do they have a legitimate shot to win the Stanley Cup this year with the forwards they have and the defense in front of Marty?
Jason; I think it's way too early to tell especially with the line-up issues still as yet unresolved vis a vis having to cut salary/players to get under the cap. Not sure I like the team's offensive depth enough and not sure they've got enough offense from the back end to supplement that shortcoming. Playoffs? Yes. Cup? Don't think they can run with the big dogs of the conference.
Scott, Does Colorado see a sophmore slump or do they make the playoffs again?
brian; I think you can wonder about a couple of teams sliding back after big years and Colorado is one of them. That said I like Joe Sacco's approach and I don't see that big a drop-off if any. They'll need to get better support for Craig Anderson but I have them in 8th place again this season.
You think that Jonathan Bernier will steal Jonathan Quick's starting job, and do you think the Kings have a shot at winning the Pacific?
Javier; That's going to be a great story as the seaosn unfolds. A lot of people think Bernier's got the better tools and given how Quick struggled down the stretch and was so-so in the post-season it might well be Bernier who takes over. One way or another the Kings are going to need better goaltending at critical junctures to make a run come April.
Hey Scott, Which big players do you see being moved at the trade deadline this season? Will we see Zdeno Chara and Joe Thornton re-sign with their teams? Will Brad Richards, Tomas Vokoun and Tomas Kaberle be moved to contenders?
Rob; Have to figure Chara and Thornton stay put but Richards will be interesting especially if Dallas struggles again (I am guessing they will) and Dale Tallon will be shopping Vokoun and Bryan McCabe at the deadline if the Panthers are where we figure, out of the mix. Kaberle? Trying to trade Kaberle is a way of life for the Leafs but they may actually get the job done this year.
How will Bill Guerin help the Flyers if they choose to sign him? Will he be the missing piece to win the cup while im deployed?
Will; I expect Guerin will do exactly what he did when he arrived in Pittsburgh; he'll keep the dressing room light, he'll deliver timely goals and he'll help shoulder some of the weight that comes from high expectation. With Simon Gagne gone Guerin's presence in that room will be a welcome tonic.
Scott, Does George McPhee at some point this year go out and trade for a defensive defenseman and a center to give us fans some hope come playoff time?
Scott; I think McPhee will be looking at his blue line and his goaltending to see where he might need to shore things up. Earlier question about Carlson and Alzner will dicatate just what kind of tinkering he does. Never a bad thing to add veteran defensive help for the playoffs.
Coyotes seemed to have come out strong in pre-season any chance anyone will pick them to win the western conf? I'm calling it right now Phoenix wins the western conferance this year
Matt; That's bold. I think the 'Yotes are for real and they'll be back in the post-season but not sure they've got the horses to jump over Detroit, Chicago, Vancouver and/or San Jose.
What do the Islanders do without Streit? What do you think Kyle Okposo and Tavares can produce this year?
Fred; Losing Streit for what most of the season (reports suggest five to six months) will be devastating to a team that is short on talent and veteran leadership. That said, look for Scott Gordon to again get maximum effort from the young Isles and I think both Okposo and Tavares will see their numbers jump. Look for James Wisniewski to try and fill the gap offensively on the blue line with Streit out.
Come June, will Bruins fans be happy or our usual, heart-broken selves?
Marc; Well, let's put it this way, no way the Bruins blow a 3-0 series lead (and 3-0 lead in Game 7)this spring. No way. That said, don't see them getting beyond the second round at best.
Is the east finally better than the west? To me the west is 4 or 5 deep - SJ, Van, Det, Chi, and maybe LA - no chance anyone else wins the conference or the cup. The east has Wash, Pit, Phi, NJ, and Bos who are all legit. After that I'd put TB and Buf ahead of StL and Phx. Your thoughts?
Mike; I think there are more, better teams in the west actually. The ones you mentioned at the top plus I think Phoenix, St. Louis, maybe Nashville have fewer holes than most of the teams in the east. You're right about the cream of the crop in the east but after those top four or five the rest are a hodgepodge of mediocrity. Good for playoff races just not necessarily good hockey.
do the ducks have a legitament shot at making a run in the playoffs this year? do you think they will or need to add another defensemen for it to be possible?
bryce; I think in the ultra-competitive west (see below) it will be a struggle for the Ducks to make the post-season and that goes mostly to a rebuilding program along the blue line. Take Pronger, Niedermayer and Beauchemin out of the mix since the Cup win and there are a lot of holes to fill. Like the Paul Mara signing and they're solid up front but uphill battle to get back to the dance I think.
How much of an impact do you see Gonchar making in Ottawa at this stage in his career?
Will; Great turn from a great player in Pittsburgh but the Sens are a long way from being what the Pens were and with Gonchar struggling in recent years to stay healthy I see his impact being muted.
Gut feeling: who comes out of the East? Washington? Pittsburgh? Philly again?
Aaron; Should be great battles but I like the Pens' new-look blue line and their depth up front. Plus, a brand new building.
Where's the suspension on Orpik after going after Franzen?
Swede; Didn't see the hit but was in Detroit the next day and the Wings were livid. My guess is league felt Orpik sticking out his knee was more reactionary than attempt to injure. Still, could have been a lot worse than a charley horse.
In retrospect, should the Flyers have gone after Turco or Nabakov a bit harder, and maybe not signed/traded for so many d-men?
Lou; Pretty early to start second-guessing a GM that got his team to Game 6 of the final (won't stop fans in Philly from doing so but I digress). And we're not sure of the extent of Leighton's back issues yet so I think Holmgren deserves the benefit of the doubt at this stage. Or at least until they drop seven of eight out of the gate.
Will I be the starting goalie at some point for the Flyers this season?
Sergei; Follow-up to earlier question, sure is a lot of buzz about you and I wouldn't be surprised to see you get an audition for the number one job.
In your opinion are the Kings actually cup contenders this year? Seems like that would be a huge jump for a team that just two years ago was one of the worst in the NHL.
Allen; There's lots to like about the Kings again this season. Thought they might do more in the off-season offensively (essentially Ponikarovsky in for Frolov) but blue line is solid and will only get better. The goaltending still not completely settled but look at how quickly the Pens went from 29th (if memory serves) in 2005-06 to a final in '08.
What are your early/preseason thoughts on the play of Zherdev? Looks pretty solid teamed with Giroux to me. Is he going to be a steal of a signing this year for the Flyers?
Andrew; I haven't seen him play but have been eagerly reading the reports. Great talent but not necessarily a great player yet if that makes sense. To me it's a no-lose situation for the Flyers. They've got lots of depth up front and if he delivers the goods it puts them on a par with Washington and Pittsburgh in terms of weapons. If not, well, it was worth a shot.
What you heard about Langenbrunner coming over to the Avs?
Bob; There are certainly rumors about the Avs looking to add a body with Mueller out indefinitely with a concussion. And of course the Devils need to shed bodies and salary. I still think Langenbrunner remains an important piece in Jersey but some hard decisions are going to have to be made there. Good for Avs if they can grab him.
Scott, will the Halak trade come back and haunt the Habs? Price doesn't look to spectacular.
John; Believe the Halak trade has the potential to be among the worst in recent years. Of course Price stinking out the joint in a couple of pre-season games is really here nor there. We'll start to find out soon enough.
Well folks, have to cut out. Thanks as always for joining us. Welcome back. And let's do it again next week.