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October 6, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Pierre LeBrun

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:00 PM)

Less than 24 hours to go before Carolina and Minnesota open the NHL season in Helsinki. I'll be here at my home in Toronto tomorrow night for Habs-Leafs. Let's talk hockey !

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who do you think will be in the 2010-2011 Stanley Cup Finals?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:03 PM)

I think I picked Wash-SJ. Already can't remember. You can find all our experts' picks here, http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/preview2010/news/story?id=5647799But really for Cup finals, you can really pick anyone from Wash, Pitt, NJ, Philly and Boston from East and Chicago, Detroit, San Jose, LA and Vancouver from the West.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:03 PM)

I think I picked Wash-SJ. Already can't remember. You can find all our experts' picks here, http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/preview2010/news/story?id=5647799But really for Cup finals, you can really pick anyone from Wash, Pitt, NJ, Philly and Boston from East and Chicago, Detroit, San Jose, LA and Vancouver from the West.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:04 PM)

I think I picked Wash-SJ. Already can't remember. You can find all our experts' picks here, http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/preview2010/news/story?id=5647799But really for Cup finals, you can really pick anyone from Wash, Pitt, NJ, Philly and Boston from East and Chicago, Detroit, San Jose, LA and Vancouver from the West.

Tom (Kingston Ont)

Pierre how in the world did John Mitchell survive. He had a brutal camp was clearly out played by Hanson. I believe in the direction Burke is going but for a straight shooter like Burke (look at the way he handled Khadri) keeping Mitchell what gives?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:04 PM)

Leafs front office believes it's better for Hanson's development at this point that he play 20 minutes a night in AHL instead of 6 min a night in NHL.

Canadians Fans (Montreal)

Hey pierre can you pass on a message to Carey Price for us BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:05 PM)

Harsh ! Right now Carey is trying to fight off a flu bug in time for tomorrow night.

Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)

Pierre my bud, you're back, i'm back, that can only mean one thing.....there's a buzz on the street, hottest ticket in town, you've got a seat, this is it there's no doubt......ALL THE BIG GUNS GONNA SHOOT OUT THE LIGHTS!......what's on your radio for today and how do you rank the divisions from toughest to weakest?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:07 PM)

Jesse, my friend, good to have you back this year. Thanks as always from being a loyal participant.No music today. Got baseball playoffs on the tube while I chat with you guys.Ranking divisions from toughest to weakest1. Pacific2. Atlantic3. Central4. Southeast5. Northeast6. Northwest

Paul Lukas (ESPN UniWatch Column)

Pierre, what is your favorite NHL uniform related development for the new season....Sabres scrap buffaslug and go back to old logo full time; Flyers use winter classic sweater as full-time white; Islanders go throwback for full-time home and away; Rangers debut navy "New York" third sweater; Capitals unveil Gartner/Langway era sweater for Winter Classic?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:09 PM)

Paul, you will hate me but I haven't even noticed. Not a big uniform/merchandise guy. But best three uniforms in hockey never change1. Blackhawks2. Canadiens3. Maple Leafs

Jordan Staal (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pierre, first I would be back for camp, then I would miss the first week of camp, then I would miss all of camp, then I would miss the first week of the season....now I am out indefinitely. Let's face it, I am going to be out until January right? At least I will get to watch the games from the new incredibly sick owners box at the New Igloo with Mario and Hilary Duff....plus I hear she has an equally famous and goodlooking sister....

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:10 PM)

Sounds like you got it all figured out, budBy the way Eric Staal told me in New York last month that he's way better in golf than you

Alicia (Los Angeles)

Do you see the Kings aquiring another vetran player because of all the young players that have made the team??

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:10 PM)

Alicia, great question. I do get the impression from my conversations with the Kings that come the trade deadline, they'll look real hard at adding an impact forward.

Bill Daley (NHL Offices, NYC)

Pierre, right now if a player is claimed on re-entry waivers the new team assumes HALF his salary but his WHOLE cap hit. Should we try to change the next CBA so the new team only gets HALF the cap hit too? That would foster more player movement and allow teams to get out from some of these crippling contracts (Redden, Thomas, Campbell, Gomez, etc.)....although some teams don't want to let other GMs get out from under their mistakes.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:12 PM)

Bill, can't believe you mispelled your own last name. I know the Dolphins loss disappointed you Monday night, but c'mon.As for the CBA, I support Brian Burke's idea of being able to retain salary in trades. That, more than anything, would open up the floodgates for more trades.

david (maryland)

two questions. when will hotstove on cbc begin? which of the new coaches guy boucher, scott arniel, john maclean, and craig ramsey will have the biggest impact?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:15 PM)

David, nice to hear from you again. 1. Hot Stove returns Saturday night during 7 p.m. ET telecast. And I've been re-signed for another season on Hot Stove. Can't wait.2. I think Boucher was the best hire. I think Ramsay was an inspired choice. I think Boucher will have biggest impact

Mike Comrie (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pierre, why is everyone hating on me for only signing a 500K contract ? My much younger and better looking new wife is a Hollywood actress that makes much more than me and my dad is already a multi-millionaire from his canadian furniture company. In the words of Dave Chapelle...I'M RICH, B****!!! I have been to the finals once and lost and played in LI and EDM. I would have taken $12/hr to play on a contender at this point. Wouldn't you?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:16 PM)

Mike, as I wrote in my blog today on you _ you made a great choice !

Gerry (San Francisco, CA)

Pierre, glad to see you back on ESPN chat! In your opinion, which division do you think believe will be the most competitive this season?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:16 PM)

Another regular, Gerry from SF !Pacific and Atlantic are crazy good. Central not too far behind

Bob (Pittsburgh)

Eric Tangradi gets to ride shotgun with Malkin and Comrie, will he get any Calder love this season?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:17 PM)

Well, we'll see how he does and how long he stays on that line. Coaches are most focused on pairs and the key pair there is Comrie/Malkin. But Tangradi has looked good so far

Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit)

How can you pick anyone else for the Selke trophy? I will take it away from Kessler (or anyone else for that matter) just like I take away the pucks on the ice.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:18 PM)

I'll probably end up giving you my first-place vote yet again in the offical voting, you know that Pavel :)

JD (DC)

Semyon Varlamov is on the IR already. How long before the Caps have to get a reliable healthy netminder to back up or take over for Neuvirth

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:20 PM)

GM GM told me last week he loves his young 1-2 punch in goal. Doesn't sound like a GM looking to make a move in goal to me

David (Morgantown)

How many points do you see the underrated Patrick Sharp picking up this year? +/- 75? Also, how will Byfuglien, Ladd and Versteeg fare with their new teams?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:21 PM)

Focus on Versteeg whom I chatted with today after Leafs practice. I think he's got 30 to 35-goal potential. He's getting first-line minutes and first unit power play minutes for first time in his career

Joe (NYC)

Hi Pierre. So happy to have the chats back! Why the lack of love for John Carlson in everyone's Calder picks?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:22 PM)

I love John Carlson. Mentioned him in my rookies column last week. But I picked Subban for Calder because I think he'll get more PP time and put up bigger numbers that way

Fred (Stroudsburg, PA)

10 team H2H starting 1 goalie per night.....ended up with 4 goalies: Turco, Halak, Niemi, and Backstrom.What should I do now?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:23 PM)

Turco and Halak your best bets. Niemi will share with Nitty. Not getting good feeling about Wild this year.

Stacy (Chicago)

Do you think Turco was an upgrade in net for the Hawks or would you have stayed with Niemi?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:24 PM)

Well, it really wasn't a choice for the Hawks, Stacy. Niemi got too much in arbitration for the Hawks to swallow under the cap.But I know Turco pretty well and I know he's eager and hungry this year after the way things ended in Dallas.

Bill (Pasadena, CA.)

Pierre, how far do you think the Kings can go this year? Second round of the playoffs? And can they finally win the division. Thanks!

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:25 PM)

Bill, thanks for stopping by again. If you saw my Kings preview you'd know I picked the Kings to win the Pacific Division. I think they're for real and they'll get better when they add a player or two before the trade deadline

Mike (NJ)

Good afternoon, Pierre! Parise-Zajac-Kovalchuk, has there ever been a scarier line in Devils offense? Also, why does Scott hate the Devils so much!? Thanks!

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:26 PM)

haha, Scott doesn't hate the Devils, he just doesn't like walking around downtown Newark :)That's an amazing line for sure. I mean, you saw what happened last year in Cup finals when Hawks put Toews and Hossa together; that line turned that series. That Devils line has the potential to completely control games this season

Jason (Riverside, CA)

Just wondering what your thought are and wondering is you think Anaheim has what it takes to get back to the playoffs this year? Thanks

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:28 PM)

Real concerned about Ducks' blue-line corps. Not looking very good to me. Pacific Division tough enough as it is. Right now as blue-line stands I don't have Anaheim in.

curtis (saskatoon)

thoughts on whether Morrison will fit in Calgary?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:28 PM)

Smart veteran player who I feel got his skating speed back last year. Took him more than a year to recover from that surgery. Smart pick-up by Flames

Mark H (Phoenix)

Do you think Phoenix can repeat their performance of last season? Or have their losses on D and at center made them a weaker team?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:30 PM)

As I wrote in the Coyotes preview I did, I think they're actually deeper up front after the pickups of Whitney and Belanger plus the promotion of Turris and the full-time return of Scottie Upshall.COncerned yes that Michalek wasn't replaced. Oliver Ekman-Larsson looks impressive as a youngster but i think they've lost a bit on D.I see them battlig from 6th to 10th in the West and likely in for a playoff spot

Mark (New Jersey)

Hey Pierre, is Glenn Sather finally ready to build around the youth movement, have to love Stepan so far, or will he over spend for Brad Richards by the deadline?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:31 PM)

Haven't seen Stepan play yet for New York but I've heard great things, including from an opposing GM the other day

Dave (St. Louis, MO)

Do you really think Boston could win it all? Until Seguin proves himself (See, e.g. Stamkos in 08-09), I don't see Boston as an improved team.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:32 PM)

I rank them 5th out of those five Eastern contenders

Alex Tanguay (calgary)

What does Brent sutter mean when he says shoot the puck?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:32 PM)

LOL

Chris (Toronto)

Pierre, do you think Karl Alzner has a shot as a sleeper candidate for ROTY? He is a #1 pick, and I read that he will see time on the second PP unit.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:33 PM)

sure. Lots of good candidates this year. Easily more than 20 legitimate guys

Joe (West Hempstead, NY)

I'm an islanders' season ticket holder...Any chance I'll be purchasing playoff tickets later this season? It seems like we have angered the Hockey Gods(Streit, Schremp, Okposo)

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:33 PM)

um, no.But I like the direction the team is going in. They'll get another high pick next June. Hang in there !

Tyson (Vancouver)

Hey Pierre...enjoy the words you plunk down on the internets. With the strong additions Pittsburgh and Vancouver made to their defence...where would you rank them as far as best overall D corps in the league? Better yet...who are your top 5 D teams? Thanks.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:36 PM)

Top D corps in NHL, off top of my head:1. LA2. Pitt3. Van4. Philly5. Chicago6. Toronto7. Wash

Andrew (Boston)

Hey Pierre, what do you see the Bruins doing with Savard? do you think they have shot at trading him unless he comes back at full health?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:36 PM)

No chance of moving him until he's back healhty and re-estabilshed as top center

Keith (Philly)

What do you think of Philadelphia's offense? It has to be the deepest in the league right?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:37 PM)

Insanely deep. Rich collection of forwards. Claude Giroux on third line? Ridiculous !

Paul (Work ... but not working)

Do teams like starting the year in Europe or do they feel like it is more of a hassle than anything else?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:39 PM)

Great question. I was in Europe for first three years of this event and got a mixed reaction from teams. But given that Pittsburgh won the Cup the year it started in Stockholm and Chicago won the Cup last year after starting the season in Helsinki _ few teams can argue the league that it's a big detriment

jayhay (so. cal)

everyone talks about a Norris in the future for Doughty, how about a Jennings trophy for Quick/Bernier tandem in the future? seems plausable with Murray's defensive system.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:39 PM)

No question. I guess people don't get that excited about the old Jennings Trophy though compared to a flashy Norris :)

Dennis (Anaheim)

Pierre, what are your thoughts on Cam Fowler making the opening night roster for the Ducks? Think he will stick past the 9 games?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:41 PM)

THey're taking a long look at him because of two reasons:1. He's a big-time talent who had a good camp2. Their defense isnt' very good.

Get ya popcorn ready (Toronto)

So Pierre, do you think the Randy Moss trade will increase or decrease his fantasy value? Thanks!

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:41 PM)

Ha. No clue.

Paul Lukas (ESPN UniWatch Column)

Pierre, I could never hate you. But your #3 best uniform (Maple Leafs) actually did change a lot this year. They added the old-school leaf shoulder patches, changed the number/nameplate font to something much more legible, and finally put the horizontal stripes back on the hemline....so now every game actually looks like a game and not morning skate in solid practice jerseys (something Don Cherry has been screaming about for 2 years).

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:42 PM)

There you go, had no idea, haha

JimH (Miami, FL)

It looked like another long, painful season for the Panthers even before their latest two moves that don't seem to make sense(Peters for Hordichuk, waiving Grabner). Tell me there's hope!

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:43 PM)

Tallon knows what he's doing but it's going to take patience. Look at his moves during his time in Chicago.

Jeff (Chicago)

Pierre- what do you think about the Hawks this year? What will be the most important factor to watch in the first few months?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:44 PM)

Obviously this remains a very good team. But I'm curious to see how much physicality has left their game with losses of Ladd and Byfuglien in particular. The Hawks got a lot of attention last year for their offensive pizzazz but an equally important facet of their game was their ability to really forecheck and get teams to turns puck over and play a real punishing game.

Jerome (Quebec)

Hi Pierre, do you thinkl that Brad Richards will sign a new contract with Dallas and will Jordan Caron stay with the Bruins for all season ?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:45 PM)

Was told Stars can't move forward on Richards until their ownership situation is resovled.

Matt (Buffalo, NY)

saw ur really high in tyler ennis, hes going to be a stud!! what are your thoughts on the sparkplug for buffalo, all 5 foot 6 Nathan Gerbe?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:46 PM)

Gerbe is terrific, too. Interesting to me that he appears to be starting the season on the third line, tough. Seems like his game is better suted for top-six role.

Brandon (NYC)

I sense a monstrous season coming from Evgeni Malkin. 120pts+. Kovalchuk could also put in 60. And OV will be OV. Another year of the Russians could be upon us.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:47 PM)

agreed.Altough a couple of Canadian boys might be ok, too (Crosby, Getzlaf, Toews, Stamkos)

Brad Spencer (Toronto)

Hey Pierre, Was just doing my preseason picks, and was wondering, Does Jonathon Bernier still qualify for the Calder trophy this year? Also who would the other favourites be?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:49 PM)

yes Bernier is an NHL rookie. Here's the link to my rookie preview story from last week, lotsa good names in there, http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/preview2010/columns/story?columnist=lebrun_pierre&id=5625590

Matt (Syracuse)

Do you think the Rangers make the playoffs this year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:51 PM)

nope

joe (USA)

Pierre...please tell the guy in Toronto that "Getcha popcorn ready" is a quote used by Terrell Owens, not Randy Moss....eh?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:52 PM)

done !

Derek Stepan (New York)

So much love for all of the other highly touted rookies and you havent even seen me play?? should i be insulted pierre?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:53 PM)

spend most of camp in Western Conference. Sue me kid

Flad (Centerech)

Will Bernier supplant Quick as the Kings starter this year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:53 PM)

Well that will be a very interesting thing to watch, that's for sure. I think Bernier will push Quick mighty hard

T.J. (wahsington DC)

Pierre, do you think the Capitals choked last year? Or were they just unlucky to run into Mr. Fantastic in net? Have they leardned that they can't score their way to a Finals victory? and if so, Does their Defense have what it takes to get them farther in the playoffs?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:54 PM)

Man, don't have enough time to really answer this properly. I think they completely outplayed the Habs and got stoned by a hot goalie, yes. But I also think they panicked a bit as the series went long and didn't take the kind of shots from right areas (ie, pay the price). That's not a good thing. Hopefully they've learned.

eric (baltimore)

Souray to Hershey. Is GMGM looking to get a sneak peak at him before a trade or just helping Edm and Hershey out?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:55 PM)

I honestly don't think the Caps have any interest in him at all.

Bryant (Los Angeles)

Hey Pierre,Will the Mitchell/Doughty stay together for awhile and if so where do you rank the line compared to the rest of the league?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:56 PM)

Dominant pairing. They were put together right from first day of camp. That tells you Terry Murray really wants it to work. Key is Mitchell's health. That was a long rehab from concussion. Hopefully no regression.

Joe (Chicago)

Pierre, Do you think adding Turco and other players that have never won the cup the hunger the Hawks need to be able to repeat?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:56 PM)

Certainly it'll help the Hawks avoid any kind of complacency that you often see with Cup champions. Lotsa fresh faces and that makes it a new challenge, a new journey.

Darrell (Kentville. N.S.)

Do you think Ron Wilson has any people skills when it comes to coaching and is he on the hot seat?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:57 PM)

I actually really enjoy him. He's fun to talk to. Very clever guy and I think sometimes people don't get his humor.But yes, pressure is on to be better this year in Toronto.

Keith (Ontario)

is MTL a playoff team? I can't see it happening

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:58 PM)

bubble _ anywhere from 6th to 12th. There's goin to be six-team logjam seperatd by three or four points at the end of the year fighting for last three spot in my mind and I think Montreal is in that group

Doug (SF)

Why don't all players wear mouthpieces? Is it a macho thing?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:59 PM)

WHy don't all players wear visors?

Niklas Lidstrom (Detroit)

So not only do you not mention ours as one of the best jerseys, you don't consider us one of the top 7 defenses in the league? That's almost as crazy as Scott Burnside saying Mats Sundin is the greatest Swedish hockey player of all time...

Pierre LeBrun
  (5:00 PM)

Like I said, off the top off my head. Detroit definitely in there, so revised1. Detroitand then everyone else I said..

Pierre LeBrun
  (5:00 PM)

That's a wrap folks. Let's drop the puck !!!