Hello all. Welcome back to another round of puck chatter. Now, where were we?
Hi Scott, what's the story with Bill Guerin? I think he would be a good addition to the Hurricanes. Has he indicated retirement?
Joe; Had communication with Bill not too long ago and my impression is he'd still like to play. I think there are a number of teams that could use his services. You mention the 'Canes, not sure that fits their rebuild strategy at this stage but he wouldn't be tough against the cap. Also saw someone suggest he might work well with Scott Gomez in Montreal. Good guy, great character. I hope he gets one more shot.
Mr. Burnside, do you know the health status of Drew Doughty and do you see Jarome Iginla signing with the Kings later this year?
Mario; Mr. Burnside? Who's that? Actually Drew Doughty skated today with the Kings but was wearing the yellow jersey that means 'don't smash into him' so he's still a ways away from returning to action but his presence on the ice is good news for the surging Kings.
Scott,At the moment the line of Anisimov, Callahan, & Dubinsky is the top line for the Rangers with the absence of Gaborik, but would you say they could possibly be one of the best 2nd lines in hockey?
Tony; Right now they are the engine driving the surprising Rangers forward. Might get some argument in Washington with the Semin unit (although the Caps have struggled a bit offensively) and in Philly when Daniel Briere isn't suspended. But right now that unit is showing a lot, no question about it.
Statement game for Sharks tonight? Won three of past four but some say the opponents (Avs, Ducks, Devils) were the reasons for those wins...
Joey; Honestly I think it's more of a statement game for the Wild. Are they a competitor or pretender in the west? You have to beat the good teams and right now the Sharks are starting to round into the form most expected in terms of piling up goals and wins. I think the Sharks roll on in this one.
Is Claude Giroux the Best player in the world?Burnside: Yes
Ryan; Well, he's certainly one of the best from Hearst, Ontario (which will make my colleague Pierre LeBrun also from Hearst, proud). Funny, I will be writing on Mr. Giroux later this week to set up our Game of the Week Thursday when the Flyers and Rangers tangle. Stay tuned.
After the first month which teams do you think are going to be in each of the Conference finals? What are the biggest surprises so far, good and bad.
Meto; Surprises first; Tampa is better than I thought and I thought they would be good. Still wonder about blue line and goaltending though. The Kings are really getting it done and that's with Doughty missing some time. Quick has been terrific. Vancouver has been disappointing especially on the road. Devils, of course, at the bottom of the heap in terms of level of play and Buffalo not far behind. As for conference finals, I'll stick with pre-season predictions; Caps/Pens in east and Blackhawks/Red Wings in the west.
Hi Scott, Your impression of the Thrashers first month. Do they have any cap space to make any moves? At least they are a fun team to watch this year. Thanks
Todd; Glad you're watching as there don't appear to be many others who are. Sad because you're right Craig Ramsay has got the Thrash playing a more adventurous style of hockey. They need to get Ondrej Pavelec into a groove to help carry the load and Nik Antropov starting to come around is a big help (still has lingering injury issues I think). But I think they will be there come playoff time. Hopefully some fans will be too.
Hey Scott, was the Danny Briere suspension too harsh?
Matthew; I thought it was. I was in Nashville last week and when Tootoo wasn't suspended for his hit on Colaiacovo I thought the Briere incident would be handled the same way. Not a smart play by any stretch but no real damage. Repeat offender is the issue I guess.
We told you our goaltending was a strength. Our weakness is still down the middle and one more d-man. Will GMGM fill these holes at the deadline?
caps; I'm not sure I doubted the goaltending. And you're right, still looking for depth down the middle and some defensive depth. And yes, I believe GMGM will fill those holes. With whom? Not sure. But imagine Brad Richards helping out if the Stars falling out of the race in the west?
Scott, it's my birthday today, so answer this question as a b-day gift! Can you give us your immediate impressions on LA vs. Tampa on Thursday?
Mark; Happy birthday. Hope you're going to the game. Should be a good one. Lightning have been out west for a few days and should be used to the time change. Can't imagine Doughty will be back for that one which is good for Tampa. Dan Ellis has started to edge ahead of Mike Smith in the goaltending battle in Tampa while Jonathan Quick has been terrific. Can the Kings exploit the Bolts' defense? Justin Williams is coming around and giving the Kings nice scoring depth. A good tilt between two teams with big dreams. I say Bolts 5-4 in overtime.
Scott, last week you predicted that we would go 1-4 on our five game road trip with the Ducks being the only team we beat. So far we are 80% of the way there...and our best player just got put on long-term IR. Do you have any idea what "special assignment" Lou will give me within the Devils organization this time next week? Right now I would rather being chasin international villains through the streets of NYC with Samuel L. Jackson.
John; It sure hasn't been a box of chocolates in your first month as coach has it? The question is where does it stop? After a loss to Chicago tomorrow? What about another loss to the Rangers Friday? No Parise for the forseeable future and Kovalchuk for as long as anyone can see. Yikes. You may be better off being barefoot with international terrorists. Good luck.
Will Carey Price continue to play this well or will the pressure crack him? It's easy when things are going good but we all know one bad game and the fans will go nuts.
Cody; Actually I think Price has probably bought himself some credibility with the Hab fans at least for the next little while. I think it would take three or four games off the rails for the fans to get on him. And if he hasn't cracked now not sure why he might later, at least during the regular season. Playoffs? Well, that's another beast altogether.
What do you think will happen to the Bruins roster when Savard and Sturm get healthy?
Steven; I'm not sure exactly. For those guys I am sure Peter Chiarelli will want to make sure they can both stand the rigors of NHL play although he may not have much choice with his cap issues. Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder are names you hear as possible trade candidates. What about Sturm himself? No surprise that Seguin is staying but it doesn't leave much room for Chiarelli to move. It will be interesting to watch. Leafs need scoring help maybe you see another deal between these two teams.
Do you think Markov's absence is the biggest reason for MTL PP drop compared to last year, or is it Marc-Andre Bergeron leaving? As good as Markov can be, the PP always needed a big shot to be effective.
Louis; Markov is a huge part of that PP - it ranked second last year I believe - so it will be interesting to see if it starts to pick up now that Markov is back. It couldn't be much worse.
Hi, Scott. So, should I buy or rent?
Bobo; No goalie in Philly should ever buy. It's just the way it is. But rent a nice place. You've earned it.
Hey Scott, with the Blackhawks slow start who gets the brunt of the blame so far; Defense, Goaltending, the NEW "role" players, or the lackluster play from their stars?
Dave; I think you've hit all the nails on the head. Didn't really like Turco's game last night. Missing Campbell and Hjalmarsson (suspension) and now Hossa hasn't helped. Plus Kane and Toews not off to great starts. Plus you've got all these moving parts to try and fit in; Bolland is banged up, Brouwer has one goal. Just not quite in sync yet. But I keep saying, this is a darned good team still. It'll happen.
This whole season, Bruce has swapped the cCpitals lines quite frequently. What do you think about Mike Knuble's play and don't you think it would be best for the Caps #1 Line to have Brooks Laich around the net (as opposed to Knuble)?
Steve; Interesting you mention Mike Knuble. Saw some comments from him earlier today about how disappointed he is in his start; one goal in 11 games. But he's a warrior. He will get better. And I've always like Laich on the second line with Semin. But would Knuble have success with Semin? Maybe.
The Bruins are 2nd place in their division and played the least amount of games thus far, does that speak loudly that the Bruins are back?
Dude; I think it's a fair assessment. Of course having a goalie like Tim Thomas playing like a man possessed by Jacques Plante, Georges Vezina and Turk Broda doesn't hurt. As we discussed above some hard decisions coming with Sturm and Savard coming back this month but nice choices to have as long as they can stay healthy. They're missing Johnny Boychuk, too, which says a lot about Claude Julien's team play.
Scott, what star player injury was worse yesterday....Parise knee surgery for Devils who are already in last place and struggling horrendously to score goals...or Jordan Staal for Pens breaking his hand in practice two days before he was supposed to come back. Got to be a mental killer for him....
Jesse; Great question. I think the Penguins had gotten used to playing without Staal (not liking it but used to it) so maybe that's less of a deal for the team. Sure must be hard for him especially given how durable he's been. But losing Parise when the Devils are so thin up front and so banged up mentally, well, that is a killer. Me thinks the bottom has not yet been reached in Newark.
Can't you type faster?
If I have another cup of coffee perhaps.
Scott, Curious as to why you pick WASH and PITT ahead of Philly in the East. Don't the Flyers have as much depth -- if not more -- than both teams? Plus, it's not like the Caps have a decided edge in goal? Thoughts?
Howard; Good point. When I mapped out how I thought it might break down I think I had the Flyers and Caps in the second round. No doubt they are deep up front and along the blue line. Goaltending will be an issue for them as it will be for the Caps given the lack of experience assuming Neuvirth and Bobrovsky are the guys. I know Fleury hasn't been good but he has shown he can deliver the goods when the money's on the table. Frankly, look forward to any series involving these three teams next spring.
how good has Alex Pietrangelo been? and im not asking, im telling. give him some recognition.... do it!
ryan; Sorry. I thought that was a question. But you're right, he's been very good. There's a guy who really improved from having spent extra time in junior instead of sitting on the bench in the NHL. With he and Erik Johnson that's a nice nucleus along the blue line.
Are forward positions the most difficult transition from AHL to NHL? Neuvy won a couple of championships for our Bears up in Hershey and seems to be doing just fine in the NHL. Carlson and Alzner are holding their own on the back end, not to mention an influx of other good young D men across the NHL. But forwards all seem to be top prospects or wily veterans.
Matthew; Actually traditionally it's been defensemen who tend to mature more slowly because of the physical element of the NHL game. With such a premium on puck-moving, though, teams seem more willing to let young guys like Doughty, Bogosian, Myers, etc. learn on the job because they have that skill set. I think it's just more balanced now with youth across the board as opposed to in goal or up front.
When do the Islanders realize that DiPietro will never return to form and they should release him and move on?
Kate; I have always been a bit suspect of DiPietro's ability to return from these injuries. It's still early but the early returns aren't all that great. But he's still got a contract that pays him to the end of 2020-21. Yikes. For a team with little money to spend on players to begin with buying DiPietro out would be salary cap mayhem. Like Kovalchuk in New Jersey, there's no quick and easy way out of that Long Island marriage unless of course he retires.
Scott, what does the Avs need to do defensively. In spite of their win and very good defensive effort against Columbus, they were only a game removed from a horrible one in Calgary. Will there be a move made to add some experience to the blueline to help offset the youth. Maybe a guy like Souray if he comes back thru re entry waivers (since the Avs have been cheap lately) or even a trade (they remember they have massive amounts of cap space)?
Mark; This is going to be an interesting year for the Avs as they do have loads of cap space. Now, will ownership allow Greg Sherman to spend some of that money? And will he spend it wisely? No doubt the blue line could use some help and Souray might be a nice fit with that young team but I am beginning to think the Oilers will just keep him there the entire season and see what happens next summer. Problem for the Avs is that players they may want to acquire may not be available until closer to the deadline. Still, a fun team to watch with so many good young players.
Tell me about this guy Yandle that the Bruins are reportedly interested in.
Marc; As much as Phoenix likes Oliver Ekman-Larsson I think it would be a grave error to give up on Keith Yandle who has all kinds of up-side. I've heard him referred to as a young Scott Niedermayer sans the maturity etc. Might be overstating it but still think it would be bad for the 'Yotes but good for the Bruins if that deal gets pulled off.
I'm glad that you're on board with the Wings going to Conference finals. But what should we do with the Modano line? It just doesn't seem to be clicking.
steve; Well Mike Babcock tried to shake things up by making Jiri Hudler a healthy scratch against Nashville. But that whole unit; Hudler, Mike Modano and Dan Cleary, hasn't lived up to its billing. I wasn't a fan of the Modano signing to begin with but maybe it's time he took a seat.
Blues at Bruins this Saturday. Who wins?
Nick; That's another good one. Bruins. Shootout. 2-1.
Are the Blues likely to try and make a big trade to push over the edge this year? Or will they let things play out with this team?
Ryan; Not sure there's much appetite in St. Louis to take on much new salary but if they're in the hunt they could be looking for a little defensive depth, maybe a veteran scorer for up front. But that team has been given over to the kids and I doubt Doug Armstrong will be looking to upset that dynamic too much.
Scott, any new info on the Coyotes ownership situation?
Tim; Actually spoke to a Phoenix source today and status quo remains and the clock keeps ticking towards Dec. 31. I still think a deal gets done with Matthew Hulsizer but it's slow going.
I'm heading up to Pittsburgh this year for the winter classic, got any predictions for the game? Do Ovie and Sid steal the show once again?
Dustin; You must be a hockey guy heading from Florida to Pittsburgh in January. Should be a great tilt although I always fear that some year Mother Nature will rain on the NHL's parade. If the weather holds it should be a great tilt and you know both Ovechkin and Crosby will want bragging rights at least until the playoffs.
Hey Scott, Can you tell me anything about how the Stars' sale is going on?and If they are looking to trade to get better?
David; My understanding is that there is nothing cooking right now. And that's not good for a Stars team that's off to a good start but may not be able to afford to keep a guy like Brad Richards. He'll be the most sought-after guy if he hits the deadline market but it would be a shame if the Stars are in the hunt but have to deal him rather than risk losing him for nothing in July. That said, one never knows when Gary Bettman will turn up another owner as he did in Tampa and Florida.
How good do you think Zach Bogosian can be?
Alec; Well, he's got to stay healthy, something he's struggled to do. But he's a horse. He puts me in mind of Doughty in the way he attacks the game etc. But he's got to mature on and off the ice otherwise the sky's the limit.
Calgary Flames: playoffs or not?
Denis; Which year? Sorry. Not this spring.
Scott: Proverbial gun to your head, will the Isles make the playoffs this season?
Charles; Sorry. Another year of working hard and not quite getting there.
Is Zherdev already wearing out his welcome in Philly?
Murph; It's early but he seems not to have learned anything from his previous NHL stops about being an impact player night in and night out. That won't cut it for Peter Laviolette just as it didn't for Hitchcock, Tortorella etc.
Okay folks, thanks as always for hanging out. See you next Tuesday when I return from a visit to Newark.