Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

November 23, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Scott Burnside

Scott Burnside
  (4:10 PM)

Sorry. Technical difficulties have been remedied. So, where were we?

Nisan (New York)

It seems like every year for the past few seasons, Brandon Dubinsky started off hot and teased Ranger fans with the possibility of him being a bona-fide 30-plus goal scorer. He's roughly on pace to score 45 goals this year. I doubt that'll happen, but do you think this year will end up being his big breakout year? Or will he just taper off and end up with 20-25 goals?

Scott Burnside
  (4:12 PM)

Nisan; A guy I played softball with on the old Windsor Star mixed slo-pitch team used to say that consistency was the hallmark of greatness and I think that's what will be interesting to see with Dubinsky. He's a perfect John Tortorella player I think, not afraid to stick his nose in it, skills, but can he do it for the long haul? I would think if he gets to 30 goals he becomes the character leader the Rangers are looking for moving forward.

Sam (Fullerton, CA)

Are the Kings a forward away from being serious Cup contenders?

Scott Burnside
  (4:13 PM)

Sam; That depends. Is that forward Brad Richards? Or Jamie Langenbrunner perhaps? Maybe. Lots of character in that room. Could use a little more pop up front and someone with a Cup ring or two wouldn't hurt.

Bernie (DC)

Scott what have you done with DC's Ovi? We haven't seen him all season. Bruce had him on the third line last night. 3RD LINE = OVI = I don't think so...What does Scott think? Scott...

Scott Burnside
  (4:16 PM)

Bernie; Interesting story which I only skimmed before the start of the chat suggested Ovechkin, Semin and Kovalchuk were all yukking it up near Bruce Boudreau's post-game presser after the Caps were waxed 5-0. That won't endear him to Mr. Boudreau. Interesting start for the Caps who have been, I think, much better defensively, have shored up some of the weak parts of their game and yet Ovechkin hasn't been dominant. I suspect that will end soon enough and it may also be some maturation of the front line players, fewer points but a better team game. Of course we won't know for sure until about the 16th of April.

Bryan (Nashville, TN)

Are you on in a "wait and see" type situation (like the fans) with the Blue Jackets this year? I know it is their best start ever and they have two solid lines for once, but there is just something (10 years of mediocrity) that has me holding out at least until the All-star break

Scott Burnside
  (4:19 PM)

Bryan; I think like players the first quarter or even 30 games can sometimes be a big tease. That said, we saw both Colorado and Phoenix get off to great starts and then hang on to playoff spots in the second half so maybe the Blue Jackets are this year's version of the Avs or 'Yotes. Credit Scott Arniel for getting maximum production from Derick Brassard and that's been key. Honestly I'll be surprised if they're still in the top eight come April but I'm surprised they are where they are now.

ryan (melrose,ma)

How impressed are you by the play of Steven Stamkos?

Scott Burnside
  (4:21 PM)

ryan; Funny you mention that as I believe there is a feature I wrote on Stamkos and Steve Downie up on the site as we speak (or write). But he's been terrific. Very impressive off the ice but his willingness to go into the hard areas, around the crease and the corners, has moved him into that special plane as far as I'm concerned. I think it's fair now to say in the same breath; Crosby, Ovechkin, Stamkos. Right now he's got my Hart Trophy vote.

Kevin (Philly)

Who is the first big name traded this season?

Scott Burnside
  (4:23 PM)

Kevin; Well unless the Stars can solidify their hold on a playoff berth Brad Richards will be 'the' biggest by Feb. 28. As for the first, well, the Bruins are going to have some difficult decisions to make when Marc Savard and Marco Sturm return to the line-up in the next month or so. I wouldn't be surprised to see Sturm dealt. You also hear Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder but both have proven of value to the Bruins who feel themselves Cup contenders.

SteelCity (Scranton)

It looks as if the Flower is back on track. Giving up the two goals to Florida, which were sloppy goals, was one of his best performances of the year. Do you see the Penguins with the deep line-up being the team to beat now.

Scott Burnside
  (4:24 PM)

Steel; Not sure they're 'the' team to beat (I think the Flyers would have something to say about that right now). But having Fleury in form is crucial to the Pens' hopes of returning to Cup form. I like their chances assuming relatively good health but Fleury has to show he's mentally strong enough to put his rugged start to the season behind him. I think he is doing just that right now.

Bob (PA)

What are your thoughts on the new all star game wrinkle? Do you think it would translate to other sports as well?

Scott Burnside
  (4:25 PM)

Bob; I don't think much of the ballot situation with so many good players left off (Carey Price I believe is the top write-in name right now so good for Hab fans or goalie fans for getting it right). And I am okay with anything that jazzes up what is a pretty pedestrian event. I'm all for having the fans get as hands-on as possible. It's really an event for them.

will (hyde park Ny)

do you think the devils thoroughly dominating performance over the caps monday was an aberration or a sign that they may begin to turn their season around?

Scott Burnside
  (4:29 PM)

will; interesting question. In my weekly prediction I said the Devils would pick up five of six points against the Flames, Islanders and Philadelphia. Of course I believe I have had one weekly prediction correct all season. So, take that for what it's worth.

Michael (Southern NJ)

Do you think Bobrovsky is a goalie who can turn into a great goalie?

Scott Burnside
  (4:32 PM)

Michael; That's going to be one of the interesting stories as the playoffs get closer. Bob has been impressive in how he's handled the pressure of being a starter in Philadelphia and the expectations that come with that. But the playoffs are a different beast. He's shown nothing so far to suggest he can't be that kind of guy come April. But only time will tell whether he can pull it off when it really counts.

ted (cape cod)

Tim Thomas or Tuuka Rask going forward for Boston?

Scott Burnside
  (4:33 PM)

ted; Depends on whether you mean going forward next week and next month or 'the future'. No question Tim Thomas is back to the form that saw him win the Vezina two years ago - surgery has helped rejuvenate him - and Rask hasn't seemed to find any kind of groove after such a strong showing last year. This is Thomas's team and will be for the balance of the season.

jonathan (ohio)

why does everybody have worries about the blue jackets they have the nhl leading plus minus guy in kleisa and they have one of the best fourth lines in the league so what is everybodies worry

Scott Burnside
  (4:35 PM)

jonathan; For me it's a question of whether the goaltending can hold up - Garon has been so good in giving Mason a breather - and for me more importantly, can the balanced scoring hold up. I'll give you the 'one of the best fourth lines' but it's the second and third that may provide a problem when things get tighter in the second half of the season.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who will be the First NHL Head Coach to get Fired This Season?

Scott Burnside
  (4:36 PM)

Chris; I guess Scott Gordon. If you mean who's next, tough one. Things aren't getting any better in Calgary but that's a tough one with Darryl Sutter as GM and brother Brent behind the bench. Lou Lamoriello keeps saying John MacLean is safe but, well, when does the safety net get taken away? I think the Ducks need to keep moving forward for Randy Carlyle to stay safe, too.

Kevin (Philly)

Do you think Pierre is jealous of Claude Giroux, now that Pierre is no longer the most relevant person from Hearst Ontario?

Scott Burnside
  (4:37 PM)

Kevin; No, Pierre is a much, much bigger person than that.

zachary (NH)

asked pierre this , lets try you mr. burnside..what are your thoughts of Claude Julien's system? does his defensive style inhibit the skills of all the bruins offensive players? i sure get sick of the roller coaster success that his dump and chase produces! thanks for the time

Scott Burnside
  (4:40 PM)

zachary; What did Pierre say? I don't see Claude Julien in the same way I used to see Jacques Lemaire. Julien will always be a defense-first type of guy. It's in his DNA. But I don't sense that he's restricting guys like Horton or Krejci or Savard when Savard is healthy. Defensive responsibility is one thing but stifling creative juices is another and I'm not sure Julien falls into that category. Boston is 15th in the league in goals per game so pretty much middle of the road in terms of offense.

Tim (Tempe, AZ)

Anything new in the Coyotes ownership situation?

Scott Burnside
  (4:41 PM)

Tim; The clock keeps ticking towards midnight for the Cinderella 'Yotes (or something like that) but I believe a deal will get done with Matthew Hulsizer the Chicago businessman before Dec. 31 when the league can sell the team for relocation.

Johnny (Lancaster)

Do you think Claude Giroux will become a elite player in his career?

Scott Burnside
  (4:43 PM)

Johnny; If he isn't considered an elite player now it's just a matter of time. I think he's terrific and so do a whole bunch of other folks. Big reason the Flyers got to the final and I wouldn't be surprised to see them make another long run next spring thanks in large part to Giroux's maturity and skill.

Terrell (Salisbury, MD)

I figured the Caps would go through stretches this year when they would get bored with the season. Is this recent slump a case of that?

Scott Burnside
  (4:44 PM)

Terrell; I'm not sure if they're bored or just playing like it. But it's to be expected especially when you've accomplished as much as the Caps did last regular season and then seen how little it means in the playoffs. That said there should be lots of incentive to play better than they have the last three or four games.

Avi (New York, NY)

Do you think the Rangers will hold up this year?

Scott Burnside
  (4:46 PM)

Avi; Interesting times for the Rangers with Martin Biron playing so well and Lundqvist not. I think a healthy Marian Gaborik is crucial and a Henrik Lundqvist back on track is likewise key if the Rangers are going to be a playoff team. That said, they're the kind of team that could create a little havoc if they do make it.

Todd (Wasaga Beach)

Scott, with the Leafs in dire need of a top-six forward and Dallas starting to fade out of the playoff race, what are the odds that Brad Richards gets moved to TO? Thanks!

Scott Burnside
  (4:48 PM)

Todd; I think the problem for the Leafs will be whether they have enough in the way of prospects and picks to pry Richards out of Dallas. Plus, the former playoff MVP has a no trade clause and not sure he'd waive it to go to a team with little chance of making the playoffs. Now, does he turn around and sign a big deal in the off-season as a free agent? Possibly.

Steven (Pottsville)

Best team in the NHL in your perspective and why?

Scott Burnside
  (4:50 PM)

Steven; At this moment I would go with Detroit given their balanced scoring, experience and their top-flight blue line. In the East, right now, I'd say Philadelphia given their scoring depth, overall skill, terrific blue line and right now at least solid goaltending. Now, that might change based on injury etc. before April but those are my two top picks right now.

Richard (Greensboro, NC)

What is going on in the face-off circle for the Hurricanes? Can they stay this bad all year or is it bound to turn around?

Scott Burnside
  (4:51 PM)

Richard; Good question although I'd be more worried about allowing bushels of goals every other night. I assume the 'Canes, always one of the top face-off teams thanks to Rod Brind'Amour, will turn it around on the draw. Defensively? Well, that's another story.

Anthony (Toronto)

Chances Toronto makes the playoffs?

Scott Burnside
  (4:52 PM)

Anthony; Oh, I'd say 1-in-20. The one good thing for them is that they play in the east where there are about 10 mediocre teams fighting for four or five spots.

grimson (philadelphia)

is it time to push turco to the bench and give crawford the nod in net for my beloved Hawks?

Scott Burnside
  (4:54 PM)

grimson; That's a tough one. Good thing about Turco is that it probably doesn't matter how many games he plays during the regular season it's whether he can deliver the goods in April. And if Crawford pushes Turco for playing time in the regular season that's a good thing as 'Hawks fans saw last year with Niemi taking over for Huet. I'd like to see what Crawford's made of.

Stew (South Jersey)

Can Minnesota continue to ride their powerplay or do you expect them to fizzle out?

Scott Burnside
  (4:56 PM)

Stew; I think there's always a danger if a team's success is so closely linked to how well they do on the PP. If you can't score five-on-five, and the Wild can't, and you pretty much have to score on the PP to win, well, that puts a lot of pressure on a few guys. In short, no, I don't see them making the playoffs unless they get better balanced scoring.

Craig (Southeastern PA)

Biggest rivalry in Hockey right now?

Scott Burnside
  (4:57 PM)

Craig; Hmmm. I like Vancouver/Chicago (even if the Canucks don't). Pittsburgh/Philly. Detroit/Chicago is pretty good, too. And I'd still like to see another Caps/Penguins playoff series.

AJ (Hadley, MA)

Scott, are the Bruins still interested in shopping around Tim Thomas? I know that his play so far this season has driven his stock up considerably, but they really can't think about dealing him when Rask is still playing this poorly, right?

Scott Burnside
  (4:58 PM)

AJ; No, even with their impending cap issues I don't see there's any way the Bruins will be parting with Tim Thomas at this stage.

Dan (Philadelphia)

Will the Flyers make a move or are they standing pat?

Scott Burnside
  (5:01 PM)

Dan; I think a lot will depend on health (there's a startling observation) but unless it's to add a depth forward, maybe some to fill the role Ian Laperriere filled so ably last year, I don't see the Flyers doing much.

AJ (Allentown PA)

Biggest bust so far this season?

Scott Burnside
  (5:02 PM)

AJ; Well, it would have to be Ilya Kovalchuk and the Devils, no? Even when they win he's not a factor.

Scott Burnside
  (5:04 PM)

Well folks, thanks for stopping by. Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving. I will return to the chat world at my previous time, on Monday next. See you then.