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December 9, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Barry Melrose

Buzzmaster
  (3:02 PM)

We've got Barry!

Barry Melrose
  (3:02 PM)

It's just amazing to watch Crosby and Pittsburgh play right now. One of those rolls that happens rarely.

Steve (Pittsburgh, PA)

Crosby binge. A fluke? or A sign of a new and higher level of performance?

Barry Melrose
  (3:03 PM)

It's not a fluke. The guy has been great since he came into the league. This is the best I've seen him play over a 17 game span that I think he's ever played. When you look at Staal being out and Malkin being out, it's even more remarkable.

Barry Melrose
  (3:03 PM)

On paper, Pittsburgh's not the best team in the Eastern Conference.

Brett (Getlan)

What are your feeling on the Capitals disallowed goal? Obvious goal to me.

Barry Melrose
  (3:04 PM)

That's one of the toughest areas to call a goaltender interference. I tend to leave it up to the refs as I feel that we have the best officials in the world.

PK Subban (Montreal)

Yo Barry!How much longer do I have to sit? This is getting ridiculous!

Barry Melrose
  (3:05 PM)

Well, I think he'll come in when they finally lose. As a coach, I did not change a winning lineup, ever. How do you win and take a guy out of the lineup? I think they're waiting for a loss to put Subban in. This will be good for him. It will be a humbling experience and good for his maturing as a pro.

Mark (Chicago)

Are the Blackhawks going to be able to pull together without Kane and Hossa for the next couple weeks and if they can when those two return will we see a team more like last year?

Barry Melrose
  (3:06 PM)

Pittsburgh's continued to win without two of their best three players in the lineup. It's a chance for other players to play more. And even without those two guys, Chicago should still be one of the best in the Western Conference.

Alex (Penn State)

It's a long shot, but any chance of convincing you to put your name in for the new D1 program here at PSU? Get to coach in a new arena in a great college sports environment...

Barry Melrose
  (3:07 PM)

If you can guarantee me 20-year, no cut, no firing contract, put my name in there.

Greg (Palisades Park, NJ)

Barry, do you think the Atlantic division is a three horse race between NY, PHI, and PITT? Who do you see ultimately winning, and are the devils dead for this season?

Barry Melrose
  (3:07 PM)

I think it's going to be between Pittsburgh and Philly, I don't think the Rangers are quite as good as those other two teams. I still think Philly is a bit better than Pittsburgh. I think they will win that division.

Eric (Vermont)

The Bruins are talented, but do you think Claude Julien's conservative, defensive approach can lead a team to a Stanley Cup in today's NHL?

Barry Melrose
  (3:08 PM)

Of course. When you look at teams that have won, they've all been good defensively. Claude's teams give you nothing. I've been impressed with them. If they can stay away from injuries, which killed them last year, they'll be for real.

Ryan (Los Angeles)

When is the Sturm deal with LA going to happen? As LA is desperate for a scoring LW right now. I think the Kings have tried 7 different LW's this season so far.

Barry Melrose
  (3:09 PM)

Usually when a deal break down like it has, it's hard to recover it. Obviously if LA continues to lose, they'll be more willing to make a deal and Boston has to move somebody because of cap issues.

Evan (Durham, NC)

Barry, how is it that the Rangers are doing SO much better than they were pick to before the season began?? (BTW, tell Barnaby that my wife loves him from the Rangers days)

Barry Melrose
  (3:10 PM)

I don't think they're doing better. I think this team maybe should have made the playoffs last year. They were able to get out of Redden's contract. They've got a great goaltender. They're playing good right now. I think they're right where I thought they would be and they'll be fighting for one of the last four spots come April.

Tony (London)

Hey Barry, how do you think the Blackhawks will do over these next couple weeks while Hossa and Kane nurse injuries?

Barry Melrose
  (3:11 PM)

I think they'll play .500 hockey. They haven't been playing great with those guys. It's not like they're the best team and then lost those guys. They'll be fine without them. Like I said, look at Pittsburgh with what they're doing without Staal and Malkin.

phinnfann13 (San Jose)

Hey Barry how about that Sharks Flyers game last night!!!! What a game I think that game will give the Sharks a little pep in their step now what do you think?

Barry Melrose
  (3:12 PM)

Definitely. Going in and beating Detroit and then Philly on the road, those are the types of wins that change the year. I think that can jump start the Sharks. They're not in terrible shape. Those are big wins for the Sharks.

Stephen (Toronto)

Is the Kings record without Willie Mitchell (4-8) indicative that the rest of the D isn't as solid as it should be, or was it just an early-season blip?

Barry Melrose
  (3:13 PM)

I think it's just an early season blip on the radar. Willie Mitchell is a good defenseman, that's why they went out and got him. But young teams are eratic. They're up and down. We saw how good they can be at the beginning of the year. I think they'll be a solid playoff team the rest of the season.

Brett (Pittsburgh,PA)

With Crosby's evident success without Geno Malkin on the ice, does that make Malkin expendable?

Barry Melrose
  (3:14 PM)

I don't think so. They realize over the long haul that this can't continue. It would be unbelievable if it does. Malkin is a great player and he's played great at times. I don't think they'll try to deal him. I think they realize that's a good 1-2 punch. They're pretty happy with their contracts and the rest of the team. They just need to get everybody healthy.

Joey (Chicago)

Do you predict Corey Crawford will eventually replace Marty Turco in starting net for the Hawks?

Barry Melrose
  (3:16 PM)

I think he is now. If you look at Crawford's numbers, they're among the league leaders. When he's in the lineup, Chicago wins. Chicago has no trouble putting in a hot goaltender, just look at last year. There's no controversy there, Crawford is the No. 1 goaltender.

CP (Charlotte)

Barry, after doing a few college games, how do you think the level of college hockey compares to Major Junior?

Barry Melrose
  (3:17 PM)

It's different. College players are older. They play about a third of the games the junior players play. Both are good developmental leagues. It's a vastly different game. I love them both. Junior hockey is designed to teach kids to be pros, while college hockey is to get kids an education where hockey is second.

Ryan (Los Angeles)

Barry, which is the toughest division in the NHL right now? pacific and central looks like it will be tight all season.

Barry Melrose
  (3:18 PM)

I would say right now those two are by far the most even divisions. Very few points separate the first club from the fifth club. I don't see that changing all year long. Those are the two most even divisions.

Alex (Boston)

Hey Barry, Now that Marc Savard is back, do you see the Bruins making a push towards number 1 in the Northeast? and also do you see Sturm still being traded or returning to the lineup?

Barry Melrose
  (3:19 PM)

Yeah. I like the Bruins. I like this team a lot. They outplayed Buffalo very badly the other night in the OT win. I love the way they're playing. Their younger players are doing well. Savard just has to come back and be Marc Savard. If that happens, this team could be challenging for No. 1 in the Northeast.

washington ((dc))

what's wrong with Ovie????

Barry Melrose
  (3:20 PM)

You know what, that's a great story. He's not the same player right now he was last year. He has 12 goals, which isn't terrible, but Crosby has 26. He's not as dangerous as he has been. I'm a big fan, but I can't put a finger on it. He's not as dangerous as last year and that has to change if Washington is to be the team they can be.

Suburban Rhythm (Pittsburgh)

Is the true MA Fleury closer to the guy we saw at the start of the year, or the guy 12-0-1 in his last 13?

Barry Melrose
  (3:21 PM)

I think he's starter to the guy that's 12-0-1. This guy has been to the Cup finals twice and won it once. I'm not saying he won't lost another game the rest of the year. Fleury is a good goaltender.

Scott (Wyoming)

How good do you think the Avs could be? Do they have the pieces to be a contender in the next few years?

Barry Melrose
  (3:22 PM)

Definitely. I think the Avs are the next really good young team. They've drafted well, their young players are getting better. I like this team a lot. They have good skaters, the best overall skating team in the NHL. They have a good game plan.

Allen (Oxford)

Do you think the Ducks have a shot to make the playoffs?

Barry Melrose
  (3:23 PM)

Yes. But they're going to be one of those teams with probably 5-6 other ones fighting for the last playoff spots. They can't afford injuries to their forwards. They need good goaltending every night. A lot has to happen for them to make the playoffs, but they will be fighting for a spot.

NYR (MSG)

The dreaded Devils are done. Right???????

Barry Melrose
  (3:23 PM)

Well, things have certainly changed, but they are a struggling team right now. You wonder why they would all of a sudden become a good team. If I'm a Rangers fan, I want to play the Devils as much as I can the next couple of weeks.

Jered (Minneapolis)

Are the Minnesota Wild the next Toronto Maple Leafs? By that I mean strong passionate fans that will slumber in futility forever. - Wild Fan

Barry Melrose
  (3:24 PM)

I don't know forever is the word, but I think they're a better team than Toronto right now. But they've spent to the cap and they're not a great hockey team. If they make the playoffs, that would be a good year. Toronto has not first round pick next year, but the Wild do. That alone puts them ahead of the Maple Leafs.

Dane (Bryan, Tx)

Where do you think the 2012 Winter Classic should be held, and what teams?

Barry Melrose
  (3:26 PM)

I would love to see it maybe in Michigan. Play at the University of Michigan and have over 100,000 people there. Denver could hold it and do a great job. I think there are a lot of great places to hold it. I think it will be tough to make it better every year. The Fenways and Wrigley Fields have been done.

Suburban Rhythm (Pittsburgh)

How good can Kris Letang be? Is it silly to say he could project to a Duncan Keith when he reaches 26 (still 3 years away)?

Barry Melrose
  (3:27 PM)

I've seen a vast improvement this season. He's one of the better offensive defensemen in the league. I see him jumping into that class of better defensemen in the NHL. I'm not sure he's a Duncan Keith, he's one of the best defensemen in the game right now, but Letang can be good.

CC (Atlanta)

Coincidence that Atlanta is much improved minus Kovalchuk while NJ is awful? I think not.

Barry Melrose
  (3:28 PM)

Well, it's amazing. Atlanta is among the best scoring teams in the NHL without him and New Jersey is one of the worst scoring teams with him. What was supposed to happen didn't. The Devils are a mess while Atlanta is one of the biggest surprises. That trade certainly has effected the teams differently than when that trade was made.

Dane (Bryan, Tx)

Will the Stars be able to continue to play the way they have thus far and make it to the postseason?

Barry Melrose
  (3:29 PM)

The Stars are playing well. They played well last night, but didn't win. They're going to be fighting all year long. They can score and their defense has been improving. I don't see them going away the rest of the season.

Barry Melrose
  (3:29 PM)

Great night of hockey last night, hopefully tonight will be just as good!