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December 8, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Pierre LeBrun

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:03 PM)

Greetings from Detroit everyone, let's talk hockey !

Martin (Quebec)

Is Montreal a cup contender ?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:06 PM)

On paper I don't put them in same group as Pitt, Pha and Wash in the East but given their Final Four push last spring and their torrid start, at some point maybe we need to stop believing they're not with those elite teams... I still think Markov's injury is huge for them....

Patrick (Pittsburgh)

Will there be an NHL team in Kansas City in the near future?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:09 PM)

Bettman's message in Palm Beach, Fla., this week at Board of Governors is that under his watch no teams would be moving any time soon... But if there's a pecking order in terms of cities waiting for a re-located team, I think Winnipeg is at the top followed by Quebec City

Alex (Boston)

I will be in class at 4, so hope this goes through. Im hearing that Marco Sturm is getting closer to a return, do you think he will continue to be a Bruin or will the LA trade still happen. Now that everyone is relatively healthy, do you see the Bruins becoming a little more consistent and making a run at the number 1 spot in the Northeast

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:10 PM)

Alex, I haven't checked in on the Sturm situation since Saturday morning but as of then, there was still a possiblity LA and Boston could talk again regardin Sturm... we'll see

Jessie (Gainesville, FL)

What can the Lightning do about there abysmal goaltending situation? They're currently ranked last in both GAA and save %. Is there any way the Lightning can stay in the playoff race with Ellis and Smith in goal?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:13 PM)

Couldn't believe the timing of my story 8 days ago on the Lightning goalies, when I wrote it was a major concern for Tampa, next game Mike Smith gave up a goal from the red line in an 8-1 loss ... It's a major concern I know with Steve Yzerman... Not much out there right now in terms of help... Maybe closer to Feb. 28 some teams will pull the plug and put a guy available... Vokoun in Florida, Khabibulin in Edmonton, both guys that would be made available i think, and others I'm forgetting

Rob (Pittsburgh, Pa)

What has made Sidney Crosby so unstoppable the past few weeks?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:15 PM)

Really is amazing what he's doing. This is the most dominating a player has been in this league compared to the rest of the field since Mario and Wayne... And the thing is, if you knew like I did what kind of work Crosby puts in 12 months a year, you'd be less surprised. Work ethic is off the charts.

marc (chester,va)

With all of the Devils poor play this season LL states they are staying the course and will not make any changes. At what point do they realize something needs to change because it is obvious what they have in place now does not work and what could they realistically do?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:17 PM)

I mean, at this point, what does it matter? They're too far down the standings now to make the playoffs. The only priority now in my opinion is to get Kovalchuk going. You've got him for 15 years _ you need to figure out how to get the best out of him. Does that mean a new coach? Does that mean Bob Hartley who got him going best in Atlanta? Questions I think LL has to ask himself

bob (darnestown, md)

My friend and i have an argument. It's a simple one. I say Marc-Andre Fleury is better than Carey Price. Hailing from Montreal, he, of course, says "au contraire mon frere!" What does the great and powerful LeBrun say?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:19 PM)

Tough one because Fleury is more established and has already won a Cup. But I will tell you that just an hour ago I was talking to NHL GM on the phone and out of nowhwere he brought up Carey Price's name and said he's going to win a few Vezina Trophies in Montreal during his career. High praise. I think I'd lean to Price

Ice Mike (Carolina)

Canucks Fan! I think they make the playoffs.? Things seem relatively sound, but how do see Samuelsson and Raymond fairing in their respective roles? Are they bigger contributors down the stretch? (Oppsed to where they are now).

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:21 PM)

Very deep Canucks team. If they can stay healthy, which has been an issue the last few years come palyoff time, they're a real Cup threat. Really liked Mike Gillis and Laurence Gilman going out last summer and picking up Malhotra and Torres for the third line. Now they're grittier and harder to play against. That really lacked vs. Chicago last spring

Alex (Pittsburgh (Go Flyers!))

Mr. LeBrun! I have a question I was hoping you could help me out with: Ilya Kovalchuk was dropped in my head to head fantasy league today. I would like to pick him up. My questions for you are: A. Is picking up Kovie worth the risk? B. Should I drop Tomas Fleischmann or Logan Couture to pick him up off waivers? Thanks in advance for any help that you can give me!

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:22 PM)

At some point the dude is going to start scoring, surely to gosh... probably worth taking over Fleischmann for sure.

Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)

Pierre, in your opinion who was the biggest bust for a #1 overall pick in the last 20 years....Alexander Daigle in 1993, Patrick Stefan in 1999 or Rick Dipietro in 2000? DP had a few good years and has been derailed by injury for sure...but he might be the worst since the other two guys were dumped early while DP is killing the Islanders for 1.5 decades...not to mention costing them Luongo in the process.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:23 PM)

Stefan

Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bonjour Pierre, can you tell all of SportsNation that I accept their apology s'il vous plait?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:24 PM)

pas de problemes mon ami

B's Fan (Woobin MA)

I know you guys ranked Timmy T for the MVP this week. High hopes here. If he keeps up these numbers, compared to Crosby keeping up his, will he be a legit contender in the voting?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:26 PM)

Yes I did the Hart tracker this week so you can thank me :)But realistically, I must warn you that as a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Assocation which votes on NHL awards including the Hart _ I don't often gives goalies votes for the Hart. Vezina trophy is a big-time honor on its own. Kinda like Cy Young for pitchers. How often do pitchers win MVP? So unless it's a Dominik Hasek kind of season where the team was dead without him like late-90s Sabres, I rarely give a goalie a Hart vote on my official ballot

Rick (San Diego, CA)

Are Cam Fowler's chances for the Calder improving? His Shootout winner from last night was a thing of beauty. To bad the TV Networks think the Western Conference ends at Detroit. There is a 25 point spread from top to bottom team in East, in West its 12. Take care and thanks -- Rick

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:28 PM)

Fowler definitely in the Calder mix. Again PHWA votes for the Calder as well and I know my colleagues and I stay up and swatch plenty of Western Conference hockey. Didn't take long for Drew Doughty to get national attention despite playing in SoCal. If Fowler keeps it up he'll be in the mix

miser (ct)

Pierre,Isn't it about time the NHL wakes up and goes into contraction mode? The economy will NEVER be the same here. this sport can thrive where it's wanted....it cannot be forced on people. In the immortal words of Sam Kinnison talking about the Ethiopian famine: "you live in a ----- desert!!!! Go to where the food is!!"....that's what the NHL should do...go to where the food is

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:29 PM)

won't get an argument from me

Kevin (Minnesota)

I think this team needs a big shake-up. Do you think we can get a decent return on Havlat? Would a team in need of scoring be interested? He has been unhappy here anyway.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:31 PM)

Huge contract. Very tough to move

Dave (Steel City)

Simple Question: With nearly $3M in cap space with the injury to Jordan Staal, do the Pens make a move? If they did, who do you think is available? and who do you think would we part with?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:32 PM)

Dave, when Staal comes back, he takes over that cap space. So there is no room to acquire a player unless Staal wasn't returning this year. Very common mistake made by fans with the way this system works

Mark (San Jose)

Hello Pierre, I hear the Tampa Bay Lightning are talking long term contracts with Steven Stamkos. After Kovalchuk, Dipietro, and Yashin as the most notable failures among many other questionable long term contracts, when will these teams learn?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:33 PM)

Tough to go wrong with Stamkos though. Kinda like tough to wrong with long-term deals signed by Mike Richards, Alex Ovechkin, etc.. Depends on the player !

Matt B (Atlanta, GA)

With plenty of payroll room until next year's RFAs and the younger kids have to be locked up, do you see Rick Dudley going after a rent-a-player to help the Thrashers slug it out with Ovechkin, Stamkos etc.?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:34 PM)

Don't know. Dudley really believes in the young core, really believes in building through the draft, not sure he'd want to give away young assets for a rental... will ask him however next time I speak with him. It's a great question

Brian (AZ)

With the Coyotes ownership situation seemingly resolved, Glendale still has as opportunity to screw it up, what is it going to take for the Yotes to win back the fans that have been alienated over the past 18 months?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:36 PM)

First the sale and lease both have to be signed, sealed and delivered. I think the market in the Phoenix area is rightfully waiting for that to happen before they want to buy into this team again. Even then, if the sale and lease go through, I think you're still talking about another 12-18 months to rebuild the fan base. A lot of damage done the last few years iwth ownership instability

Andre (Plandome, NY)

Hi Pierre,Really enjoy your work. As a diehard Islander fan, I expect attendance to fall to 5k or below. Do you think Gary Bettman will eventually come in and either force Wang to change his ways and stop running this organization like a "Mickey Mouse" one or put the team on the market for sale. Wang is an embarrasment to NHL and 29 other owners who are making a concerted effort to run a professional hockey team. This can't continue until 2015 when the Islanders lease ends. I really hope a new buyer can be found within the next 2 years. One way or another the new owner will have an expiring lease and the Islanders will have a new arena either in Nassau County or elsewhere. Bettman can't allow the franchise to continue down this path.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:37 PM)

I think there's constant dialogue between the league and all its teams, especially trouble spots. I suspect if this continues, the league may want to nudge Wang into seeing if he wants to sell... but who would want to buy a team with the worst rink in the league?

kevin (denver)

With Markov's salary off the cap for the rest of the season, are the Habs now players in the trade market - or is their team play so strong that they'll probably stay put (hoping not to mess things up)? And if they do want to acquire an asset, what would you see as their top priority?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:39 PM)

I think for sure they'll look at spending those cap savings. Come the trade deadline, if Brad Richards is available, and I don't know this for a fact because I haven't heard this from the Habs, but I think they'd look at him ... another guy that might be appealing is Tomas Kaberle in my opinion _ kinda of a cheap replacement for Markov and also a rental player....

Mario (Milwaukee,Wi)

How important will it be for the Kings to get Willie Mitchell and Alexei Ponikarovsky back in the line-up?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:39 PM)

I think I read a stat the other day saying the Kings were 5-7-0 without Mitchell. He's on the top d-pairing with Doughty and clearly has had an impact there

Jordan (Albuquerque)

Pierre, Red Wings got smashed on Monday, due to defensive lapses and poor puck management. Zetterberg and Datsyuk especially let themselves slip. Fluke game right? And who wins tonight; Wings or Preds?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:41 PM)

Schedule maker didn't help Wings with a Monday game at home after playing Saturday in LA... that's mighty tough... Wings will win 3-2 tonight. Look forward to seeing pesky Preds and mighty Wings in person !

Craig (Vancouver)

Hi Pierre. Thanks for the chat. Are the Habs and the Canucks making a mistake by letting their no. 1 goalies play so much?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:42 PM)

I think in Vancouver's case, yes _ I would like to see Luongo get more rest with a view to the playoffs. In Montreal's case, I think they needed to do this in the first half of the season to get Price's confidence in the right place...

RJ (Boston)

Hey Pierre, In your esteemed opinion... who had the best Movember stache in the NHL? My vote is to Shawn Thornton... he had a couple of Wendel Clark hat tricks with it too (goal, fight, commentator reference to the mustache)!

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:42 PM)

That was indeed a terrific one

Ron (Las Vegas)

Hey Pierre I was looking at the all star votes this morning and I just want to get this off my chest. How in the heck is one of the top three defensemen of all time (Lidstrom), who is having one of the best starts of his career not in the top running in defense all star votes? And what about Datsyuk not even in the top 6? He is also having a great year and the Wings are one of the top two teams in the league this year and a Wing won't be represented in this years all star game. I'm sensing a little haterade against Hockeytown from other teams fans. Look people, sorry the Wings are good and have been good for almost 20 years now. Remember they were crap for 55 YEARS! Show some respect. Mr. LeBrun, thoughts???

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:43 PM)

Ron, I blogged about the all-star votes yesterday and mentioned how disgusted I was that Lidstrom wasn't first. I mean, c'mon folks, use your heads and yes, show some respect indeed !!!!!!!!

Hockey Gods (Mount Olympus)

Pierre, do you believe in the Curse of the Winter Classic? Pens in 2008, Wings in 2009, Flyers in 2010...all played in the Winter Classic and then made the Stanley Cup Finals and lost. Do you see either team from this year continuing the trend...or will one of them defy us and actually win the Cup?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:44 PM)

I don't believe in that stuff my friend.

Shawn (Detroit)

Are the Bruins a Top 3 team in the East at years end??

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:47 PM)

yes I believe they will win the Northeast

Andrew (Indiana)

Thoughts on tonights Sharks vs Flyers game? Who wins?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:48 PM)

Well, San Jose won Monday, so it only makes sense for them to lose tonight. That's been their pattern all season long

boibuff (Brazil)

Yesterday ESPN Brazil showed the first NHL game in 6 years. Habs vs. Sens. It was awesome. Now Brazil is happy.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:48 PM)

Right on !!!!!!!!!!!! So when Halpern scored the winner, did Brazilians yell ''G---O----A-----L !!!!"

BL (Boston)

I am surprised by the 13 goals already for Milan Lucic. Can we Bruins fans expect this type of goal output going forward?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:50 PM)

He was never healthy last year. He didn't whine about it, didn't say much about it, but he played hurt all year and it showed. Now he's healthy and rocking the house down again like two years ago

Billy (Cleveland)

This whole Filatov saga is getting ridiculous. Can you give us your percentage estimates for these three scenarios for next season - (1) he's in the NHL still playing for Columbus, (2) he's in the NHL playing for another team, (3) he's in the KHL.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:50 PM)

KHL would be my guess

Rob (Ottawa)

Hey Pierre, we are getting pretty down on our sens here in Ottawa. Should we be or are there any optimistic signs you see?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:50 PM)

Not really, sorry

Dave (CT)

What are the odds of the Hulsizer getting a decent arena deal in Glendale? Balsille couldn't do it. Ice-Edge couldn't do it. Neither could Reimsdorf. Whoever buys this team is stuck with a white elephant unless they can relocate it.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:51 PM)

I'm told the lease arrangement is pretty agreed upon. Just needs city council approval next week, which is no sure thing

Tony (NJ)

What are the chances of the Rangers landing Richards? To fit him under the cap, the Rangers have to unload Rozsival as part of the deal if Dallas wants young players. Rozsival only has 1 year left on his contract, do you think the Stars are willing to accept considering they need to meet the cap floor minimum for next year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:52 PM)

I know from talking to the Stars that IF they decide to move Richards, they would want a real nice package of young assets. That's going to be the price

Jerry (Santa Cruz, CA)

Assuming both player stay healthy, who has a more measurable impact on his team the rest of the way - Joffrey Lupul or PM Bouchard?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:52 PM)

Great question... will go with Bouchard because his team is more desperate for offense

Joe (Vancouver)

What do figure Winnipeg's chances are of landing an NHL team in 2011?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:53 PM)

At this point not very good unfortunately

Preston (Flint, MI)

I'm as thrilled as anyone about how the Wings look this year, but for the first time I'm worried that as great as Rafalski and Lidstrom are, the time will come very soon when they hung up the skates, and I worry that the minutes they see in important situations will hinder the development of Kronwall, Ericcson and Kindl. Should I be concerned, or will the Red Wings find a way to win like they have for 15+ years?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:54 PM)

It's funny I had a coffee with Ken Holland this afternoon and we chatted about what life will be like without Lidstrom one day. Holand doesn't even want to think about it, LOL. Hopes Nick will keep on playing !

Adam (Mass)

How long can Tim Thomas continue to play like he has been? And what happens to Tuukka Rask?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:55 PM)

Bruins tell me they love their 1-2 punch and won't even consider trading one of them

Tony (London)

Do you think Patrick Sharp's start to the season is a fluke? Or is he really a point/game player?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:55 PM)

Not a fluke, he's getting more opporunity now with Hawks having to unload half the team

Paul (Charlotte)

Hi Pierre, just a question about rebuilding. My 'Canes are trying to rebuild "on the fly" (or is that retooling?), but we have some big names in contract years like Pitkanen and White. So is it better to resign pieces like that and try to stay competitive (and pray for a low seed playoff spot) or trade them and try to rebuild through the draft. GM Jim Rutherford has stated that he's looked for years for a big puck moving D-man like Pits. But it always seems like teams that re-build on the fly barely tread water in this league. Any insight? Thanks!

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:58 PM)

Money is always an issue in Carolina even if you'll never hear Jimmy complain. Given his financial constraints, I think Rutherford has done an unbelieveable job there to keep the team competitive... But I think this is how life is going to be for a long time, low payroll, good young players and building through the draft

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:58 PM)

FYI the Dallas Stars just announced that Jere Lehtinen has officially retired. Terrific player during his heyday. All the best to him

Mike (DC)

I heard the news that the salary cap could go up as much as $3M next year. I know the NHL is in line for a new TV deal (either renew with Versus or go somewhere else). Does the $3M take into account the potential for a bigger TV deal? And what are the chances the NHL comes to ESPN?

Pierre LeBrun
  (5:00 PM)

Mike, the cap is determined by HRR (Hockey Related Revenues)

tad (dallas)

pierre - next time you visit la for business please tell drew doughty that he needs to score more. my fantasy team needs help. cordially, tad s

Pierre LeBrun
  (5:00 PM)

ok will do :)

Pierre LeBrun
  (5:02 PM)

OK folks, sorry to all the people I haven't had time to answer this week, lots of questions ! I'm off to Joe Louis Arena. Talk next week everyone