Greetings all and top of the New Year to hockey followers everywhere. Now, where were we?
With the Rangers demoting MDZ to the AHL (and assuming McDonagh not getting in any games) leaves their D with only one left-handed shot (Staal). How important is it to have one left and one right-shot defense pairing?
CP; I think that is often over-rated. Yes, ideally you have an equal number of left and right but it doesn't work out that way. If I'm not mistaken the Habs went to the conference final with only Ryan O'Byrne as the only right-handed shot.
any truth to the iginla to philly rumors?? I hear Hartnell/Nodl+. I don't like it and I'm a huge flyers fan. We need to shed salary, not eat some more.
Brian; Don't see it happening. If Iginla ever decides to waive his no-trade and if the club ever asks him to I would suspect the Kings would be the team that would be willing to pay the most in terms of picks and assets. Hartnell and Nodl won't cut it. Plus, you are right, Iginla is a big ticket item and that's not really in the Flyers' future even after waiving Michael Leighton.
Scott, big Bruins fan. Kinda long term question, do the Bruins have what it takes to hold the Division lead
Michael; I think they do in large part because the rest of the Northeast is junk. I think the Habs will be lucky to make the playoffs so it's almost division win by default. Good to see Tuukka Rask get a win against Toronto, though, as I think the Bruins have to be careful not to wear out Tim Thomas before April.
Yes the Devils Suck, but where did your contempt for Devils and Co come from? Its been pretty evident in your "reporting." Did Lou steal your lunch as a little kid?
James; No, lunch was secure. Not sure there is any more contempt for Devils than for any other teams that deserve to be criticized for how they go about their business. Of course if you think not having a successful playoff since 2003 and making ghastly personnel decisions on an annual basis is okay then perhaps I have been overly harsh.
Where do you think that the NHL is Looking at for the 2012 Winter Classic?
Chris; Pierre LeBrun reported this over the weekend from Pittsburgh so I can't take credit but it looks like the Flyers have the early inside track. I would guess if that's the case then the Rangers would be the visitors.
Scott, great job at the classic! What is your opinion of always having the Classic under the lights?
Mike; You are too kind. I think the success in terms of ratings and just plain optics of having the '11 game under the lights will force a lot of people to take a hard look at whether to return to the 1 p.m. slot or try and edge towards prime time next year. Hard decision. If you schedule late afternoon or into the evening you have no wiggle room if the weather is bad and it's a whole different kettle of fish moving the game from one day to the next than moving it later in the same day. I know some believe the Classic won't go back though after how it looked in Pittsburgh under the lights.
Do you think the Caps will roll with Varly for the playoffs? Will they make a move for a number two center? What is Semin's trade value?
Andrew; I think there's still half a season to go before Bruce Boudreau makes that decision. Is he durable enough? He hasn't shown he is just yet. But assuming good health I imagine he will be the starter come mid-April. But we've also seen that Bruce Boudreau has little patience when it comes to his playoff goaltenders so Michal Neuvirth might get his shot too. As for Semin doubt that George McPhee would deal him given his offensive potential. Barring a serious injury along the blue line or in goal I imagine Semin remains a Cap at least until the end of the season.
Do you see the Stars and Brad Richards getting a deal done?
sean; Not sure I see a deal getting done before the end of the season given the Stars' ownership issues. But I also don't see them trading Richards by the deadline unless they go on a horrific slide and fall out of the playoff picture.
Where is the western love with the WC! who cares about the east! Detroit, Minnisota, Denver, Columbus all worthy cities, shouldn't it rotate every year?
Joseph; The Winter Classic debate is an interesting one because it's not like All-Star or the draft, not everyone gets to have one or gets an invite to one. Has to be big markets, high profile players, sexy, up-coming teams. Sorry that means Columbus and Minnesota are out at least for the forseeable future. Like the idea of Detroit hosting at the Big House in Ann Arbor maybe hosting the Avs. Colorado would have to get closer to a championship I think before the league would go to Denver as a site though.
Cam Fowler, hes on pace to destroy drew doughtys scoring output as an 18/19 year old, yet gets very little attention for it. is the fact Fowler fell like he did making people not realize his potential? he is a Scott Niedermayer clone
burger; Agree that Cam Fowler likely doesn't get his due. If the Ducks can hang around the playoff picture in the second half - and I'm not sure they can given the lack of scoring depth and some questions about the blue line - his chances of sneaking onto the Calder ballot will go up. No question, though, he's a terrific young player and part of a nice group of young defenseman that includes Luca Sbisa who came over in the Pronger deal.
The Bruins still need a legit goal scorer. They're up against the cap, so I don't think Iginla is in play (even though that would be nice), so who else is available?
Marc; Not sure there is such a player that really fits for the Bruins not without dumping a guy like Michael Ryder or Blake Wheeler. Alex Kovalev isn't an upgrade on those guys. Richards isn't going to be on the market and he's a center. Kris Versteeg maybe? Again hardly an upgrade. Not an obvious fit at this point, really.
Scott, hit the panic button for Colorado?
brian; Still a little early for that I think. I hope to get to Denver in the next few weeks but I think once they get healthy they are going to be okay. They could use a little more help along the blue line and certainly have the cap space to make something happen. Sheldon Souray anyone?
Should the Blues make a hard push for Richards this offseason? It seems like he would be a great fit there.
Mike; Blues need to get healthy and then figure out where their needs exist but I think Richards probably isn't a fit as an in-season acquisition. Do the Blues go after him in the off-season? They'll have lots of company but if new investors mean a more flexible budget perhaps. Lots to like about the Blues in terms of their up-side, though. Not that far away from being a legitimate contender.
Are the Penguins thinking about moving one of their trade chips, Golgoski perhaps for a real winger, I like Dupuis as a person but he needs to off off the top line.
Steven; Ray Shero has never been shy about getting in on the trade deadline action and I don't think this year will be any different. In general he hasn't moved roster players and because Dupuis would be UFA this summer not sure he has that much value in a deal.
What big names can you see coming up at the Trade deadline?
Matthew; There aren't any Ilya Kovalchuks out there this year especially if, as we've discussed, Brad Richards stays put in Dallas. Tomas Kaberle if he decides he might actually want to play in a playoff game, Alex Kovalev, Joni Pitkanen might be the best defenseman potentially available although the 'Canes aren't likely to deal him if they're in the playoff hunt.Tomas Vokoun, Bryan McCabe, Cory Stillman, Alex Tanguay, Brendan Morrison. All in all there aren't too many game-changers that are likely to be on the move.
So If they keep neglecting the Minnesota market for the WC, what happens when we start neglecting the Wild and the NHL? Because we've got plenty of hockey to watch and are appreciated by other forms of hockey, i.e. college, high school.
Anders; So, people will stop buying Wild tickets because they don't get a Winter Classic? How about get a team that might compete for a playoff spot or might manage to win a playoff round once a decade?
Do you think the young Hurricanes are starting to improve and mature enough to make them a playoff team? Scoring has improved and the team seems to really be playing tough the past few weeks.
Richard; I agree that the 'Canes are making believers of a lot of people - although last night's loss in overtime to Florida hurt. One thing about the Hurricanes is they always seem to get out of the blocks slow (maybe it's the humidity in the fall) and then make a charge. Cam Ward has to stay healthy and they are getting decent scoring balance. As usual the blue line is by committee and I think they will be close. The question is which of the top eight will fall? Montreal could. Rangers? Doubt it. Atlanta? Maybe but getting pretty good goaltending. That's the issue for Carolina, having to dislodge a team.
Can we please scrap the all star game, give the winter classic its own weekend, and host the skills competitions/festivities at the WC site? Seems like everyone loves the WC and sleeps through the ASG. Still select an all star team, and have them represent their clubs in attendance at the WC and compete in the skills competitions. I think it would be great.
Matt; Not a big fan of All-Star but I understand that it's important on a number of fronts like for sponsors and for cities that may not get in on events like the Winter Classic. In many ways the event is harmless so I doubt if you'd see the NHL go away from something that fulfills a purpose.
Are the flyers for real? If not who could put them over the hump to overtake the pens and caps? Maybe Jarome Iginlia???
Jonathan; If you believe Brian Boucher and Sergei Bobrovsky are for real then, yes, the Flyers are for real. If not, well, this is Philadelphia, no? They have it all; great coaching, with a healthy Pronger as good a blue line as any in the conference and maybe the league, and three terrific forward lines. Now, about that goaltending...
Scott: Look at last year's "Final 4" goalies, Nabakov, Niemi, Halak and Leighton. 2 of them are out of the league, and another's a back-up. Does that tell you that in the cap era, spending big $$$ on elite goalies isn't necessarily the way to go?
Derrek; That certainly seems to be the trend. Go back to Detroit in '08 and '09 and Chris Osgood another bargain salary wise. Marc-Andre Fleury isn't top of the list in terms of salary but he is a bit of anomoly since the lockout of 'top end' goaltenders getting the job done in the playoffs. I think a lot of GMs look at the big hole in the salary cap guys like Luongo, Brodeur, Lundqvist, Vokoun represent and how little real playoff success they represent and figure there might be a better way to skin the Cup cat. As it were.
boooooooo!!!! that is for you and your colleague collectively selecting just one flyer in your all-star draft
me; No slight against Flyers but rather suggests (as I pointed out earlier) their great depth which makes it hard to guess which Flyer(s) might be in Raleigh; Briere, Richards, Giroux, Carter. You know Rick Nash is going because, well, who else is going from Columbus.
You don't need an "elite" goalie to go far in the playoffs. You need a hot goalie that can ride a streak.
Joe; Well if you have an 'elite' goalie that can get on a streak (like Fleury for example) that's okay. But the question is finding a goalie who can reasonably be expected to go on such a streak. Agreed it's an interesting dilemma for GMs.
so, based on the blog, only one flyer makes the team? that can't be right, can it?
brad; No, I expect there will be a couple. Just couldn't waste a pick and guess wrong given how crucial it is to squash LeBrun like a bug in this pool.
I ask your game predicitons every week, and you keep answering, so I'll keep keep that streak alive. Caps vs Tampa tonight, who you got?
Paul; I had to check and see what I wrote Monday so I didn't double-dip as I did leading up to Winter Classic. Bolts in extra time.
Scott: Traffic's a you-know-what right now. WHY did no team put in a claim for me? You're telling me the Islanders couldn't use me for 4-6 weeks, and then maybe trade me at the deadline once I show I'm healthy? I don't get it! Does Patrick Kane have anything to do with it?
Michael; Life isn't fair is it? I suspect the fact you've played in one game since last June might have been the reason. Now, once you get a few games under your belt and when (or if) the Flyers expose you to re-entry waivers during which a team would only have to pay half your salary, I think there might be some action.
What do you think the isles should pick up in the draft
Collin; Haven't studied the '11 class closely yet but from the outside picking up a cornerstone defenseman might be a good thing to compliment Tavares, Bailey, Okposo etc. up front.
Burnside! Thank you very much for selecting me to the All-Star Game even though I'm underachieving not only on my own standards, but compared to everyone else in this organization. It's nothing like the Minnesota days....
Marian; My pleasure. Someone from the Rangers has to go. You could repay me by netting three or four for a change.
Do you think the Rangers have what it takes to be a serious contender in the playoffs? Too early to tell?
Ryan; I've been impressed with the Rangers and their work ethic all year. If they make the playoffs hard to imagine that John Tortorella won't get some love come Jack Adams voting time. But they are still thin down the middle and don't really have a power play quarterback on the back end. But hard work and good goaltending can sometimes get you places you didn't think you could go come April.
Speaking of netting three or four, any suggestions on how I could snap the twine a little more?
Nathan; Play Toronto more often?
What are the Hawks going to do with Seabrook considering their cap issues? Would anyone take Campbell away and his 7MM cap hit?
Mark; Good question on Seabrook but no one is going to take Campbell without giving back a different set of salary cap issues.
Kings have lost 4 straight for the 2nd time this season. What is wrong with this TEAM!!?
Ryan; They are a bit of a puzzle aren't they? Still don't quite have the mix right and I think there's significant pressure on GM Dean Lombardi to add a nice big piece at the deadline to give them a little boost for April. But as we've discussed there's no obvious impact player he can go after outside of Iginla who isn't likely to be going anywhere (ditto Richards). If the answer isn't already in that dressing room that's a problem for Terry Murray and maybe Lombardi.
Is there any truth to the rumor that the Kings are going to trade Brayden Scenn? I hope not!
Kevin; Good follow-up to the earlier Kings question. Kings have lots of cap room and lots of assets including Schenn who is having a great World Junior Tournament. If you're Jay Feaster, new GM in Calgary, it's got to be very tantalizing trying to get him if Iginla would agree to a move. Kind of deal that might work out for everyone but other teams in the west.
Scott, do you think the Devils have any chance of re-signing Zach Parise? If not, any idea on where he might end up? Thanks!
Todd; Honestly don't know how Lou Lamoriello will manage to get Parise to sign any kind of long-term deal given the mess the franchise has become. Now there's an impact player that would be appealing to, oh, about 29 other teams. Maybe that's how the Devils end up rebuilding this thing. Hard for Devils fans to contemplate though.
All right folks many thanks to all who stopped by even the ones who are annoyed with me. Let's do it again next week.