Sorry for the delay. Now, where were we?
Do we as fans of Sharks need to be worried to weather this team is even going to make to the PO's, the west is sooo tight!
Karen; Notwithstanding their loss to Florida I would be shocked if the Sharks aren't in the top eight when the dust clear in two months' time. In fact I would be likewise shocked if they don't end up atop the Pacific Division which is where most of us figured them to be at the end of the day. Now, the playoffs? Well, that's always another story in Sharkland, no?
Hey Scott! Do you think the Devils' recent hot streak is going to help there case to keep Zach Parise? Or does management now think they can be successful without him and would rather take picks/prospects to build around Kovalchuk?
JD: I don't think Lou Lamoriello is thinking about anything other than trying to get Parise to a sign a long-term deal. And I think the team's strong play the last five or six weeks can't hurt in enticing Parise to stay. That said, he is the kind of player that could yield an attractive collection of assets; top picks, top prospects, perhaps a young position player that could step into the Devils' line-up next season, if Parise makes it clear he isn't interested in a long-term deal.
Who are the teams to beat in each respective conference come playoff time?
Scott; Right now you have to like Vancouver and Philadelphia although the Canucks' injury woes along the blue line are troubling. Flyers are as good as it gets right now in terms of balance up front and along the blue line, toughness, skill and veteran leadership. As always people will question the goaltending but at this point that's quibbling.
If the Jackets make the playoffs this season, that would be twice in 3 seasons. Do you think the ESPN writers would learn the names of anyone on the team other than Nash & Mason after that?
Gene; I can't commit to learning any more names until the Blue Jackets win a playoff game. By the way, as of today, Jackets 12th in the Western Conference. As for Mason mostly his name has been linked to terms like 'yanked' and 'underachieving' the past two years.
Scott, who in the Western Conference lands a top-4 D-man before the deadline? Am I hoping against hope that the Sharks will do so?
Erik; Lots of questions about the Sharks adding a top D-man. There will be widespread interest in Chris Phillips out of Ottawa although my guess is that he will stay in the east. How about Joni Pitkanen. Carolina is in the hunt (8th as we speak) but Jim Rutherford won't be shy to move the minute-muncher if he doesn't think he can sign him long-term (he can become a UFA July 1). Good player that would fit in nicely in San Jose among other places.
Where's Scott? Did Lemieux beat him up?
Sub; No, I turtled and made it here only a little late.
What deals do you think the Blackhawks could make?
Matt; Don't think the Thrashers are going to give Byfuglien or Ladd back. Seriously, like the Frolik addition. He's got some skill and I think will fit in nicely. Beyond that the pieces are in that dressing room. Or more to the point, they'd better be.
Do you think the Islanders game on friday night helped the organization or hurt it? How will they do for the rest of the season?
Drew; That's a good question. Didn't look like it hurt them as they stormed back to beat Buffalo Sunday in overtime. Lots of good young parts on the Island. Not much on their ownership/management structure and the game against the Pens was, as Mario Lemieux put it, a travesty. The Isles and specifially Matt Martin and Trevor Gillies should be ashamed. But I will say this about the Isles the last two or three years whether it was Ted Nolan or Scott Gordon or Jack Capuano, they play hard. Nothing wrong with that.
Where are today's power rankings? I am eagerly awaiting them!
eric; Should be out there. Pierre did them and that means there were likely all kinds of curious placements that crashed the computers in Bristol.
Who is the biggest name that the Kings could possibly acquire before the deadline?
Nic; Well Brad Richards and Jarome Iginla are the biggest names but I don't think they're going anywhere. Alex Kovalev? Tomas Kaberle? The aforementioned Joni Pitkanen, outside chance Jason Spezza could go, Kris Versteeg, Ales Hemsky, Dustin Penner, not sure if those qualify as big names but those are some of the guys that could be on the move.
Hey Scott, have you heard anything concerning flyers trades?
Steve; I think Paul Holmgren will be looking to add some depth along the blue line, maybe an Ian Laperriere type up front but he sure won't be spending much in terms of assets given how well his team has performed. That's my guess.
If you are Ray Shero, do you try and trade for a top six forward or do you not give up your young talent and hope crosby will come back and make a playoff run?
Michael; Definitely dilemma time for Ray Shero unless he gets a firm signal one way or the other about Crosby's ability to return from concussion by the trade deadline. My guess is Shero will try and bring in a top six forward that costs a lot in terms of salary but won't cost a lot in terms of assets (ie. Alex Kovalev). Don't see the Pens giving up picks/prospects as they did last year with Ponikarovsky.
Scott, do you think the Bruins will make an addition before the trade deadline? If so for who? I'm thinking they need a goal scorer.
Tim; I think Peter Chiarelli will be very active and has acknowledged for the right package he would move the Leafs' pick that was part of the Phil Kessel deal, a very attractive bauble given that the Leafs are likely a draft lottery team again. Bs would like a puck mover on the blue line (ie. Kaberle) and a top six forward although I'm not sure it necessarily has to be a center (there aren't many available). Of all the GMs that look to be buying Chiarelli might be in the best spot to get what he wants. Question is whether what he wants will be out there.
What do you think the chances are of Kaberle being traded? And what do you think Burke could get for him?
Frank; I think Kaberle will finally move on after repeated efforts to dislodge him from the Air Canada Center. Mike Fisher yielded a first round pick which I thought was a lot but Fisher has time left on his deal, Kaberle does not. Maybe a second round pick and a prospect? The good thing for Brian Burke is that there are few comparables likely to be on the market - Joni Pitkanen being one - which could raise the ante when push comes to shove. Of course Kaberle's having a limited no trade clause will also play into where he goes and what he brings back.
Do you think that the entire Pacific division can make it into the playoffs? They are cleaning house right now.
Kyle; I do think that could happen. It would cost Minnesota and Calgary and Chicago playoff spots but it could happen.
Scott, you mentioned today you thought the Wings were in the "second tier" of Stanley Cup contenders. Considering Vancouver has done nothing in the playoffs since 1994, and the Wings have 4 Cups in that time span plus 2 more trips to the Finals, shouldn't they be in your top tier?
Tom; I guess I was looking at the pecking order going from regular season to playoffs. Agreed that until Roberto Luongo can get the Canucks out of the second round they can't be considered true contenders but based on regular season play and depth of roster I still think the Canucks and the Flyers are a step above everyone else right now.
Who from Pittsburgh or Columbus spit in your coffee today dude? What's with all the hate?
Cam; Actually feeling pretty good today.
The Wild have 13 wins since Jan. 2 (tied for most in the NHL - Yahoo! Sports); is Todd Richards' master plan coming to fruition?
Matt; The Wild are one of those teams that, like Calgary, have played exceptionally well and are still life and death to make the playoffs. The Wild fans sure deserve a playoff team and Todd Richards has been rewarded as has Chuck Fletcher's patience in Richards' game plan. But I'm still not sold on them being a playoff team.
Obviously there is concern for the Capitals fans due to lack of offense so who should we try to get before the trade deadline?
Collin; I am pretty sure George McPhee would like to add some scoring depth down the middle. I still think the Caps will be tougher to play against come mid-April than a year ago.
With the retirement of Forsberg and lack of steady production of others, will the Avalanche be moving anyone out of town?
Moe; It does look like the playoff train is going to leave the station without the Avs aboard which is too bad given their big jump forward last year. There will be criticism of GM Greg Sherman for not strengthening his goaltending - justified I think - but he's also had enough willpower to resist spending some of that good young talent to bring in over-priced veterans in the hopes of accelerating their developmental plan. It will hurt to miss the playoffs but the Avs are still going to be a very good team in a very short period of time.
I'm assuming Babcock will get over looked for coach of the year. But common the guy is doing amazing things in Detroit.
Zack; No question Babcock is a premier coach. Hard for guys like him (he?) or Peter Laviolette or coaches of other high-profile, high-payroll teams to get recognition vis a vis the Jack Adams. Just the way it is. It's an award that has become about rewarding coaches on overachieving usually small market teams which is fine but it does mean Babcock isn't likely to get a trip to Vegas unless he's coming with the Cup.
Who is most likely to the next new Thrashers, and who is most likely to say goodbye to Blueland?
Trent; I would not be surprised if GM Rick Dudley was talking to Brian Burke about Kris Versteeg. And I don't think the Thrashers are thinking about moving roster players at this stage. Now, if they lose five or six in a row before the 28th I think you could say goodbye to Nik Antropov, possible Ron Hainsey.
will lidstrom be back next year?
Kid; I think it will be a grand shame if he's not back. After all, how's he going to defend his Norris if he retires?
do you think the wings need to make any moves? with stuart and modano and cleary coming back our forwards and Dmen are set. but what about a back up goalie? we need to keep howard fresh
mike; The Wings are all about getting healthy whihc is like adding players at the deadline. Need to get Filppula and Mike Modano back. As for a back-up if Chris Osgood doesn't show signs he'll be ready to return before the playoffs I wouldn't be surprised to see the Wings make a play for Ty Conklin with the Blues on the skids. Nice fit for both.
Please help the Blues figure out what to do.
Nick; It's a bit of a cliche but like the Avs it's all about the core maturing and staying with the program. Disappointing for the fans who have really rallied around this team but the injuries they have suffered this year have really made taking that next step forward very difficult. A year from now I'm guessing the Blues are very much in the playoff mix.
Thoughts on Michael Grabner? Wow
Andrew; Thinking the Leafs were wishing they picked him up when he was on waviers. And in spite of my dim view of much of how the Isles do business good on Garth Snow for picking him up.
STOP WITH THE BABCOCK COACH OF THE YEAR ITS GOING TO BE MR. LEMAIRE
josh; Devils get within hailing distance of the playoffs and you will have a point.
The New York Rangers are in need of a puck moving D man and a top center. Both won't come free and will be difficult for a team that isn't really willing to get rid of any of their young players. Saying that...do you think the Rangers make a move and if so who do you think they may target?
Brad; Rangers are indeed in a difficult spot. So many good young homegrown players emerging and if you're a fan you hope Glen Sather won't tinker with that. But without a true number one center and without a puck-moving defenseman/PP quarterback to help come playoff time it's hard to see the Rangers getting out of the first round. Brad Richards is an obvious one given his relationship with John Tortorella but that may have to wait until July 1. Interesting days ahead for a team that has come a long way in a short period of time.
Torts should be in the mix for Coach of the Year as well.
Ryan; As long as the Rangers stay in the top eight I agree.
Why is Dean Lombardi so hesitant to pull a trigger on a deal? With the amount of prospects in our farm system, losing one or two wouldn't hurt in the long term scope of things.
Corey; Not sure that Lombardi is reticent to make a deal but when you collect top assets you want to make sure you spend them wisely. And the Kings are starting to look like the team most thought they would be this season with their 4-0-2 run through the first six of their 10-game road trip. I think the Kings will make a move but there's less urgency than say a month ago.
Okay folks. Have to close. Will be in Pittsburgh for the last Caps/Pens match-up of the season next Monday. Let's do it again next week.