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March 16, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Pierre LeBrun

Pierre LeBrun
  (3:57 PM)

Greetings from the LeBrun home base in Toronto. Let's talk hockey !

Dale Dacey (Saskatoon)

Pierre, do you think Mario Lemieux's latest call for fines on repeat offenders that call for team fines as well as player suspensions is enough to curb the concussion issue or should even more be done? Thanks Pierre.

Pierre LeBrun
  (3:59 PM)

Dale, first we'll see if the NHL considerd Lemieux's version of his proposal or whether the league adopts a softer version of it. That'll be determined at the next Board of Governors meeting (owners) in June.But yes, I do believe heavily fining teams as Mario suggests would have a positive effect.

Jason Hill (Pittsburgh,PA)

Well Sidney Crosby I hear might be coming back does this mean that the Pens are the favorites to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:00 PM)

Really depends on whether Crosby in fact returns, and secondly, how he performs. Some players take a long time to get back to form after coming back from serious concussions

Charles (Taunton, MA)

Pierre...love your stuff as always...my question is do you still believe the Bruins are a top contender in the East given their recent struggles or are they doomed to be out early like they were last year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:00 PM)

Still a contender. This will pass.

Not so patiently waiting (New York)

Pepe LeBrun: Last night, March 15: Marchand, Heatly and Murray all threw pretty obvious headshots/elbows...and I root for one of those teams. Do the players just not get it? Perhaps time for Mr. Fehr to show some leadership, or can't we expect that from him?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:01 PM)

Heatley has 5 p.m. ET hearings with NHL. Marchand has 10 a.m. ET hearing tomorrow. Murray I believe was a clean hit on Ericksson. Just my opinion.

Mike (Boston)

Want to know what your take is on Bruce Boudreau's comments about the Montreal fans last night? I think he hit the nail on the head because if a Montreal player hit a Bruin player they would have cheered. It's a hockey play so get over it you bunch of yahoo fans.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:03 PM)

I credit Boudreau for that.I feel for Canadiens fans because that was hard to stomach last week, seeing one of your own lay motionless on the ice. But there have been tough hits all over the league happening to other players.

Mike (Boston)

Hey Montreal fans just so you know that we are not hypocrites here in Boston Brad Marchand deserves a suspension for his elbow to the back of the head of (I believe) R.J. Umberger. This is the play that needs to be taken out of the game and I believe he should get at least 3 games, what do you think Pierre?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:03 PM)

Good for you MIke for showing objectivity.That Umberger wasn't hurt will likely help Marchand but yes, I think it deserves 3-4 games.

Bill Pasadena, CA. [via mobile]

Hi Pierre, just wondering on what your thoughts might be on the Kings catching the Sharks for the Pacific Division title? Thanks.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:05 PM)

The Kings are 16-3-4 since Jan. 22. Unreal. Thing is, the Sharks have been just as hot ! It'll go down to the wire for that division title

Brian Murray (Ottawa, ON)

Pierre, Kovalev came back and had a strong game against us last night after tanking for two seasons here in Ottawa. What was the worse high-priced Russian acquisition for us the past few years....Kovalev at 10M for 2 years, played on fourth line, eventually traded for nothing....or Gonchar at 15M for 3 years, minus player and now we are stuck with him at 38 years old through a total rebuild?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:05 PM)

Gonchar may end up being a worse contract given the extra term

Meto (Chicago)

What are the chances of getting rid of 3-point games? Too many times I've watched the 3rd period of a game where the teams are just playing to get that single point and hope for the best come overtime.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:06 PM)

Not something the league wants to get rid of at this point. They like the parity in the standings it creates.

Josh (NJ)

Are you a Believer yet? NJ will make the playoffs! 6 points out one game in hand and still have to play buffalo and NY. Man how sweet would it be to get a chance at the flyers again.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:07 PM)

Imagine my timing today with my blog ! http://espn.go.com/blog/nhl/post/_/id/5658/will-devils-magic-carpet-ride-ever-end

Jason Arnott (DC)

Man would I hate to play the Devils first round of the playoffs

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:07 PM)

haha, you just focus on getting healthy !

Armin (Vancouver)

How far do you think Canucks are gonna go this year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:09 PM)

They'll have a deep run. All the way? We'll see

Joe (Maryland)

Hey Pierre - I noticed something about the Caps' winning streak. Teams are never playing their best hockey towards the latter stages of a winning streak, but the Caps are. These last three games against Carolina, Chicago, and Montreal have been their strongest of all 9 games - especially considering this growing injury list (Backstrom, Green, Arnott, Fehr, etc). What does that say about the Caps? To me, it's one of the only things that gives me a lot of confidence heading into April and May.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:10 PM)

great point, I spoke to Boudreau this morning for the Daily Debate blog with Burnsie and he talked about how the team is now able to shut teams down in the third period to protect a lead.. that's important

Amanda (NY)

Whenever Bob is in net, he seems to make these spectacular saves that you can't believe he makes and then always lets in a clunker or 2. Wouldn't that be reason enough to ride Boosh come playoff time?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:10 PM)

Just me but I would start the veteran come playoff time. Then if you need to switch, less pressure on the kid coming in as the second option

Jeff (NJ)

Hi, Pierre. I know how your ami Scott would answer this, but how would you?: Let's just say that the Devils (those 23-3-2 second-half, Jacques Lemaire-coached Devils) somehow complete their comeback AND get Parise back into their lineup before the end of the regular season. How far do you think they could go in the playoffs?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:11 PM)

Jeff, as No. 8 Montreal and No. 7 Philly proved last year, and No. 8 Edmonton in 2006 _ ANYTHING can happen once you get in. That's not a cop-out, that's the truth.

Jason (Long Island, NY)

Hey Pierre! Rangers just keep plugging at it even if it isn't pretty. Rangers in or out for playoffs?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:11 PM)

IN

Mike (Amsterdam)

Will the Stars make the playoffs?I know the West is incredibly close right now so its hard to tell who will make and who won't.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:12 PM)

Hello Amsterdam? Are you in one of those funky cafes? :)answer for Dallas? yes.

Kate (Chicago)

There's been rumblings of talk about Jonathan Toews as a dark horse candidate for the Hart, but his numbers indicate that he's also fairly qualified for the Selke, maybe even more so than the Hart. What do you see his chances for at least being nominated for Selke this year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:13 PM)

It used to be guys like Bob Gainey and Mike Peca and Guy Carbonneau won the Selke. Now it's always a star player which is too bad. The award has been taken away from the true checkers.But yes, I would think Toews has a shot

Mark (San Jose)

Hello Pierre. I have a question about new potential rules on hits to the head. If the league were to were to make all hits to the head illegal where would that leave a hit like last night's from Douglas Murray on Louis Eriksson? Eriksson seemed to run into Murray and his head hit Murray's shoulder (elbow was tucked) simply because of the height difference. If this becomes illegal, it would certainly place difficulties on the larger men of the league. Thanks, keep up the good work.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:14 PM)

Mark, they decided NOT to implement zero tolerance rule yesterday at GM meetings so you don't have to worry about that now

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:16 PM)

Folks, lotsa questions from fans about how far i think their teams can go in playoffs. Honestly folks, No. 8 Habs proved it last year, once you're in, who knows ! Parity is greater than ever in the NHL. All 16 teams who make it have a decent shot. Consider this a blanket answer to all those questions !

Ryan (Lake Zurich, IL)

I dont see how Toews is not on the top of the mvp ballot. Without him, the hawks wouldnt have a chance to make the playoffs. The cauncks still have a very good all around team without daniel.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:17 PM)

Here's how I ranked the Hart candidates this week:http://espn.go.com/nhl/trophytracker

Tim (Pittsburgh)

Can Disco Dan win the Jack Adams this year for what the pens are doing without Crosby, Malkin, and various large portions of their roster missing for so many games?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:17 PM)

yes he's a candidate for sure

Nurbel Erreip (NHL)

Aren't goatee's awesome?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:19 PM)

I mean, I've had mine since 1991 so... :)

troy, San luis obispo, CA [via mobile]

Kopitar for heart or selke or just admit the east bias...please and thank you

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:20 PM)

Kopitar was among my 5 Hart choices this week. C'mon Troy read the site !

Andrew (Port Hope ON )

Hi Pierre. If the Leafs lose to Carolina tonight, are their playoff hopes over?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:21 PM)

I think they're already over after Monday's loss. Need to win 10 of 12 games to get in. Too hard.

Brad (Texas)

Pierre, educate me on why so many hockey fans dislike Gary Bettman. I stated following the Stars in 1996, so Bettman has been commissioner ever since I have known hockey. It seems to me the biggest opponents to Bettman are Canadians and the fans in the northeast. Do they think he has ruined hockey? Did he go against long established hockey tradition in some way? Do people hate that we have hockey in the south? I guess it shocks me that he gets booed by fans when he appears in public. How is there such a disparity between fans that dislike him so much but owners that recently gave him a 5 year contract extension?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:23 PM)

Brad, don' thave time to really answer that question in this forum.... But certainly the expansion of hockey in the southern U.S. and the decision to leave ESPN TV are the two main things that are brought up by this detractors.

Ryan (Damascus, MD)

Did you break twitter again?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:24 PM)

haha, don't blame me ! I hear it's fixed now

GreenDino (Osgoode)

They can't take out headshots completely. Guys have to police themselves. Guys will start diving more than ever. I am sick of the headshots, but I don't think the NHL react. Refs need to make the calls.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:24 PM)

solid points

Reuben (England) [via mobile]

Who will be #7 and #8 in the East?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:26 PM)

Hello England ! Sabres/Rangers

Gabriel (Ontario)

Pierre,Always love to hear your insight on hockey goings-on.What is your take on the Goldwater lawsuit and it's effect on the whole situation? Does the NHL fight it in court like it did with Jim Balsillie, or do they decide that one lengthy court case per franchise is enough?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:26 PM)

This won't be the NHL's fight. This is a fight between City of Glendale vs. Golwater

Jordan (Ottawa)

With the news that the Goldwater Institute has intentions to sue to block the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes to Matthew Hulsizer, how long do you think it will be before the NHL announces a return to Winnipeg?The is of course always a chance that the City of Glendale and Hulsizer could renegotiate the deal, but I can't see him footing the bill to buy the Coyotes and keep them in Phoenix without the city subsidizing him for the forseeable future. WIth that in mind, how long will the patience of the NHL's Board of Governors last with respect to paying for the losses that the Coyotes incur?Thanks!

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:28 PM)

Could go either way at this point. They could still sell the bonds over the next few days and complete the sale to Hulsizer, keeping the team in Phoenix, and leave it to Glendale to figure out lawsuit with Goldwater.Or if the bonds dont' sell because of last nigths' threat of a lawsuit from Golwater, then it's game over in Phoenix and hello Winnipeg.Could go either way at this point

Brad (Cali)

How come NO ONE is talking about the dirtiest hit of the DAL/SJ game, Langenbruner boarding Wallin...?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:29 PM)

At last check the league had not called him for a hearing...

Craig G. (Fairfield, California)

Hi Pierre. Can you give some of the lesser known players you enjoy watching? Thanks!

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:33 PM)

Justin Braun (San Jose)Chris Tanev (Vancouver)Grant Clitsome (Columbus)

Tim (Pittsburgh)

It seems like the tiebreaker rules introduced to put less emphasis on shootout wins is having the consequence of rewarding teams for losing in overtime instead, do you think they need to revamp this rule so that shootout wins are only taken into account when wins and points are equal instead of just points?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:34 PM)

I'd like to eliminate the shootout, period

TJ (DC)

and the Capitals playoff starter in net will be...?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:35 PM)

Your guess is as good as mine

Ed Snider (Voorhees, NJ)

Pierre. My friend, I was convinced only 4 weeks ago that I could begin planning a parade down Broad Street come June. Lately, I see the dreaded "complacency." Will my Flyers right the ship come playoffs?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:36 PM)

Complacency indeed. But I think your boys will be fine.

Philip (Huntsville)

Even though he gave up 4 last night, Price was fantastic after the 1st 10 minutes. Has his defense been that horrible all year because they were terrible last night? If so how is he not a loc for the Vezina?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:36 PM)

Price should definitely be one of 3 nominees for the Vezina but he's not a lock to win it because Thomas' numbers are better... Both having great years though

Hammer (Pittsburgh)

Joe.....how do you know it's toward the latter stages of the winning streak......like the Pens streak in 93......9 games was just the middle of the streak...........just enjoy the ride for however long it happens because it doesn't happen all that often.......

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:37 PM)

Good point Hammer, from a Pens fan to a Caps fan, too ! I might get just emotional now.

Toby (DC)

Are you surprised with the Penguins play of late? Still chugging into April...

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:37 PM)

very impressive given who they're missing

Richard (Greensboro, NC)

Pierre, what can be done about the Hurricanes? Badly outshot so often and a power play that still fails to impress. Just more time and experience or are there some issues with how this team plays?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:38 PM)

I atually think they've played better of late despite only having one win in five games. Last Friday's loss at Wash was very unlucky

Jimmy (Chicago)

Dave Tippett for the Jack Adams? And how much noise will PHX make in the playoffs?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:40 PM)

Tippett, Bylsma, Lemaire, Boudreau, Laviolette, Vigneault, McLellan... Babcock... I can't stop finding good Jack Adams choices, haha

Gene Mullett (Columbus, OH)

Did you see Marchand's elbow to Umberger's head? How do the officials miss such things?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:40 PM)

yes, he's got 10 a.m. ET hearing tomorrow with Miek Murphy

Clay (Philly)

Who do you think wins the Calder trophy this year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:41 PM)

Skinner looks like he has the lead right now... Couture, Crawford, Carlson, Grabner right there...

Reuben (England) [via mobile]

I you were taking a team into the playoffs, which goalie would you want?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:41 PM)

Patrick Roy

John (Boston)

How do you feel about Julien finally benching Ryder? I say overdue. The first half of the season, with trick or treat Ryder AND Wheeler together, bogged down the offense. I love Peverley!

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:42 PM)

yes overdue. Peverley's SH goal last night superb

Bernie (DC)

Pierre what rule would you like to see reviewed or made a the GM's meeting?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:44 PM)

I'd like to dump the shootout altogetheralso, and this is more commissioner/board of governors, not the GMs, but no hockey past May 31. If I were commish for a day, that's the first thing I'd do _ no hockey in June

tommy (arlington)

any rumblings on Bruce Bodreau as a possible Jack Adams candidate? He has shifted the entire focus of this Caps team and has them committed to defense

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:45 PM)

haha, I'm beginning to worry some of you don't read our Cross Checks blog ! from this morning:http://espn.go.com/blog/nhl/post/_/id/5642/daily-debate-bruce-boudreau-has-caps-ready-for-playoffs-kings-look-impressive

Scotty R (We Believe, NJ)

Pierre, the thing that is most impressive of the Devils run is their commitment to team defense. Game after game they hold teams to low shot totals. They have had timely goals but this run is all thanks to the JL Defensive system and solid goaltending. I have never seen such a solid group of backchecking and overall team defense! WE BELIEVE!

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:47 PM)

it's been fun to watch

Lou N. (Easton, PA)

Pierre: What do you make of the reports that Giroux and Pronger had an altercation after a game last week (a game the Flyers actually WON)? Shows the players care? Or shows a divided lockerroom?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:48 PM)

great teams have internal flare-ups all the time. Shows they care about winning

Gerry (San Francisco, CA)

If Nashville does not make the playoffs, will their lack of scoring be the primary reason why? They are a fantastic defensive team, but their offense is a head scratcher.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:48 PM)

yes, no question; plus bad PP

Charlie (NJ)

Pierre - when you coming to Newark for a game?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:49 PM)

Staying close to home until the playoffs as my wife is pregnant. We're only due in June but I don't want to travel untiil post-season

Toby (DC)

Looking forward to Monday night's Pens v. Red Wings battle?Always a good one

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:50 PM)

no question, must-watch TV

Katie (Pittsburgh)

I know everyone's saying Crosby should never be up for the Hart again because we're still managing to win without him, but that's more a result of Bylsma's system, and with him, we would probably have overtaken Philly for the EC lead a while ago. If he comes back with a vengance in the near future, does he have any chance of making a late run for the Hart?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:51 PM)

if Crosby doesn't get hurt, he was on pace for the most amazing season since I've been covering the NHL. No question he would have won the Hart, in a major land slide, had he stayed healthy

Richard (Los Angeles)

I just watched the Marchand/Umberger hit on Youtube. How can you account for the Bruins' broadcasters saying that it was clean? How is that possible?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:51 PM)

It was NOT clean. Head shot, plain and simple

Cody (Mankato)

Hello Pierre, Once again the Wild have fallen and continue to fall out of a playoff spot after being quiet at the trade deadline. I feel like I'm having a re-occurring nightmare. When do you think these nightmares will end?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:52 PM)

Cody, so frustrating that the captain got hurt when he did and missed 11 crucial games....

Ryan (Damascus, MD)

Man what a difference McCabe has made on the Rangers Special Teams! They're like a completely different unit out there!

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:52 PM)

He knows what he's doing. Did it for years here in Toronto

Charlie (NJ)

I forget, where is Claude Girous from?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:53 PM)

It's Giroux.... and he's from HEARST, NORTHERN ONTARIO !!!!!

Reuben (England)

Which game to watch tonight: Leafs-Canes or Wings-Caps? Surely anyone trying to get into the playoffs has more on the line than those just competing for higher seeds?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:53 PM)

Wings-Caps

Chris (Falls Church)

With the recent additions the Caps have made to their roster, do see any of the new guys being resigned for next season. Having said that, would say that it's more about fitting in the salary numbers or making a deep run in the playoffs if they decide on keeping Arnott, Sturm or Hannan. My guess is that they are just rentals.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:54 PM)

Great question and it's too early to tell.One thing to keep in my mind: Caps have some great prospects coming up the food chain. Whether or not they're ready for next season? Tough to tell

Gene Mullett (Columbus, OH)

Monsieur LeBrun! What's your over/under for making the 8th seed in the West? 96 point?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:54 PM)

ya 95-97 points. It's tough in the West !

Shawn (Toronto)

Pierre, I don't follow the St. Louis Blues much so I was surprised by the players they dealt before the deadline. I thought they were guys the team was building around. Is this team turning into a perpetual rebuilding project or did the moves they made make sense to you?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:55 PM)

I like that trade for St. Louis. Chris Stewart is a stud power forward. Kevin Shattenkirk a real promising puck-moving blue-liner.

John (Boston)

Since you say the Leafs are out of the playoffs, is it open season to root for them to lose every game the rest of the way? Yes, I openly petition for another Tyler Seguin, courtesy of the Kessel trade.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:56 PM)

ha, that's exactly why my neighbours here in downtown Toronto still want the Leafs to win games !

Jimmy (Phoenix, AZ)

Keith Yandle--still in the running for the Norris?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:57 PM)

he's in my top five... but Nicky is getting my top vote

Peter Laviolette (Philadelphia)

I am personally willing New Jersey to not make the playoffs.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:57 PM)

Ha, great way to end the chat.Thanks everyone for participating again this week. Really enjoy your questions. Sorry for those I didn't get to. Enjoy the playoff push everyone ! Cheers