Hello all. Welcome back. So, where were we?
Hello Scott. I was wondering what do you think of the future of the Wild with the 4 first rounders over the last 2 years? Do you see any of them (Granlund, Brodin, Coyle, Phillips) becoming superstars?
Cody; Well superstar may be a stretch but there is a theory that Coyle may end up being the best player in that deal. Way too early to know but scouts very high on him. Likewise with Granlund the 9th pick in '10. Two pretty good cornerstones even if they don't hit the 'superstar' mark.
do you think canadiens will loose 6 th straight tonight??
pinak; Yes I believe they will. Panthers won't have Mikael Samuelsson in the line-up but the Habs continue to be very thin on the blue line thanks to injury and not enough clutch scoring up front. Ugly start and the buzzards are starting to circle around head coach Jacques Martin's office.
The Jackets are off to a miserable start. Would a big shake-up help the team? Maybe trading for Cory Schneider?
Andrew; Miserable is just the beginning in Columbus and yes they have given up 29 goals in eight games but they've only scored 17 so not sure if goaltending is at the root of their problems. And given Roberto Luongo's up and down start to the season not sure that Vancouver GM Mike Gillis will be in any hurry to move Schneider.
82-0-0 for the Caps! Humor me and tell me it's possible...
Frank; How about 80-1-1? Seriously, a terrific start for a team that I think really needed to have some early success to keep the wolves from the door. Nice job by Tomas Vokoun (one of the stars of the week as identified by the NHL), Marcus Johansson, and frankly most of the line-up. Yes, the only thing that really matters is what happens next spring but you have to get there first and the Caps have done a nice job of asserting themselves as a power once again.
First Zajac, now Josefsen. The Devils were think at center to begin with, any centers out there they may look to trade for?
Vinny; Yes, the Devils are going to need some help down the middle at some point. They're 3-2-1 thanks to good team defense (shocking) and strong play from Johan Hedberg but they've scored just 13 goals and are one of the lowest-scoring teams five-on-five. Problem is that teams are all about creating depth down the middle not trading it.
Are the Maple Leafs the team overachieving the most in the early going? It feels like their wins are more flukey than anyone elses.
Mike; I'm pretty sure the Leafs are going to take their 5-1-1 record regardless of how those points have been collected. For me the real test is going to be whether the special teams can show more improvement. The PP is 14th and the PK is 23rd. The PP has improved but the PK needs to be better to help the Leafs avoid the kind of slide last season that scuttled their good start. Also, need to see more from James Reimer before we anoint him the savior many in Leaf Nation believe he represents.
What are your expectations of our long lost cousins? Zooming in on Winnipeg.
J-E-T-S; A couple of much-needed wins last week for the 2-4-1 Jets. Maybe it's in the team's DNA but they still give up way too much defensively (they've allowed 25 goals). I think it's going to be interesting to see how Chris Mason does. He has a relationship with head coach Claude Noel and if he can provide more quality starts than he did last season and maybe put some pressure on Ondrej Pavelec the Jets will be better for it. Also just 16 goals and that's not going to get it done. Given their lack of a true scoring stud they have to score by committee and right now the committee is in recess.
Hey scott which one of the California teams do you think is the best?
Ryan; Great question because all three have shown flashes but right now the Kings have been most impressive (bold statement, no?, given that they're 5-1-1 and won four straight three by shutout). For me, though, the goaltending of Jonathan Quick and the team defense; the Kings have allowed just 10 goals; are the signs that this may be the year that the Kings join the big boys of the west and make some noise come springtime.
Will the KINGS hold onto to Quick and Bernier all year or will we see one traded?
Joey; Good follow-up to the previous question. A lot of people were suggesting that perhaps Bernier would push Quick more this season and whether that made an impact or not Quick has been other worldly good. I still think GM Dean Lombardi hangs onto Bernier unless he has a chance to really hit a homer at the trade deadline. Wonder if the Devils would be interested in a package that included Bernier if they don't think they could sign Zach Parise long-term.
Do you think Malkin's knee will plague him for the entire year? That would be a real shame considering the amount of offseason work. Also, can't wait until PSU starts their Division 1 program!
Ken; Yes, the Malkin issue is troubling. Apparently he will travel with the team to Long Island but don't know yet if he'll play. But saw him in training camp and again in Vancouver for the opener and looked like he was ready to explode. Hard to believe no Crosby, no Malkin for the most part, no Orpik for the first couple of weeks and now Zbynek Michalek out for 4 to 6 weeks with a finger injury but the Pens keep rolling at 6-2-2.
After a great start, this young team has sputtered greatly! Should Flyers Nation be worried?
F-L-Y-E-R-S; Actually was talking to GM Paul Holmgren for a story earlier today and acknowledged the ups and downs. Maybe it's just an issue of chemistry taking longer to become part of the everyday routine. Just because you have it early doesn't mean it sticks. I still think this is a terrific team and lots of interesting parts especially with Schenn up now and Couturier and Read making contributions. Interesting match-up tonight vs Toronto. Still think they will challenge for the Atlantic Division crown.
Do my Hawks have the making to contend for the Cup this year?
Mike; I think so. They were my pick to go to the Cup final from the west. They have eight guys with at least two goals, three with four, Nick Leddy looks like he's ready to take a bigger bite in terms of his role, there's more snarl in the line-up than a year ago. I am a bit surprised Joel Quenneville has used Ray Emery more (one start, a win) but I expect that will come.
How would you explain Dion Phaneuf's play to start the season other than to say he is finally settled down in Toronto? Is he back to being an elite defenceman? I imagine he won't be rated the most "overrated" player in the league by the players again...
IA; Agreed. Had a couple of chances to talk to Phaneuf in recent months and he just seems more comfortable in his own skin. Toronto's a weird place to play. I'm not sure it's harder but it's different than a lot of places because of the concentration of media so the highs also seem higher and the lows always seem more ominous. But no question he is back playing more the style that he did when he first broke in with Calgary. If he can continue that level of play throughout the season it will go a long way to breaking the playoff goose egg the Leafs have endured since the lockout.
Assuming New Jersey has declared itself out of the playoff hunt and Parise is on the block by the deadline, what kind of trade offer would it take for a team like the Wings to get their hands on Parise?
Jay; That's a big 'if' but it's a real dilemma for Lou Lamoriello if the team falls off. Parise hasn't got a no-trade/no-move clause because he's too young. So that's not an issue if Lamoriello feels he has to pull the trigger if he's fearful Parise will walk on July 1. Not sure whether the Wings would have the kind of package the Devils would want. Assuming a top-flight goaltending prospect and a high draft pick or two plus other parts. And that's just a guess. Wings might just bide their time until July 1 and then open the wallet given that they look to have significant cap space next summer.
Canucks vs Capitals who will win??
chase; In Vancouver...Canucks 4-3 in a shootout. Should be fun, though. Cup preview?
Is there anyway possible ther Flyers ship out Hartnell? Removing his contract would go a long way to clearing cap space
Scott; It hasn't been an ideal start for Mr. Hartnell who has zero goals and two assists. He has this year and next with a cap hit of $4.2 million but he was terrific in the playoffs in '10 and plays with an edge. But, let's say for argument sake the Flyers were looking to move him it wouldn't surprise me if Hartnell ended up back in Nashville from whence he came and where he was highly regarded.
Do you think the Avs are starting a trend with the size of their defnese? Seems like they dumped everybody under 6'2 220 and they're a goal better so far because of it (although Varlamov has played great too).
B-Diddy; Not sure it's a trend. Teams always like a lot of giant oaks on the back end but it's always a balance. The size becomes less relevant if they can't retrieve pucks and make smart first passes. That's what has been impressive about the Avs is that they've assembled a very big group but they also are quick and move the puck well. Let's check back in with the Avs after 20 games or so and see if they're really that much better than a year ago when they were abysmal defensively.
If Malkin and Crosby come back and play to their capabilities, are the Pens the favorite to win the Cup?
Dan; Given how much time both have missed over the last calendar year that's a significant 'if' but that's what makes the Pens so difficult to handicap. As noted they have adopted a very strong team game that has allowed them to continue to have success in spite of the injuries. They are terrific on the penalty kill and their power play is greatly improved from the playoffs last year. So, yes, if Crosby and Malkin are at full strength I think they're as good as it gets in the east and a good bet to win the Cup.
How do you think Booth will do in Van. I think he is gonna be a great fit.
Madness; Well Booth has the skills and he's going to a place where he'll play with the most talent he's ever played alongside; looks like he'll play with Ryan Kesler to start. But he's never been the same since the Mike Richards hit and he has limited value beyond scoring (ie. can't kill penalties etc.) which is part of the reason the Panthers made the move to trade him. My guess is this is one of those hit or miss trades for the Canucks. Either Booth gets it right and he's a 30-goal guy again or he becomes a liability because of his contract.
Scott, which "off to a bad start" team starts to blow things up first: Columbus, Calgary, or Montreal?
Jason; Great question and it's a bit of a race. Calgary GM Jay Feaster has already said he won't stand still. The problem for him is that he has so many hard to move contracts and so many players that have no-move/no-trade clauses. Montreal the pressure is intense to continue to be a playoff team and the early failures (even though injuries are a huge part of the problem) ramps up the pressure on Pierre Gauthier to do something. Like the Flames though he's got contracts that make it hard to make any kind of significant personnel move. Blue Jackets appear to be closer to the breaking point, though, given the blown leads and the fact they've failed to collect even one win.
Any truth to the murmurs that columbus is talking to calgary in regards to J-Bo? Interesting
Bill; Good follow-up question. Had not heard that but no way Columbus takes on that contract (two more years after this with $6.68 million cap hit) without dumping some salary woes of their own on the Flames. Interesting idea, though.
Big win for the Yotes yesterday?? Does Tippett finally get them back on track? Whats up with the kyle turris situation?
Matt; Indeed. Team is giving up more than fans are used to (guess that's why the Flyers wanted Ilya Bryzgalov so badly) but getting some decent depth scoring and hanging in. As for Turris sure all concerned will be happy when this is done. My guess is he is signed and traded or traded and then signed before the Dec. 1 cut-off date for him to play this season. Yotes can't afford to have an asset, even one that's underachieved, be sitting around all season. As one of the earlier questions noted the Devils are looking for help down the middle, maybe there's something there.
Okay folks, time to move along. Thanks as always for dropping by. Let's do it again next week.