Hello all. In Pittsburgh for the return of Sidney Crosby tonight. Should be fun. Now, where were we?
Scott,Are the Bruins the team to beat right now? Sure look like they aren't giving up their title very easily.
Mike; Winners of eight straight the Bs sure look like they've shaken the hangover. Nice to see Tyler Seguin really blossom after he had a rookie year that probably didn't go exactly according to plan (except of course winning a Cup). He's the kind of dynamic scorer they didn't really have last year so things definitely looking up in Beantown.
What are your thoughts about Matt Read so far this season, and what do you see in store for him the rest of the season? Thanks Scott!
Greg; Had to check the rookie stats and Read is 4th but perhaps more impressive is that he's fit seamlessly into a very advanced role for the Flyers. Peter Laviolette has him killing penalties and he's doing things most rookies don't necessarily do as well as putting up impressive numbers. Would he be top three in my rookie ballot right now? Yes.
It seems like I have to ask this every year, but some respect for the Coyotes please? Every year for the past 3 the same gloom and doom predictions and yet here we are. How did they respond to losing Bryzgalov? By making, get this, Mike Smith a Vezina contender. Wrap your head around that one.
Loup; Have a soft spot for Mike Smith and pleased to see he has found a place to revitalize his NHL career. And by now no one (myself included I suppose) should be underestimating any team coached by Dave Tippett. Shocking that they haven't missed a beat since losing Zbynek Michalek, Ilya Bryzgalov, Ed Jovanovski, Vernon Fiddler etc. etc.
what are your real thoughts on the devils? we all know you try and stab them any chance you get but i would really like to hear an unbiased response from you about them the devils have had a tough schedule so far this year, and we are 3 games over .500 at 10-7-1 and they are playing some of their best hockey lately............all this while parise and kovy are not lighting it up too what is your opinion on the devils play? and please dont use the word trap like the guys on verses who made themselves look very stupid and have no knowledge of the devils, we haven't used the "trap" post lockout what are your thoughts on henrique? i know devils fans were pretty excited about him but he has done more than we expected thus far and how do you think we will do when zajac gets back? *will not be surprised if you say oh parise is getting traded or wont sign with the devils
david; This might set the record for the longest query. And in my defense not sure I've stabbed at the Devils in quite some time. Kudos to Pete DeBoer who has managed to coax a lot more offense out of the Devils lineup than I think people would have imagined especially with Kovalchuk not off to a great start and Travis Zajac out. But DeBoer has managed to get production from guys who might not otherwise have had the opportunity like Henrique who's been a nice surprise. And how about David Clarkson with seven goals? Playoffs? Sure, why not.
Rick Nash- will he or wont he be traded before the NHL deadline?
Adam; I don't think so. Although I'm still not sure how the Blue Jackets turn the corner. Big win over Nashville, though, and we've seen lots of teams go on inexplicable streaks both positive and negative this season.
Hey Scott... quick question... as a Sharks fan, for the last million years it seems like, (more like 6 years in real time) the sharks have been in some ways contention for the cup, with so many good seasons under our belts do you think this year is the year? if so what is it about this year, and if not... what is it thaat the teal fins are missing to get it done? Thanx.
Jesse; I know my pal Pierre LeBrun feels this is the year. And I know there are a number of NHL executives who quietly believe this is the year. I'm still not sold and they'll need Martin Havlat to stay healthy but this is the best Sharks team, I think, in terms of its ability to go on a run to the final.
let's say Washington really starts to flounder, Does Bruce Boudreau or Ovie survive the season?
ted; Lots of questions about the Caps and I know there's lots of buzz out there that Bruce Boudreau may be on the firing line (as it were) but I think George McPhee is nothing if not patient. Somehow there has to be a way for Boudreau and Ovechkin to come to some sort of understanding on how to get the most out of the team's best player while still having a team plan. Are the two mutually exclusive? Not sure. If they are that's a big problem for both the coach in the short-term and the team in the long run.
I hear talk about the Hurricanes trading defensive depth for a scorer. While it's obvious they need more scoring, I was wondering if the defense has been strong enough this year to merit saying they have the depth to trade some? They are playing better against backdoor plays they have been beaten on for years, but they still give up more shots than most every team in the league.
Richard; Just spent a couple of days in Raleigh and especially with Joni Pitkanen on the shelf I don't see the 'Canes having a lot of defensive depth if that's the route Jim Rutherford chooses to go in trying to get the offense going. They played a great couple of games defensively on the weekend and it ended up leading to a lot of offensive chances. These next few days will be key to what happens in Raleigh, though, as the 'Canes are in a killer part of the schedule.
Scott, I am of course a huge Minnesota Wild fan, but I am doubting how legitimate they are this year.... your thoughts please?
Sid the kid, are a goal and an assist really out of the question for 87 tonight?
Darrin; I spent some time in Minnesota in training camp and picked them to finish 8th in the West and so far, of course, they've exceed expectations. Both Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom have been great of late. Still hard to imagine they can stay at or near the top of the conference standings without more offense but the Devils have been doing it for years and sometimes it's not about how many you score but when you score them. If that makes sense. Credit to rookie head coach Mike Yeo for getting a new-looking team on the same page in a hurry this season. About time Wild fans had something to clamor for other than another coaching change.
If Washington wants to prove a point and ship Semin out of town, could the Wings have any interest in picking him up as a rental if the price was relatively low?
Jay; Not sure Semin would be a fit for Mike Babcock. They've already got one underachieving forward making too much money in Jiri Hudler. But at this stage if the Caps go that way the asking price for Semin won't be high.
Scott, what in the name of Guy Hebert is happening with the Ducks? With that much talent playing so poorly, what can be done to turn things around?
Teemu; No kidding. Of all the struggling teams the Ducks are perhaps the most perplexing. Jonas Hiller is clearly not the same goaltender that we saw before his All-Star Game mishap (shots to the head) and the 'big' line has played incredibly small. You don't often hear of a 'Hart Trophy hangover' but it appears Corey Perry may have it. Guessing GM Bob Murray will try and ride it out, though, as opposed to making dramatic moves like firing Randy Carlyle.
Scott, you REALLY irritate me when I hear your point of view on the up-coming realignment. We didn't come to the West to please the rest of the teams here. If their happiness depends on our being here-- that's their problem. I don't want to be 'heroin' for those addicts. I want justice for OUR team. Don't make me send Joey to pay you a visit.
Ken; Easy there big fella. No need to bring Joey into the mix. My point on what happens if the league stays with a six-division format (the four-region or conference format is still the preferred route for the league although it has lots of questions attached to it) that simply swapping Detroit for Winnipeg is that the overall health of the league suffers. The Jets aren't a big draw anywhere outside Winnipeg or Canada at best and the Red Wings are a key part of other teams' financial stability. I'm merely looking at the greater good as opposed to punishing the Wings with more late-night road games.
Heard the quote earlier, "Now that Crosby's back, Ovechkin is too". It is a pretty interesting point that Crosby's return may spark Ovie to get back to being his old self. Do you see any correlation?
Mike; Sort of like kindred spirits? Maybe. Now how would anyone go about explaining that if Ovechkin goes on an absolute tear. Would be fun to try and get at.
What are your thoughts on the way the Blues have responded to Hitchcock? It seems like this group is finally starting to live up to their billing.
Jim; Great story for one of the great hockey talkers (and pretty darned good coach, too) and for a Blues team that desperately needs to be in the post-season dance next spring. I will be interested to see if Hitchcock can keep the Blues playing this weel defensively while adding some more offense over the next couple of months. The first weeks after a coaching change sometimes don't accurately reflect where a team is headed. Not that the Blues will complain, that's for sure.
Sid the kid, are a goal and an assist really out of the question for 87 tonight?
Toby; A la Mario Lemieux circa Dec. 2000 I think a goal and an assist definitely in the cards for Crosby. Isles are more than a little beat up but I expect they'll rise to the occasion and give the Pens all they can handle. Should be fun.
9 goals! NINE! I don't use exclamation marks or all caps (both seem rude to me) but they are necessary to explain my utter awe at the display put on by the Oilers. Tell me you watched more than just the highlights. If the Oil can continue to get decent contributions (albeit dwindling) from Horcoff/Smyth over the next few years what do they need to add to get to the conference finals/finals?
Jamie; That was an old-fashioned beatdown the Oilers put on the previously formidable Blackhawks. The win was important for a young team that really wobbled during their recent road trip. They start four in a row on the road tonight so we'll see if there's any carryover.
why no mention of my (tyler myers) broken wrist? out at least a month
myers; Definitely a drag for the big defenseman and the Sabres. After being made a healthy scratch he turned in a terrific performance against New Jersey collecting two goals and playing with more of an edge.
How protective do you expect the Pens players to be over Crosby? I really hope this doesn't turn into ever hard clean hit, gets retribution.
Josh; Sadly too many good, hard hits lead immediately to a fight or a scrum as players try and defend the honor of their teammate. And in talking to players this morning in the Pens' room they will doubtless be prett sensitive to any perceived liberties taken with Crosby. And the Isles and Pens do have a history. My sense is, though, listening to Crosby this morning that he's relishing mixing it up for the first time. We'll see how it shakes down.
How long does Sacco have to turn things around in Colorado? If he goes, who are the candidates to replace him? If they finish this homestand under .500, I gotta think they're gonna start looking.
Clinton; When a team overachieves and then underachieves like the Avs have already done it's sometimes hard for a GM not to pull the trigger. And I think you're right, the rest of this franchise record home stand (I think this is the longest ever) will be crucial to Joe Sacco and for getting the Avs back on track. Lots to like there although I'm still not convinced they've solved their goaltending issues with Varlamov looking pretty wobbly of late. Is J.S. Giguere really the answer? Looked good against Dallas so maybe.
Any thoughts on the panthers and whether they will be able to keep up this play all year and FINALLY make the playoffs?
Sean; I liked the Panthers to make the playoffs this season but I have been impressed by how fun they are to watch. They never quit, lots of offensive creativity and Kevin Dineen deserves a ton of credit for getting such a remade team to come together so quickly. Heck yes, they'll be in the dance.
Scott, what are the chances the Wild get some love when realignment comes? Like the old days when the NORTH Stars played St. Louis, Chicago....
Darrin; Lots of realignment questions and along with the Wings there are a handful of teams that would love to grab this opportunity to make a better life for themselves vis a vis geography. The Wild and Dallas along with Columbus and Detroit are probably the top four that would like to see a significant reconfiguration. Nashville will be unhappy if they get split from Detroit but it's going to take a lot of consensus building by commissioner Gary Bettman to get the 20 votes needed to get a new plan on the books.
why no Tyler Seguin + Bruins love on here. defending Cup champs, most exciting player in hockey right now, the best LINE in hockey right now (marchand, seguin, bergeron), 8 straight wins AND PLAYING THE HABS TONIGHT!!!
charles; Stop coming to these chats late. We already pumped Seguin's tires right off the bat. Well-earned pumping, too. As for tonight's tilt, should be a good one. Forget the eight-game winning streak all bets are off when these two teams meet. I'll be keeping an eye on it on my computer at Consol that's for sure.
Scott, the Devils have two strong rookies in Larsson and Henrique. Larsson has been everything we've expected, but Henrique has been quite a discovery. Which one do you think is more likely to be in the running of the Calder Trophy?
Richard; Great question. Just a guess but with the fluidity of the Devils' offensive picture I wonder if Larsson will be given more opportunities to continue to showcase his talents as the season goes along. He's already playing like a veteran and in veteran situations. I think he'll have a leg up on Henrique when it comes time to vote.
What's the most impressive in hockey in your opinion? The most disappointing? Philly's Hartnell-Giroux-Jagr line has inpressed me the most given Jagr's absence from the NHL and Hartnell rumored as trade bait last month. The most disappointing to me is the Ducks' Ryan-Getzlaf-Perry line that was so hot in last year down the stretch? What's going on in Anaheim?
John; I've been surprised at the offensive struggles in Detroit (although they look like they may be slowly turning a corner) and the failure of the Islanders to take advantage of a talented group of players to become a factor in the Eastern Conference. Would never have seen the incredible starts for Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul. And how about the Jets, starting to prove detractors wrong with some inspired play.
Scott, Byslma has determined that Crosby will start with his regular line because of the familiar feel. How does this affect future lines? Specifically with James Neal on a tear with Malkin, do you split them up to pair him with Crosby? (which was the whole reason for the acquiring Neal)
Devin; I think it will depend early on how much ice time Crosby is going to get. Can't have him playing with Neal and just playing 15/16 minutes. Plus Crosby and Neal will definitely be playing together on the PP. None of this is set in stone.
scott, didnt jump late - sent in Q's in advance. i saw the one small tidbit about tyler and the B's up top. didnt think it was sufficient.
charle; Just yanking your chain a bit. Glad you've been along for the ride.
Speaking of Cup hangover with the Bruins earlier in the chat, have the Canucks gotten over theirs?
Ice Ace; Slowly I guess although Roberto Luongo's absence is troubling because he needs to find some sort of groove. And for me the Canucks won't be completely right until Ryan Kesler is fully engaged. He's as tough as they come but clearly his off-season hip issues have kept him from being the player he was last year when people were talking - legitimately - about the Hart Trophy for him.
What is your take on the start to Buffalo's season? A lot of fans here are complaining when we are still 2nd in the conference. What do you fell the needs are for the team? its embaressing to hear these fans complain about everything
John; I think the expectations were so high after the off-season spending binge that anything less than dominance has people second-guessing in Buffalo. Talked to Ville Leino in Raleigh this week and he admitted he needs to be better and to get his confidence back. He and Christian Ehrhoff have gone from complimentary players to highly paid front-line players. That's a big jump. And Ryan Miller, out obviously with the concussion, is such a huge part of the team's identity that his uneven play has contributed to the angst. Still a playoff team in my books, though.
Well folks, have to run. Thanks as always for dropping by and hope your Thanksgiving is happy and safe. Until next time.