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December 7, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Pierre LeBrun

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:00 PM)

OK, I've got my ITunes rocking, let's go folks !

Cody (Mankato, MN)

Hello Pierre, not meaning to criticize or anything, but you had mentioned in your fan rants how it would be easy to move Phoenix into another conference, ok. But you went on to say how it would be perfect if the league expanded. It may have just been a quick thought, but I can't see anywhere else that a team would thrive. I know probably Quebec city, but otherwise I can see NY, but do we need a 4th team there? It just seems tough to think of expanding when we got teams like Phoenix that are on the verge of following the path of the Thrashers, which will take up another prime hockey location. So I suppose in short, where do you see a possible 3 locations for new teams, assuming Phoenix relocates?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:03 PM)

Expansion isn't even on the league's radar right now. It's a long-term thing if at all. I just mentioned it because it you added 2 teams it would give the league four even conferences of eight teams. Right now the league's only focus is putting out fires in its own 30-team group _ starting with Phoenix. But, since you ask, yes there are other viable markets. First and foremost, a second team in the Toronto area (Markham) makes a whole lot of sense one day. Biggest hockey market in the world with tons of $$$$$. Two teams in LA area, three teams in NY area, but only one team in Toronto area? Quebec City and Seattle are 2 other markets I believe where it would work

Nate (Bristol, CT)

As if anyone needed more proof that fan voting for all star game is complete bull, Reimer over Thomas and the fact that Elliot isn't even ON the ballot is tragic. Can we stop pretending that fans know anything but homerism and pop-stars in sports? Let the players, coaches, and writers determine all stars, and let the coach of the specific east/west team decide who starts.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:08 PM)

I think by now people who follow me on these pages know how I feel about the all-star game. BLOW IT UP. THE ENTIRE THING. However, just for kicks I also shook my head yesterday at Reimer leading all goalies in votes: http://espn.go.com/blog/nhl/post/_/id/12802/all-star-voting-can-crosby-catch-kessel

Angry Avs Fan (Denver, CO)

I have had enough of the poor play from the Avs!...Sherman and Sacco needs to go and the roster needs to be shaken up...I don't get why we traded Stewart, Shattenkirk, Cohen and draft picks basically to get worse...bad moves by Sherman...can we trade Johnson and McClement for Shattenkirk and Stewart again?...

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:08 PM)

Stewart/Shattenkrk for Johnson deal was brutal, no question.Giving up a first-rounder for Varlamov may be worse if it ends up being a lottery pick for Washington. Yikes.

Stella (Thornton, CO)

The Avs look like they play with no passion for the game. What would it take to trade for a Bobby Ryan or Parise? We lost a lot of young guys to some dumb trades last year.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:10 PM)

Parise is not available at this point. That could change later. Bobby Ryan was pulled off the market after the coaching change but he may go back on later in the season if the Ducks remain in the toilet

Mike Yeo (MN)

Hello Pierre, do you think you and everyone else will stop underestimating us? We may not put as many pucks in the net, but we put the ones in that matter... the winning ones. We beat the Sharks with a 3rd string goaltender. Not many teams can boast 1A, 1B, and 2A goaltenders.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:11 PM)

Mike, you and I are both from North Bay, Ontario. You know I would never underrestimate you !

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What Happens if NHL Hockey Players tests positive for Steroids,HGH or any other Drugs?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:12 PM)

If they test positive for any substance listed under the NHL/NHLPA drug-testing policy, there are serious suspensions at hand.Problem is, the leagues's drug-testing policy doesn't test during the off-season (that's a major flaw in my mind) and it also only tests for the WADA out-of-competition list, not the WADA IN-competition list (which is a longer list of substances)

brandon (the nations capital)

Is there any hope for the caps? Have I seen the last of the rock the red days? The caps are the only sports team we have left to be proud of.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:13 PM)

Let's put it this way. If they don't start winning soon, GM GM will pick up the bat phone and start calling his GM colleagues to talk trade

Adam (Toronto)

Pierre, do you think when Zajac returns the Devils will split up Parise and Kovy? I know they've been playing better together as of late, but clearly the chemistry is lacking. They could play Parise with Zajac and whoever and Henrique with Kovy and whoever and then have 3 solid scoring lines. What's your take?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:14 PM)

My question is: who the heck has chemistry with Kovalchuk on this team??? It seems everyone seems to force him the puck. Nothing seems natural for anybody playing with him

Milan Lucic (On the ice without suspension)

Hi Pierre,I sure do love the NHL's inconsistency, otherwise I would be suspended of weeks! I hit Miller harder, with far more time to avoid him, not that it matters apparently! Tootoo sure got suckered.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:14 PM)

Both players are apples and oranges. You can't compare and out-of-net puck chase to an in-crease crash play.

Avs Fan (CO)

Woke up this morning, checked the NHL page...Sacco is still employed and no changes to Avs roster...when will we see this happen?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:15 PM)

My my we've got some angry Avs fans today ! I guess getting spanked in Vancouver never is fun. Not sure on Sacco. Wall of silence around Avs front office. But my guess is that Sacco doesn't finish the season

Bruce (Detroit)

Pierre - glad my Wings will be seeing the Eastern teams twice a year starting next season. I was wondering if the proposal to swap them with Winnipeg instead of this new formation was really serious.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:16 PM)

Yes it was. Had the commish not been able to convince the BOG to vote for his 4-conf proposal, the next vote was on staying with current 6-div format with Winnipeg likely swapping with Detroit

JY (T Dot)

Pierre, if something ridiculous happens in all star voting (like Reimer getting the starting gig along with 3-4 senators) will the NHL consider switching up format, or are these borderline atrocities simply par for the course?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:17 PM)

I think the fact that the league's Hockey Operations Deparment fills out the majority of the all-star spots _ the fans only select the starts _ helps balance the fans' screw-ups

Brock (NYC)

The players overwhelmingly want fighting in hockey. The vast majority of fans want fighting in hockey. Why are journalists on a crusade to get it out of the game? Is it a case where sportswriters know what's best for the game, more than the game's players and paying customers?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:17 PM)

BECAUSE A PLAYER MAY DIE ONE DAY FROM A PUNCH.

Sergei (WI)

Hi Pierre, I don't like the new league design because of obvious unfairness to the both Western conferences, since they both have eight teams, compared to the East's seven. I also creates a playoff mess, where both teams from the same conference can be represented in the Finals. (How does Bolts vs Lightning sound?). They should have moved Detroit to the East and do two home and home games against you conference opponents (56 games) and one home and home against the other conference (28 games). We'd have 84 games, travel would be much more fair to every team, and playoffs would remain great- just like now. How can I become the commissioner of the NHL?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:18 PM)

Well if the Bolts ever play the Lightning, I believe we call that a Tampa scrimmage since they're the same team :)Yes you underline the main criticisms of the new alignment. What can I say, wasn't my idea

Alex (Anaheim)

Is Mike Richards out for a while? I feel like my Ducks dodged a bullet not playing against him last night.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:18 PM)

yes he's on IR

Alex (Anaheim)

Can the Rangers challenge for the Atlantic crown or is second place in the division more realistic?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:22 PM)

I don't see anyone beating a healthy Pitt in the Atlantic

Ice Ace (Alabama)

With the realignment starting next year, do you want teams to be seeded or a pre-determined set up(East and West) in the 3rd round of the playoffs?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:24 PM)

My preference is to re-seed based on points which I think is the most fair. So be it if it's an all-West Cup finals or an all-East Cup finals. Nobody seemed to mind when the Habs played the Rangers in '79 for the Cup or the Flyers played the Isles the following season for the Cup

Ashley (Pittsburgh)

Who do you like in tonight's Flyers Sabres match-up?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:25 PM)

Sabres 5, Flyers 4, 14-round shootout

Jon (Dallas)

Pierre, how do you explain Eric Nystrom's goal surge to start the season?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:26 PM)

getting a real opportunity

Jerome Kenny (Fermeuse, Newfoundland and Labrador)

What are the chances that Randy Carlyle will replace Pete DeBoer before Christmas?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:28 PM)

With mysterious Lou, who knows ! But my gut feeling is that Pete survives the season

Joe (NYC)

don't you think teams in the current Atlantic Division are getting the short end of the stick with Carolina and Washington coming over after the realignment? That conference is clearly the toughest of the 4

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:29 PM)

How can anyone tell a year out? Teams improve/worsen from summer to summer. Ask me next September

adam (raleigh, nc)

will the hurricanes make a trade soon for a scorer or perhaps luongo

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:29 PM)

Adam, Jimmy R has been trying to trade Kaberle for a month, hoping to land a forwardLuongo isn't going anywhere

Mike Gillis (Roger's Arena)

Hey Pierre, what do you think are players likely to be moved before the christmas trade-freeze? Last time I checked, Alex Edler has more points than Alex Ovechkin...would George McPhee EVER consider, like even think about, trading Ovechkin, because if he was, I'd be interested in getting him into a Canucks uniform. Right now, I'd offer up Schneider and Kesler. Cody is ready. Ovy and the Sedins will be the sickest line in hockey period.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:30 PM)

Mike, put down the bottle

Bill H (New Jersey)

Pierre. With Conference realignment a reality, do you believe teams will alter their style of play in order to adapt to the Conference or do you believe the current styles of play will make the Conferences more exciting to watch?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:31 PM)

Nearly every team in the league plays a variation of the same system. Ask any NHL coach.

Tom (Sweden)

The LA Kings have shown no real improvement despite numerous changes for what at least on paper is for the better. They're spending to the cap and are just about the lowest scoring team in the league, dead last in 5 on 5 goals scored and are playing without any passion. Most of their wins involve grinding out a 2-1 win with Quick playing out of his mind. What's gonna give?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:31 PM)

Let's just say IF _ i say IF _ Zach Parise ever became available, the Kings would be on it like Pierre LeBrun on poutine

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:33 PM)

Love the song that just popped up on my Itunes: Can't Fight This Feeling Anymore by REO Speedwagon

Bill H (New Jersey)

Pierre: Would you advocate allowing each NHL team to have 1 outdoor game a year, versus a natural rival, if a venue existed in the home teams TV market allowed the game to be played?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:34 PM)

NHL can't have that many. Dan Craig and his ice crew and ice machine can only take on so many a year

Paul (NY)

Fire joe sacco!

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:34 PM)

again, another angry Avs fan.

Alex Cohen and Sean Rosinsky (Cooper City FL)

Do you believe in the panthers now??? Whats ur opinion on there awesome play.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:36 PM)

Did both of you take turns typing words or just one of you typed that whole question? Just curious.Yes, Panthers have been terrific. Check out my GM of the Year blog I posted today and you'll see there's plenty of Panthers love:http://espn.go.com/blog/nhl/post/_/id/12832/trophy-tracker-gm-of-the-year-award

Thomas (Oslo)

Do you see a coach change in LA?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:37 PM)

If that 8-7-1 home record doesn't improve, maybe there's trouble...

Timmy G. (California)

So I saw that you think the Sharks need to make a trade for some good PK guys. Who do you think they should be looking at specifically? I've been thinking they need to do this as well.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:41 PM)

Still too early. Got to wait until more teams waive the white flag and then see what they have to offer

Rory (Toronto)

The rumour mill is quiet here in Toronto, the only funky smell in the trade winds is Brassard to TO for Kadri ...which seems highly unlikely. Are you smelling any funky trade winds? or any sweet ones for that matter?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:45 PM)

Toronto took calls on Franson last month but when Komisarek went down they held back on that....

Allen (San Jose) [via mobile]

So Pierre what do the sharks need to improve on in order to be back to the dominating force they've been for the past couple seasons?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:45 PM)

PK PK PK PK

Drew (Toronto)

Could Bobby Ryan still be traded this year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:45 PM)

If Ducks can't turn around season and are near basement near Feb. 27, they could look at what's out there again, yes

Joe (Dallas)

3 games for Fistric? He makes that exact hit almost every game.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:46 PM)

left his feet and nailed guy in the head

Timmy G. (California)

What is wrong with Jay Feaster? I don't understand how he can deny needing to go towards a rebuild. He needs to get his best packages for guys like Kipper and Iginla. They won't compete, and they need to move on with Giordano out now. This is just typical Calgary being really dumb the last few years.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:47 PM)

Believe me, Feaster wants to blow that thing up. But try blowing up anything with a dozen no-trade clauses

John (Saint Louis)

Big win for the Blues last night and a another impressive outing for Elliot. Thoughts/Comments on the game?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:48 PM)

Terrific intensity. Hitch has Blues playing 200 feet. Getting Colaiacovo back is important, too, espy for PP

GBK (Lincoln Park)

Pierre, I know this won't be the case going forward, but looking at the total points as of today for each of the new conferences, it looks like the 2 conferences to the west are likely to be more difficult than those in the east (not surprising since the WC has generally been stronger than the EC). Should the first two rounds really be interconference, or should that just be a first round then then everyone be re-seeded by points?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:49 PM)

The first two rounds will be conference playoffs _ there's no changing that now. Bettman said that part is written in stone

Danny (Dauphin MB)

Hi Pierre; Do you see Martin lasting in Montreal? If not like we all think who do you see being the replacement? Thanks

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:50 PM)

Only Pierre Gauthier (or Geoff Molson) can answer that question.I think Michel Therrien deserves another shot and why not a second tour of duty in MOntreal? He brought young Pens to within 2 wins of a Stanley Cup. Thing is, if Montreal decides for change _ i would start at the top and fire the GM as well

Suzanne (Knoxville TN)

Everyone says the Preds need to make a trade for a goal scorer, but after these past few weeks, it's looking like we need a Defenseman to help stabilize the second and third pairs...thoughts?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:51 PM)

Suzanne, great observation. Preds 15th in league in goals against per game. So unlike them

Sam (Chicago)

Is Jonathan Toews a legit contender for the Hart? Or do you think we see his numbers level off as the season progresses? What about his chances for Selke? Still a contender there?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:52 PM)

yes and yes

Mike (Winnipeg, MB)

Do you think the Jets have the players and the ability to reach the playoffs? Over the last few weeks, they are playing much better hockey than the beginning of the year. I firmly believe that the players were not ready for the support they received at the beginning of the year, and it took them a month to settle in.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:52 PM)

they'll be among those 5-6 teams battling for 7-8th

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:52 PM)

Another great tune now on: 18 And Life by Skid Row. yes guy

Ryan (San Francisco, CA)

The Sharks have been streaky--to say the least. Their play is Jekyll & Hyde as of late. What do they need to add (since they are under cap) or trade away in order to be top 3 in the west?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:53 PM)

What they need is Martin Havlat to score a freakin' goal.

topher (Los Angeles, CA)

Terry Murray's gotta go................

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:53 PM)

angry Kings fans with us today as well

al (denver)

what is the likelihood of schneider getting traded? i don't see a time share working out in vancouver, so why wouldn't they try to fleece another team that is badly in need of goaltending? tampa bay looks ripe for plunder.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:54 PM)

I think the Canucks will look closely at what's offered to them for Schneider, the real question is whether they move him before Feb. 27 or instead wait until off-season (which I would opt for) in order to have protection for another Cup run

Jeff (Toronto)

Do you believe Luongo has been offered in trade to teams around the league? Canucks GM says he hasnt.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:54 PM)

Canucks vehemently denied to me talking to any teams about Luongo

Tom (Barrie)

Should Toronto sign Prince Fielder?!?!?!

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:55 PM)

Um, I think you found the wrong chat, LOL

John (DC)

Pierre,Rumors swirling that the Caps might be pulling off a major trade in the next 48 hours. And it might not just be Semin going out the door. Are you hearing anything?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:55 PM)

yes as I said earlier in the chat GM GM could decide to pull the trigger soon if team doesn't turn this around ASAP

John (Boston)

Monsieur Le Bruuuuuuuuuuun! Had to extend there, since it's how the old school Bruins fans sounded back in the Boston Garden days! B's seem to have all phases of their game clicking, with depth at their beckon should injuries strike. Right now, how do you feel about their odds to repeat? (knowing a hell of a lot can change...but indulge me, please)

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:56 PM)

Boston and Pittsburgh the 2 teams to beat in the East

Keith (NYC)

Why not take the all-star voting out of the hands of the fans. They simply vote for a captain for each team and let the league pick

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:57 PM)

or why not cancel the entire all-star game? That's my idea :)

mark (denver)

how come their is no coverage on the wild's hot start? boston seems to be getting all the ink. minny has the most points in the nhl. what gives?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:58 PM)

well, well sir, it just so happens Scott Burnside will be at Wild practice today in Los Angeles will write a big piece on the Wild in the upcoming week for ESPN.com.There ya go !

Alex (NYC)

I like that Sabres prediction - how about big Joe Finley gets to SO winner?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:59 PM)

Book it :)

Pat (Philly) [via mobile]

Will Bryz prove himself as our no 1 goalie Pierre and I'm concerned about how tough our conference will be next season

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:59 PM)

Bryz will be fine. Worry about this season, don't sweat next season

Pierre LeBrun
  (3:00 PM)

That was fun as always folks. Thanks again for dropping by. Obviously too many questions for me to get to all of them so sorry for those i didn't get to.Cheers all