Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

December 8, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Barry Melrose

Barry Melrose
  (2:00 PM)

I think all of us are hoping that Crosby's injury is slight and that he'll only miss a couple of games. Hopefully it's nothing serious.

Mallory (Minnesota)

Can the Wild keep up their impressive start to the season or do they fall back into the pack?

Barry Melrose
  (2:01 PM)

I don't think they can keep this pace up. They'd set records for points if they did. But I think they're a playoff team. They've always been a good defensive team, but they're playing so solid right now. They score two goals, there's a good chance they win.

Chris Finnerty (Boston, MA)

Do you think the NY Rangers can keep up the consistency they have been showing of late?

Barry Melrose
  (2:02 PM)

I do. The Rangers are a good team, one of the top eight in the East. Richards is playing better all the time. They've got a goalie who everyone knows is one of the best. I like the Rangers.

Matthew (Columbia NJ)

Barry: Any chance the Flyers trade a forward to acquire a veteran d man?

Barry Melrose
  (2:03 PM)

I think the Flyers will get to the trade deadline and evaluate their team. Pronger will be back, so they changes everything. He changes the whole team's dynamic. They'll be active, they always are, but the team you'll be watching in April will have Pronger in the lineup.

Rob (Charlottesville, VA)

What improvement(s) do you see with the Caps under Coach Hunter?

Barry Melrose
  (2:04 PM)

Not a lot right now. Ovechkin played his best game under Hunter last night. When Green comes back, we'll have a more fair judgment of them. They're not a very good team right now and have a lot of work to do. Ovechkin's play last night was a silver lining. It looked like he was coming out of the fog a bit.

Joe (Colorado)

Hi Barry,Seems like the Avs are getting shots off but they're just not going in the net. I think the Avs need another winger or sniper. Is there anyone under the radar that the Avs can trade for without giving up anymore young talent? Maybe trade Johnson or Hejda?

Barry Melrose
  (2:05 PM)

That'll be a deal closer to the deadline. Obviously the players people want are their young players, and you don't want to give those guys up. If they're out of it near the deadline, you'll see the veterans be moved for younger players, but I don't think the Avs want to trade anyone. They have to be careful not to move these guys out of panic.

Marc (Malden, MA)

How long does New Jersey wait to trade Parise? I know they want to see if they can sign him, but I have to think what they can get in return gets less and less each day.

Barry Melrose
  (2:06 PM)

I don't think so. The value is always going to be there. There will be teams lined up to get Parise. They will do everything they can to sign him. If it looks like they can't, they'll trade him. It looks like his value will stay very high. Don't think that's a problem for the Devils.

Mike (MD)

What is yuor opinion on the OVI incident? I have watched different angle's of this multiple times and I don't see anything viscous about it looks like maybe he gave him a little nudge with the stick while he was skating. Ottawa were up in arms last night thinking the league should suspend him but it seems more like complaning becasue OVI got a game changing goal last night.

Barry Melrose
  (2:08 PM)

There's a little bit of both. Obviously he's in the Eastern Conference and Ottawa would love to get star players in the East suspended, so they're doing what they should do. Ovechkin does have a history, and anytime that happens, you gotta be careful. You have to spear a guy hard to get a suspension in the NHL. The only thing that worries me is that Ovechkin is a repeat offender.

Gene (Columbus, OH)

Of the fired coaches this season, which one did you feel was the least justified

Barry Melrose
  (2:09 PM)

That's a good question. I would have to say Boudreau. Randy Carlyle's team was one of the worst in the league, and Washington was still above .500. I can't say that they were out of line, and it looked like Ovechkin and Semin had quit playing for him. He had to make sure this team made the playoffs, so I can't argue much with the decisions that were made. Same thing with Anaheim under Randy Carlyle.

Ice Ace (Alabama)

Despite losing their last 2 games(Colorado and St. Louis), do you think that Detroit is the best team in the West? If not, who?

Barry Melrose
  (2:10 PM)

I like Chicago. I think they're the best -- their power play is not great right now, but they're such an excellent team in terms of pure talent. Vancouver is also ahead of Detroit in the West.

Tiffany (Fremont, CA)

Has the window closed on the San Jose Sharks?

Barry Melrose
  (2:11 PM)

No, they're still a young team and most of their star players are in their prime. I don't believe in them because they've let us down so many times, but they're one of the most talented teams in the NHL.

Mike (NY)

Barry, what's with the trend of all these clubs giving the C to a young star coming into the league over the grizzled vets and character players? It seemed to start post lockout with Sid (no complaints for me- he is a leader). Same goes for Toews and Callahan, IMO. But because so many clubs are doing it, it seems par for the course all over the NHL. Certainly not like the older days in the NHL. What's an old timer like you think about this trend? Good for the league and press but bad for the dressing rooms?

Barry Melrose
  (2:12 PM)

Sometimes it's a marketing tool. You can sell it to your fans -- a great young player who is a leader and a franchise player for years to come. A lot of times, that's why he gets a C. I agree, a lot of cases it shouldn't go to them. It looks good for the front office and that's the reason you see young kids get the C before they should.

JeremyB666 (Hockeytown(North))

Henrick Zetterberg only has 15 total points this season. Is his production down or is he deferring to his teammates?!

Barry Melrose
  (2:13 PM)

His production is down. It's been way off since the beginning of the year, which has caused Detroit to struggle. They're not going to win in the playoffs unless Zetterberg and Datsyuk pick it up pretty quickly.

Marc (Malden, MA)

I can't believe I'm going to say this but Claude Julien COY? He's been a COMPLETELY different coach this year, winning the Cup gave him confidence.

Barry Melrose
  (2:14 PM)

He's been a good coach for a number of years -- not flashy or flamboyant or a good quote, but his teams have always been prepared. The Bruins give you nothing defensively and have a much better power play. I don't think he'll get coach of the year because they're expected to win. I think he's a great coach who has done a good job in Boston.

Sergei (WI)

Barry, why did Detroit get stuck into the wrong conference again? They belong with Boston and Toronto both: georgaphically and to have one conference in the east with eight teams for fairness.

Barry Melrose
  (2:15 PM)

Detroit had to agree to this to stay in the West. I think they like the rivalries they're in with now, and they're all in the same time zone, which will help with travel. Would they have rather been in the East? Probably, but they can live with this.

brett (philly)

would the flyers have been better with Richards this year? what do you think of the richards for schenn and simmonds trade looking back on it?

Barry Melrose
  (2:17 PM)

I think it was a good move for the Flyers. Giroux came out of Richards' shadow. Simmonds is a good, solid player. I think it was a trade that could help both teams. Richards has been OK with LA. He needed a trade and Philly got some good value back. I think it was a good trade for both teams. And don't forget, Schenn has been hurt.

Jon (Des Moines)

Wondered what your thoughts are on Bobby Ryan and all the trade talk.. Do you think his lack of production has been purely do to the line he has been playing with? He has looked better of late with Selanne. I have to think several teams would love to get him.

Barry Melrose
  (2:18 PM)

Everyone would love to get him, no doubt about that. He's not going anywhere. Bruce Boudreau has a good chance to get him going again. Maybe that big line needed to be shook up a bit. Bobby Ryan's not going anywhere. He's a great young player and a good fit for Anaheim.

Michael C. (Westport, CT)

Doesn't the new realignment cripple the ability of teams like the Islanders and Florida, and to a lesser extend the Devils, from competing for the playoffs? There are too many excellent teams in the division. Flyers, Caps, Pens, Rangers all fighting it out is too much. Your thoughts?

Barry Melrose
  (2:19 PM)

It doesn't look good for those teams now, but who's to say in five years that the Islanders aren't the best team in their division? It's cyclical, except maybe for the Red Wings. Florida is playing good right now, Tampa has righted their ship. You can become a good team very quickly if you draft well. It'll just be an uphill battle for a few years.

Gene Mullett (Columbus, OH)

Any thoughts of the CBJ's hiring of Craig Patrick?

Barry Melrose
  (2:20 PM)

Craig's a good hockey guy. He's been through a lot of wars and been part of good and bad teams. A good sounding board for the GM and a good, calming influence. Certainly a move that can't hurt and could reap benefits.

John (DC)

Are you hearing anything about the Caps getting ready to make a trade?

Barry Melrose
  (2:21 PM)

I think they're going to give Dale Hunter some time to see how the team responds to him. The Caps have moved a lot of players over the past few years. They'll evaluate the team before any trades are made.

Mark (Tampa, FL)

I know it's early in the season and he's only got a year under his belt, but given the Bolt's consistant struggles, should Guy Boucher be a little concerned about his job? The team just doesn't seem to be responding to him (at least that's the impression I get from watching them). They play sloppy, they give up leads, they aren't responsible defensively (it's just not the sub-par play of the goalies)... is it just a standard mid-season rut that will level itself out, or is there more to it?

Barry Melrose
  (2:22 PM)

I with think the job Guy did last year, he's fine. They do need to get the ship righted, but he's on solid footing. Something drastic would have to happen for that to change.

Ice Ace (Alabama)

On the answer about Chicago being the best, why has Crawford been struggling recently and will they give Emery a chance to start a few more games like he is against the "hot" New York Islanders

Barry Melrose
  (2:23 PM)

That might happen. Never hurts to motivate a goaltender by playing the other guy a bit more. Chicago's gotta be better defensively. For such a talented team, they do give up some easy chances. I'm all for competition, but only if Emery plays good. Then the motivation doesn't really work.

Alex Semin (Capital City)

Where will I eventually end up?

Barry Melrose
  (2:24 PM)

I will not be surprised if he ends up back in Russia. That would be my bet. He could go back to the KHL, as he might be better suited for a big ice surface. He certainly hasn't played all that well over the past few years for the Caps.

Colin (Wichita KS)

Barry, isn't Sidney Crosby's injury a knee issue? I did not see any hard hit to the head.

Barry Melrose
  (2:25 PM)

I think it's a leg injury. It certainly looked like he was kneed in the thigh or the quad or whatever. I think it's a leg injury or lower body injury.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Did Boston give the league a blueprint on how to beat Vancouver in the playoffs?

Barry Melrose
  (2:26 PM)

Boston is a blueprint for a lot of teams -- a team that can skate, check, be tough, good in net and defensively.

Ice Ace (Alabama)

With Tampa Bay struggling, Versus commentators mentioned that they do not play the 1-3-1 trap as much. Do you believe Tampa Bay needs to play the 1-3-1 trap more than they have recently?

Barry Melrose
  (2:27 PM)

The thing is, Tampa Bay is not a good defensive team even with the 1-3-1. Their goals per game are among the highest in the NHL and they've given up way more than they've scored. It might be stifling guys like St. Louis and guys like that a little bit. They were one of the poorer defensive teams last season as well.

Mel (Ottawa)

Alfie's been doing pretty good recently, but he's often prone to injury. Does he retire at the end of the season or does he have more in him? Hopefully he comes back! Definitely the captain, both on and off the ice!

Barry Melrose
  (2:28 PM)

I think he's still a very good hockey players. Injuries are starting to become more prevalent, but he's a solid two-way guy when healthy. You want to keep him around. Guys like him are very valuable to teams.

Cappy (NYC)

Barry-Do you see any mismatches for the kitties to take advantage of tonight in Boston? from where i sit i can't see any...

Barry Melrose
  (2:29 PM)

No weaknesses in Boston. I watch them all the time and I marvel at their defensive plays. When you have a defensive breakdown, you have Thomas or Rask in net. With Seguin, they have two dangerous lines. They're the most solid team in the NHL in either conference.

Barry Melrose
  (2:29 PM)

Thanks everyone!