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December 20, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Barry Melrose

Buzzmaster
  (2:01 PM)

We've got Barry!

Barry Melrose
  (2:01 PM)

Congrats to all of the Bruins fans, who definitely have the best team in the NHL right now.

ben (san jose)

do the sharks win the stanley cup with this corps or do they need another piece (who/what?) to make it to the promised land?

Barry Melrose
  (2:02 PM)

You know what, the Sharks have been a team that has teased us for so many years, always one of the best regular season teams. They've made changes to the lineups, changed coaches. For me, it's too hard to believe in the Sharks come playoff time.

Chris (Brooklyn)

Hi Barry, what are your thoughts on the Rangers and Devils tonight? It seems like each team is going in opposite directions.

Barry Melrose
  (2:03 PM)

I don't think so. I think the Devils are playing well. They're finding the team that they are. Parise is playing better. I like the Rangers, they're a team ready for the playoffs. It would be good to get Staal back. I think this will be a heckuva game tonight. The Rangers are more talented. If the Devils make the playoffs, it's a great year. The Rangers need to do some damage in the playoffs to have a great year.

Andy (St. Louis)

Any chances Hitchcock can get consideration for coach of the year if they keep this up?

Barry Melrose
  (2:04 PM)

Definitely. I think Ken, if the Blues continue to do well and make the playoffs, I think he'd be a front runner.

Greg (Philadelphia)

Barry - Do you think Prongers career is over?

Barry Melrose
  (2:04 PM)

I think it's certainly in doubt. Crosby missed basically a year with a concussion and is hurt again. We've seen Kariya, Lindros end their careers. You have to think about that if you're a Flyers fan.

Jon (Chicago)

Happy Holidays Barry! I've read a few articles lately calling for the NHL to bring back the red line in an attempt to reduce the amount of concusions. I hate the idea. Where do you stand on reinstating the red line?

Barry Melrose
  (2:05 PM)

No, I've completely reversed my thinking on the red line. At the start, I didn't think it would create the offense it has. I think it's increased the speed of the game. It's put more pressure on the defenseman. I don't think you'll see the red line come back into the NHL.

Bruce (Detroit)

Merry Christmas to you Barry - do you think Santa can bring my Wings a dependable back-up goalie? Howard could use the rest, but I'm not trusting Conklin these days. Your thoughts?

Barry Melrose
  (2:06 PM)

Most teams would be happy to have one great goaltender and Detroit has that. Injuries is something you worry about. But Howard has been very resilient. Most teams would love to be in the condition of the Red Wings and have a goaltender playing like Howard.

Zach Williams (Nashua NH)

Hows it going Barry? Just wanted to say Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. What should the Capitals do to make the start to 2012 a good one?

Barry Melrose
  (2:07 PM)

Getting Ovechkin the way he used to play. That would help more than anything, to get a guy scoring goals consistently. That would get everybody fired up about the Capitals. You don't win in the NHL without your stars playing great. If they do, they become a dangerous NHL team again.

sydney (pittsburgh)

Do the pens have enough for the Blackhawks tonight?

Barry Melrose
  (2:08 PM)

I think it will be a heckuva game. I love these games where one of the best in the East plays one of the best in the West. I think it will be an awesome hockey game. Malkin's playing the best in years. This could go either way.

Scooter, minny [via mobile]

What do u think of the wild new coach?

Barry Melrose
  (2:09 PM)

Great. Mike's done a great job. I like their new style of play, much more offensive and faster. They have some really good offensive players. I expect the Wild to be a playoff team and one that no one wants to play come playoff time.

Cody (Mankato, MN)

Hello Barry, the trade freeze is upon us. Are we going to see an mass amount of trades when it is lifted, or will it stay calm until Feb 27th gets closer?

Barry Melrose
  (2:09 PM)

I think nothing much will happen until the deadline. It's hard to make trades in the salary cap era. We saw a lot of moves this summer. I don't think we'll see a lot of moves until we're closer to the deadline.

Matt (Western MA)

Hey Barry, what do you think the Bruins should/will do with Rask? Try and talk him into being Timmys back up for another year and a half, trade him..or let him walk at the end of the year? Rock on

Barry Melrose
  (2:11 PM)

I think they'll try to re-sign him. Timmy is getting up in age. I think that they're not going to let him walk. They would definitely love to keep him. He plays a lot. It's not like he never plays. He probably plays one out of every three games. They have to convince him that's enough for now and when Timmy's gone, he'll be their No. 1 guy.

Alex (Anaheim)

I was fortunate enough to be in attendance as the Rangers won at the buzzer in Phoenix. Any other memorable last-second goals you can think of?

Barry Melrose
  (2:12 PM)

That game was nuts. It was really weird, having to go upstairs less than a second left on the clock. It's one of the better ones I've seen. I've seen teams score two goals in the final minute to tie a game, but that finish was one of the best I've seen in a long time.

Eric (Duluth, MN)

What happened to the Wild? Great road trip then come home and just look dead? Is this the real Wild or are they somewhere in between?

Barry Melrose
  (2:12 PM)

As a coach, those are the games you're scared of, coming off of a road trip. You have fathers who haven't seen their kids as a long time. You feel guilty as a parent not seeing your kids. Your team could lose focus. And coming home, you can ease up a bit. Those games scare coaches.

Marc (Malden, MA)

A few weeks ago I was hearing stories of Zach Parise stating how he would love to play in Boston. Do the Bruins have a shot at signing him July 1?

Barry Melrose
  (2:13 PM)

The Bruins are a team that players want to play for. They are the Cup champs. They play in a great hockey town. New Jersey will do everything in their power to trade him or sign him. If they can't, then there will be 29 teams after Zach Parise.

Frey (Hoboken)

Barry, hindsight is 20/20 but it looks like Crosby came back too early. Does this serve as a cautionary tale for the Rangers to be sure that Staal does not return to the lineup too soon?

Barry Melrose
  (2:15 PM)

I don't think Sidney came back too early. This is a severe problem. He was fine when he came back. The doctors would not have let him came back. Even after he was cleared for contact, it was a month before he played. After your first concussion, it's easier to get another one. Everyone in hockey is scared about Sidney's health and how much longer he can play.

Frey (Hoboken)

Favorite parts from the first episode of 24/7?

Barry Melrose
  (2:16 PM)

HBO does those shows so well. You're seeing glimpses of NHL teams that you don't see in the dressing room, on the road. It's a great show for the NHL. The game should be great. They've all been great. Philly's a great hockey town.

Mike (NJ)

What's up with Anaheim? they still can't find their groove with Bruce as their new coach. Do you think any big trades need to be happening such as the bobby ryan rumor mentioned weeks before to improve?

Barry Melrose
  (2:17 PM)

They're a mess right now. No doubt about it. The one thing Bruce has said is he feels they've played better despite the poor record. But again, the only coach that's taken over this year that's over .500 is Ken Hitchcock. So just because you change coaches, doesn't mean you'll start winning.

Richard (Greensboro, NC)

@Alex - Carolina has scored quite a few meaningful goals in the last seconds over the past few years.

Imre (Missoula, MT)

Greatest last 2nd goal ever - Hawks vs. Preds playoffs 2 yrs ago. Now that was nuts!

Joe (The Lou)

Barry, what do the Sabres need to do to be more consistant.?Doesn't seem like they can get any streaks going.

Barry Melrose
  (2:18 PM)

They have to get Ryan Miller back on track, that's the first thing. He's not been consistent. He's been pulled. They have a lot of guys putting pucks in the net. Right now he's the biggest problem they have. They have to get him back to the level he was at.

Mark (NJ)

Can the Devils keep these winning ways without a solid goalie?

Barry Melrose
  (2:19 PM)

No. Every team has to have great goaltending. When the Devils have great goaltending, they've won. Marty has been average. They need to get him playing the way he used to.

Angelo (Charlotte (NC))

Happy Holidays Barry! Do you think the Flyers can win a Stanley Cup in the next 5 years?

Barry Melrose
  (2:19 PM)

In the future, yes. I don't think they'll win it this year. The Pronger injury is devastating. That completely changes the team. They have a good owner. They have money.

Gene Mullett (Columbus, OH)

Is Joe Thornton a Hall-of-Famer? Does Dany Heatly have a chance to make the Hall?

Barry Melrose
  (2:20 PM)

If he keeps scoring at the pace he has, yes. If he plays until his late 30s and the numbers he puts up every year, his numbers would be hall of fame worthy. If he doesn't win a Cup, that would be a stain, but there are a lot of guys in that don't have a Stanley Cup.

Doc (Philadelphia)

Hi Barry, What are your thoughts on the conference realignment next season?

Barry Melrose
  (2:21 PM)

I like the realignment. It solves some problems. It helps the west teams on travel. I like the rivalry element. Every team will get to see every player. The teams in the West will see Crosby every year. I like that.

Marc (Malden, MA)

The Kings have 2 good defenseman and zero offense. Should they see if one of those dmen can get them a goal scorer?

Barry Melrose
  (2:22 PM)

The Kings aren't scoring but not from lack of talent. You look at the talent, you've got Gagne, Richards, Kopitar. They have a heckuva group of forwards. It's not from lack of talent. They just have to get the talented guys playing. Mentally, they're not strong, they're fragile. They have to change that.

devinbachman (whitmore lake mi)

barry how munch oilers for giveing it there all whit the redwings last night

Barry Melrose
  (2:23 PM)

The Oilers are a young team. There will be ups and downs. When they're playing well, they can beat anybody, but they're inconsistent. They are fun to watch. Eberle last night was great. Hall is back now. It's a talented team.

Mike (NJ)

Hey Barry, can Ray Emery steal Corey Crawford's job at Chicago? He's been playing really well.

Barry Melrose
  (2:24 PM)

Yeah, he can. Obviously, Chicago will play the guy who's playing the best. I've heard their GM say that Emery's played one bad game this year. I like competition. It will make them both better goaltenders. Whoever's playing the best will get the nod.

Ross (Vegas)

Is Sutter the answer for the Kings? Will he strnthen the team or do they need Richards back in the lineup to invigorate the offense?

Barry Melrose
  (2:25 PM)

They need to get everybody healthy. Sutter is the guy that demands competitiveness. He will create a very structured environment. I think he's the type of coach that they need. But it all comes down to the players playing.

MIKE (S)

Who do the Hawks add to their lineup with roughly 4 million in cap space?

Barry Melrose
  (2:26 PM)

I think the Blackhawks just need to compete better defensively. They've given up 30 more goals than the Bruins. That's a big difference right there. If they get their GA down, they'll be unbeatable. They'll look at their cap and the defenseman available at the deadline and if there's one there, they'll go get him.

jon (NJ)

Would you stay in NJ if you were Parise? I would go to the Wild.Future goalie situation unknown, no playoff success in his career in NJ, and a revolving door of coaches..thanks, miss the mullett

Barry Melrose
  (2:27 PM)

If the Devils can't sign him, I'm sure he'll be traded at the deadline. There will be teams out there for him to pick and choose where he wants to play. That's what free agency is all about. He'll make a lot of money wherever he plays.

Ice Ace (Alabama)

Do you think the Panthers will hang on and win their division? Dineen has done a good job with the players that the organization got in the offseason.

Barry Melrose
  (2:28 PM)

I think they're certainly a playoff team. They've responded and completely changed the way they've played. All of the guys are playing well offensively. They've got a good PP. This team is for real. I certainly think they'll be a playoff team.

Eric (New Jersey)

Happy Holidays Barry. What are you hearing about Claude Giroux. The Flyers have already lost Prongs for the year and can NOT afford to lose Giroux for any length of time. Will he play in the Winter Classic?

Barry Melrose
  (2:29 PM)

He's back practicing, so that's good news. Hopefully he won't be out a real long time. They're still a very strong team, even without him in the lineup. The young forwards are playing well. They need him back. Hopefully he will be back sooner rather than later.

Barry Melrose
  (2:30 PM)

I would like to wish everyone out there a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I think we're in for a good second half of the season.