Greetings all. Been an interesting week and will promise to get more interesting as we head into the final week before the deadline. So, where were we?
Scott, if Colombus could get Bernier from the Kings for Nash shouldn't they try and get Schneider from the Canucks instead?
Neal; From what I'm led to believe the Canucks are not interested in dealing Cory Schneider before the deadline. They don't really have the cap room or structure for a Rick Nash even though I believe Vancouver is one of the teams Nash would go to. Now, will the Canucks be looking to move Schneider in the off-season? Possibly, unless he's their starter by then.
I read all the time the pseudo experts predicting which teams can win the Stanley Cup. Invariably in the East, the list is Rangers, Boston, Floyers, Pens. Well of course, as we've seen both in mlb, playoffs are crap shoots anyway and nobody really knows. But here's what I don't get and maybe you can explain it to me. Everybody says Pens, Flyers. The Devils are all but even with these two teams in the standings, may have the best three forwards in the conference in Kovalchuk, Parise, Elias yet they're never mentioned. Makes no sense, none whatsoever. Now I'm not saying they should be a favourite. But when you list teams that canm, how do you omit Devils?
Jeff; It's a fair question and with Sidney Crosby still in limbo I expect those three teams (Pittsburgh, Philly and the Devils) to stay clumped together through the stretch drive. That means two will play each other in the first round in the 4/5 seeds (barring a complete transformation in the current standings). I suspect that part of the reason the Devils aren't lumped in with the Pens and Flyers is recent playoff history; they simply haven't been very good in the post-season. And I think in spite of a terrific second half by Ilya Kovalchuk he is a guy that has yet to prove himself a playoff player. Not to say it can't happen but I suspect those are the reasons the Devils don't get their due (if you'll pardon the expression).
Scott, if the Rangers do NOT make the big move for Rick Nash it will be because.......(1) They do not want to give up any of their "core" roster players (aka Dubinsky); (2) They do not want to give up top prospect Chris Kreider who some are saying could morph into a Nash-like power forward at 1/7th the cost; or (3) They do not want to bust their cap for the next 6 years when it comes time to re-sign guys like Stepan, Del Zotto, McDonaugh, Boyle, etc.?
Jesse; I'm going to copy your question and simply use it myself over the next week when the Nash question inevitably comes up because you've hit on all the issues that confront GM Glen Sather when debating whether to try and bring Nash aboard. For all of the reasons you've outlined, and I think they all will play a role, I don't think Nash becomes a Ranger. In my opinion, too big a risk for a team that is as good as there is the NHL right now (notwithstanding last night's blip against Chicago).
Hello Scott, why hasn't the Zidlicky trade happened yet? I wish Fletcher would just pull the trigger and trade Zidlicky to anyone for a bag of pucks. We can't have 4M in cap space sitting in the press box. Also the Wild need that extra 4M to sign some good UFAs.
Cody; Soon. Although the rumors that Zidlicky would be headed to New Jersey might have been premature I think that is a likely landing spot for him.
Whew! We can breathe a sigh of relief that the Blackhawks finally won again. My question is, with the team all saying they'll be better off learning from this bad stretch, is there much truth to that historically? Do you ever remember any contending teams going through a stretch like that? I guess it could've woken them up but I'm not too comforted...
Mike; I think you'll know better in the next few days whether they gain traction from last night's win. They are in Columbus and then home to Detroit, St. Louis and Dallas. Joel Quenneville believes a stretch like this can make you stronger and it has happened in the past where teams that went on to playoff success have gone off the rails for long stretches (the Pens fired Michel Therrien in Feb. 2009 and won the Cup). For me beating Columbus is a given and then beating either Detroit or St. Louis and then Dallas, ie. going 3-1-0 or 2-1-2 or something like that would suggest corner turned.
QUESTION TO SCOTT BURNSIDE AT 2.15 PM CAN NASHVILLE BEAT DETROIT TONIGH
Ray; Yes. 4-3 in overtime.
what is it going to take in order to get a guy like ales hemsky. i think he'd be a great fit in a pens jersey
josh; Think Alex Kovalev from last year's trade deadline deal in a younger man's clothes and that's what you get with Ales Hemsky. Not my cup of tea although someone will likely be desparate enough to cough up a couple of draft picks for him.
I'm impressed with how Andy McDonald has looked since coming back. How important is he for the Blues down the stretch and in the playoffs?
Mark; He's huge. As will be the return of Alex Steen when/if he comes back. His delay in returning from a concussion is concerning but assuming Steen does come back it's like adding two top-six forwards at the deadline. The Blues won't be spending much money adding outside of their current roster so if McDonald can stay healthy and contribute consistently as he has since coming back that's a boon to a team that still has a shot at the top spot in the division and the conference.
Scott: Should the Caps be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline? We know they are only 3 points back, but they seem not to have bought into Coach Hunter's program and are treading water. Is there any realistic hope for this group, or does it need to be blown up?
KG; I'm not sure anyone can assess the Caps with the absence of Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green (neither of whom will play tonight versus Florida). Looks like Mike Knuble will be back in tonight and GM George McPhee says he's not trading him. Curious time though for McPhee who's always been bold at the deadline. This doesn't look at all like a contending team especially without Green and Backstrom. If I'm McPhee and there isn't a real surge starting tonight I'd look at unloading Alexander Semin and possibly Knuble if Hunter won't be using him and let the chips fall where they may come mid-April.
Hello Scott! What teams on the playoff bubble do you think SHOULDN'T try to be buyers at the deadline? I worry that teams like Toronto, Dallas, Ottawa, Minnesota and the like will think that they're closer to being a legit Cup contender than they are, and ship a young piece/prospect for a vet that won't really help them much. Agree/disagree?
Andrew; It will depend on the next few days and each team's situation. The Leafs can take on salary and not just for the season so they could take a run at a guy like Ryan Malone or Nash of course and that becomes a piece moving forward. But you're right on Minnesota as Chuck Fletcher will move Zidlicky (see below) and won't be looking at taking on salary given his team's slide. Dallas will also be pretty conservative I am guessing. Ottawa wasn't likely to add much if anything anyway (and they've started to win again) so expect them to be pretty quiet. Calgary will be interesting because there are a number of free agents Jay Feaster will want to try and move if they drop but they keep hanging around (two points back now). They're an interesting team to watch in the next week.
was lastnights loss to the blues the death of the playoffs hopes the isles had, or if they win there two games against Car and Ott over weekend can they get in?
Chris; Eight points out of 8th with a game in hand suggests being right on the cusp. They're tied with Tampa and the Bolts are sellers so that should tell you something. Not sure what Garth Snow would be looking to do, though, given that I expect him to sign P.A. Parenteau who has had a marvelous season. Nabokov perhaps but frankly only modest value given how few teams are looking for goaltending help. I would say beating Carolina and especially Ottawa would be must-haves if they hope to hang in the rest of the way.
What do the Flyers need to do to get better at home and does their stellar road-record mean good things to come in the Playoffs?
Norm; Well, they could get better goaltending and they could get healthy but I think those things will come. And yes, playing well on the road is going to be key to playoff success especially given that they will be no better than the 4th seed heading into the post-season.
Is my hockey team the best in the league? Also what do you think my GM will do at the deadline?
Mike; Interesting question especially given the previous one about the Flyers. I would say you might be the second-best team behind the Rangers and the best team right now in the west. But that 15-15-1 road record is a bit of a red flag for me. It's actually been something to help keep your team grounded I suspect during this great home streak you've been on. As for Mr. Holland I expect he'll provide you with a depth piece on the blue line like a Jaroslav Spacek or Bryan Allen type of player and maybe a piece up front. But he won't be blowing the doors off on a Rick Nash. Nope, he'll be waiting until the draft or July 1 before making the big splash.
the 7-2 dismantling of the Sabres last night HAS to be the final straw, right (for management of course, since even stevie wonder could see this team stinks)? Time to sell off, clear some cap room, and get some draft picks?
kurt; That was one ugly showing for the Sabres last night especially after taking a 2-0 lead. Problem is the Sabres don't have many obvious pieces to sell off. Paul Gaustad and maybe Derek Roy. But those players are likely to generate modest returns. Hard to believe a season that began with such promise will come to this. I am more curious about the moves that will be made after the season ends and whether Darcy Regier and Lindy Ruff both get another crack or if Terry Pegula demands a bigger sacrifice for a squandered year.
Scott, do the ducks make the playoffs this year? If they don't do they blow up the team or give it another go next year?
Brian; I'll tell you on Monday. They are in New Jersey tonight and Florida on Sunday. Two playoff teams and nearing the end of this monster road trip I think if they can gather three of four points they've got a legitimate chance. The good thing for them is that the Kings are in trouble and there's no obvious team that's in a better position to take a run. Regardless I don't think GM Bob Murray will be doing anything drastic to the line-up and will just chalk up a playoff miss as one of those things given the way they have responded to Bruce Boudreau.
Do you think Rick Nash is going to be moved before the deadline, or in the offseason? At which point does he fetch a bigger return?
David; I would say it's no better than 40% chance that Nash gets moved by the 27th given all the things that have to fall into place. More likely, in my mind, that a deal gets done at the draft before free agency as more teams will be involved and GM Scott Howson (or whoever is running the team) can leverage more assets.
Is it true the Sharks could give Columbus a better deal than LA for Nash? I'm hearing two top 6 forwards. Why would SJ do this?
Jeanne; I don't think that's accurate given the salary commitments the Sharks already possess. Plus picking up Dominic Moore I think will mean Doug Wilson turns his attentions to adding a depth defenseman.
Do the Kings need to make a change or if they get healthy, can they make a run?
Shimon; I think if they do not add some offensive punch they will miss the playoffs. That's why there's so much pressure on Dean Lombardi to get a deal done for Rick Nash or have a viable Plan B ready to go by the 27th.
Hello again Scott. Hal Gil to the Preds. That is all
Cody; Thanks, wanted to make sure I got this in but you're right Gill plus a conditional 5th round pick for Blake Geoffrion, Robert Slaney and a 2nd round pick in '12. A significant addition for a team that's already tough to play against. The Habs going for lineage in bringing home Geoffrion. Nice pre-emptive move by Nashville GM David Poile.
Scott, the Coyotes are on a good streak right now. Do you see them making the playoffs?
Tim; I do see the 'Yotes being there when the dust clears. Mike Smith is back in a real groove which is critical for a playoff berth. Problem for Don Maloney is that being under control of the league he can't do a deal that isn't dollar in and dollar out so he's a bit hamstrung in a way that most of his colleagues aren't.
Who do you think the Bruins will get at the deadline? Thanks.
Steve; I am guessing that Peter Chiarelli will be looking to add a defenseman for depth purposes; Hal Gill would have been a candidate. But maybe a Bryan Allen or Jaroslav Spacek. I see Rich Peverley went home with an injury but assuming no obvious injury holes a winger that could play up and down the lineup, sort of the kind of player he added last year in Peverley and Chris Kelly. Tuomo Ruutu might have been an option before his injury.
who's your norris trophy favorite?
J Hop; Tough, tough call. Here are my top five Zdeno Chara, Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Dan Girardi, Nicklas Lidstrom with Alex Edler right in the hunt, too.
Bernier and Johnson for Patrick Kane....Better deal for the LA Kings than Rick Nash..What do you think?
Tony; Don't think that's going to happen.
Does Carl Hagelin have a chance at the calder this year? Or who do you see it going to?
jonas; Hagelin has been terrific especially in the last 25 or 30 games but too far back of guys like Adam Henrique, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins even with his injuries, Matt Read and Cody Hodgson.
Where is Pavel Kubina going to end up? And any idea what D-men are the Sharks interested in and/or who would be a good fit in there?
Ben; With Hal Gill gone the attention will turn to Kubina who is to provide a list of teams to GM Steve Yzerman. The Rangers have to be a consideration given Kubina's connection to John Tortorella but I am guessing Chicago will have a say in this, San Jose a possibility.
Okay, folks, going to take in the Predators' conference call and see what else may be in store for a Friday afternoon. Let's do it again next week.