Greetings all. A week from now it will be crunch time on deadline day. Should be an interesting seven days. Now, where were we?
Do you think the Stars will make a move to get Jeff Carter?
Sean; I would be surprised if that's the route the Stars go unless they could get him for absolutely nothing. Even then not sure Carter is a good fit for that club.
Scott, last week you questioned in your "5 Things" whether the Columbus owners would really want Scott Howson as the man responsible for making the Nash trade when he created this mess and is likely on his way out. But remember...Howson now has long-time Pens GM Craig Patrick as his official "advisor." This is the same Patrick that made one of the greatest deadline deals ever (Francis, Samuelsson, Jennings for John Cullen and the immortal Zarley Zalapski) but also two of the WORST salary dump deals in recorded history (Jagr for Kris Beech and three other stiffs; Kovalev for Rico Fata and three other stiffs). So is his possible involvement in the Nash deal a good or bad thing? And is he in line to be the next Columbus GM?
Jesse; The presence of Craig Patrick in Columbus is a bit curious to say the least and not because I don't think Patrick lacks the hockey IQ to be involved but he has been removed from the hockey scene for a number of years and so not sure what he brings to the table in assessing what deals might or might not make sense for the Blue Jackets. More interesting is whether the status quo with Howson as GM and Patrick as advisor remains beyond this season. I would be shocked if it did but this is a team that still hasn't managed to win a single playoff game so anything is possible.
Hey Scott, how come more is not being made of Mike Richards' season? 28 points in 51 games for a player making over 6 million this year? No wonder the Kings offense is terrible.
Adam; Part of it is the inevitable eastern bias when it comes to focus and reporting (I admit it's something we have to work really hard not to be sucked into) and Richards was hurt for a time and really, his addition was meant as a boost in the playoffs. Of course no one imagined the Kings would be in such dire straights just making the post-season tournament. But you're right Richards' season like so many other offensive performers in L.A. has been very disappointing.
Scott: Depth wise, do the Flyers now have the deepest group of d-men in the East?
Matthew; I think that is fair. And if you're planning on playing hockey until late May or early June then that is crucial. The depth only comes into play, though, if your goaltending doesn't implode in the first or second round. I suppose, like in 2010, that a top-end defensive corps like those displayed by Chicago and Philadelphia can overcome ordinary goaltending but not sure you can count on that happening. Still, nice moves last week by Philly GM Paul Holmgren to address a need.
I think a bit too much is being made of the Red Wings' road mediocrity. Looking at some numbers from last season, Det won a mere 21 home games compared to a second best in the league 26 road games but still went 4-1 at home and 3-2 on the road in the playoffs. Van won a mirror 27 games at home and on the road but won 10 home playoff games compared to only 5 road playoff games. Nashville won a mere 20 road games(that is less than half by the way) last year and yet went 4-2 in road playoff games. The point is really that the equation changes in the playoffs and that should not be overlooked when looking at both home and road records.
Adam; Not sure I agree you can over-state the kind of streak the Wings are on at home. It's been incredible and it's created a great buzz in Detroit which usually doesn't get jazzed about the Wings til playoff time. That said it's a great point that regular season dominance (or futility) on the road or at home doesn't necessarily mean the pattern will hold in the playoffs. You're right, completely different game and patterns have to be re-established.
What happened to the Panther's? Everyone picked them to win the southeast at the all star break and end the playoff drought. Their still in first but they seem determined to self destruct when they have an opportunity to get some distance on Washington and Winnipeg. Do you see Dale Tallon making any moves before the deadline?
Steve; The Southeast Division is for sure a curious place. Big game tonight with the Caps and the 'Canes going at it. Getting Mike Green back should change things for Washington and really put the pressure on the Panthers but there's something missing for the Caps. As for the Panthers, I liked them to sneak into the playoffs from training camp but they've been banged up and they need guys like Kris Versteeg and Stephen Weiss to answer the bell now. Lots of veteran guys in that room and it's time to show a little push back for a fan base that has seen far too many late-season fades in the past decade.
2011 preseason power ranking had the Devils at near last. Now you rank them in the top 5 this week and have called them "The Real Deal". What will they need to do for the trade deadline and how far will they get in this year's playoffs?
Justin; The proof is on the ice, no? Pete DeBoer has got way more production out of that line-up than I imagined possible. Ilya Kovalchuk seems to be evolving into the kind of leader that he never quite seemed to be in Atlanta. Zach Parise has put all the contract stuff aside and remains the conssumate two-way player. Playoffs? Looks like they'll play either Pittsburgh or Philly in the first round (my guess at this stage) and that'll mean being able to put up enough offense to keep pace and hope Brodeur gives them the kind of edge in the playoffs that he hasn't been able to deliver in the last few post-seasons.
Who wins a seven game series right now. Vancouver or Detroit?
James; Right now I think it'd be hard to bet against Vancouver. They've got it all going on and even against a veteran squad as good as the Wings I'd have to give a slight edge to Vancouver.
Think James Wisniewski wishes he had taken less than market value to play in Detroit rather than the disaster in Ohio?
Tom; Quite possibly. Think the Blue Jackets wished they had spent their money more wisely, too? I think there's a lot of remorse up and down that organization. As there should be.
How good is Pavel Datsyuk right now? He destroyed Ryan Suter on the game winner on Friday night, and victimized Shea Weber from his stomach. Is he in the top 3 for Hart with Lundqvist and Malkin?
Rick; I would think Datsyuk is going to get a good, hard look for the Hart. And you're right on Malkin and Lundqvist being on the final ballot as well. The Sedin brothers may also make some noise but having won the last two that might open the door for Datsyuk especially given the Wings' record-breaking streak at home and his knack for producing the big goal, big play.
Did the Capitals make the right move by firing Boudreau and hiring Hunter, or should they have not fired Boudreau, or should they have hired a different person than Hunter to be their head coach?
Monsieur; Funny but I will be talking to Bruce Boudreau shortly about the run the Anaheim Ducks are on. That's not to say the Caps made the wrong move in making a coaching change. Sometimes it just has to happen. But what has been revealed is that the team had problems that clearly extended far beyond coaching. They are problems that haven't been corrected yet by Dale Hunter. Maybe they will and the Caps go on a long playoff run. Maybe they miss. But the Ducks under Boudreau have shown that he is a fine coach and one that is capable of getting maximum production from a talented team. Ducks have a bigger hill to climb to get to the playoffs but don't count them out.
I want Brendan Morrow on my team for our playoff run. What's my GM Kenny Holland have to give up to get him?
Mike; Doubt if Morrow is going anywhere. He's hurt and I think Joe Nieuwendyk understands that he's the heart and soul he needs in the locker room moving forward.
If the Blue Jackets trade Nash who's the favorite and why? Theory wouldn't it be fun to see Crosby, Malkin, Neal and Nash?
Patrick; Don't hold your breath on Nash coming to Pittsburgh although you're right, fun to imagine if you're a Pens fans. My guess is the Los Angeles Kings based on their desperate need for offense and the fact they have a decent young goaltending prospect in Jonathan Bernier and some good young assets to throw into the mix. Can't confirm that Nash even wants to go to L.A., though.
Any chance the Rangers can get Nash with out giving up Kreidler, Del Zotto or Mcdonagh? What would the be looking at giving up if they made a go at Jeff Carter instead?
Josh; No on Nash. And the problem with Carter, beyond his lack of durability, bad attitude and lack of playoff success, is that he becomes an issue cap-wise for the Rangers. Don't see that it's a good fit at all.
Is there anyway the Bruins can make a trade for Rick Nash that doesn't involve trading away Tuukka Rask? If not who are other forwards they might go after?
Matt; Don't see it happening. Just not a good fit for the Bruins in terms of the asking price.
Do you think the Ducks will sneak into the playoffs? If so, how far do you think they could advance?
Stephen; I do think the Ducks can sneak into the playoffs in large part because the teams in front of them don't represent a significant hurdle given current level of play. Kings are the key, I think, as they could improve their situation by the deadline and make it difficult for the Ducks. And there's still a long way to go but five points is completely manageable.
Do you believe the Blackhawks will be able to play well after snapping their 9 game winless streak even though The King did not play for the Rangers?
Ice Ace; For me yesterday's win over St. Louis after giving up the first goal was the telling part of their three-game winning streak. That win (plus obviously beating the Rangers Lundqvist or no Lundqvist) should help restore some of the confidence the team was clearly lacking. Also makes it easier for GM Stan Bowman to make a move because he's not making one out of desperation trying to halt a skid.
What moves should the Sabres consider as they look towards next year? And anything on the rumored Miller-for-Kane swap?
Jeremy; I hear that Kane/Miller stuff all the time and I just don't see it working on either side of the ledger. The last place you want to be if you're Patrick Kane is back home in Buffalo. And the Sabres should know that. I imagine Paul Gaustad will go and maybe Derek Roy but not a lot else that's portable.
What do you make of the road woes from the Blues? Is there a team that needs home ice in order to even make it out of the first round?
Andy; We talked earlier about how the playoffs are a different beast. Some teams actually prefer to start on the road in the playoffs because it's away from the family and the buzz that comes with a playoff round start. I expect the Blues will be fine with Ken Hitchcock getting them ready regardless of whether it's home or away.
Scott,As the losses continue, do the Bruins get more aggressive at the trade deadline? Who would you be looking to get and willing to give up? Thanks.
Mike; Not sure it's the losses so much as the uncertainty over guys like Nathan Horton and Rich Peverley. Both should be back but I expect the Bruins may be expanding the scope of their search for help up front to include perhaps a little more skill. Still, don't look for GM Peter Chiarelli to blow the bank in making additions regardless of the current swoon.
Are the Wings going to make any deals?
Chris; I imagine GM Ken Holland will look to add a depth piece up front. Lots of people have suggested Gaustad from Buffalo would be a nice fit and I agree. But Mr. Holland won't be rocking that boat too much before the playoffs.
Any news on Nicklas Backstrom? - looks like the Caps are going to have to win the division, and now they have the likes of Winnipeg to contend with, too.
Lorne; I saw GM George McPhee quoted the other day as saying essentially he has no idea about Backstrom's return. What a shame given how it happened with an absolutely cheap shot delivered by Rene Bourque. That's a play that could cost the Caps millions of dollars in lost revenues if they don't make the playoffs or make them and get bounced early. And you're right, the Jets are making things even more interesting in the Southeast. And don't take your eyes off Tampa just yet as a couple of more wins and more stutter-stepping from Washington and Florida and there'll be a log-jam at the top of the division.
Flyers still looking ? Are They done dealing ?
tim; I would think unless the Rick Nash thing suddenly came together (not sure how the Flyers' goaltending situation can help Columbus) I would expect GM Paul Holmgren has done his shopping.
Pondering the future here, but what is the likelihood that Suter is in a Preds uniform next year? Does Weber sign long-term? Ugh...are either of them gonna end up in Detroit?
Jason; I'm not sure how this will play out for the Preds and their two big defensemen. Can say with some certainty that GM David Poile won't deal Suter by the deadline and that he'll look to add a piece up front. Then, a long playoff run and everything looks different if you're Suter or Weber. Bottom line, though, is that if Suter (or Weber who will be a restricted free agent this summer) hits the market the Wings will be in the discussions for sure.
Hi Scott, should the Blues deal one of their goaltenders (including Bishop) to add offensive depth?
Saint; Ben Bishop is the obvious choice in terms of moving a goaltending prospect but has he shown enough that he is ready to be an NHL starter? Such a crapshoot as the Brian Elliott experiment showed this year to the Blues delight. Don't see Doug Armstrong moving either Halak or Elliott.
Do you think the Phoenix Coyotes could land in Seattle?
Andrew; I do but a lot of balls in the air for that to happen. First the league has to run out of options in Phoenix; may or may not happen; and then the Seattle thing has to move forward beyond talking stage and that will mean finding an owner that would be willing to buy team from the NHL and then work out deal with Mr. Hansen the hedge fund guy that is behind the project and the city regarding lease arrangements and revenue streams etc. And there is competition from Quebec City which has apparently got funding in place to build a new NHL-ready arena there.
I've been with the rangers through ups and downs. Now they wanna ship me to columbus! Any chance I'm staying put?
Brandon; Now you know how Jeff Carter felt. In fact you sound a little bit like him. Actually I'll be surprised if you're moved.
Going back to your answer on Justin(NJ) question, who win a 7 game series b/w the Devils and Penguins? Devils and Flyers?
Ice Ace;Right now I'd take Pens in seven over Devils based on depth along the blue line and depth up front (that's assuming no Sidney Crosby). And I'd take Devils in seven over Flyers based entirely on uncertainty over Philly goaltending.
Am i the only one that feels Rick Nash is highly overrated and over paid? Also do you see the Penguins moving Paul Martin with the depth of young defenseman in wilkesbar?
Nate; Not sure if I'd call him overrated but there are obvious questions about a guy that's played in exactly four playoff games in his career. But he's a top talent and you've seen it in action at the Olympics. Now, how does he fit long-term in a place like L.A. or New York or wherever? My sense is he's a good teammate and has been a good captain in a difficult place. This is the great unknown about moving a player like this who has had so little real NHL success; what is he actually bringing to the table?
Even with the fwd injuries to Peverley & Horton, I still say the Bruins make a splash by trading for Suter. Krejci, young roster forward (Caron?) and a draft pick should buy the rental. They can evaluate his fit during playoffs and still have room to sign him in the offseason. Top 4 D: Chara, Suter, Seidenberg, Ference. WOW
John; Don't think Ryan Suter is going anywhere right now. Maybe not at all.
Hey Scott, As far as making a move at the deadline, do you think the Wings will make a move or await the offseason? You know there is speculation that Brad Stuart may not stick around. And we all know that Nick Lidstrom is going to be an every year decision during the offseason. Just thinking that Suter may be an option if he doesn't sign with Nashville. Thoughts and comments?
Chris; Yes, speculation that Brad Stuart may be looking to return to the west coast. Not sure that will force Ken Holland's hand or impact what he does at the deadline. We all know that the Wings will have tons of cap room to spend this summer and this will be a time of great change for the Wings especially if guys like Ryan Suter and Zach Parise hit the open market.
Any news on the blues ownership issues? Could you see them trade ing Stewart. The man looks lost on the ice
Wit; Ownership looks like it's on track with the Stillman group but nothing imminent. And yes, Stewart has really struggled after making such an immediate impact last year after the trade. Possible trade but the problem is you don't get much back and you know he's capable of much more so my guess is you hang onto him and hope maybe his game kicks into gear in the playoffs.
Okay folks, thanks for stopping by. The entire ESPN.com hockey crew will be in Bristol for trade deadline so drop by and we'll do it again.