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

TC (Chicago)

Assuming they make the playoffs, is there any chance the 'Hawks make it through the first round without Toews?

Barry Melrose
  (2:04 PM)

Sure. They're playing pretty good right now. They seem to be through the worst part of their tailspin. They still have a ton of talent up front. Certainly they can win without him in the lineup.

Joe (St. Louis)

Barry, do you think Buffalo sneaks in the playoffs?

Barry Melrose
  (2:05 PM)

I don't think so. Washington is playing well right now. They're a better team right now.

Charles (MA)

Bruins flat out crushed Toronto last night...7 goals for the Bruins vs 7 shots for Toronto through two periods...in any event, my question do you think the Bruins may be starting to find their game again...last night had a bit of everything for them

Barry Melrose
  (2:05 PM)

I think winning has turned things around. That shootout win got them believing again. The Philly win was more important than the Toronto win.

Phil (Michigan)

Is there any teams that have stood out to you on the road lately that may have raised thier chances in the playoffs based on thier road play as of late?

Barry Melrose
  (2:06 PM)

Any of the teams that get in are capable of winning on the road, especially the teams fighting for the 7, 8 spots. Those are dangerous teams that can win on the road. The teams that get in the playoffs at the end have to play well down the stretch, which means road wins.

Garrett (NY)

Hey Barry what is your overall opinion of the Rangers and how do you see their season ending?

Barry Melrose
  (2:07 PM)

I don't think my opinion has change. They're still a great team. They played well last night. I think Pittsburgh will catch them for first overall.

Tom (St. Louis)

Barry, it seems that the Blues will be getting healthier in the next week or two. If they are at full strength, could they make the cup finals or will experience be their downfall in the playoffs?

Barry Melrose
  (2:08 PM)

I think they'll be a very tough team to play. They went out and got Arnott and Langenbruner, because they felt they didn't have the experience. Chicago won it without having any experience. Pittsburgh won it. I think that's an overrated reason why a team can't win it.

Joe (St. Louis)

Barry, the Blues are 29-4-4 at home. Where does that rank all time. Do you think they may possibly be the best team ever at home:?

Barry Melrose
  (2:09 PM)

The Blues have been impressive bascially all year long. Their GA is right up there. They give up nothing defensively. The Blues are for real.

Scotty (Western NY)

Barry - a lot of discussion on the refs letting clutching and interference return to pre-lockout levels over the last 2-3 seasons. Your thoughts?

Barry Melrose
  (2:10 PM)

No, I don't think that's the case at all. They still call it. It's not prevalent. You have a lot of people saying that's why there are a lot of concussions now because they don't allow that holding. I don't think it's prevalent.

Alex (Anaheim)

After watching games like last night, am I right that the Ducks have to be better next year?

Barry Melrose
  (2:10 PM)

I think they will be. The team that you've seen since the coaching change is much more like the team we've envisioned. They'll get a high draft pick. You won't see them slump like we did this year.

Jim (Nashville,TN) [via mobile]

With the return of Radulov, does that make the Preds a favorite to represent the west in the finals?

Barry Melrose
  (2:11 PM)

I think they are one of the favorites. They're a good club. They have good defense, good in net. If they get everybody back in time, they're awesome. Chicago is a good team. Vancouver is there. Nashville has improved themselves the last month, no doubt.

Wings' fan (WI)

It may be strange, but as a Wings' fan I don't feel worried. We will still make the playoffs (even if it's in 6th) and will give any team a run for it's money. I don't think any team in the top four would like a 1st round match-up with Detroit. Who do you think want us least? (and how far do you feel the Wings will go)?

Barry Melrose
  (2:12 PM)

It looks like Detroit will be 4 or 5, but they'll have to play a very tough team in Nashville. But they need healthy guys. Is Howard 100%? Any time you play Detroit in the playoffs, you're worried about them.

Ben (San Jose)

Speaking of, how about the Sharks blowing a huge opportunity to get into the 3 seed? And how does the mess that is the Pacific Division shake out at the end?

Barry Melrose
  (2:13 PM)

That was a tough loss for San Jose. They're in the outside looking in. They're not playing great. It's amazing we're sitting here talking about the Sharks missing the playoffs.

Joe (MO)

Do you think the Penguins are the best team in the league as of right now?

Barry Melrose
  (2:14 PM)

In the East. I would like to see them play the West teams. But right now they're the best in the East. Malkin is great. Crosby is getting better every game. Fleury is quietly having a great season.

Doug (PA)

Who do you think skates on a line with Crosby once the SC Playoffs begin?

Barry Melrose
  (2:15 PM)

I think they're not going to break up the Malkin line, so Crosby probably will be with Cooke, Kennedy, one of those guys. Staal has a great line. They'll try to make a very good second line with Crosby. Malkin's line is so good right now you don't break them up.

Cody (Mankato, MN)

Can we expect any world's most interesting analyst skits this year?

Barry Melrose
  (2:16 PM)

I'm hoping we do some more! They're fun to do and funny to watch. So I hope so.

Robert (Los Angeles)

Do you think the Kings will win the Pacific? Or miss the playoffs?

Barry Melrose
  (2:16 PM)

No. I don't. I think they're not playing consistent enough. On paper, they should, but they haven't shown me they can do it consistently.

Manny (Houston)

Caps-Wings game: Ovechkin got hit hard a couple of times during that game, and that seemed to fuel him. Haven't seen him play that well in a long time. Can he keep it up?

Barry Melrose
  (2:17 PM)

He better. This is the time of year that great players need to show off. Teams that are fighting for a playoff spot like Washington need that every night. Pittsburgh, Malkin's playing great. Chara's been good for Boston. Hartnell's been great for Philly. That's what being a great player is all about, doing it when it counts.

JP (Work)

Which team do you think has the edge on home ice for the playoffs?

Barry Melrose
  (2:18 PM)

I think St. Louis will win the West and Pittsburgh will win the East.

Steph (Moncton, NB, Canada)

What changes, if any would you do to the NHL playoffs ?

Barry Melrose
  (2:19 PM)

Well, in a perfect world, I would love every team play each team the same number of times and to have the best 16 teams make the playoffs with No. 1 playing No. 16.

Andy (Ohio)

Barry - how concerned should I be about the Wing's? A lot of injuries, slow-going towards the end of the season...will they go far in the play-offs?

Barry Melrose
  (2:19 PM)

They're going to make the playoffs. That's what he was talking about, I think. Are they one of the best teams in the West? No. I would put them behind Vancouver. St. Louis. Nashville. It all depends on injuries and when they get them back, if they get them back.

chad (vancouver)

Will Canucks Win the Stanley Cup this year?

Barry Melrose
  (2:20 PM)

The Canucks are a great team, though they're not playing well right now. They're capable of beating anybody. They're not as good as St. Louis or Nashville, but that can change in the next two weeks.

Will (Colorado )

Are the Avs goin to go after Parise or Suter this offseason?

Barry Melrose
  (2:21 PM)

The fans would love that, but the Avs don't spend to the cap. They don't pay $8 million over 7-8 years. Maybe that will change, but right now they spend more to the bottom than to the top.

Bryan (New Jersey)

Barry, after out shooting Colorado 42-20 and dominating most of the game against the Devils, do you think the Rangers are out of their small funk?

Barry Melrose
  (2:22 PM)

I like the way they played last night. It was a good test for them. I thought they played a reall good game. It was a good time to play the Devils.

Ben (San Jose)

Have you watched McGinn play on the Avs? He's been 1ppg production since the trade. I watched him when he was with the Sharks and I liked his style and was disappointed they traded him away. What's your take on him?

Barry Melrose
  (2:22 PM)

That might be the best trade at the deadline. Big body. He's got some skills. He was a big scorer in juniors. That trade looks great right now.

goldstein (New York)

Barry, Will Mason Biron see any more starts this year? What arerangers' cup chances?

Barry Melrose
  (2:23 PM)

I would probably think so. There's no need to not play Mason the rest of the year.

Andy (Philadelphia)

Hi Barry, do you believe Bryzgalov has finally sorted thigs out in between the pipes / in between his ears now? As a Flyers fan, I'm a bit concerned about a relapse in his play.

Barry Melrose
  (2:24 PM)

I'm going to watch and see the rest of the year. He's playing well right now, but I want to see him do it in the playoffs. I'll take a watch and see tact with him.

Matthew (Columbia, NJ)

Barry: The Flyers held Crosby in check on Sunday. Are more teams gonna look at the way the Flyers played defensively on him?

Barry Melrose
  (2:25 PM)

Crosby had a lot of chances and set a number of guys up. Philly is a really good team. They did not shut him down and not get any chances. He just didn't score.

Rob (New York)

How good of a job has Tortorella done this season. Very young team, dealt with adveristy the past week, managed to win a HUGE game against Devils and clintch playoff spot. How far can this team go in the playoffs? Do they have enough to get all the way?

Barry Melrose
  (2:25 PM)

John's a good coach. He's won a Cup. He's done a great job with the Rangers. The guys respond to him.

Matt (NYC)

Who do you think will be captain of team usa in 2014?

Barry Melrose
  (2:26 PM)

The Olympics will always be the usual suspects, but there's no guarantee that the NHL will go there. There's the lockout situation and there's not guarantee that the NHL will have players there.

Ben (San Jose)

Who do you want to see play for the Cup?

Barry Melrose
  (2:27 PM)

The best matchup? Pittsburgh against Chicago. That would be my dream matchup.

Tim (AZ)

Barry, who do you think gets the last playoff spots in the west?

Barry Melrose
  (2:27 PM)

In the West...I think Dallas will get third, so I think I will go by goaltending and I'll say Calgary and L.A.

Ian (Maryland)

Do you think the return of Niklas Backstrom gives the Capitals any more of a chance in the playoffs? If he returns do they have a shot to do damage?

Barry Melrose
  (2:28 PM)

It's basically the same as Crosby coming back. He's one of the best passers in the game. If he plays with Ovechkin, he'll see better passes and more of them.

GBK (Lincoln Park)

Barry, if there's another work stoppage, doesn't Bettman have to go? How many commissioners would survive 3 during their careers? It's ridiculous that it's even being discussed, especially since the last work stoppage is so fresh in everyone's minds.

Barry Melrose
  (2:29 PM)

Don't forget, the owners hire the commissioner. If the owners feel that the work stoppages were the right thing to do and they come out stronger, then they feel like he's done a great job.

Barry Melrose
  (2:29 PM)

Enjoy the next two weeks! They'll be great!