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March 22, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Pierre LeBrun

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:58 PM)

Greetings from Toronto, cool cats, let's rock

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Do you think that Mike Rupp should be Suspended for throwing a Punch so Hard that a Devil was Bleeding?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:59 PM)

Um, no, that's the risk you take when you drop the gloves

Lane (NYC)

Aren't superstars elbowing unsuspecting superstars in the head for more damaging to the league than fights off the face off? If the Devils and Rangers meet in the playoffs, how many times will that fight be used in promotional material from the networks televising the games?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:00 PM)

I know most fans loved that line brawl. But I have to be honest as a journalist: I thought it was stupid. It had zero bearing on the final outcome.TRUTH.

Mike (Ithaca NY)

Pierre, assuming my Caps sneak into the playoffs as the #7 or #8 seed, who do they match up with best amongst Boston, NYR, or Pittsburgh? Could they win a series or 2 with a healthy Nick Backstrom?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:01 PM)

I really don't like any of those matchups for them.Backtrom returning could certainly change things for them. He's their MVP and best player. But it's not clear at this point whether that's going to be the case. The Caps have told me they want to be incredibly careful with him having the long term in mind

mikey (allentown, pa)

How aware are the players and owners as to what another Lockout would do to the NHL? I feel like Hockey has made huge strides over the past few years and is really making good moves to compete with baseball and basketball (not quite football) Do they think they would be able to rebound as well as the NFL did? I dont believe the NBA is anywhere near where they wanted to be. Thanks

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:02 PM)

It's a fantastic question, Mikey. I know both sides want to avoid a lockout. But at the same time, they are key issues (which I've written about before) that both sides will want to address. Talks haven't begun yet so it's hard to predict how things will go... but at the very least my sense is that training camp is in jeopardy and possibly beyond... Hopefully I'm wrong

Corey Berwyn Il [via mobile]

How far do you think the Hawks will go in the playoffs?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:04 PM)

With a healthy Toews, they're as good as any of the top teams in the West. Without him, I can't see them reach the finals

Mike (SJ)

Now that the Sharks are done, I'm trying to decide who to pull for in the playoffs. I decided there would be absolutely nothing cooler than seeing former Nashville assistant Brent Peterson lift the cup. I think every fan whose team is out of it should get behind the Preds this year.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:05 PM)

haha, you're only two points out buddy ! I spoke with Joe Thornton this morning for a Sharks blog which will run later today. Make sure to check it out.

Evan (Pittsburgh)

The Canes keep on winning, but for them to legitimately contend next year they need to get someone besides Staal and Skinner to put up some goals consistently. Considering the cap space they have to round out the roster, they should make a serious run at Nash. Him and Staal played together in the Olympics and each has been looking for a legitimate wing/center to play with for some time. They would almost instantly become the best center-wing combo in the league, not to mention one of the largest.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:06 PM)

Evan, totally agree they need another big fish to score goals. My colleague at TSN, Darren Dreger, reported during our Insider Trading segment last night that he believes Carolina has eyes on both Zach Parise AND Ryan Suter _ at least in terms of making offers....

Terry Billard (ST john;s NL)

what are 3 things that the HAbs need to do to get their team in the Playoff again?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:07 PM)

Hire a new GM.Hire a new coach. Acquire a true No. 1 center.The first two are do-able. The third? Not so easy.

Tom (LA)

If LA continue to play hockey like they do now, do you think they can go far in the playoffs? If they don't make the playoffs do you think the CBJ will choose the 2012 or 2013 1st pick from LA? I read that McKenzie considered this as a weak draft.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:08 PM)

yes is answer to your first question.as for what Columbus does, Jackets haven't had their draft meetings yet so hard to predict at this point. The thing you have to balance is that while this may be a weak draft, you also have to assume that LA might be higher in the standings next season? Thus, a lower pick? Tough call

Matt Cooke (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pierre, let's talk elbows. Last year I elbowed NYR Ryan McDonaugh in the head at about this same time of year. He was not hurt on the play and yes I was a repeat offender. I got suspended for the rest of the season (14 games) and the first round of playoffs...the kind of "statement" from the league that everyone applauded. Shane Doan just elbowed Jaime Benn in the head. He was not hurt and yes Doan is a repeat offender. He got suspended three games. Then last night Keith did the same exact thing to Sedin...and Sedin apparently WAS hurt. Yet in the daily debate you recommended Keith get suspended 2 games. I know everybody hates me while Doan/Keith are star players and "good guys"....but come on, man!

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:08 PM)

Matt, I don't think we can compare any player with your track record.But congrats on turning around your career the way you have.Is this really you??? (just kidding)

Andy (Richmond, Va.)

It seems a lot of people are starting to compare this year's Pens team with the '09 team that won it all, and even more seem to think this team's better. What I think gets missed or glossed over, however, is that Hall Gill and Rob Scuderi were absolutely pivotal in that playoff run, and the Pens don't seem to have a similar pair of defenseman who can clamp down on a team's top line. Who in the current defense corps do you think can step into that kind of role and take away the time and space that even a team like Winnepeg was able to generate on Tuesday?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:09 PM)

Great, great point on Gill/Scuderi.My colleague at TSN, former NHL blue-liner Aaron Ward, said last night during our telecast that while he loves the Pens as a contender, the blue-liner is where he feels they are vulnerable.I think you're bang on Andy

Ray Shero (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pierre, how lucky of a GM does it make me to say that my team replaced the best player in the world with....the best player in the world. Only to have the original best player come back and (for the time being) now have the two best players in the world. Have we ever seen that before? Oh wait, we have. It happened for our same team between 1997 and 2000.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:10 PM)

You are indeed a man with a perma-smile these days, Ray

Paul (Denver)

How do you feel about colorados playoff push, do you think they'll make it? Also do you think this is hejduks last year (sadly)

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:12 PM)

Really impressed by that young core. Ryan O'Reilly deserves so much more national attention. The dude is a two-way stud. Landeskog will be my first-place vote on my official NHL Calder Trophy ballot.Varlamov answering his critics.Only thing I don't like is 9-2 record in shootouts. it inflates their record.

Kevin (Toronto)

Help!! I love hockey and my Leafs. Can this team be saved with the current pipeline of prospects? It seems that aside from Jake Gardiner, we are overvaluing what we have (as we always do in Toronto) and are capped out salary wise.I think we should go after Suter and Parise and jettison whatever salary necessary to get it done - either in the AHL or give the players away. Then we can sprinkle in the prospects without putting undue pressure on them. Any chance of this?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:13 PM)

The Marlies are having a real good season and there are kids there making a difference (Colbourne, etc)Leafs need to address two main areas:_ goaltending_ No. 1 centerNeither easily fixable this summer with a weak UFA class. So you have to make tough trades, and use some of those kids to get it done.Not easy whatsoever.

Kris (Cleveland)

Pierre; looks like my Poutine comment has caught on! I am a very long suffering Leafs fan and had a question for you; what do you think about the Leafs going for Luongo? Would he be a fit for the Allaire style? Do you think Vancouver would want to dump him so they can keep Schneider?Second question; St. Hubert or Scores????????Merci et a bient tot!

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:14 PM)

First of all. St. Hubert.How the Canucks fare in the playoffs _ and Luongo himself _ will answer whether or not he's ever in play this summer. Until then. no use guessing

Dave (Buffalo, NY)

Am I crazy to think that if my Sabres make the playoffs the best matchup for them would be the Rangers and not the Pens or Bruins?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:15 PM)

agreed. Two great goaltenders saw off. Not a terrible matchup although i would still pick the Rangers

Jay (Medfield, MA)

I read in the NHL draft blog that Justin Schultz (Anaheim property) could become a free agent this summer, is this a al like Blake Wheeler signed with the Bruins? What is the incentive for Schultz not to test free agency? It seems like a no-brainer to me to see whats the best out there. How does he compare to another top D prosepct Doug Hamilton?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:16 PM)

My TSN colleague Bob McKenzie reported last night during our Insider Trading segment that he believes there's a real good chance Schultz will be UFA July 1 and not sign with Ducks... If that happens, i can tell you he'd be in HUGE demand

Andrew (Allentown, PA)

If you are the Flyers, aren't you sort of hoping for the Penguins to overtake the Rangers? I mean, best case scenario, the Flyers somehow overtake both and get the number 1 seed, but that's just not too realistic with 9 games left. I'd much rather play the Rangers in the first round than the Penguins at this point in the season.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:17 PM)

um, YESPenguins are the class of the East if they stay healthy.Flyers would much rather face Rangers even though NYR have handled them pretty good this year. Still beats dealing with that Pitt juggernaut

Steven (Reno)

Hello Pierre,As a sharks fan, I am close to the edge. They have always tormented their fans with the talent and skill, but eventually falling short. However these torments have come at the end of April or early may, never at the end of March!!! I still refuse to believe what is looking like the inevitable: this team will miss the playoffs. They just have too much skill and talent. Please tell me I am not crazy and my beloved sharks will sneak into the playoffs.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:18 PM)

As Joe Thornton told me this morning, San Jose controls its fate. 2 games vs. Phoenix left, 2 games vs. LA, 2 games vs. Dallas, 1 game vs. Colorado _ all teams they are chasing.(plus 1 game at Anaheim)Sharks will only have themselves to blame if they can't pull it off

Kenny (Chicago)

Do you think the Canucks are crying again by sending Daniel sedin home to see a "spcialist" so Duncan Keith recieves a stiffer penalty by The Shannahammer? Alex Burrows is a Piece of garbage Imo

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:18 PM)

Keith deserves to be suspended for that elbow. Plain and simple. My guess is 2-4 games

Jay (Denver)

Pierre, Can we stick a fork in the Wings? Notwithstanding the inury excuse, they look very, very, very disinterested in playing hockey right now. Their recent defensive mistakes are very unprofessional for a team with their experience.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:19 PM)

Nah, too early to write off those guys, too much talent and experience

Dennis (Tacoma )

Pierre, Who own Yotes??-Dennis

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:19 PM)

Da NHL

Ice Ace (Alabama)

We know that Daniel Sedin will not play against Dallas. How long do you think he will be out of their lineup?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:20 PM)

Spoke with Canucks assistant GM Laurence Gilman about 2 hours ago and he said they didn't know extent of damage yet. Sedin will undergo further medical evalution over next day or two to determine severity.

Nate Wachter (Pittsburgh, PA)

You're Dan Bylsma. To make your top 3 lines, you will (ideally) have Sullivan, Dupuis, Staal, Kennedy, Cooke, Kunitz, Neal, Crosby, Neal. What are your lines once Crosby can again play 21+ min/night?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:21 PM)

Great problem to have, as Bylsma told us last week in New York. If it were me, I'd go like this once Sid is ready for full work load:Sullivan-Malkin-NealDupuis-Crosby-KunitzCooke-Staal-Kennedy

Daniel (Boston)

I think the opening brawl between Devils/Rangers directly lead to the fast pace of the opening five minutes and subsequently the Ranger's first goal.A certain someone claims I must be on drugs for having this opinion. Am I?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:22 PM)

oui monsieur

Willy / Delaware [via mobile]

I think Lidstrom's long layoff makes him face mortality (even for him!) and he retires at the end of this season. Hopefully not, because he is still beautiful to watch. Your thoughts?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:22 PM)

I just wonder how much the Winter Classic being in Detroit plays on him or not... tough to tell. I have no feeling either way right now

Jimmy Neal (Pittsburgh)

Have you ever witnessed a playoff race where the 4 seeds from both conferences are Cup favorites like this? This has to be a game where all eyes from all over the league are watching.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:23 PM)

Best parity the league has ever had. That's the point of a cap system (like the NFL). The talent gets spread around and you don't have 1-2 teams totally dominating over everyone else.People may thin it's a cop out but I'm telling when I speak with GMs, they honestly believe ANY of 16 teams who make the playoffs have a shot at a long run. Any of them. PARITY

Willy / Delaware [via mobile]

Hi Pierre. How great of an addition has Grossmann been in Philly? Stabilized the D and playing big minutes. I don't think it is a coincidence that Bryz started playing out of his mind a short while after Grossmann arrived.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:24 PM)

He's been huge. Great shot blocker, he's a beast out there. Look at how he played Malkin last Sunday. Terrific shutdown guy. What a pick up for Philly

William (St. Louis)

Can the blues hold on to the #1 spot in the western conference given their struggles as of late and with key injured players on the mend close to coming back? Any news on return of Steen, Mcdonald, Russell, or D'agostini?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:24 PM)

yes, Blues will hang on to first in my opinion. Vancouver isn't pushing very hard

Mark Bell (Cincinnati OH)

Pierre, a writer in Pittsburgh recently said that having Malkin and Crosby is the closest thing the hockey world will ever see to a Lemieux and Gretzky on the same team. Your thoughts?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:26 PM)

It's funny we were debating something similar off air at TSN last night.... I mean Messier-Gretzky in Edmonton in the '80s was pretty amazing... Lemieux-Jagr in Pitt.... Sakic-Forsberg in Coloardo.. Yzerman-Fedorov in Detroit... Hard to beat Malkin/Crosby though

Kev (NYC)

Do you think the Pittsburgh is the lock in the East chatter is a little premature? The Rangers have been in first all year long, just beat NJ and DET and when Pitt won in NY, Hank had the flu...Plus there's no guarantees to Sid's long term health...

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:26 PM)

I do think Pitt will win the East but Rangers showed me a lot last night vs. Detroit. Really impressive performance

Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)

Pierre, which of these Stanley Cup Finals rematches would you most like to see this year? Boston-Vancouver (2011), Rangers-Vancouver (1994), Pittsburgh-Chicago (1992), Pittsburgh-Detroit (2008/2009), Philly-Chicago (2010), New Jersey-Detroit (1995), Philly-Detroit (1997). I asked Burnside the same question and he said Pit-Det Part Trois. Please don't give the Lebrunian non-answer of "any of them" or "san jose versus anyone."

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:28 PM)

San Jose versus... oh wait, can't do that :)the Finals I want to see is Pittsburgh-Nashville. Two great travel towns for hockey writers :)but of those you listed, I'll take a '94 Canucks-Rangers rematch

Jim (Vancouver)

What are the Canuck's chances if Dan Sedin is out for any length of time?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:28 PM)

They can't win a Cup withtout him, that's for sure

charles (ri)

Pierre, do you think that the Ranger Devils mele was largely blown out of proportion? i think that the NHL polices itself is great and i think fighting should stay in hockey. this pails in comparison to what happened with teh NO Saints IMO

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:29 PM)

agreed. Line brawls happen once or twice a decade now in the NHL. Fighting is down 30 percent from three years ago (which is good).

Ross (Vegas)

Pierre: The Kings are scoring and they are winning! Amazing how that works. Does the Carter trade really mean that much? Can the Kings continue this? And is Gagne cominig back this season to really add to their depth?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:30 PM)

Here's my take on Kings:Carter obvously has been important but also call-ups like Dwight King, Jordan Nolan and Slava Voynoz. It's as if all these new faces filled a hole in their own respective way. Everything ''fits" now on that roster.

Roger (Vancouver)

I read your chat with burnside today. How can you guys truly believe that Keith deserves only 2 games for his blatant cheap shot to the head of an unsuspecting player? The hit was interference as well as late which cost Aaron Rome 4 games in The SCF while his was 1/2 second late but this happened without the puck anyway near Daniel. As well Keith has a history of premeditated hits as we saw him hit matt cooke in the head in a game (12-5-2009) after being hit. Isn't this the type of hit the NHL is trying to remove? and if so shouldn't Keith get a bigger suspension that 2 games to avoid another Bertuzzi situation?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:31 PM)

Given that Doan got 3 games for elbow on Benn and he has a long rap sheet than Keith, anywhere from 2-4 games would make sense based on Shanahan's line of thinking for Keith

Ian (NYC) [via mobile]

Do you like John tortarella? And what are your thoughts on Brandon Prust

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:32 PM)

Yes I've got lots of time for Torts. Good man and great coach

Jay (Great State of Texas)

I has been a great thing to see what the Stars have done this year. Where do you see them going from here and what do you see happening in the playoffs, if and when they make it.

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:33 PM)

Fantastic story, really. I remember Joe Nieuwendyk telling me during my training camp tour stop in Dallas in September, ''We're better than most people think."He was right

Austin (Colorado)

The Avalanche are playing excellent hockey of late, as they try to sneak into the playoffs. The teams that are in "playoff mode" already just to get in are often dangerous once the playoffs start. Which team out of the Avs, Kings, Coyotes, Sharks, and Flames do you think could make the most noise in the playoffs if they get in?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:35 PM)

Kings for sure are most dangerous of that bunch.Sharks if they get in could be intriguing if only because of their back-to-back conference finals trips; they know how to play playoff hockey.Thing is, the way they're playing right now, not sure the Sharks will make it in

Jason (New York)

It's funny that Henrik will get MVP nominations where Ryan Callahan can be argued as just as important as Hank has been. Obviously I understand that the Rangers wouldn't be half as good without Hank, but the difference between Callahan in and out of their lineup can be seen just as much. Agree or disagree?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:35 PM)

agree. Callahan such an underappreciated player on a national level

Ronjon (Melbourne, Australia)

Hi Pierre,What do you think about the future of the Sharks? Are these latest few months a sign that the window on a championship has closed, or is this just a blip on the radar?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:38 PM)

Ronjon, thanks for joining us from Down Under.I want to see how the Sharks finish off this season before I answer that. It will be very telling of where they are as a team how the play their final nine regular-season games and possibly playoffs

Dan (Kansas City)

What is up with the Hawks this year? Which team will we see come playoff time?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:39 PM)

The one you're seeing now. Crawford has regained his confidence. Team is playing tighter in front of him

Tom (Chicago)

Still think Drew Doughty is the best defenseman in the NHL, as you did last spring?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:40 PM)

Never said he was the best. Just said he was among the best. The best defenseman in the NHL, bar none, is Shea Weber of Sicamous, British Columbia, Canada

Matt (NY)

Do you think the league should differentiate between "fighting" and "brawling." I think fighting should be legal, but brawling should get you tossed, at least. One fight at a time is safe, and the refs can make sure nobody gets hurt. Two fights is very dangerous. You already get a harsh penalty for being third man in a fight, why not also get a harsh penalty for being the second concurrent fight?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:40 PM)

NHL GMs tried to bring in a new rule to curb out ''staged fights" three years at GMs meeting but NHLPA via the Competition Committee nixed it.

Rich Pilon (Long Island)

Pierre, what do you think of my statue that was unveiled outside the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh last week? Just kidding. When they build the Lebrun Statue in Hearst, ON....what pose would you like depicted? You in a suit in the press box with a pencil behind the ear typing at a laptop? You on the set of Hot Stove with that two-piece detachable helmet on? Or you in your Lumberkings sweater with mullet down to your shoulders doing air guitar to a Bon Jovi song with chest hair blazing?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:41 PM)

I don't know who this is, but you've pretty much nailed by life story.LOL

Cappy (NYC)

Pierre- B's have a little californication the next 3 games and play some pretty motivated teams, do you think they'll hold onto the 2 spot in the East?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:41 PM)

yes

André Obin (Boston)

Do you think the Bruins can hold on for the Northeast Division title?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:43 PM)

oui

Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles)

You reporters need to consider me for the Selke trophy!!!!! I am the best two way forward in the league!!!!!! The KINGS will win the cup this year!!!!!

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:44 PM)

You have been heard LOUD AND CLEAR !!!!!

Ben (San Jose)

If the Canucks ride Luongo to the Cup, does Corey Schneider get traded in the offseason?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:44 PM)

yes

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:44 PM)

yes

Pete (Milwaukee)

Does Justin Schultz sign with the Ducks?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:46 PM)

Just a guess: no.

Matt (DC)

Hi Pierre, nice blog on Radulov today. You (like a good reporter) kept the story to the Preds perspective. What do you think? Will Radulov adjust back to the NHL game or be a step or two behind? Thanks!

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:46 PM)

I predict he's going to rock the house. He's going to make an impact.

Mike (Chicago)

Do you believe Daniel Sedin will recieve any type of punishment for his hit on Keith earlier?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:54 PM)

This could change but at this point my information is no, Sedin not facing anything for that hit. But again, this is a fluid situation, league office gathering all the info as we speak

Sean (NJ)

So what do you think the majic number is for the Panthers to keep the course and finally end their playoff drought? Odd feeling speaking of them and playoffs from a fans perspective feel's nice

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:55 PM)

I think 92 points would clinch it.... Great to see Panthers back in after 12-year absence. 12 years !

Sergei (sick, at home in Madison)

Hi, Pierre, I hate this new climate thing. It's driving me crazy! Anyway, I am getting this uneasy feeling that the Wings might miss the playoffs altogether. What's going on?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:57 PM)

I can't imagine they'd miss the playoffs, Sergei. I think your fever is giving you crazy thoughts.What's happening is Nick Lidstrom hasn't played in a few weeks !!!!!!!!!!!!

Matt (DC)

Any chance Chris Krieder suits up for the blue shirts this year? If he's willing to leave BC, he can't be any less productive as the Rangers 4th line

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:57 PM)

It's a possibility, not a certainty, but a possiblity, yes.

Pete (NJ)

Should, God Forbid, Parise walk the end of this season, how do the Devils attempt to fill that void, do they throw their hat into the Nash mix, or keep the cap space and hope for some home grown talent will step up?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:58 PM)

I think homegrown will be the way to go... nothing on UFA market... Nash trade would drain a franchise too much

Dev (Ottawa, On)

What % do you have the Sens making the playoffs at this stage? Do you see either or both Washington and Buffalo passing them?

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:59 PM)

I got the Sens at 90 percent chance making it

charles (ri)

Pierre, would you rather have Malkin or Stamkos

Pierre LeBrun
  (2:59 PM)

Crosby

Pierre LeBrun
  (3:00 PM)

OK folks, lots of fun as always. Hawks and Canucks fans, I want you guys to kiss and make up before the playoffs.Until next week, les amis