Greetings, folks. Fighting a nasty cold but will persevere and give it 110 percent.Let's go
I might come off as a homer but how can Erik Karlsson be the front runner for the Norris when he doesn't even kill penalties? Their is another great candidate in the STL Alex Pietrangelo who's in the top 5 of every major stat and is not even getting a sniff!
Karlsson being so far ahead of everyone else in offensive production is why he's getting a pretty good look. Personally, I think Shea Weber is easily the best blue-liner in the NHL. And yes, Pietrangelo will definitely be on my official Norris Trophy ballot when I send it in to the NHL
The Rangers are hanging tough despite Pittsburgh's hard charge. Will they end up with the 1 seed?
yes I think the Pens losing at home to the Islanders last night blew it for their chances to take first place... I know the Rangers and Pens play once more, but as long as the Rangers stay 3 pts ahead, they should be ok
Sharks with Havlat: 22-9-3Sharks without Havlat: 17-18-7So with him, they are as good as the Blues, without him they are as good as the Maple Leafs. Obviously, there is more to it than just Havlat, but team health is a huge issue. The organizational depth just isn't there. They are completely healthy right now (knock on wood). If they stay healthy, are they back to being who we thought they were, or will their inner Maple Leafs re-emerge?
Mike, good work there.Definitely Havlat's return has brought balance to their top six group. Joe Thornton told me last week his team really missed that while Havlat was out. All four lines right now look like the pieces fit. They looked unbeatable vs. Colorado the other night. But you're right, they've been so inconsistent all year long, hard to get too exited yet. Need to see that kind of effort for at least a few weeks before we can officially declare the Sharks ''back."
Pierre! Blackhawks fan here... Something encouraging that I've noticed recently is that Corey Crawford's positioning has been so much better than it has been earlier on in the season, including shootouts, which was a huge concern. A bounce back game against Nashville also shows his confidence is high mentally as well. Great sign! Thoughts on his play as of late and down the line?
I was talking to a Hawks front office source last week and he mentioned one name when I asked about Chicago's turnaround in the past month: Corey Crawford. Sometimes, the game is that simple. The kid has shaken off whatever sophomore slump has afflicted him. He looks confident now, sure of his angles and positiioning, doesn't seem to be fighting the puck nearly as much
Good Afternoon, Pierre. I just wanted to check and make sure that Mr. Burnside is doing okay after the Sharks jumped into the pacific division lead. He must be devastated.
Hahaha, Scotty just gives me a hard time because I pick the Sharks to win the Cup every year and it aggravates him, haha
I'll be there to start my playoff travels week of April 10 !
Do us spoiled Red Wings Fans really be concerned for when Nick finally retires...I'm starting to get nervous with all the sports writers saying to sell our stock and be concerned...
Steph, Nick Lidstrom is one of kind. For my money possibly the second- of third-greatest defenseman of ALL-TIME (Bobby Orr, Doug Harvey). You just don't replace those dudes. So yes, there will be a sobering moment when he retires, whether that's this summer or the one after that... But the Wings have massive cap space this summer and I know they covet BOTH Parise and Suter. Doesn't mean they'll get either one, because lots of teams covet those UFAs-to-be, but I know the Wings plan on being super aggressive int he off-season to fill some holes...
Did the penguins blow their chance for the number one seed in the east with the loss last night?
In my opinion, yes
Does Brandon Bollig keep his spot next year as the Hawk's tough guy or does the return of Carcillo and a possible free agent signing trounce his chances of staying with the big club?
I'd say Carcillo's re-signing hurts him
with the devils lack of scoring will they be able to hang on to the 6th seed? and if so do you think they will be able to get out of the first round?
Florida-New Jersey first round. Book it.
Now that the Sharks are the 3rd seed by one point, can we except a article by you of how great the Sharks are and how it would make your life if they won the cup?
hahahaha, touche. I don't think I need to write it. I think people already know it :)
I want the Rangers in the 1st round. That team is a fluke and nowhere near as good as they are in the standings right?
The Rangers are not a fluke, they play a tremendous team game, very responsible, blue-collar worth ethic, etc...But as far as No. 1 seeds go, yes they are beatable. I think Rangers fans know that. Hey, it's 2012 in the NHL. As a GM told me the other day, there's honestly hardly any difference between the top dozen teams in the NHL. Stay healthy, get hot goaltending, get your guys believing, and get a few breaks. There's your Stanley Cup recipe of the cap era.
I know everyone rides the Pens bandwagon because of cheapshot Crosby, but wouldn't a Rangers v Penguins East Final be a historical event?
Megan, cheapshot Crosby? Mercy, you anti-Crosby fans find new ways to go after him.Take a pill folks! if you got a chance to get to know the kid like we have in the media, you'd have a totally different appreciation for him. He's a throwback in so many ways, unreal work ethic, work, work, work, work.... Anyways, done ranting. yes, Rangers-Pens in Eastern Conf final would be terrific series.
Just read the details of Jason Zucker's entry-level deal with Minnesota. Why on earth would they burn a year of inexpensive service time for five games of this year (if he's even healthy) when they're not in the playoffs? I get that they want to stagger their contracts so they're not all up at once, but this just seems strange. Why let a guy get to RFA a year before it's necessary?
You answered your own question: They have so many young guys coming, they don't mind the stagger.
Pierre, What is with all of the goalie hoarding going on in the NHL? I can't think of another time in the league's history when so much goaltending talent was concentrated in a select number of teams. You have legit NHL starters who are now back ups in some cities. Don't you think it is time for teams like LA, Van, STL, Boston etc. to use their depth in net to actually make their teams better? Last I looked, you can still only play one goalie at a time.
Jay, terrific observation.My bet is Boston and Vancouver made goalie trades this summer, and possibly LA. St. Louis will keep both is my bet
With the devils struggling to score and with Deboer changing lines up shouldn't the devils move kovy back to left wing instead of right wing? why haven't they yet?
David, not sure it's really that significant anymore which wing these star players play on. They're so used to playing everywhere. I don't think it's that big a deal either way
Do you believe that the Capitals will make the playoffs after Miller and the Sabres won easily last night?
Bonjour Pierre. Great work as always. We all know Vancouver's goaltending situation beyond this season. Everybody is talking about trading for Schneider, but if you're Brian Burke, do you talk to Vancouver about Luongo instead? He might be cheaper to acquire and I would assume Vancouver wants to keep Schneider more, barring a cup win by Luongo. What are your thoughts?
I mean it's not a crazy question, Nick. The playoffs for Vancouver will go a long way towards determining what the Canucks do in the off-season with their goaltending situation. If Luongo has a great playoff, hard to see them moving him ... But if Schneider supplants him in net during the playoffs, then yes, maybe it's Luongo they try to move. His contract is cray long (signed through 2021-22) but the cap hit ($5.3 M) is manageable
....and that b.s. L.A. point scored by Doughty against the Blue Jackets is becoming larger and larger, like an infected mole on your boss' nose, that you want to forget about, but the inevitable running into him throws it right back in your face; like the republican primaries' candidates, whose speeches make you vomit, but changing the channel bring only a temporary relief because whereever you go, they find you and hit you when you least expect it; like.....................
Um, Sergei, please put the bottle down now
IF (big if) the AVS win out, do they make the playoffs?
yes, if you're telling me they're going to finish with 94 points, I'll give them a playoff berth :)
Pierre, St. Louis has struggled to gain respect this year even though they have the best record in the league. Was last night's 3-0 victory over the red hot Nashville Predators a statement game for the best team in the league?
It's funny you say that because I was thinking while watching that game last night that perhaps more people would realize they're not a fluke.
Should the Sabres complete this turn-around and make the playoffs, do they have any chance of knocking off the Rangers or Penguins in the 1st round?
I like their chances better vs. the Rangers... Miller/Lundqvist saw each other off and then Buffalo's superior balanced scoring could be the edge... although the Blueshirts play a better defenseive game... would be a tough series either way
Impressive win, and run, for the Sabres. How big do you think the Erhoff injury is? Ruff said he will "miss some time".
Hard to know at this time of year. Ruff said he would miss some games... he leads the team in minutes per game so that's a pretty big injury
Playoffs: Elliot or Halak? How long/short of a leash would you have on the No. 1 goalie for the playoffs?
No bad choice but given Halak's 2010 hero resume in Montreal, hard to go against him
Hey Pierre! I am going to the Atlantic City craft beer festival this weekend. I can't wait!!! What's the latest on Sedin? Will he be back at all for the playoffs? Thanks!
Enjoy ! Canucks have had no update so far on Sedin
Gotta give some serious credit to Lindy for keeping the squad focused and taking them on this late playoff push. But how about the patience and trust of the front office not to react to the vitriol of Buffalo fans and give up on Ruff and Miller when the club was failing? Amazing turnaround.
All good points. Pegula showed his smarts as new owner not to panic
Pierre, how do you see the Western conference playoff seeding playing out? Specifically the Det/Nsh/Chi factor. Also, what are Nashville's chances of bringing home a Stanley Cup?
I have it as Det-Nash in first round, Chicago plays Pacific Div winnerAnd yes, Nashville has a shot...
Dear Islanders,Thank you!Love, Rangers Fans
Ouch, low blow to your fellow NYC area residents !
Do you think there will be any surprises in the Eastern Conference Playoffs? I see some first round shockers in the cards.
Sabres could surprise someone
What will keep Rick Nash in CLB after they been giving a "lack-luster" performance? Anything?
He's not staying. He will be traded in the off-season
How dangerous to you think the devils can be in the playoffs and could you see them making a run to the finals if the offense gets going again?
I like them to beat Florida in the first round but that's about it, Team isn't deep enough to have a long run
As a Caps fan, is our season done? I know we have five games left, but the Sabres are hot and Florida pulled a good bit ahead of us with a win last night. Is our only hope the downfall of Ottawa?
Not looking good... Very perplexing to have such a brutal effort in such a big game at home last night. Red flags abound.
Did the Rangers make the moves at the deadline to go after Parise? I really hope not, if they land him that team will be dangerous with Gaborik-Richards-Callahan-Parise-Dubinsky-Anisimov.... Please tell me he's staying in New Jersey.
I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that the Rangers indeed will be among the long list of suitors for Parise come the off-seaosn
Detroit finally starting to get healthy again and Hank Z has returned to his normal, elite self. Western Conference has to be worried about a rested Wings team.
How do you think the Panther's will react to their first playoff appearance since Clinton was president? Do you think some of the ring holders on the team will anchor the squad? Will it be excitement or stress for the cats?
My fear for them, and I'm thrilled to see back int he playoffs for the first time in 12 years, is that they're going to be ''happy" to be there... that's a classic symptom of teams that get in for the first time in a long time
Pierre, great stuff as always on the blogs. Makes my work day managable. As of the current league standings, which two teams make it to the finals, and who takes home Lord Stanley's Cup?
Thanks Ryan, you sure you're not in Buffalo right now? haha.Oye, so hard to predict the Cup finals.... ask me again once regular season ends. Still debating internally
Obviously too early to be sure, but is it fair to say Nyquist could be anywhere from a 70-90 point player?
Need to see more before I can make that leap of faith
With the Maple Leafs late season collapse, they are now in position for a top 5 pick. Unless they win the lottery and select Nail Yakupov, there are some interesting players they could draft. Do you think they draft for need and trade up for that top C in Grigorenko or select Faska or Galchenyuk, or do they take the best player available even though it may be on the blue line, something they are deep with in their system?
I can tell you this: Burke caught Grigorenko in action last week while scouting him...
Lets talk Bruins. Is the Boston team from last year? What do think their chances of a repeat are? It looks like Horton is done. I really love what seems to be their first round match up in the Senators, but boy does the road get dicey after that. Thoughts?
My guess they make it to the second round and lose
How big a deal is it Quebec City has broken ground on a new arena? Do the 'Yotes go there next year and play in Le Colisee until it's ready? Or do the Islanders move there after their lease expires (coincidentally in the same time frame as the completion of the new arena)?
I mean they certainly needed to build a new rink to ever have a chance to get a team. But as far as the NHL is concerned, nothing has changed good or bad concerning its view of Quebec City
over or under 6 coaches get replaced at seasons end
So Bryz was playing great, then the hockey gods realized that the playoffs are around the corner - and what is playoff time with Philly panicking about the goalie. What do they do now?
Holmgren says he won't be out long
rank your top-5 norris candidates plz
I know what makes a cold better.POUTINE!!!! So since you think the pens wont get 1st. that means they are bound for a head to head with philly in rd 1. Who wins? and should we be concerned about the amount of starts MAF is getting???
Good point, I should go buy some poutine.I would take Pens over Flyers
The Atlantic has got to be the toughest div in the leage this year with 4 teams making it in to the playoffs, you agree?
Atlantic and Central are both unreal
With the return of Alex Radulov, and the experience of making it out of the 1st round last year, are the Nashville Predators actual contenders or just pretenders?
What's up with the Avs? Poor coaching or young team that just doesn't know what it takes yet?
young team. They're going to be fun to watch for a long time
Pierre, so let's say you are the Wings/Hawks, and it's the last day of the regular season. If you win, you get the 5 seed and a likely date with Nashville. If you lose, you get 6th place and whatever team wins the Pacific. In that scenario, it seems like both teams would favor 6th place, and rest a number of starters since both teams have a number of injuries.
If San Jose wins the Pacific, not sure how much of a ''break" that is for the sixth seed, especially when you consider the Sharks having knocked out Detroit the last 2 years.
A Philly fan wants the "fluke" Rangers in the 1st round...When's the last time the Flyers beat the Rangers anyway?
Good point !
Pierre, if you were the NHL awards sole dictator, who would be the goalies on your Vezina ballot? The consensus is that Lundquist will win with Rinne second. But who is third on the list...Quick or Fleury? And if you expand out to five, then who is fifth....Luongo, Lehtonen, Smith, Kiprusoff? Give us your top 5.
With the Jets basically out of the playoffs, I am lest to ponder their offseason. Is there any chance they make a run at Parise? They will have cap room and we need to put pucks in the net. He also seems like a nice kid which our ownership likes in their players.
Can't see Parise wanting to sign in Winnipeg The Jets are going to have to get used to the ''Oilers treatment" when it comes to UFAs. Most of the high-end UFAs won't want to sign there
Do you see Luongo or Schneider getting traded before next season?
Do you think that the NHL season too long? Has there been any talk of shortening it?
Shortening it would cost both the NHL and NHLPA $$$$$
God help the team that has to face the Blues in a seven game series. They need to be sure to stock up on energy bars and Red Bull.
haha, true enough
Do the stars pull it together and make the playoffs this year?
Wow. Whats up with Sergei... must be delusional from the temperature. Pierre, what do the Panther's need to do to clinch on Tuesday night at home? I think that would be great for the fans, (and me)
Protect the puck better. They've been sloppy of late in their own zone.Honestly, I'm thrilled to see the Panthers back in after all these years. The loyal fans in South Florida deserve it
2012-2013. Will I be with the Knights or Caps?
Pierre - Mon ami! Another year, another non-playoff appearance by the Maple Leafs. What do you think is the most important thing for Brian Burke et al. to address in the off-season a) the horrid atmosphere at the ACC due to all the suits, b) getting a real goalie (i.e. Luongo, Schneider, Rask?), c) trading for Rick Nash, d) Getting a good centerman, or e) Folding tent and moving the team to Quebec City?Merci et j'espere que tu sens mieux!
1 _ get a goalie2 _ get a No. 1 centre.Both will require a trade, which won't be easy (UFA market weak)
Hey Pierre, it seemed like Lundqvist was a lock for the Vezina as of a month ago, but his play as of late has sort of muddied the water a bit. Any chance Jonny Quick gets some Vezina nods? The fact the Kings are even mentioned in the playoff race is thanks to him. They've lost nine games 1-0. NINE!
The NHL's 30 GMs vote for the Vezina, not the hockey writers... so always hard to predict how the GMs view this... Gotta think Lundqvist will get it still
hahahahahahahahaha....Thanks for a good laugh, Pierre! All I was trying to say that the point they got in the "extra" time is getting bigger by the game and IMO will cost some team a trip to the post season.
ah, I see :)
Hey Pierre, big Devils fan here. I just want to know if the Devils finally have a coach for the long run. I like Peter DeBoer. What are your thoughts on DeBoer and the possibility that he stays longer than this year.
yes I'm a big fan of Pete's as well. He's a keeper
Assuming the Blackhawks stay at the 6 seed, is there any team they should be hoping to not get the 3 seed?
Hello Pierre! Would be kind enough to give me some french lessons?
Oui, pas de problemes :)
Can we go back to whites at home? Could you try to bring this up at the next GMs meeting?
I don't have that much power :)
salut Pierre..l'arrivee des Nordiques est bien en avril?selon tout ce qui se trame presentement dans la NHL
Rien de decider sur ce dossier... pas encore...
Talk about the Pens all you want, but last night alone was a glimpse into how good the Isles can be when they have their young guns firing on all cylinders. What do they need to do to contend for the playoffs next year?
Must improve their blue-line
Where do you see the NHL expanding in the future, if they expand at all?
Seattle/Quebec City and a second team in Toronto area _ those are 3 markets that could get a team over the next decade in my opinion
Looking a head to the offseason for a second, it seems like the Flyers will once again be in cap hell as they try to resign some big name members of their team (Carle, Jagr, Voracek). How do you see that shaking out for them?
Really depends on what new CBA brings us
Do you think Matt Read has a legit shot at the Calder?
Landeskog will win it
Why so much love from LeBrun & Custance for the Sharks? They haven't proven to me over the last several years that they have 1 ounce of guts needed to step it up. Their team is great on paper, but they're flopping just like the Caps.
So back-to-back conference finals I guess means nothing
If people are going to whine about Clockgate with the Kings, why can't I whine about the fact that the Kings had to play 2 "home" games in Europe to start the season. One more actually home game would be mighty nice this time of year...
Blame your own owner (AEG). It was because of AEG Kings played two ''home" games in Europe
If Letang had avoided concussions and stayed healthy all season, he'd be on your Norris list, right?
This is for the Wild fan who asked me about Zucker signing earlier in the chat. I emailed Wild GM Chuck Fletcher and here's what he responded as to why they wanted him to join the team now:''We simply wanted him to get some NHL experience this season to better prepare him for next year. We aren't too concerned about burning a year of his contract. It is a fairly common practice these days. And since nobody has a crystal ball, it is difficult to predict what impact this decision will have on Zucker's free agency rights. We are comfortable with the decision obviously," Fletcher said via email
OK folks, let's do this again next Wednesday.Cheers all