Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

March 29, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Barry Melrose

Jason (Columbus OH)

Fiill in the blank.... Toews return to the Hawks allows them to get to the (blank) round in the playoffs?

Barry Melrose
  (2:04 PM)

Oh, obviously, with him, they're one of the most talented teams in the NHL. Without him, they're still a talented club. If he comes back, we're talking legit Cup contender. If they're without him, I'm not sure Chicago can do it without him.

Matt (NY, NY)

In the East, Buffalo finishes 7th, Ottawa 8th, Caps are out. Agree?

Barry Melrose
  (2:04 PM)

I think Ottawa finishes seventh. Washington finishes out of it. But Washington has an easier schedule. Buffalo has a tough schedule.

Rich (Chicago)

Who would you rather have: Patrick Kane or Zach Parise?

Barry Melrose
  (2:05 PM)

Parise. Kane is great. I'd love to have them both, but Parise is more of a complete player.

Dave B in Stillwater, Minnesota [via mobile]

Barry, awesome mullet! What will it take for the Wild to get back to the playoffs in your opinion?

Barry Melrose
  (2:06 PM)

Well, I think they're close. Koivu was hurt most of the year. When they were healthy they were a playoff team. They need some more scoring. But they need to stay healthy moreso than anything.

Matt (Orlando, FL)

Barry, with the Rangers win last night against the Jets, do you see them holding on to that #1 seed now?

Barry Melrose
  (2:06 PM)

Yeah, I do. If you look at their schedule. They're three points up on Pittsburgh. They play one more time and that means Pittsburgh has to win two more games than the Rangers. That's tough.

Ice Ace (Alabama)

With the firing of Gauthier, who do you think will be the next GM of the Canadians?

Barry Melrose
  (2:07 PM)

One of the names out there is Patrick Roy. He would be perfect. I don't know if he's ready for it yet, but they need to make a splash. It has to be someone who speaks French. That's one of the names out there.

Dallas Tx [via mobile]

Where do you think Dallas will finish ?

Barry Melrose
  (2:08 PM)

I think they finish third. THat was a big win for them. Keri has been as good a goaltender in the NHL and has been consistent.

Steve (AB)

Are we going to see a full season of NHL hockey next year?

Barry Melrose
  (2:09 PM)

I'm a positive guy. I just think the NHL is doing great. The owners are making more money than they've ever made. Ratings are up. Attendance is up. I think so many things are too good for the NHL and NHLPA to be that stupid.

Rich (Chicago)

Who would win in a 7 game series: Det or Chicago?

Barry Melrose
  (2:09 PM)

I think Chicago would. Detroit is not playing well right now. They were bad last night. They're not good on the road. Right now, I think Chicago beats Detroit.

Bill A in Ventura, Ca [via mobile]

If the kings make the playoffs, what round do they make it to? If they don't, what big name do they get in the offseason?

Barry Melrose
  (2:10 PM)

If they get 7 or 8, they'll have to play St. Louis or Vancouver. They don't score enough. They're good defensive teams. Sedin is still out and that helps you against Vancouver, but with the Kings' lack of offense, I don't see them beating either team.

Ryan (QC)

Should Quebec City start planning a "Welcome back" party?

Barry Melrose
  (2:11 PM)

I would think so. With that new building and the success of Winnipeg and the success of the Canadian economy and Canadian dollar that the NHL would think seriously about Quebec.

Jason (Vancouver)

Playoffs!!! Playoffs!!! Playoffs!!! Which 1st round matchup are you most looking forward to watching and why? Thx.

Barry Melrose
  (2:12 PM)

I would probably say Rangers-Buffalo, because of the way Buffalo is playing. The way Ryan Miller is playing. That would be a great matchup. And I would probably say St. Louis-San Jose. Those are two rounds I'd love to see.

Ryan (Pittsburgh)

What is with Coach Bylsma continuing to give Paul Martin major minutes? He has shown all year long that he cannot defend or move the puck well, yet he is still in the top 4 pairings and get PP time.

Barry Melrose
  (2:13 PM)

If you're Pittsburgh, he's one of their better defensemen. He can skate. I know he hasn't had a great year, but they've had a couple of injuries and he'll have to play. They don't have anyone to take his spot.

Dave from Philadelphia [via mobile]

How far can the Flyers go in the playoffs?

Barry Melrose
  (2:13 PM)

The Flyers are a very good team. If Bryzgalov can play the way he has, they can beat anybody. The problem with the Flyers is they're going to have to beat three really good teams.

Bryan (New Jersey)

Devils will beat panthers in first round if?

Barry Melrose
  (2:14 PM)

If you look at it on paper, the Devils are the beter team. More experienced. They just have to play the way they do. Broduer has been playing well of late. I don't think that will upset if the Devils beat the Panthers.

Benjamin R. (Troy, OH)

Crawford or Emery for playoffs?

Barry Melrose
  (2:15 PM)

I think Crawford. He's been playing pretty good over the last two weeks. He seems to have settled down, not giving up soft goals.

William G. Jacksonville fl [via mobile]

What is up with pens? Are they mixing up lines too much and messing up chemistry? Go Pens!!

Barry Melrose
  (2:16 PM)

They played against a team the other night they thought they could beat without working. That might cost them the No. 1 seed, but it could help them. Show them they have to work hard every night even if they're the Penguins. They're all right.

Steven (REno)

WHo wins the Pacific Barry?

Barry Melrose
  (2:16 PM)

Ooohhh....I think Dallas.

Jim (Wair)

I feel that Philly can upset Pittsburgh in a 7 game series, do you think 's possible?

Barry Melrose
  (2:17 PM)

Sure. Sure. Playoff hockey is basically a pick 'em. Both of these teams are capable of winning on the other's home ice.

Ben (San Jose)

If the Sharks miss the playoffs or get ousted 1st 2 rounds will someone get traded away (if so, who?) in the offseason (McLellan and Wilson aren't on the hotseat as they shouldn't be)?

Barry Melrose
  (2:18 PM)

We saw a pretty big shakeup last season. They tried that. If you have a team like San Jose and you miss the playoffs, something has to happen. There will be a coaching change or some players traded.

bobbyd (washington dc)

Red Wings have no competent goalies behind Howard as we can see. MacDonald did great for a spurt, then fizzled. Conklin is DONE. Who do the wings target as a back up?

Barry Melrose
  (2:19 PM)

If Howard can't play, they'll have some issues. If he's healthy, they'll be fine. But if he's out, they're not as deep there as other teams in the West.

CJH (Washington, D.C.)

If the Capitals miss the playoffs, could they possibly trade Ovechkin? They clearly need to rebuild and they should do it without him.

Barry Melrose
  (2:19 PM)

No, I don't think so. He's the face of the team. He's the head of the marketing campaign. He's the face of the Capitals. I think they'd try many other things long before they trade Ovechkin.

Benjamin R. (Troy, OH)

Rick Nash. Where does he end up for next season?

Barry Melrose
  (2:20 PM)

I think they'll try and trade him this summer. If they don't get what they want, they won't. They need to get an unbelievable deal for him.

Tony (Ottawa Ontario)

Do you think that Daniel Sedin's injury is helpful or hindering to the Canucks playoffs?

Barry Melrose
  (2:21 PM)

It will hinder them. You can't lose one of the great offensive players in the world and not effect your team. Plus it effects Hendrik. It's something you can't not miss. It will effect Vancouver.

Rich (Chicago)

Who is not in the HHOF that should be?

Barry Melrose
  (2:22 PM)

Ooohhhh. Good question! I'd have to do some research on that. And take a little time. I'm sure there is, someone that I think should be in there that isn't.

Kyle (ON)

What are the chances Ottawa makes it to the Eastern Conference Finals?

Barry Melrose
  (2:22 PM)

Slim. Their future is ahead of them. Their young players are untested. Making the playoffs is a good story. That's a heckuva year.

Pat (WI)

Do you think the Blues goalies will share time in the playoffs or will we see Halak get all the starts? Wouldn't it be a huge help to not have your goalie play every other night especially when both are doing awesome?

Barry Melrose
  (2:23 PM)

I think Halak will be given the ball. But I don't think they have any problem going to their backup.

Baconator (AZ)

Do we find out what happens to the Coyotes sooner if they miss the playoffs?

Barry Melrose
  (2:24 PM)

I think it will take a while. The NHL preference would be to keep it in Phoenix with a new owner. I think it will take some time. It won't happen in June.

Ross (Vegas)

The Kings are scoring goals now. They can and will beat any western team out there. Why is is that Kopitar never gets Selke consideration. He is a top defensive forward at least as good as Datsyuk!!!! Those who vote need to watch himm play!!!!

Barry Melrose
  (2:25 PM)

I think they'll make the playoffs. It was a big win for them last night. They are starting to score a little more. They get great goaltending last night. If they can score, they will be tough int he playoffs.

Brent (ON)

who do you think will win the Vezina trophy this year

Barry Melrose
  (2:25 PM)

You'd have to give it to Lundqvist. If you look at the year for body of work, I don't think any goaltender has been that good all year long.

Casey (Rockville, MD)

Has Dale Hunter done enough to deserve another year as head coach of the Caps, or will they go in another direction?

Barry Melrose
  (2:26 PM)

If they miss the playoffs I would think they'd start from scratch.

Sam (Indianapolis)

Is Malkin going to take home the MVP this season?

Barry Melrose
  (2:26 PM)

I think so. If you look what he's done consistently, night in and night out, it's hard to think of another player who's been better.

Doug (Pennsylvania) [via mobile]

Are the pens the team to beat in the east?

Barry Melrose
  (2:27 PM)

I would say the Penguins are the best team. The Rangers are just behind them. Then Philly and then Boston. Those are my top 4.

Rich (Chicago)

If you could have one goaltender playing right now going into the playoffs who would it be?

Barry Melrose
  (2:28 PM)

It would be Lundqvist. He's playing better than anyone else. He's been solid all year long. Fluery's been great as well as others, but Lundqvist has been the most consistent.

Barry Melrose
  (2:28 PM)

Five games left. It will be an unbelievable ride to the finish@