Greetings all. What a first week of the post-season. Gee. Wish something had happened. Now, where were we?
So far, the Blues have looked like a far better team than SJ. If things hold up the way they are, who would you pick between STL and LA?
Tom; Nice bounce-back by the Blues after a disappointing loss in Game 1 and I think that's Ken Hitchcock's influence right there. The Sharks were flattered by the final score in Game 3 and it'll be a challenge for San Jose to come up with a much better effort in Game 4 or this could get over in a hurry. If the Blues do get by the Kings represent almost a mirror image. Tough to play against, not particularly dynamic offensively and great goaltending. But there are no easy paths through the west.
Your thoughts on the Penguins playoff run so far?
B.; Run? More a whopper tumble. Credit the Flyers for never quitting and for punishing the Penguins for virtually every mistake.
As a Flyers fan I would like to know how many games off Neal and Asham are getting?
Shawn; Still no decision although I understand Neal has had his hearing(s). My guess is Asham will get six to 10 given his history and frankly the fact he is a minor player. Neal is a repeat offender and the fact there were two incidents I am guessing one game. But this is the NHL so guessing is really what it's all about.
There is an APB out on Tyler Seguin, has anyone seen him?
Brendan; He's not the only one, really, as the Bruins have been slow to get into playoff gear as they were a year ago. And while Seguin had a terrific regular season remember he really had limited exposure during the playoffs last spring. New game, new pace and maybe this is a young man still learning to get to that level. And it's early.
Did you view Andrew Shaws hit as "dirty"?
Mike; That was a tough one, I thought. He's coming with speed, tight quarters behind the net but he does make contact with the head. I thought the call on the ice was correct and probably enough especially given that Mike Smith appears to be okay.
How do most of the "experts" feel now after most were handing the Stanley Cup to the Penguins?
Matt; We feel shame.
If the canucks and the pens both go down like its looking right now, who are the two new picks to be in the stanley cup finals....? being that the two top picks are both going to be done already.
Bill; Always a bit of a mug's game to start counting teams out when the series are still ongoing but if no Vancouver and no Pittsburgh I don't think that necessarily creates any more clear choice for a Cup winner. Way too early, I think.
Cleanest played series yet?
Joe; Sad commentary as it really takes a minute to come up with New Jersey Florida. And they're just two games in.
Weber suspension = 0 gameCarkner suspension = 1 gameHagelin suspension = 3 gamesAnd the list goes on.......What is wrong with this picture?
Jason; It's a pretty big mess. You can go back into the regular season with the inconsistent message sent by Brendan Shanahan and the discipline department but for me this all went off the rails when Shea Weber wasn't suspended for his potentially dangerous hit on Henrik Zetterberg. Had he given him a game Shanahan could have used that as a sliding scale that might have made sense. Now everything is out of whack. Brutal.
After watching the caps v bruins games, I do believe they are going after Backstroms head. While I know this is not something that players will acknowledge, I think they are. What have you seen?
Phil; We were watching last night and it did seem Backstrom's head did get a little more attention than usual. And I think you probably saw his lashing out at Rich Peverley as a reflection of that.
Do you think Washington made a mistake by "poking the bear" last night? Seems to have woken the Bruins up. Also your thoughts on Dale Hunter saying the B's are going for Backstroms head? Seems to be trying to save his star from a suspension for match penalty, no?
Jeff; A good follow-up on this series. The Caps need to get better goaltending if they're going to stay with the Bruins. Braden Holtby was very good in Games 1 and 2 although I still don't like the OT goal by Chris Kelly. Tim Thomas isn't going to give you much margin for error. So I'm not sure that it's so much the Bruins woke up. They're a good team and good teams get better in the playoffs.
Do you see the game tomorrow between the Flyers & Pens getting out of hand like game 3? Also how do the refs keep control?
Shawn; Sometimes in these situations when everyone is expecting fireworks the emotional level takes a dip. Having said that have no sense of what to expect. You would think that the Penguins and especially Marc-Andre Fleury are a fragile bunch which makes you wonder if they'll crack at the first sign of adversity.
Both the Preds and Wings have been playing hot and cold with the only difference being Pekka Rinne. If Rinne stays hot, do you think this series is over in five? Wings have been playing a bit of uncharacteristic desperate hockey and its shown in their trips to the box.
Jay; Never a wise move to start counting out the Detroit Red Wings but obviously they'll need to be better and more disciplined in Game 4 or the Preds will be difficult to keep from closing this out at home in Game 5. Rinne's been solid, though, and the longer that goes the greater the frustration for the Wings.
Say the Flyers end up advancing(anything can happen), do you think Bryz is going to be okay? I don't think all the goals scored on him have been his fault to be honest.
Bryan; It's been a weird series in so many ways but Bryzgalov hasn't been required to steal a game other than perhaps Game 1 when he was solid after giving up the three-spot in the first period. He's been just okay in Games 2 and 3 and that's been more than enough. Not sure how that helps him when he faces a team like New Jersey or Boston or the Rangers down the road.
What do you think the future holds for Roberto Luongo? After his epic collapse in last seasons finals, his unbalanced play this season, and his poor showing against the Kings is it time to hand the reins over to Cory Schnieder?
Ryan; Great question especially with the Canucks looking like they're going for the high dive in the first round. Not so easy to have a guy like Luongo as your backup though and is there an NHL team that would take him on given his track record in big moments? Maybe there is but the dilemma is certainly significant given that right now Cory Schneider appears to be their best goaltender not just for this playoff year but for the future.
Mr. Burnside, are you already counting out the Capitals? Have you seen how well they move the puck on the power play? Do you really think that they won't be able to get penalties from the Bruins if they keep cross checking their faces each game? I still say the Caps are in it.
Tim; Not counting them out at all. But you can't count on getting three or four a night on Thomas and we saw last night that that's the challenge when your goaltending goes ordinary in the playoffs.
Brian Boyle - where has he been all season? He's having a monster playoffs, and his effort along with Lundqvist standing on his head like he did last night could help the Rangers go a long way.
ASN; I think the Rangers, like the Bruins last year, are going to need that kind of production throughout the spring. Big body, made a nice play on a loose puck and that was the Rangers needed (oh yeah, and about 40 terrific Henrik Lundqvist stops). More nights like that, though, from Boyle et al ensure a long spring.
I realize you picked Florida to beat New Jersey in six games. After the two teams split in Florida, do you still feel the same about your prediction?
Dre; I don't feel any worse about it. Both games have been interesting as each team got out to a 3-0 lead and then hung on for the win. Kovalchuk had a great chance to tie Game 2 late and couldn't while the Panthers seem to get their legs under them after a brutal start to Game 1. Obviously winning on the road will be a challenge but people forget how many guys the Panthers have who have significant experience at this time of the year. Still at least mildly confident this prediction might be proven right.
Who has been the most undersung performer in the playoffs so far?
Sean; Dennis Seidenberg has been terrific for the Bruins as he was all through the playoffs last year. Sean Couturier obviously in the Pitt/Philly series. Patrik Berglund has been good.
Will I show up in the playoffs this year?
Marian; No doubt. I have noticed that you are doing lots of things that don't get attention but are important and then you'll suddenly have a three-point night. This, by the way, a tremendous hockey series.
So if u were the kings who would u rather see in the next round, Detroit or Nashville. I personally would pick Nashville. Also do you think Jeff Carter is going to show up in the playoffs as well
zubin; Right now I think Nashville is the more dangerous of the two clubs given their defense and goaltending. As for Jeff Carter I'm not sure where his health is at but I've never been overwhelmed with his play in the playoffs so that that question is asked and might continue to be asked isn't a big surprise to me.
Will I be suspended?
Nick; A lot of debate about that here at the Flyers' practice facility today. My guess is that it's a fine based on no injury to Peverley, no history of this type of behavior and because it's Nicklas Backstrom.
There's no shame if Pitt loses to Philly. But, the way they're losing and the chippy tactics, could this series be a legacy-killer for players like Crosby and Malkin? Crosby really looks like a punk - he's no Steve Yzerman.
Mitch; No question this has been a humbling experience for the Penguins. And I think it's the kind of thing that will force GM Ray Shero into some soul-searching in the off-season about how the team is constructed. A bit early to be talking though about whether this might tarnish a team's legacy or the legacy of guys like Malkin and Crosby even if they would like to have this one over again.
time to trade geno cant play when he not #1 head case whats your take
scott; If you're going to shake up this team I am guessing that would mean trading one of the big three centers. Not sure I agree that Malkin can't play when Crosby healthy. Saw in '09 playoff run that wasn't the case. In fact both were terrific. By default wonder if that means Jordan Staal becomes available? That's assuming the Pens don't mount a Flyer-like comeback.
What kind of ceiling are we talking about this Flyers team not just for this year but the next 4, all the rookies are great then you look and see Giroux, Voracek, Simmons, JVR (when healthy), are all under 24.
Dan; Sky's the limit really. Now, it's always interesting to see how top end or top performing rookies respond in their second or third years as there is often a drop-off (hello Steve Mason) but GM Paul Holmgren has done an admirable job in assembling a team that looks like it will be a handful for years to come although I will insert the obvious caveat that this is assuming the Flyers have somewhat consistent goaltending.
Andrew Shaw suspended THREE games. Really?
Jon; I must admit that seems a bit harsh. Guess he should have just smashed Smith's head into the glass and written a check for $2,500.
Is Paul Martin tradeable? I mean, Scott Gomez got moved, so there is some hope?
Suburban; No doubt Paul Martin has and is struggling. Loved him in New Jersey and he was a lock to make the U.S. Olympic team in '10 before he broke his arm. Thought he and Z. Michalek played well last year, too. But it hasn't been pretty this year and the playoffs have been worse. That said defensemen are at such a premium especially one that has shown to be a capable puck-mover so maybe there would be a market for you.
After St. Louis sends San Jose packing, how much of this Sharks team will remain for next season? Can we finally get rid of Niemi, aka "Lurch," and Patty "No Show" Marleau?
Jimmy; Lots of soul-searching in San Jose, too, if the Sharks can't bounce back and go in the first round. Clearly the goaltending has to be addressed given Niemi's average play for long stretches this season. To Doug Wilson's credit, though, he always seems to find terrific young talent to fill in the gaps and so maybe it does become time to move a piece like Marleau and spend some money somewhere else. But let's not close this series out too quickly.
Think the league will make moves to ban brawling? Two people fighting is manageable by the referees. Any more than one fight at a time is unsafe, and should result in an instant game misconduct. There. problem solved.
Matt; That's sort of the basis of the ejections of Timonen and Letang in Game 3, second fight starts on the same stoppage of play automatic ejection.
Why should the NHL take injuries into consideration? Doesn't that just open the door for exagerating injuries, especially if the hurt player is a lessor player than the player potentially getting suspended? Just punish the action. A dangerous play is a dangerous play regardless of the outcome of the play.
How do you think Kreider looked last night? Seemed to take a little while to adjust to the speed as well as the Rangers defensive philosophy, but I thought he acquitted himself well.
Adam; I struggle with this because it certainly doesn't seem fair Nicklas Backstrom misses half a season while the same kind of play may only leave a player missing a shift or two. But I agree that the act itself and the potential to do damage has to be a key factor which is why the Weber non-suspension remains so indefensible.
Jerry; Hard to get a real sense of it on TV but I thought he looked good. Sure is a big one, no?
Okay all, back to the hotel to write up a piece on Max Talbot and prepare for Game 4. Thanks for dropping by. Let's do it again next week.