Greetings all. Have made my way from Philadelphia to Washington and will be headed off to Boston tomorrow afternoon for Game 7. So, where were we?
Hey Scott is there a reason why every year you pick the Devils to either not make the playoffs or if they do lose in the first round
Matt; Just one of those things. And while I'm not counting the Devils out in spite of the Panthers' 3-2 series lead the Devils have won just two playoff rounds since the lockout.
Scott with the final 4 in the west looking like it will be St. Louis, Los Angeles, Nashville, and Phoenix, who do you now see coming out on top of the west?
Allen; Not ready to count the Blackhawks out yet in what has been a terrific series (minus the suspensions of course). But regardless of which of those two teams move on it's hard to pick a clear favorite. The Kings will be a mirror image of the Blues with their strong goaltending and tenacious defense. Same if it's Nashville and Phoenix although the Preds might have a slight edge on the offensive side. Put 'em all in a hat and you're as likely to come up with a winner.
Why do you think this year has had so many upsets and more potential upsets in the first round?
Danny; I think it's just the nature of the league right now. It's so hard for one team to be dominant from one year to the next let alone over the course of two or three years. Makes you appreciate what Detroit and Pittsburgh accomplished in getting to the final two years in a row in '08 and '09.
Scott: Long-time suffering Coyotes fan here. Since '97, they've lost seven games in which they could've advanced to the second round, including four in overtime. That feeling of dread and disappointment is back. Please give me some reason for hope.
Shane; Well if there's reason to hope it's that the Coyotes have Mike Smith and the Blackhawks have Corey Crawford. In an achingly tight series that might be all the difference the 'Yotes need to move on.
Will Holtby be able to steal game seven from the Bruins and advance the Caps to the second round?
Jim; What a David and Goliath storyline that would be if Holtby can unseat the defending Vezina and Conn Smythe winner in Tim Thomas. For me Holtby's ability to not let the odd bad goal derail him has been most impressive. In my opinion, though, the Caps have to score first in Game 7 if they want to prevail.
Isn't Vancouver in a big mess with their goalie situation going into the offseason? How will they move that albatross of a contract that Louongo has?
John; It's not just the Luongo contract but Mike Gillis also has David Booth and Keith Ballard deals that weigh heavily moving forward. But Luongo is the key. Would Toronto take him? Would he go there? What about Tampa? He's had success in the Sunshine State (well, relative success I guess). No easy way out of it for the Canucks.
Did Fleury lose the series for the Pens?
Mark; Not at all. Was he very good? No. But he faced a ton of quality chances, the PK was terrible, very sloppy in their own zone and they couldn't close the door early in the series when they might have got the Flyers on their heels.
As a diehard Rangers feel, I'm not feeling confident about tonite. Anything that you can say that would change my mind? They need to score 3 goals and I dont see that taking place.
Joshua; Not sure what I can say other than the Rangers have all the tools to get this done. Of course they've had the tools all series (except for Hagelin's three-game vacation). Problem, I think, is that the Senators have so much confidence now, doesn't matter if they give up a goal they believe they can get back in it. And as solid as the Rangers have been all year they don't seem to have the push-back to get the Sens down and keep them down. Still, won't be shocked at all if we see a seventh tilt at MSG.
Scott, I don't know about you, but I think Brendan Shanahan's statement that he believed what James Neal said about the Couturier hit being an accident is incredibly naive, especially considering the guy turned around and took another head-shot on Giroux on the same shift. I know the guy has a tough job, but come on. Neal was selling a bridge and Shanny bought it.
Norm; I thought two games would have been more just given that the Neal situation really involved two players and both had a predatory nature to them.
Overtime tonight in Chicago?
Nick; Does night follow day? Of course. Question is does Boedker go for the OT hat-trick. Or does Jonathan Toews saw him off for OT heroics?
Who would you consider the most dangerous team still alive?
Dennis; Well, Philadelphia has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt they are dangerous. How will they respond to a more defensive assignment if they play Boston or the New York Rangers or even Washington? Fair question but the potency of the Flyer power play and their depth up front makes them the most dangerous I think.
Do you think the Red Wings need to make wholesale changes? After the last few years, it seems that their core is losing its ability to seriously challenge for Cups.
Jeff; It does seem there are big changes coming for the Wings. Like Pittsburgh though I think you have to be careful about 'blowing it up'. Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Kronwall, even Nick Lidstrom at his age are all elite players. Now, that said, Ken Holland is going to have significant cap room with which to play on July 1 and am expecting them to take a hard run at Ryan Suter and Zach Parise should they be on the market. Guess that would count as wholesale change wouldn't it?
Is Craig Anderson the surprise of the playoffs for you so far? I saw the Sens as an easy out prior to him playing like this.
Joe; I'd put Braden Holtby in that category but definitely given Anderson's up and down season he has really come up big. Now, can he do it again tonight? How about the idea of two 8 seeds moving on? Love the playoffs.
Chris Neal on Brian Boyle, hard-nosed hockey or predatory hit to the head?
Barry; Might be the hardest (if you'll pardon the term) hit of the playoffs to get a handle on. Do I like that hit? No. Did it break any rules? Probalby not. Didn't target the head, kept elbows down, didn't leave his feet, puck in the vicinity. Tough, tough one to call or not call as the NHL deemed was the correct way to handle it.
Is LeBrun giddy with Giroux getting such attention after the Flyers dismantled Pitt?
Andrew; He could barely get on his flight to Chicago.
This just in:Scott Burnside says ____ ____ is the best player in the NHL today.
Andrew; Claude Giroux. But let's qualify that; we're six games into the playoffs. As I've heard a couple of players say in recent days; it's a marathon it's not a sprint.
Another early Sharks exit. Sigh. What do you think SJ's offseason looks like?
mike; Sigh is right. St. Louis is a very good hockey team but that wasn't much of an effort. Goaltending isn't as good as it needs to be and the core seems to be missing the Cup DNA. Will Doug Smith get bumped upstairs? Will a new guy give Todd McLellan another shot? Hard to imagine you can have Patrick Marleau back after such a disappointing turn; again.
As a sports reporter, whose name do you hate more: mine or Harry Zolnierczyk?
Sean; At least I've stopped having to look yours up every time I write it. Of course that's because I referenced you about 100 times for driving Evgeni Malkin crazy in that series.
Blues or Kings? why?
Will; This may not be an artistic wonder but no harder hockey will be played than by these two teams. Great goaltending, tenacious checking. I'll take the Blues but without any real confidence at all.
Who do you think the Predators will rather face - Coyotes or Blackhawks?
Ice; Chicago gives them home ice advantage and that, as we saw against Detroit, wasn't insignificant. Plus, a little payback for 2010 I'm sure would be a nice spice to add to the mix for the Predators (or for those covering the series).
What are the chances the Flyers get Mezaros back in round 2?
George; Can't recall an official update at all during the series but he's only doing light skating from what I understand. Doesn't sound close but I'm not a medical doctor nor do I play one on TV.
As a Umass student and Bruins fan I'm psyched to see Quick taking the Canucks out. How is it though that he hasn't been in on the Hart talk? 30th in goals for, 2nd in goals against.
Kevin; I think he has been on the periphery. Voting is done before the playoffs and I think I had him 4th behind Malkin, Stamkos, Giroux. Also had Henrik Lundqvist in my top five if memory serves.
The first 6 games are more evidence that the Bruins need Zach Parise. They just don't have any elite offensive talent (Seguin only one with a chance to be that type of player).
Marc; Probably 20 teams could say that about Parise but what is going to be interesting is that my sense is Parise will want dollar and term (who doesn't?) but also a shot to win. The Bruins represent a long-term option vis a vis contending. Does Peter Chiarelli have enough wiggle room against the cap (and whatever the new cap might look like) to sway Parise into coming over to the Bs? Should be a fun summer.
I know it's not supposed to matter, but is my lack of playoff success going to dampen my chances of winning the Hart? Or Dan Bylsma for the Adams?
Evgeni; No worries. All that voting is done before the playoffs start.
What did you think about that hit on Crosby at the beginning of the game yesterday?
Kate; I thought it was like Babe Ruth calling the homer or Owen Nolan calling the goal at the All-Star Game. Giroux told his teammates to watch his first shift and then knocked Crosby down with a good check. Puck was there. I didn't see anything wrong with it. Then he went in and scored. Pretty impressive actually.
Is there any team out there that would accept Paul Martin in a trade?
Matt; I've always liked Paul Martin both as a guy and a player but he did struggle this season. He was banged up at the end and I still think has good hockey in him. Will it be in Pittsburgh? Given his salary (three more years at $5 million a pop) the Pens would likely have to sweeten the pot with a pick or a prospect to move him or take back another team's salary problem. Regardless he is a good man and I hope he gets his game back on track wherever.
Tell Matt in Pittsburgh we'll take Martin for Marleau.
Mike; Might work but only if the Pens also trade Jordan Staal.
what kind of impact do you think JVR will have in round 2 for the Flyers? on what line will he play the most?
Russ; I think a lot will depend on whom the Flyers play and how Peter Laviolette wants to match up. If it's Washington, for instance, does he keep Couturier (see, spelled correctly without looking) on Nicklas Backstrom a la Malkin or play Giroux's line against him? I am guessing he'll continue to float a bit until he can get back up to game speed.
Chris Kelly has been huge for the bruins all year, they have to resign him this offseason right?
Doug; Kelly is an underappreciated member of that team and yes, he can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
True or False? Bergeron is the most valuable forward in the Bos/Wash series. . His inability to take a draw yesterday was glaring . . but he sucked it up and took the most important ones late, It's hard to think he's kind of underated
John; One of the game's most unsung players and couldn't agree more that not being able to take draws tells you how much pain or discomfort he was in. Tough as nails and a classy guy. Glad to see he's getting some love vis a vis the Selke.
Danny Briere's playoff performances in the Laviolette era have been pretty phenomenal. Does Lavvy just know where to play him?
Zach; I think it's more a function that Briere is simply one of those guys who grows ten feet when it's the playoffs. He had a miserable regular season and historically has been up and down but when the playoffs come he just ramps it up. He's got a little of the Claude Lemieux in him but much nicer.
Do you think that the Penguins were over-hyped to start the playoffs? Their defense seemed nonexistent for most of that series vs Philly.
Will; Not sure you can over-hype a team with a healthy Sidney Crosby, the regular season scoring champ and a 40-goal guy (James Neal). They just got busted down by a better team.
Are the Rangers serious cup threats?
Mike; I'll tell you in about five hours. Sure. They should be. But they are on the verge of spending a long summer wondering why they couldn't beat the 8th seed.
Did I just earn myself a 4 year/$14 million - type contract offer for myself come July 1st?
Jarret; Wouldn't be the first time you did that, would it? Are you starting to get flashbacks to '06 and the Oilers' run?
Okay all, thanks for dropping by. Always a pleasure. Let's do it again next week.