Greetings from soggy New York City. Now, where were we?
Scott - Do you feel that the Devils might get off their game given the level of frustration of not being able to put the puck in the net? I'm fearful that they will stop playing the team game, which has created a decent number of offensive changes in the first three games and replace it with more individual attempts to create offense. They should stay the course and hope that the sustained pressure will eventually get to Lundquist and tire out the Rangers.
Jeff; I think this is a pretty mature Devils team. They rode out some bumps in the first round against Florida and seemed to grow more confident as the series against the Flyers went along. I will be surprised if they go off the rails at this point.
All signs point to Stu Bickel playing for the suspended Brandon Prust tonight. Any chance Torts throws a curve ball and puts Dubinsky out there?
Matt; I was in Newark for the Devils' skate but reports out of MSG suggest Dubinsky skated long (working out with Prust) and then told reporters he wasn't going to go. I would be surprised if that changes between now and 8 p.m. EST tonight. I would look for Bickel to draw back in.
Mr. Burnside: do you think it is reasonable to expect the devils to play better than they did in their game 3 loss? do u think it is even possible? what do they have to do to beat HL?
sam; I think the Devils would argue that going 0-for-5 on the power play leaves some room for improvement. And I would expect a better game from them overall. But you reference the real key to this series and it's Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers haven't scored more than three goals in any one game since Game 1 versus Ottawa. Lundqvist remains in a pretty incredible zone and while the law of averages suggest he's due for a wobble he's certainly shown no signs of going off the rails even a little bit.
Rangers have been playing this style all season, NOTHING has changed with this team at all. So it amazes me to see the comments that the Rangers are being completely outplayed, they block too many shots...etc. This is the way this team plays, anyone who's watched them all season should not be surprised, and sorry Devils fans, I seem to remember your team won 3 cups playing this suffocating style with a great goalie. So STOP your whining!
Anthony; Spoke with Brad Richards after Game 3 and he said the exact same thing (well, not the whining part) that the team has played 82 games this way and then 17 more in the post-season. It's just part of their DNA so no one should be surprised by what they've shown here this spring.
Quick or Lundquist? Who would you start a franchise with?
Tyler; Great question. Given everything; age, experience etc. I might lean towards Quick and hope that what we've seen this year is what he's capable of for a decade. That's no slight against Lundqvist just thinking big-picture, long-term. But when/if the two meet in the final this year it will be quite a showdown.
Do you think the heavy minutes Girardi and McDonagh are playing will catch up to the Rangers?
Kevin; I thought the extra day off between Games 2 and 3 would benefit the Rangers for that very reason. We'll see starting tonight if that's going to be a factor especially if the Devils can continue to employ all four lines which should leave them more fresh as we hit Games 6 and 7 should it go that far.
What game do you believe the Kings will close out the Coyotes?
Ice; I think it will be in Game 5. I think the 'Yotes may have emptied the rest of their tank in Game 4 and despite going home I think the Kings will be better and close it out in Glendale.
Scott - do you think its key for the Devils to get on the board first and early to prevent Rangers from digging in and waiting to make their move in the 3rd period?
Jim; Because the Rangers score so little getting the first goal does change the dynamic for them I think. Psychologically I think the Devils need a break after being shut out twice in games that were tied 0-0 going into the third so, yes, I think getting the first goal is pretty important if they're going to tie this series up.
Holy Chris Kreider. Can he be a point a game guy within a few years?
Jerry; Let's not get ahead of ourselves here. But it's interesting to look at Kreider's tools and to imagine his long-term prospects. Size, skill, speed all project him as a top-six forward as early as next season but if he's going to be that kind of player for John Tortorella he'll have to mature defensively very quickly too or the those opportunities will dwindle (as we've already seen at times this spring since he's come to the Rangers).
So what is the likelihood that there is a full season lockout or a small lockout that takes away some games? I don't know if the league can really build up the currently rate of revenue that it has right now if it does. Too many fans will walk away.
Timmy G.; Maybe it's just the fatalistic view of the world many hockey people have but I think there is a sense that there will be at least a brief interruption. Whether that means training camp skeds contracted or some time at the very start of the season I'm not sure. Personally, I agree that any disruption is too much given what fans went through last time. And there's no excuse for not getting a deal done in time to start the season on time. None.
do you think the series could turn into fighting battle with lots of penalty minutes after what the coaches said after the game 3 incident with Prust?
Hugo; I don't think so. Often these kinds of inflammatory comments go by the boards. And it's hard to imagine games not being so close that players aren't going to lose their cool and risk costing their team with a bad penalty.
Any concern for the kings? I just can't see quick losing 4 straight....
Jim; No, I think it's inevitable the way they've been playing that they were going to come up dry at least once and the Coyotes have too much pride to have gone down without a whimper. Game 5 will be interesting because the fans in Glendale will be wild and the Kings will be looking to bounce back for the first time since the first round. Don't see much reason for concern though.
any way the 2013 winter classic helps sway suter and/or parise into signing with the Red Wings?
Kris; No. A multi-year, multi-million dollar contract will be the sway.
How productive do you think Vladimir Tarasenko will be next year, if the Blues get him to come over? Is he really going to make a big difference in the scoring department?
Jacob; No way really to tell.How many 'best players playing outside the NHL' have actually arrived in the NHL and been disappointments? Think Alexander Radulov most recently. The game is wildly different, the grind, the physicality, so no way to know. Certainly most hockey people love his skill and believe he'll be a good one but the proof will be in St. Louis not across the pond.
What do you think of the Prust suspension?
Billy; I like it. Still confounding that a play like that goes unpenalized and I know the Rangers were upset with a couple of Devils hits that they felt warranted supplemental discipline. But this was pretty clear.
Tell Zach Parise he has a blank check to come to Boston.
Cam; I think there may be a few similarly empty checks waiting on Parise's front porch on July 1; Detroit, Minnesota, New York Rangers.
How do you think this situation ends up with Jordan Staal? At this point, there's no way he's going to take a hometown discount to stay, but how much should we read into him wanting to have more scoring opportunities and playing on a higher line?
Jason; One of the many potential storylines come draft time in Pittsburgh. Agreed it is unlikely he'll take less money to stay and play in the shadow of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. He doesn't have a no-trade/no-move clause so GM Ray Shero can do as he chooses. What about Staal for the first overall pick if you're the Edmonton Oilers? Leafs need help down the middle. Rumors that Jim Rutherford would like to bring Jordan to play with Eric and he's got some good young prospects (Justin Faulk?). Bottom line for me is I think economically and looking at a team that needs to get better on the blue line I imagine the clock is ticking on Jordan Staal's time in Pittsburgh.
Do you think the addition to jacob jofeson will be a bonus considerin how big, strong, and fast the rangers defense is?
Alex; I didn't think much of Petr Sykora's game in this series so even though Josefson's never played in an NHL playoff game I don't see how this hurt the Devils at all. The more speed and skill you can add to your line-up when you're struggling offensively the better.
In your opinion, when Dubinsky comes back, who comes out of the lineup? John Mitchell seems like the easy choice but he has been playine well.
Matt; Tough choices for John Tortorella when Dubinsky is ready. And maybe the bottom line is that he doesn't get in especially if they keep winning. He had one assist in seven games against the Senators and that followed up a pretty disappointing regular season. Mitchell has taken some key draws for the Rangers and not sure there is an obvious player to take out.
I'm also pretty good at faceoffs.
Jacob; There is that too.
Good afternoon Scott. In your opinion, what do the Avs have to do this off-season to get to help them get to the next level?
Mark; I think the Avs are headed in the right direction. I'd like to see Semyon Varlamov take a step forward in terms of being a franchise netminder; more consistency and durability. If he can do that I think the Avs have a lot of nice young pieces in the mix now. Assume their team defense will get better and lots of skill/grit up front. I expect them to be in the playoff hunt next year.
What are the devils chances of resigning parise?
Dan; In spite of a terrific playoff run I still think Parise will hit the open market. These moments come for a player only once, maybe twice, in a career. Doesn't mean he doesn't like or respect the Devils, I am sure he does. But it's hard to imagine they will be able to offer what others will be able to offer in terms of dollar and term given the Kovalchuk deal. Beyond that Parise has to decide if this Devils team looks like the kind of team that could win consistently if he's here as opposed to going somewhere else. Too many factors I think to see him sign long-term here.
Scott, why do you think the Devils penalty kill has abandoned them in the playoffs after a historic regular season?
PK Psyc; Weird, eh? Hard one to figure out and especially given that it was Florida that first exposed them in the first round. Not sure whether it's just Martin Brodeur not being able to come up with the big save on the PK; that was a good shot by Dan Girardi in Game 3 but not all-world or just the law of averages catching up with them. Big factor in this series right now, though, the PK and the failure of the Devils PP.
Besides Quick, who will be the game changer for the kings in game 5?
Bill; I would look for both Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar to be the guys just as they have all spring.
The rumors of Mike Sullivan leaving the Rangers for Calgary are gaining steam. Any chance this is a distraction in the locker-room?
Daenerys; Well the connection between Sullivan, John Tortorella and Calgary GM Jay Feaster is obvious and I think in general people feel Mike Sullivan didn't get a real good shot in Boston and that he's a good head coaching candidate so I can see why is something people are talking about. But I doubt that it's a distraction. Players know stuff will happen in the off-season whether it's contracts like Parise's or coaching moves but I think that stuff is easy to put aside.
Pick to win the finals?
Nicholas; Too soon to tell but let's assume the Kings dispatch the Coyotes in the next couple of games it's hard to imagine they won't be the favorites to beat either the Devils or Rangers. Hard to believe that will be the case from the 8th seed that didn't even secure a playoff berth until the last few days of the regular season.
What do you think about Torts comment about the Devils playing dirty? Do you think its all a ploy to get some calls in his favor
deheinz1; Yes, all in the name of trying to gain some edge even though I think it's a little misguided. I liked how he complained about picks on the power play but the Devils are just 1-for-12 (and yes they did use a pick on the one goal by Kovalchuk). Still, as Pete DeBoer suggested, it's more "comical" than anything else.
How do devils get by the king???
Chaim; Do you mean how do the Devils get by the Rangers? I actually think the Devils may stack up better against the Kings given their ability to roll four productive lines which has been such a big part of the Kings' success this spring. Will need Martin Brodeur to saw off Jonathan Quick (as he'll need to do versus Henrik Lundqvist) and that may be too tall an order but I think it would be a closer series than some might imagine.
Who do you have winning tonight?
Kev; Well it wouldn't be a Ranger series if it didn't come down to a best-of-three affair so I am thinking the Devils tie it up. My great fear is that it will be triple overtime which will mean for a long night in Newark.
What's you record for predicting series' winners so far? Are you at least beating Melrose?
Don; Not sure I've got The Coach beat but was 3-5 in the first round and 2-2 in the second. This round? Let's just say I'm not conceding defeat until the final whistle blows.
Do you want Torts to speak or not at press conferences? If he opens his mouth he gets fined if he doesn't he gets attacked even more so.
Ryan; I prefer it when he talks (regardless of whether he gets fined or not). He's a smart guy and when he's in the mood he can be informative and helpful. That helps us to provide better stories (event though it's not really about us). But it's up to him. I think more has been made of his behavior than needs to and I talked to Dave Andreychuk for a piece this week and he thinks this is all very well thought-out by Tortorella.
Enjoy the neighborhood. Get a late table at Don Pepe. 2 words: garlic shrimp.
Mike; Wonder if they will deliver to the press box?
Do you think Pronger is done, lousy way to end your career read he is still having concussion symptons do the Flyers sit and wait or start making plans without him?
Karen; Agreed. The league is a poorer place without Chris Pronger in it even if you hate him (as thousands of opposing fans do across the NHL). As for the future it sure doesn't sound good and my sense is the Flyers are making plans for life long-term without Pronger as they did for the last half of this season and the playoffs. A shame, really.
Why dont they restart in Calgary? to me they look like they Are going nowhere fast. Same question, but not as warranted for montreal and Toronto?
Kent; Very difficult choices for Jay Feaster and not just vis a vis head coach. There is so little young talent in the system there and the Flames' top assets are older as in Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff. Feaster has said he's not looking to tear it down but I think there may be little choice but to try and restock by moving those prime assets. Still a significant market for both those players if that's the way the Flames decide to go.
I think Chaim meant how do the Devils get by Lundqvist (aka "the King")
Steven; Ha, ha. You're probably right. Okay. I would think more traffic in front (now there's an original though) as we saw in Game 2. And I liked the patience the Devils showed on the power play in Game 2 although we didn't see nearly as much of that in Game 3. Tough task.
Who will get the gift of coaching the inevitable next Edmonton Oilers dynasty?????
Pete; Rumors that Brent Sutter is being considered. Can't imagine why given how poorly he's done in New Jersey and Calgary. I wonder about a young guy like Jon Cooper who was done wonders in Norfolk of the AHL, a kind of Guy Boucher sort who I think would be great with that talented young bunch.
Do you see any big changes happening with the hawks this offseason?
Andrew; Not sure they'll be doing any college campus tours that's for sure. I would think priority one will be in deciding if Corey Crawford is really their guy. Played well at times but in crunch time against the Coyotes looked pretty ordinary. He's young, though, so the 'Hawks have to decide if they need to be patient or move to a Plan B. There are still lots of good young pieces in that system to augment the cornerstones like Toews, Keith, Seabrook and Sharp (and Kane, too, when he's not being a public nuisance).
Who would be a smart choice to play for prust toinght? I heard dubinsky is close and saw they called up 6 guts from the Whale, but I have no clue who is going to get the spot...
Mike; Looks like Stu Bickel will draw back in.
Do you think Marty calls it a career after these playoffs? I think that a cup win would definitely be the end but if they get eliminated here what do you think happens? He definitely hasn't looked the same all season and he makes me nervous. Will he be considered the greatest goalie ever?
Paul; All of the signs point to Brodeur returning although you're right winning a Cup this spring would be hard to top. Regardless of how it plays out this spring or beyond for my money he's the greatest of all time.
What kind of personnel changes can we expect with the Sharks, short of the inevitable changes to the assistant coaching staff?
Bobby; Same kind of soul-searching I think for Doug Wilson; Can you win with Patrick Marleau? The answer seems to be no. Is Antti Niemi your guy? Like the 'Hawks that's got to be reconciled before you can move on but those would be two main areas I think to address. Still lots of young talent in San Jose but to me it's about creating a culture of winning and that means changing some of the culture of underachievement that has sprung up there.
Okay folks, thanks for stopping by. Let's do it again next week.