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January 24, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Barry Melrose

Barry Melrose
  (2:02 PM)

What a great start to the season it's been. We already have teams facing must win situations.

Michael (Los Angeles, CA)

Does the Kings slow start and lack of scoring surprise you at all and will they snap out of it?

Barry Melrose
  (2:02 PM)

I think they'll snap out of it. But people have to remember that this was the 8th seed last year. They just made it into the playoffs. They have to find the magic that they had in the playoffs and get hungry that made them so special.

Alex (Pittsburgh)

Hi Barry, How do the Penguins look this year as far as how far they could go? What do they need to do to get back to the Cup Finals?

Barry Melrose
  (2:03 PM)

They look good. Last night Toronto did very well, but they have a lot of fire power. Crosby scored, Malkin scored. Fleury looked good in net. They're one of the best 6 teams in the NHL. No doubt.

Ryan R. (Lubbock, TX)

It seems they lockout was good for the old-timers that play for the Stars. They have fresh legs, and seem to be a strong presence in the locker room for the younger guys, but do they have a strong shot for not only the playoffs but the Cup, or will the run out of gas towards the end yet again?

Barry Melrose
  (2:04 PM)

The shortened season has been good for all of the old guys in the NHL. They're all off to a good start. They'll be one of the teams fighting for the final 3-4 spots. It will be a dogfight all year long. I like the additions of Jagr. But they need to have good goaltending play to have a shot.

Cameron (Durham, NC)

Hi Barry. The Hurricanes have dropped their first two in less-than-stellar fashion. With coach Muller experimenting with lines and defensive pairings so frequently early on, should folks in NC be worried.

Barry Melrose
  (2:05 PM)

Yeah. A team like Carolina can't lose 4-5 games out of the gate. There is no way to make up the points. Ward wasn't very good opening night. They're not scoring the way that they were supposed to. They need to get the ship righted and righted in a hurry.

Bryan (Pasadena, CA)

Barry I know you picked the Wild to come out of the West. Given the impressive start by the 3-0 Hawks with Crawford looking solid and Kane looking more like the 2010 version, what are their chances of getting back to a Stanley Cup Final?

Barry Melrose
  (2:06 PM)

Right now they're the best team in the NHL, not just the West. They're playing great offense. Hossa is on fire. You mentioned Kane is playing great. If Chicago's goaltending is as good as everyone else's they'll win the west.

Ice Ace (Alabama)

Why do you think the Sabres have started off well led by Miller?

Barry Melrose
  (2:07 PM)

They're scoring more than they did last year. Miller is playing better than last year. He struggled last year. It was a very un-Miller like year. He looks like one of the best goaltenders in the world and he is.

Nick (Michigan)

Barry any comments on the Wings? I am quite concerned for them they don't seem as intimidating as they once were

Barry Melrose
  (2:07 PM)

Yeah, there is concern. With the retirement of Lidstrom. Stewart left. It's tough going for the Red Wings right now.

Barry Melrose
  (2:08 PM)

The two losses they had, they only scored the one goal. It's tough to win any games like that.

Michael (Cincinnati) [via mobile]

I know it's early, but the Capitals have looked awful thus far. Has Oates bitten off more than he can chew?

Barry Melrose
  (2:08 PM)

I agree. They haven't looked good. Huge game for them tonight. They need to win this one desperately. Watching them, I still don't know what kind of team they are: offensive team, defensive team. But their stars need to get it going. But I agree, I do not like the Caps this season.

Bausch (NYC)

In terms of the Western Conference, how would you rank the Blues/Hawks rivalry?

Barry Melrose
  (2:09 PM)

Probably near the top. There is not a lot of great rivalries right now. Colorado-Detroit used to be awesome. But I could see St. Louis-Chicago becoming a great rivalry again with both of these teams so good.

Sean (Co)

Any truth to the rumor Brian Burke could land a job with the Dallas Stars?

Barry Melrose
  (2:10 PM)

Burke has some time left on the contract, so he won't walk away from that for nothing. He'll land somewhere. He's a good hockey guy and a competitive guy. Dallas has a GM, so it wouldn't be for the GM post. It would have to be something like president.

Wes (Pennsylvania)

what are your top five teams in the eastern conference right now.

Barry Melrose
  (2:11 PM)

You'd have to go Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Jersey, Tampa, and you'd have to go Boston.

Eric (Chicago)

So when Winnipeg moves to the Western Conference next year, do the Wings stay in the West or head to the East?

Barry Melrose
  (2:12 PM)

That's still to be determined. Detroit has made it clear they want to be in the East, but the West has made it clear that they want Detroit. With everything going on in the offseason, there wasn't any time to deal with that. But it will be an interesting conversation, one I'd like to hear.

Austin (Cheeseburger West Side)

Is Vincent Lecavalier earning his money this year or what?

Barry Melrose
  (2:13 PM)

The whole Tampa team has been playing well. This is a very talented team.

Alex (Anaheim)

Do you think the Ducks will beat Vancouver again tomorrow night?

Barry Melrose
  (2:14 PM)

I think it will be a great game. Vancouver won last night. The Ducks are playing better. Both teams can be aggressive. It should be a great battle and a great game.

Ice Ace (Alabama)

Why have the Canucks struggled so far? Won only one game and that was via a shootut?

Barry Melrose
  (2:14 PM)

Don't forget they've got some guys out. Luongo wasn't good early. Schneider wasn't good either. If your goaltending struggles, you'll struggle winning.

Zach (Chicago)

Corey Crawford has looked fairly sharp early, if he is solid in net are the Hawks the team to beat?

Barry Melrose
  (2:15 PM)

He played pretty good in the regular season last year. It was the playoffs where he struggled. The thing about Chicago is he knows going in he doesn't have to win a lot of games 1-0. But he has to be good in the playoffs, not just the regular season.

Michael (Cincinnati) [via mobile]

I like the fight in the young Islanders. May be a playoff contender a year earlier than I thought. Agree?

Barry Melrose
  (2:16 PM)

We'll see. They have a lot of issues. They need everything to fall into place. Their goaltending needs to be good. They need career years out of all of their stars. I think they'll be on the outside looking in.

Nick (Michigan)

Do you think Lidstrom could have played another year? Or was it time for him to hang up the skates?

Barry Melrose
  (2:17 PM)

He could have easily played another year. Probably a couple of more. But a guy like Nick, he's not happy just being good. He's used to greatness. Just hanging on is not how he wanted to finish.

Wes (Pennsylvania)

Hey Barry you said about there are some teams that needing a win. If I had to pick one team it would have to be the Flyers.

Barry Melrose
  (2:18 PM)

I'd say the Caps are in the same boat. They need a win even more. Those are two teams that are very talented that are 0-5 right now. I would say the Caps are more fragile than the Flyers.

Andy (Newport Beach)

Who finishes higher in the standings? The Ducks or the Kings?

Barry Melrose
  (2:18 PM)

I think the Ducks will finish higher. They're playing very well right now. Getzlaf is very motivated. Koivu is playing well. I think they finish higher.

Brandon (syracuse) [via mobile]

What does Nashville need to do this year to make a run for thei firs Stanley cup?

Barry Melrose
  (2:19 PM)

Just get back to playing Nashville hockey. They did that when they beat Minnesota. They played a very defensive game. Timely goals and playing good defense has been their mantra for a number of years.

Richard (Greensboro, NC)

Hurricanes look quite bad so far. Excluding the second period against Tampa, they have seemed really flat. Just the problem with a lot of players who haven't been playing much coming out flat, or is there an underlying issue?

Barry Melrose
  (2:20 PM)

If that was the case, then every team would start badly. Maybe they changed the team a lot. Jordan Staal coming in. Ward didn't play well. That can't continue. They have to get better quick. You can't get 4, 6, 8 points behind teams. You'll never catch up.

Jeremy (St. Louis)

What do you see the central division finishing as? Blues blackhawks or wings #1

Barry Melrose
  (2:21 PM)

Woah...that's a good question. I'll say the Blues. They'll finish higher because of the goaltending. It will definitely be Blues or Chicago. Nashville third, then Wings and Columbus.

Nick (Michigan)

Do you think some of us are over reacting just a tad bit early? I mean they are just coming off of the lockout I think we should just relax a little don't you think?

Barry Melrose
  (2:22 PM)

No. You should be a fan. You can't win the Cup right now, but you can miss the playoffs right now. You don't have time to find yourself and feel good about yourself. There is no practice time. So it's important to get out and get every point you can.

Bryan (Salem, OR)

Barry, will there be a trading deadline this season?

Barry Melrose
  (2:23 PM)

You know what, I'm not going to say anything, because I'm not sure. I would think there would have to be one, but I don't know what they've decided yet.

Pete (NJ)

It can be argued that Roy's success in net helped to popularize the butterfly style with future generations of goaltenders. Why then, with all his success, has the hybrid style employed by Brodeur, not become more popular?

Barry Melrose
  (2:24 PM)

It's harder to teach. It's more of a skill system and talent system. The butterfly is very structured and easier to show people how to play it. With Marty's style, you're on your own. It's all based on his talent.

Ice Ace (Alabama)

Why do you think the Maple Leafs were the only team to miss the playoffs b/w lockouts?

Barry Melrose
  (2:25 PM)

They've been a mess for a long time. They've spent money. Hired coaches, GMs and it's been a very poorly run organization. They thought Brian Burke was the guy, but they just fired him. Until they get the guy and hire well, draft well, it will be hard to be a fan.

Kenny (Chicago)

What has been most surprising to you during the start of the season?

Barry Melrose
  (2:26 PM)

Probably how well the older players have played. They've all gotten off to a great start. Night after night, someone 38-40 is putting up big numbers. That's been impressive.

Alex (NYC)

Western Conference Power Ranking Top 5: Ready, Set, Go.....

Barry Melrose
  (2:27 PM)

Chicago, St. Louis, Minnesota, Ducks, Nashville.

Austin (Cheeseburger West Side)

Would it be wise for Vancouver to hold onto Loungo since teams are playing 3-4 times a week? Trade him after the year?

Barry Melrose
  (2:28 PM)

It depends on how Schneider plays, No. 1. And the offers they get. You're not going to trade this guy for nothing. He's thought of as a top goaltender in the world.

Terry (Colorado )

Does Colorado get anything done with O'Reilly?

Barry Melrose
  (2:28 PM)

I think they have to. He's too important part of that team. They looked very good last game. I think they have to get him signed. He's young and he's one of the faces of your organization.

Will (Canada)

how important is PK Subban?

Barry Melrose
  (2:29 PM)

He's one of their best players. He's very important. He's a defenseman and plays a lot of minutes. This is a very important signing because what he gets will determine what the other young defensemen get.

Barry Melrose
  (2:30 PM)

I hope everyone's enjoying the season. I'm sure the games will continue to be great.

Buzzmaster
  (2:30 PM)

Thanks Barry!