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February 1, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Pierre LeBrun

PIerre LeBrun
  (2:59 PM)

Greetings from the LeBrun Media Enterprises home base in Toronto.Let's chat 'er up.

Ryan (Hohenfels, Germany)

The Lightning look as good as any team in the league (despite the lack of respect given by ESPN), could Stanley get another tan down in Tampa Bay this year?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:00 PM)

They look terrific but No, Stanley ain't going to Tampa this year.

Aaron (Georgia)

Alexander Ovechkin's play has dropped off significantly for the past 2 and a half years. The coaches is Washington started tinkering with the way he plays the game more and more for the last 2 and a half years. Alex is a instinctive player, do you think he will be allowed to return to his original style or do you think that player is gone forever?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:01 PM)

Aaron, funny you should ask. I wrote an Ovechkin piece yesterday after sitting down with him here in Toronto.Here you go:http://espn.go.com/nhl/story/_/id/8902951/washington-capitals-alex-ovechkin-wants-win-figure-out

Aaron (Georgia)

My Jets have surprised me this season. Byfuglien in my opinion has been the most consistent player for the Jets this season and Pavs hasn't been bad either. My only concern is Byfuglien being worn down by his high amount of ice time. Do you think Byfuglien can keep it up? Can you see the Jets making the playoffs this year? The Jets tend to play good enough for the first half of most seasons dating back a few years as the Thrasher, they always struggled the second half of the season.

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:01 PM)

Byfuglien is missing his second straight game tonight so you instincts were right

Alex (Anaheim)

Will the Rangers get revenge on Pittsburgh tonight?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:02 PM)

No, Pittsburgh will win.Oh wait, you mean this question was posted 24 hours ago? hahahaha

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What will be the Worst NHL Hockey Team in the 2013 Season?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:02 PM)

Columbus Blue Jackets

Chad (Bullock)

The Blackhawks technically did not lose against the Wild, they just didn't win. Are the Blackhawks still considered undefeated? I read one columnist refer to them as "Not perfect" anymore. IMO, there is nothing in the loss column, therefore, they are still undefeated. What do you think?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:04 PM)

It's interesting because I've talked to the NHL head office about this since 2005 when the league adopted the shootout. The league's third column in the standings is not for OT loss but rather simply for ''OT." Meaning, OT point, or OT decision. So an actual ''losing streak" in the official record books for the NHL since 2005 were only the losing streaks that were 60-min losses. OT or SO losses do not extend a losing streak.Just think of the third column as a Tie.

Will (Cincinnati)

What are the chances Cincinnati gets a NHL team in the next 10 years? Are they even in the discussion for the Coyotes move?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:04 PM)

none

Matt (Fontana, CA)

Pierre, with the fast start the Ducks have gotten out to being 3-1-1 including a tough Shootout loss to San Jose do you think they can make a run at the playoffs and what improvements do you think are needed to make a deep run in the playoffs if they get there?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:06 PM)

yes I think they've got a shot at making the playoffs. They're not as top-heavy up front as they've been the last two years, they're getting more contribution from other lines instead of just relying on Getzlaf/Perry/Ryan/Selanne.That's an important development. 48 games in 99 days in a major grind and you need to roll four lines to have a chance

Mark (Denver, CO)

Good afternoon Pierre. Considering the current slide and injury problems facing the Avs, could you please explain their management's strategy concerning the Ryan O'Reilly negotiations? There reportedly have been no face-to-face talks between the two sides in days. Doesn't it make sense to either pay him or trade him and get some good parts in return? The Avs management seems to be more vindictive than proactive here.

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:08 PM)

I haven't checked into this file in about a week so I don't have any fresh updates. but yes, I agree, sign him or trade him at this point given your injuries

Ben (Detroit, MI)

Lebrun; you're the best hockey analyst ESPN has! Quick question, though. What do you think of the Damien Brunner signing? Another diamond in the rough for Ken Holland? Also, do you see the Wings making the playoffs?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:08 PM)

great signing, major sniper, he's the real deal, should be good for 30 goals a year in 82-game season

Marc (Windsor )

Pierre, Isn't it time to pull the plug on this gong show in Phoenix? Does the league honestly expect hockey fans to believe that there is a white knight group of investors ready to step in? Look, enough is enough already.

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:09 PM)

It certainly could be the case after this season. Unless Jamison or another interested potential owner pulls a rabbit out of the hate over the next 2-3 months, I can't imagine the league keeping the team there past this season.We shall see.....

Jay (Pierre )

The media needs to chill the heck out about expansion. A month ago players were locked out because 17 teams were reportedly losing money. The league doesn't have enough good owners for the teams it already has. Please just stop with the expansion talk.

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:10 PM)

It's not media created, Jay. Governors and other team executives are also talking about it. Why? $$$$$ in their pockets

Dr. Kevorkian (Afterlife)

Pierre, at this point are my services needed for the Phoenix ownership situation? I mean come on, man.

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:11 PM)

Talk to me in 2 months

Claude Giroux (Philly ...)

What are the chances Paul Holmgren makes a trade for a sniper like Bobby Ryan before the trade deadline?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:12 PM)

With the Flyers, anything is possible !!!!!!But I don't think Anaheim wants to move Ryan anymore.Ducks' issues will resolve around Perry/Getzlaf, both UFA in July. THey need to re-sign them before APril 3 trade deadline to ensure neither walks for free in July

Drew (Indy)

Which preseason favorite who has stumbled out of the gates are you most concerned about? PHI, PIT, NYR, LA or VAN. Which, if any, will miss the playoffs?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:13 PM)

Flyers concern me the most

Neal (Menlo Park, CA)

Hi Pierre, expansion talk? Really? Shouldn't the league talk about contraction or at least moving teams like the Coyotes and Panthers to better locales?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:14 PM)

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Tim (Tampa, FL)

Do you think the addition of Salo, Carle, Lindback, and a maturing Hedman will allow the Bolts to continue their winning ways thru the year? I have noticed that both Salo and Carle stay at the point for defensive purposes but they seem to be able move the puck forward well for offense which has allowed both Hedman and Brewer to join the offensive attack making the Bolts a nightmare to defend with their forward talent.

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:15 PM)

Great additions for sure. Lindback still has to prove he can be a workhorse, he's never been in this situation in the NHL before. Salo has to stay healthy. Look at his Van history. But I like this team. I felt they underachieved last year anyway

Clara (St Pete, FL)

Are teams screening and doubling Stamkos so much this year it is allowing for all the others on ice to have open looks at the net? The Lightning seem to be spreading around the puck alot this year.

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:16 PM)

I don't think they're doing anything different to him as any other year but yes, Stamkos would be a marked man on every shift from the opposition, no question

Lonny (Blaine, Mn)

I watched your interview with Scott Burnside and you talked about expansion in the next 10 years. The NHL already has to many teams and they may add two. I understand the money it would bring but wont it hurt the product they are putting on the ice? Could there be other relocations instead of expansion?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:16 PM)

Both

Nikki (Montreal)

Given the Coyotes recent on-ice success, I thought they deserved the extra effort the NHL put in to work out the ownership issues (yes, I realize that I'm in the minority on that thought). I've heard that there could be a couple of other potential owners besides Jamison that would keep the team in Glendale...in light of Jamison's failed bid and the sheer amount of time that this ownership spectacle has dragged on for, is it still worth trying to save the Coyotes?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:18 PM)

Nikki, did you hear that from me on RDS or TSN 690 Montreal this week ? LOL There are other potential interested bidders but whether or not they ever formally made a bid remains to be seen..... Future ain't looking bright in Phoenix at this hour... but like everything else in this story over the last 4 hours, you have to learn to expect the unexpected. Anything can happen. The NHL has told me it will continue to try and do everything it can to find a solution in Phoenix this season.But if it's not figured out by end of this season? I think it's See Ya Later

Dan (Chicago)

Pierre, what's wrong with Detroit? Is old age, and the loss of two future Hall of Famers, finally catching up with them?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:19 PM)

20 years at the top, 20 years not picking top 20 in the draft. Eventually that comes back to bite even if you're the most well-run organization in hockey

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:33 PM)

Sorry guys, Greg Jamison called, we had been playing phone tag all day. Nothing really new to report, he says he's going to keep trying in Phoenix but obviously the landscape has changed now. The lease agreement with those sweet terms is gone, the new mayor of Glendale isn't handing those terms out... Plus Jamison has not opened himself to competition from other bids (if there are any in the end).Lots still to play out but he's obviously a disappointed person right now

Paul (Minneapolis)

How patient can the Wild be with Granlund to start the season? He's clearly got the talent but the NHL is looking like to big a jump for his first year in North America.

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:34 PM)

My fault. I picked him for the Calder.They'll be patient with him

Sean (Co)

Are the Stars in real trouble, or do they just need a few games to mesh?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:34 PM)

I didn't pick them to make the playoffs

Dan (Pittsburgh)

Hey Pierre, I'm a big fan. There has been a lot of talk about the Pens defense needing to improve this year, but it seems like the offense is struggling the most. If you take out the 6 goal game against the Rangers and the empty netter against the Flyers, they have not scored more than two goals in any game. For how talented their forwards are, they should be putting the puck in the net more than two times per game. Is this something that Pens' fans should be concerned about, or will they soon right this ship?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:36 PM)

Sometimes, however, the quality of play of your d-men affects the transition game and getting the puck up to your forwards. I think there's some of that going on although it's not the entire story.Pens just look rusty to me, Out of synch. They'll come around

Drew (New York, NY)

With the NY Isles posting scary special teams and a potent offense, what happens when Visnovsky returns? Let's just say they're in contention for the playoffs at the end of the season. With them moving to BKN in 2015, do you think more veterans will want to play for this once storied franchise?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:37 PM)

Islanders are so much fun to watch. Happy for Tavares and those guys. They've gone through so much. Team on the rise !

Todd (Atlanta)

Hi Pierre, Thoughts on the Wild so far. First line looks very good, secondary scoring sketchy. Do you see the defense improving as more games are played? Wish we could have the Barker trade to do over.

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:38 PM)

Too much reliance on top line. 48 games in 99 days, need to spread minutes out more over four lines and need those other lines to contribute more

Michael (NYC)

Pierre, howe would you rate the quality of play so far league-wide ? Overall it's better than I expected (although I'm a Bruins fan, so easy for me to say!), which makes me wonder why we need all those pre-season games anyway.

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:39 PM)

Every coach I've talked to has complained to me about no pre-season and how it's led to injuries on their team. That's why you need pre-season

Michael (NYC)

Pierre, what are your picks for ECF, WCF and Stanley Cup finalists, and Cup winner? Do you think the shortened season will "taint" winning the Cup this year?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:40 PM)

Before the season I picked Rangers-Blues Cup finals. Can't back out now and from the St. Louis point of view, I'm thrilled with that pre-season decision. They look like the best team in the league right now. But in the East, Boston looks far ahead of Rangers right now

Josh (Beijing)

Hi Pierre, Love reading your articles. I know it is early, but who do you see the Wings targeting at the deadline (or earlier)? They've got some holes, but Huskins and Lashoff looked pretty good on D filling in for injuries on the blue-line. Do they address D, pick up some scorers, or (gasp!) sell, at the trade dealdine?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:41 PM)

Too early to give you actual names but obviously Wings will be after D, D, D, D

Chatardio (Chatopia)

If Jamison had not tried to purchase the Coyotes, and also, had Bettman not humoured what turned out to be Jamisona??s failed bid, then in all likelihood would it have been the Coyotes that relocated to Winnipeg, instead of the Atlanta Thrashers?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:43 PM)

Exactly one year before the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg, the Winnipeg owners were sitting in the NYC NHL office and were closing out a deal to get the Coyotes out of Phoenix. What I can't remember is what stopped that from happening. Anyway, they got a team, that's all that matters in the 'Peg !

Matt (VA)

If things keep going the way they are going what are the odds the Caps trade one of their cornerstone players. I don't think it all falls on Oates.

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:43 PM)

I think Oates is safe. The roster? not so much

Terrence (Massapequa, NY)

How bout dem Islanders!!

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:44 PM)

ya !

Jon (Montreal)

In the Boston/Buffalo game, Lucic and Chara were called for two separate minor penalties at the same time, giving Buffalo a 2 minute 5 on 3, which they scored on about a minute into. Chara came out of the box, but as a matter of curiosity, could Lucic have instead been let out of the box first? Is there a rule governing which player gets to come out of the box first in this case?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:44 PM)

The team (Boston) has the choice of who to put on the clock first meaning they can decide who comes out 1st.

Brian Palmer (Eugene, OR )

Now that Jamison has missed the deadline, realistically, what are the chances that he or another "investor" will be able to broker a new deal to keep the team in Arizona? Should folks in Seattle be getting ready to start coming up with a new name for the Coyotes?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:45 PM)

It certainly doesn't look good in the Desert but as I've said in earlier posts, I'm done trying to predict what's going to happen there.Seattle or Quebec City would be the most obvious re-location targets if things fall apart for good in the Desert. But still lots to play out

Chris Scott (Durham, North Carolina)

Hello,Here in Carolina, Semin has been playing great. So has Jordan. Roughly a point/game. Can't complain about that so far. Our defense on the other hand is just horrible! Do you predict that the Canes will turn things around and make the playoffs?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:46 PM)

yes

Steve (D.C. )

Pierre, which do you like better: Seattle Metropolitans,Quebec Nordiques, or Markham St. Pats?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:46 PM)

Second team in Toronto won't be a re-location team. NHL will want the $$$$$$$ from an expansion fee

Jay (Denver)

Does the league honestly think that fans are going to believe that there is a new potential ownership group interested in purchasing the Yotes? We have been sold this bill of goods too many times before.

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:47 PM)

Try being a Coyotes fan ! Feel bad for those folks

Norm (Philly)

Could an NHL GM buy out one of his players, and then immediately re-sign him? There have been rumors Danny Briere could get bought out, as his cap hit is 6,000,000 plus, but his actual salary next year and the year after will be 3 and 2 million respectively. Could Homer buy him out, and then re-sign him for what he would have made? 2.5 for Danny Briere would be a steal!!!

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:47 PM)

No. Any player bought out can't return to the same NHL team for an entire season

Steve (CT)

Where would you rank Thomas Vanek these days among the best players in the NHL? Yesterdays game in Boston was amazing! A great pass for an assist while falling down, a pass to himself off the side boards that led to one of his 3 goals!

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:48 PM)

He was a monster.if he can just stay healhty, he's a 40-goal scorer in this league every year

Vinnie (San Jose)

Hi Pierre. Neil Young @ the Sharks game last night. He and his son are regulars at the Tank. Will Hasso Plattner buying out his partners shares and becoming the top dog affect the Sharks in any way? He apparently has a running feud/competition with Larry Ellison, so that's certainly considered a plus in this town.

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:50 PM)

Yeah I've seen Neil Young at Sharks games before when I was there. Love it. Neil is one of my heroes. Did you know that Neil's father was a famous Canadian hockey journalist? Scott Young. He also authored famous children's hockey books. Google him !

bob nj [via mobile]

hi do u see the rangers trading one of there top 4 d men for some offense?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:50 PM)

no

kurt (Buff)

Big win for the Sabres last night. I noticed after the Thornton beat down, Lucic was on his best behavior. What are your thoughts on the big win? turning point for Sabres, or just dumb luck?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:50 PM)

Huge, huge win mentally for the Buffalo Sabres.

Michael (NYC)

Is Rask good enough to be a Cup-winning goalie?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:51 PM)

yes

Jon (STL)

Pierre, could you please hold some sort of conference with your colleagues on how to pronounce Alex Pietrangelo's name. It's easy as "pih-TRAN-jell-oh", it pains me to hear "Peter Angelo" over and over again. Bucci seems to get it maybe he can host.

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:51 PM)

All I know is that he's a Toronto native :)

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:51 PM)

Regarding earlier Rask question, answer is yes

Josh (Milwaukee, WI)

Don't you miss standing on the sidewalk outside of buildings in New York? What was the worst part of the lockout for you with your job? I jept feeling bad for all you guys waiting around freezing outside.

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:52 PM)

No, I don't miss it, hahaha, not at all !

Pat (NYC)

Why not Portland as a destination for the Coyotes? Arena has 18K capacity for hockey. Key Arena in Seattle only 10k or so.

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:52 PM)

Good point, or Portland until Seattle builds new rink. All good ideas !

Julian (BC)

From what you see so far, who won between the Kassian and Hodgson trade?

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:54 PM)

Honestly that looks to be a trade that's going to be a winner for both teams and I don't often feel that way, Kassian has Ryane Clowe potential written all over him, looks to have taken a big step already this season.Hodgson has 65-point potential, maybe more, creative and soft hands and looks comfy playing with the big boys on the big line in BUff

PIerre LeBrun
  (3:54 PM)

OK folks, gotta run and pick up my daughter at school before I drive up to TSN studios north part of Toronto for my appearance on That's Hockey tonight. Cheers all and enjoy the hockey this weekend