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February 5, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Barry Melrose

Barry Melrose
  (2:02 PM)

I hope everyone is enjoying the great starts of a number of players in the NHL.

Pete (NJ)

The Devils have extra defense and can use another consistent scorer, do you see them making a trade anytime soon?

Barry Melrose
  (2:03 PM)

Yeah, the Devils have always been active at the deadline. As this season shakes out and the teams rise to the top, I think you'll see some of the lower teams trade players for picks or young players. The Devils have those.

Eric (Chicago)

What are you expecting out of the Sharks/Blackhawks game tonight?

Barry Melrose
  (2:04 PM)

The Sharks are stumbling a bit. These are two of the best in the West. Is San Jose as good as we think they are? How good is Chicago? This is a very interesting game tonight.

Adam (New York)

Barry, I know Florida has won their last two games over Winnipeg and Buffalo, but how can they get more consistent scoring.

Barry Melrose
  (2:05 PM)

I think a couple of things have to come true. They need better goaltending. They need to get the power play going. That was a strength for them last year. If they make the playoffs, I think it's been a heckuva year. Their future is bright. But they have to be careful not to trade some of their good young players for a stop gap now. The Panthers had an unbelievable year last year, maybe overachieved and maybe we're seeing more what they're like this year.

Erik (Pittsburgh)

Do you see Vokoun stealing the job away from Fleury?

Barry Melrose
  (2:06 PM)

I don't know if I see him stealing it, but I see him pushing Fleury. That's good. Competition is good. Vokoun gives them a good backup. That will make Fleury a better goaltender.

Ice Ace (Alabama)

With the play of Luongo lately(4 starts in a row), do you believe the Canucks still trade him and do you believe Schneider's confidence have taken a blow?

Barry Melrose
  (2:07 PM)

Actually, there was something in the paper today about Schneider's agent not being happy with his ice time. But you have to play the hot goaltender. How can you trade Luongo right now with the way he's playing? In short season, you cant worry about someone's feelings, you need to worry about points.

Jaime (NYC)

NYR/NJD game tonight, your predictions?

Barry Melrose
  (2:08 PM)

I think it will be a typical Rangers-Devils game. It will be low scoring. The Rangers are off to a little bit of a slow start. They just made a trade with Rupp. It will be a traditional hard fought game, probably 3-2, 2-1.

bob nj [via mobile]

hi barry who is going 2 supply toughness now that the rangers traded m rupp and what do u think of the trade

Barry Melrose
  (2:09 PM)

A little surprising, because Rupp was a good part of the Rangers. He knew his role and didn't take penalties. They can replace his fighting ability, but he was a guy who could play. It will be interesting to see if the guy that takes his spot is someone they can play regularly.

Josh (Oklahoma City )

Barry, which team is under the most pressure this year?

Barry Melrose
  (2:10 PM)

There are tons of teams under a lot of pressure. The Rangers getting Nash are expected to be one of the best in the NHL. They've been disappointing the last few years. Toronto is under a lot of pressure. Vancouver. There are a number of teams that need to win this year and show they're for real.

Erik (Pittsburgh)

Are the Lightning for real?

Barry Melrose
  (2:10 PM)

They are for real. They have a good team. They're good in net. They can score goals probably better than any team in the NHL. They have a veteran team. The trades they made have worked well. Tampa Bay is for real.

Jason (SoCal)

after 8-9 games can it be said that the 3 teams that have played the best are in the west? HAWKS, SHARKS, DUCKS

Barry Melrose
  (2:11 PM)

I think you have to put St. Louis in there and Vancouver in there. I definitely think the West is deeper than the East. They have probably five of the best teams in the NHL.

Al (Queens)

What are your thoughts on the Islanders? Will Ryan Strome and Nino Niederreiter be with the big club in October?

Barry Melrose
  (2:12 PM)

I think they've been one of the biggest surprises in the NHL. Tavares looks great. They're getting good goaltending every night. They're no free point. They're a big surprise.

Dropping the Gloves (Boston)

Great book. My B's PP still is terrible. Any chance at getting an innovative assistant coach to help out? (you?)

Barry Melrose
  (2:13 PM)

The PP wasn't good last year, so it's nothing new. It's best when it's simple. Get it in the opposing end and attack. They're not a fancy team. They don't make fancy plays. When it's simple and they get a lot of shots, that's when they're good. It will never be a great PP, but it should be better than it is now.

Ice Ace (Alabama)

Do you believe Kunitz will continue with his good play for the rest of the season as long as Crosby is his center?

Barry Melrose
  (2:14 PM)

Yes, I think Kunitz is a very underrated player. He's a good fit with Crosby. He skates hard, has courage. I don't see why he won't be one of the best scorers in the NHL playing with Crosby.

Todd (Pa)

With the short season and the slow start is there probably a better chance then not the Flyers won't be a playoff team and yes they get Harts back in March and Mez back in a few weeks but seems their scoring problems come down to not having some key players from last year JVR and Jagr making G line n Harts that much better. Any way they can fix this or Thoughts?

Barry Melrose
  (2:15 PM)

They need to start winning now. They're in it right now, not far behind, but they can't continue to win one, lose three, win one lose two. They have some injuries and they need those guys back, but they are a better team than they've been playing.

James (Elk River, MN)

What is your take on the Wild obtaining Rupp... how does he fit in? Do you see Fletcher making some more moves early on... maybe a big move with some of our young talent? What is the best move if any yet this season for the Wild?

Barry Melrose
  (2:15 PM)

It's a good fit for Minnesota because he can play. He can play minutes and not worry about him hurting the team. He plays big up front. I like the trade for Minnesota. I think he'll be a good fit.

Zach Williams (Nashua NH)

What are the chances that the Washington Capitals bounce back after a slow start.

Barry Melrose
  (2:17 PM)

I think it's a better chance that Philly bounces back. I don't like how Washington's been playing. They're not a good defensive team or offensive team. If you look at the scoring leaders, all of the guys up there play on good teams. Right now, the Washington stars aren't playing very well.

Eric (Chicago)

BM, gut feeling, Detroit making or not making the playoffs?

Barry Melrose
  (2:17 PM)

I think the way they're playing now make it. I think four teams in the Central make the playoffs. They're starting to play well again. Datsyuk, Zetterberg are playing well. I think this is a playoff team now.

Erik (Pittsburgh)

Do you see Getzlaf or Perry resigning in Anaheim? If not, where are they going?

Barry Melrose
  (2:18 PM)

Anaheim needs to resign one of them, preferrably two. But it will be hard. Do you trade one of them at the deadline and get something back? Do you trade both of them if you don't think you can sign them? The Ducks will be interesting to watch at the deadline.

John (New York)

With the abundance of D, any thoughts of Phoenix trading either Rundblad or Gormley to the Islanders for one of their young forwards (Bailey, Okposo or Niederreiter)

Barry Melrose
  (2:19 PM)

It's hard to trade defenseman. They let a couple of good ones go. They have a very good young defensive core. These guys play 25 minutes a night and it's hard to move one of them, unless you get an elite forward. They're just too good.

Henrik (Seattle)

Hey Barry, reading your book and I'm loving it. Despite all Av's Injuries, do you think Avs can make the playoff and if the don't then do you think Sacco is done?

Barry Melrose
  (2:20 PM)

No, I don't see the Avs making the playoffs. They need to get their guys back. The West is so strong. There are no weak teams in the West. I don't think this is the year they make the playoffs.

Andrew (MN)

Will Ryan Suter turn it around for the Wild?

Barry Melrose
  (2:21 PM)

Yes, I think he will. He's a great defenseman. I think he's trying to do too much. He'll get back to playing how he did with Nashville. But the Wild are a playoff team. One of the 8 best.

Austin (Cheeseburger West Side)

The Lightning have a four game road trip against the Flyers, Devils, Bruins, and Rangers, should I be happy with a 1-2-1? BTW, when I read your answers, I use your voice reading it to me

Barry Melrose
  (2:22 PM)

.500 is what you're trying to do on the road. That's the goal on any trip. They're a good team, and we'll learn a lot about them on this trip. 2-2 would be great. If we're looking at 1-3, maybe they're not as good as we think. This is a yardstick trip for the Lightning.

Alex (Syracuse)

What will it take for Ruff to get the axe in Buffalo? I don't know if he should just yet, but I'm concerned that there's a big group of fans in their 20s (myself included) who have never cheered for another coach, and that gives him a significantly longer leash than most.

Barry Melrose
  (2:23 PM)

I think Lindy's one of the coaches on the hot seat. He's been there a long time. They have Miller, Vanek. I think he's on the hot seat. He needs to make the playoffs this year.

Alex (Philly)

Think Bryzgalov will keep this level of play up? He's finally playing like the player we all expected him to be.

Barry Melrose
  (2:23 PM)

That's going to be the big question mark. He'll probably have to play better than he has in a long time, going back to his Phoenix or Ducks days. His team is not playing well right now. They give up a lot of chances. He has to win some games on his own for this Philly team to get going.

Alex (Pittsburgh)

Barry- What do you think about the Pens? and come the end of the year what about Malkin and Letang's contract situations?

Barry Melrose
  (2:25 PM)

I think Pittsburgh is playing good, the best hockey they've played all year long. Malkin needs to be better. They have to get more than one line scoring. This is a big year for Pittsburgh. They've underachieved the last couple of years. And definitely Malkin and Letang need to be extended.

Alex (Philly)

Speaking of coaches on the hot seat, should Laviolette be worried?

Barry Melrose
  (2:26 PM)

Well, if you look at the history of the Flyers, they haven't made coaching changes quickly. If we're sitting here in two weeks and they're in the bottom, the saying is it's easier to fire one guy than 20.

Mel (Ottawa)

How bad is Spezza's injury going to affect the Sens' chances at making the playoffs?

Barry Melrose
  (2:26 PM)

Big time. He's arguably their best player, the most talented forward. It's hard to replace a guy like that. Ottawa needs every point they can get, whether he comes back or not. They need to play like he's not coming back. That's a big, big loss for them.

Jonathan (Chicago)

Has Crawford turned the corner, or are the Hawks still in need of a net-minder upgrade?

Barry Melrose
  (2:27 PM)

He was good last year in the regular season too. He has to show me in the playoffs. That's when it matters. This is a playoff team. He needs to play well then for people to think of him as a big time goaltender.

Doug (Virginia)

What do you think of Brandon Sutter's role so far as Jordan Staals replacement in Pittsburgh?

Barry Melrose
  (2:28 PM)

If people thought he was going to come in and be Staal, he's not that kind of player. He should be a good third line center. I think they'll be happy with Sutter.

Barry Melrose
  (2:28 PM)

It seems every night we have a big game. We have one tonight and Bruins-Habs Wednesday. Enjoy the battles!