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February 21, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Barry Melrose

Buzzmaster
  (2:02 PM)

Barry is here!

Tomaso (California)

What is going on with the Sharks?

Barry Melrose
  (2:03 PM)

I think they are sort of becoming the team that they are. The start was a little bit not what they are. They're a good team, but I don't think they're one of the three best in the West. They will be a playoff team, but probably 4-5, not top 3.

Raj (Buffalo, NY)

Where do the Sabres go from here, after firing Lindy Ruff? Was it a good move or bad move?

Barry Melrose
  (2:04 PM)

They had to do something. It's the old saying that it's easier to get rid of one guy rather than five guys. It's obvious that the team had quit on Lindy. That was the quickest fix for the Sabres.

Bruce (Detroit)

Barry - isn't it an indictment on the officiating when Hansen gets only two minutes for his head shot to Hossa, but a game suspension from the league? I could see the suspension if he had been thrown out. I'm wondering if they're seeing something different than us?

Barry Melrose
  (2:05 PM)

No, I think it's really hard for the refs to make that call in a split second. The people in Toronto have the luxury of slow motion and can stop every frame. Once you get to see it in slow motion, you can see the hit to the head more clearly. You have to give the officials some slack on a bang-bang play like that.

Andrew (MN)

Do the Wild just need more time to develop, i mean half there team is new and a bunch of them are really young.

Barry Melrose
  (2:05 PM)

That's all true, but I think they've underachieved. When you look at the lineup, they should be fighting for a playoff spot. It's time for the team to start playing like they can.

Sal (Champaign, IL)

Will the Blackhawks ever lose?

Barry Melrose
  (2:06 PM)

They'll lose, but they're not going to lose very many. It will take a team with great goaltending to beat Chicago. But they're certainly the best team in the West.

Marty (Naareth Pa.)

Barry do you think the N.H.L. will ever have a draft lottery like the N.B.A.for the teams out of the playoff's?

Barry Melrose
  (2:07 PM)

Yeah, it's starting now. All 14 teams that miss the playoffs are in the lottery now. The NHL is going to an NBA style lottery.

harry (miami)

Now that they are established in the NHL, who has been the better player- Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin? Thanks.

Barry Melrose
  (2:07 PM)

That's a good question...both are underachieving right now. I think Seguin will have more goals than Hall, but they're both great young players.

Will (Pittsburgh, PA)

Why can't the Penguins play defense against the Flyers? And do you see Ray Shero making a big move before the deadline?

Barry Melrose
  (2:08 PM)

The Flyers get under the Penguins skin, especially Malkin. If the Penguins are going to beat the Flyers, they have to become a more disciplined team.

Frank (Chi)

Speaking of the Blackhawks hotstreak.... do you think being so hot so early in the season may backfire and they may get cold at the worst time ...(playoffs)?

Barry Melrose
  (2:09 PM)

No, I don't think so. There are only 30 games left. The only thing that Chicago has to be scared of is injuries. That's the only thing that can stop them.

Dan (Boston)

Rask and Khudobin the answer in Boston? Rask is still slamming his stick and losing focus, and Khudobin has let in a lot of softies.

Barry Melrose
  (2:09 PM)

I think they're good enough. They both played very well. They've only lost two games and the goaltending is good every night. I think it's adequate.

Alan (New York)

Barry:I respect your hockey knowledge, but can you honestly tell me how Garth Snow is still employed. They are on the verge of a 6th straight top-5 pick, and if you look at their roster now, they have so many holes.Besides Wang selling the team, what could be done.Alan

Barry Melrose
  (2:10 PM)

Things are different on the Island than with most other teams. That's the team that signed Yashin for 12 years, that's the team that signed so many players to long term contracts. You don't judge the Islanders by the way you judge the Red Wings, unfortunately.

Chris (Toronto)

hi Barry, do you think the Canucks can get back on track tonight? I worry about Dallas when they have a few days off.

Barry Melrose
  (2:11 PM)

Dallas is a team that's going to be fighting for a playoff spot all year long. They're not a great team, they're a good team, but there are a lot of good teams out West. They have to beat teams like Columbus and Colorado every time they play.

Alex (Anaheim)

Who's more likely to win Coach of the Year: Boudreau or Quenneville?

Barry Melrose
  (2:12 PM)

Oh, I would probably say Boudreau would be No. 1 right now. Chicago had a playoff team last year. The Ducks were in disarray. Bruce has had to do more with less than Quenneville.

Todd (Rockford, IL)

Barry! Love your work with ESPN and adding humor to the analysis! My question: Even when the Blackhawks get Carcillo back, will they be tough enough to take the punishment in the playoffs? It seems like Hossa, Kane, and Toews are really taking some punishment, from last year with Hossa's hit through the beginning this year.

Barry Melrose
  (2:13 PM)

I think so. They're a young team. They're a big team. They have some toughness on the third and fourth lines. Fighting isn't a factor now in the NHL and Chicago has some physical lines. Toughness won't be a factor.

Bobby (New Jersey)

Knowing what the Devils did last year and their hot start this year, would you consider them to be a top 3 Cup contender?

Barry Melrose
  (2:14 PM)

Not top 3. Probably my top three would be Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh, with the Ducks and Vancouver in the mix. Those are my top five teams.

Jim (Ca) [via mobile]

What do you think the Kings do with Bernier? With them just signing quick long term I would hate to see Bernier go for nothin?

Barry Melrose
  (2:14 PM)

They'll end up trading him eventually. He's played well when Quick was struggling. You can't pay two elite goaltenders. If he continues to play well, they'll get a lot for him.

Garrett (Long Island)

What are your thoughts on the Rangers and their outlook?

Barry Melrose
  (2:15 PM)

The Rangers have been OK. I don't think they're where they envisioned at the start of the year. They haven't played great. John certainly isn't happy with the way they're playing. If they make the playoffs, they'll be a tough matchup.

Max (MI)

What are the Red Wings missing right now? Is it just the injuries that have piled up or is it something more?

Barry Melrose
  (2:16 PM)

No, I think it's injuries. They've lost so many key guys to injuries. Once they get healthy, they'll be a playoff team and a team no one wants to play in the first round.

Dakota (Evanston)

When the Hawks get Carcillo back where do you think he will play in the lineup?

Barry Melrose
  (2:16 PM)

He'll probably be on the third or fourth line. They have so much depth on the first two lines with scoring. When they get their team together, he's on the 3 or 4 line.

Jeff (Doylestown, PA)

Barry, as a former coach do you think that schedule makes a big difference in standings. Look at uneven schedule and in my opinion, the teams are not in the same boat. Flyers played 18 and Boston just 13. The back to backs with travel in between is not fair. Flyers play tonight after that roller coaster in Pittsburgh and pens get same Florida team tomorrow.

Barry Melrose
  (2:17 PM)

Right now, it's lopsided, but Boston has to win those games they have in hand. Boston will have to play a lot of games in a short period of time. They better enjoy the rest they have now. Games in hand are always nice, but you have to win them.

Kenneth (Ohio)

Likelihood the Jackets get better by next season?

Barry Melrose
  (2:18 PM)

They'll get better, because they'll draft high, but they're still far from being a powerhouse in the West, probably 2-3 years. They will have some room to get free agents, but free agents don't want to go there, because they are so far from being a winning team.

Nick (Detroit)

Barry, is it time to re-evaluate Jimmy Howard? I've watched almost every game this season, and he just doesn't bring it night after night. He lets in bad goals. I don't understand him. At times he's brilliant and at times he's downright laughable.

Barry Melrose
  (2:19 PM)

Jimmy hasn't had a great year, no doubt. He got hurt last game, so I'm not sure if he can play the next game or not. He'll be the first to tell you that he's not happy with how he has played this year.

Aaron (New Jersey)

Barry, how do you feel about Bryz's strong season so far?

Barry Melrose
  (2:20 PM)

He's been good. He outplayed Vokoun last night. The Flyers certainly can't complain about their goaltending. It's positive for the Flyers if he can play this way and justify that huge contract.

Ray Shero (Pittsburgh)

Do you see any big name wingers being available at the deadline besides Inginla? Maybe I should worry about our d after last nights performance...any big name d men?

Barry Melrose
  (2:21 PM)

He might be available. Perry might be available. What's Columbus going to do? The Florida teams? There could be some veteran players available come the deadline.

Kenny (Chicago)

Do you think the one-game suspension for Jansen was sufficient...Keith got 5 for a fairly similar play. Thanks Barry.

Barry Melrose
  (2:22 PM)

I think so. When you look at it in slow motion, it was a hit to the head and he got a minor in the game. It wasn't a stick or anything like that. It wasn't a violent hit. He doesn't have a history in the NHL and that's what they go by also. One game was fine.

Mike (Minnesota)

Which side of the Wild should they really be? The side where they let the other team sit in there own zone and fire away, or the side where they control the puck and create a bunch of scoring chances?

Barry Melrose
  (2:23 PM)

They should be a puck control team. Koivu, Parise, Heatley, etc. This team should have the puck and be good offensively. They should be a very good all around hockey team.

Nick (Detroit)

Barry, how do you see the U.S. fairing at the Olympics? With such a strong top-6 and a lot of good two-way defenseman, they can stack up with just about anyone. Good physicality and depth scoring in the bottom-6, too. Also, do you see Ryan McDonagh in the red, white, and blue when the final rosters are made?

Barry Melrose
  (2:24 PM)

I think the Americans have a great team. The success they've had at the juniors and the other international competitions. You have some great players in net. Good defensemen. I don't see any reason why they won't be one of the 3-4 strongest teams there.

Max (MI)

Edmonton has a fairly young team with lots of talent, how long until they are a cup contender?

Barry Melrose
  (2:24 PM)

They better do it quick. They had the first pick three years in a row. They should be approaching a very good team now. I think they've been one of the biggest disappointments so far.

Norm (Hershey)

Any fresh word on realignment? Every time I look at the South East div and realize how weak they are, but still get at least a guaranteed #3 seed it makes me steam.

Barry Melrose
  (2:25 PM)

Next year you'll see Winnipeg move to the West. What they're fighting is which team goes to the East. Detroit wants to, but the other teams out West don't want to lose them because they're a good draw.

Chris (New Jersey)

Do you think the 7-0 win vs NYI and the win last night in PIT will turn the Flyers season around? They get Hartnell back next week but Read got hurt last night and they have to play again tonight.

Barry Melrose
  (2:26 PM)

Definitely. That's just what they needed. Coach called his team out and they responded. Two good games in a row. Hartnell is about to come back. I think they're through the worst of it.

Richard (Greensboro, NC)

Do the Hurricanes have enough to be a contender this year, or are they a one and done team because of their poor defense?

Barry Melrose
  (2:27 PM)

The Southeast is a weak division right now. Carolina has jumped in front. Winnipeg isn't very good. Washington has played better lately. But maybe only one team in that division makes it to the playoffs, probably Carolina or Tampa.

Howard (Toronto)

The Habs have obviously improved...but are they suddenly a legitimate top-4 team in the East, or is their hot start more a function of an easy schedule/loads of home games?

Barry Melrose
  (2:28 PM)

No, I think they're a very good team. Price has been good in net. Defensively they've been solid. Their young forwards have been scoring. Montreal is for real.

Barry Melrose
  (2:28 PM)

It's been a great season so far and I think we'll be watching a great battle through the rest of the season.