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March 22, 10:00 AM ET
Chat with Pierre LeBrun

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:09 AM)

Hey folks, sorry for being late. My password expired to get onto the chat and I'm technically challenged, haha

Matt (Raleigh, NC)

Have the Hurricanes had any talks with Semin about a multi-year deal?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:11 AM)

Not sure if they've started yet or not but I know from a good source that Carolina planned on approaching the Semin camp on seeing what it would take to keep him around

Nadiv (Maryland)

What do you think about the realignment plan?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:14 AM)

I mean it's not perfect but I don't know what is ever going to be perfect. Look at the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys play in the NFC East. Makes no sense. In the NHL, you've got 16 of the 30 teams in the Eastern TIme Zone, how do you make it all work? I think eventually if the league expands to 32 teams they'll re-do realignment again and perhaps go to four conferences instead of two conferencesThe one thing I do like from the relignment plan for next season is the schedule matrix which sees all 30 teams play each other at least twice (home and away). That's very important. All 29 other teams should have a chance to see Crosby, Toews, Stamkos, etc.

Iyla Bryzgalov (Philly ...)

There are plenty of scapegoats in Philly these days, but after the season ends, what are the chances that both Danny Briere and I will have our contracts bought out and will be looking for a new team?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:15 AM)

It's certainly been a struggle for Daniel. He's a terrific person. The Flyers willl need to sit down with him after the season and see what makes sense. He's got a no-movement clause which carries a big stick. His agent if Pat Brisson who is a sensible man. They'll figure something out

Andrew (Chicago)

What do you think of Chris Kunitz this year? Is it just the result of playing with Crosby, a fluke year, or is he actually developing into the winger Crosby has always needed?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:16 AM)

I wrote a huge piece on Kunitz last week, http://espn.go.com/nhl/story/_/id/9052443/success-pittsburgh-penguins-chris-kunitz-come-no-surpriseBut the most interesting thing Crosby told me is that Kunitz has found new confidence in trying to shoot and score from areas that he didnt' before

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who is the worst NHL Team this season?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:17 AM)

Florida Panthers, in large part thanks to the incredibly long list of injuries

Jim (Grand Rapids, MI)

Good Morning Pierre! When the dust in the West settles: Wings in or out come playoff time?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:17 AM)

IN

Lane (NYC)

Thoughts on the Kaleta incident last night? I know you're an anti fighting guy, but that's a textbook example of why there's fighting in hockey. Kaleta is one of the dirtiest players in the game who takes 40 foot runs at players if he's not hitting them from behind. The Leafs sent a message at the expense of a power play. If more teams did that, Shanahan wouldn't have to conduct six meetings a week. It's okay to be wrong Pierre sometimes...

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:18 AM)

I actually didn't see it so can't comment, was watching other games.But you make a good point from what I can tell of your desciption of the incident

Wildman (MNMN)

Pierre, how about them Wild? They have gelled and are finally winning. Suddenly the critics have been silenced. We have a legitimate Calder trophy candidate in Brodin & a legit Norris trophy winner in Suter. How good has Suter been lately as well as Setoguchi? With that all said, do you see Fletcher making any moves for a power forward(Staford) or a shut down D-man?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:19 AM)

Wrote about the Wild yesterday my friend, http://espn.go.com/blog/nhl/post/_/id/22848/caution-wild-are-starting-to-come-togetherFletcher is on the lookout for what you described but easier said than done

Mr. Lewis (NC)

Why would the bobcats draft Ben McClamore when there backcourt is already loaded ?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:19 AM)

Me no talk basketball

Marc (Malden, MA)

I'm starting a Patrice Bergeron for MVP campaign. Defensively, he leads the league in faceoffs, 3rd in +/-, is the best defensive forward in hockey, plays against the opponent's best line every night. Offensively, he's almost a pt/game and his line is carrying a top 4 team. I know he won't win it because he's doesn't put up ridiculous offensive numbers, but it's time he's in the discussion.

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:20 AM)

Can't disagree with anything you said but he won't have a chance at the Hart.Sidney has that wrapped up with his eyes closed

Alex (State College, PA)

Do you think the flames finally pull the trigger on an Iginla deal this season? What's it going to take to get him?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:21 AM)

yes that's my guess but don't hold me to it, you never know with the FLames,hahahaCalgary would be looking for high-end prospects, there are almost none in the FLames organization

Andrew (Toronto)

Is PK showing that the Habs were foolish to play hardball with him to start the season? Do you think they'll regret not locking him up longer? Personally, I think he's a better player than, say, Myers or Doughty.

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:22 AM)

You could actually argue this was the genius in what Bergevin did. He challenged PK to sign short term and make the Habs pay in the next deal by proving he belongs among the elite d-men. Everyone wins in that scenario

Keith (MS)

Any way the Wings try for Iginla or someone similar? They really need a little more punch up front.

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:22 AM)

I'm told Detroit, LA, Boston and Pittsburgh are teams that have Iginla on their radar. We shall see

Matt (Alexandria, VA)

Better chance of a turnaround after the slow start: you with this chat or the Caps with the shortened season?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:23 AM)

Me with this chat :)

Keith (NYC)

It seems that the Rangers are missing that emotional player that can spark the team (can anyone say Prust). It seems to have been a reoccurring problem over recent years that their players simply cannot put the puck in the net. Perhaps their players are overrated. There is this lack of confidence, fear, etc., in their game. Perhaps Tortorella's act is becoming tired and he has lost the team. Maybe as part of looking for improvements (e.g., Boyle), they should be considering a coaching change.

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:25 AM)

The interesting thing about the Rangers is that when they finally got some traction over the last few years it was because they built form within with Callahan, Del Zotto, Staal, etc... Rangers players from Day 1. They developed a core for once and didn't go out and buy it. In adding star players like Brad Richards and Rick Nash, however, they've gone away from that script. I'm not here to criticize those moves because I'm a huge fan of both Richards and Nash. But what I'm saying is that the Rangers had developed tremdndous chemistry by building froom within and whether it's coincidence or not, when they went back to old ways and used trades/free agency to add to the group, look at what's happened....

Marc (Malden, MA)

Can Anaheim really carry Perry, Getzlaf and Ryan? They have to trade Ryan, right?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:27 AM)

No I'm told by a Ducks front office source that they're ok financially to keep all 3 going into next season. Remember that Koivu and Selanne have expiring contracts. The Ducks even with the big new deals to Perry/Getzlaf still only have $53 million committed to their payroll next season for 16 players. Fill out the rest with lesser salaries and Bob's your uncle Now having said that, if a team (like Philly for example) makes an aggressive trade offer for Ryan that Anaheim can't refuse, that's a different story. But they wouldn't be moving him because they feel they have to

Peter Chiarelli (Boston, MA)

Anyone interested in Milan Lucic? Not looking for much in return, bag of pucks, a few sticks, maybe a practice net.

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:27 AM)

Ouch !

tim (Boston)

Can Carl Sodeberg help the Bruins?Do you expect th bruins to make a big deal?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:28 AM)

I'd temper my expectations with Sodeberg. Could be a real good player but I would expect an adjustment in the first year...B's have Iggy on their radar but they're not alone. Brenden Morrow another possiblity. If Dallas really does put Jagr on the market _ and I'm not sure they will _ but that's another possiblity

Sam (Los Angeles)

Pierre, what do you think the Stars should do at the deadline? Seems like Morrow/Roy/Jagr would bring in a pretty good return and the Stars seem poised to dance around the 8th/9th spot like they've done the last 3 years without making the playoffs. Should they go for the playoffs or go young or possibly some combination of both (move Morrow and/or Roy, try to keep Jagr for 1 more year, make Benn captain). BTW, I was at the game last night and got to meet a few of the Stars Ice Girls!

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:29 AM)

I answer that very question in today's blog my friend on the Stars and their trade deadline dilemma:http://espn.go.com/blog/nhl/post/_/id/22864/winning-complicates-stars-trade-decisions

Marc (Malden, MA)

Now that the league is looking to make visors mandatory, is it too hopeful to assume they'll get rid of the "visor instigator" penalty?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:31 AM)

Good point on the visor instigator penalty, it's stupidRemember that NHL isn't looking to make visors mandatory for current players but rather future players entering the league. Grandfather existing players. Just like the did with helmets decades ago.And remember that NHLPA still has to poll its players this summer to see if they want to go ahead and do this on the visor front. But I sense they finally will

Marc (Malden, MA)

I'm sick of hearing the player safety excuse when it comes to goalie equipment. Goalies in the 80s had MUCH smaller leg pads and they were fine.

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:31 AM)

Mind you, shooters in the '80s didn't have one-piece sticks that shot the puck 100 mph

Erik (SF)

Pierre, does Doug Wilson trade Clowe and Murray for draft picks, or will he tool up for the playoffs as well?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:32 AM)

I think he moves CLowe/Murray for picks and/or prospects. He'll need to see on Boyle if a team really steps up but if he doesn't like the offers can keep Boyle and deal him this summer.

Craig (St. Paul, MN)

Really enjoyed your Wild article yesterday. Is Fletcher making the right call to wait for the off season before approaching Cullen and the other UFAs?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:33 AM)

Craig, thank you. I mean it's always a dicey proposition either way with pending UFAs. Sometimes you risk alienating other pending UFAs on your team if you re-sign one of them and not the others, or some players even get upset if they're not first on the pecking order in talks, etc... I've got no problem with what he's decided

Bill (Vegas)

I read your piece on the Sharks. What is your feeling on them? Do you think they move Clowe or Boyle? Is there any chance Thornton or Marleau get moved by the deadline or in the summer? And 1 last thing. Are McLellan & Wilson's jobs on the line?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:34 AM)

Guess I answer this earlier but to further my point, I think Doug Wiilson has decided to begin the re-tooling process and that the off-season might be even more active for him

Marc (Malden, MA)

I know Crosby has the Hart wrapped up, just want Bergeron in the discussion to be a finalist.

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:34 AM)

understood, and he'd be fully deserving

St. Louis (St Louis)

At the end, where do you see the Blues? you think Allen can keep up with what he has been doing or is the goalie combo just not as strong as it was last year.

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:35 AM)

I still like the Blues a lot. They're lurking in the weeds heading into the playoffs and they can beat anybody in the West in my opinion. I'd like them even better if they would pick up a top-four, left-handed d-men but those guys don't grow on trees

Korbin (Battle Creek,Mi)

Do you think the Penguins are a stanley cup team this year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:36 AM)

ya man definitely a big-time contender of course

Brooks Orpik (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pierre, what do you think of me finally putting on a visor even though I am one of the more physical defensemen in the league? And then coming out publicly and saying "yes this was in response to the M. Staal injury and no there is no difference in visibility." Then just to drive the point home, in the next game on national TV on NBC I took a deflected shot right to the visor that would have hit me square in the eye...while Pierre McGuire narrated it in super slo-mo. Coincidence?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:36 AM)

I think Brooks is very smart for finally making that decision. Every player in the league should have made it after what happened to Manny Malhotra two years ago

Marc (Malden, MA)

Would the Islanders trade Streit?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:38 AM)

Tough to say honestly. Right now the Isles have had ongoing contract extension discussions with Streit's agent Pat Brisson and I'm told that next week looms large on that front. But it's important to note that when Isles GM Garth Snow couldn't get Pareanteau signed last season he didn't trade him anyway. Not sure if that's a pattern or not but I point it out

Suburban Rhythm (Pittsburgh)

What makes more sense for Pittsburgh - go after Iggy, which will cost a 1st and a good prospect +, and move Pascal Dupuis to the 3rd line...or go after a 3rd line grinder/veteran/leader type guy and leave the top 6 alone? If it's the latter, who makes sense?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:38 AM)

Or play Iggy with Malkin and Neal? Leave Crosby's line alone?

Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)

Pierre, the Iginla to the Penguins trade rumors have been heating up for a few weeks now. Some Pens fans have argued the Pens do not need Iginla because he would not displace Kunitz or Dupuis on Crosby's line (both having much better years than Iggy), Beau Bennett has stepped up on the Malkin line, and Iginla would likely see almost no PP time on this team. That being said, would just having his presence in the room be enough to justify that trade by giving the team (many who have already won the Cup) another source of veteran leadership and more importantly a "Cup-less Veteran" to serve as a rallying point. Remember the Ray Bourque 16W campaign in Colorado? Or Dave Andreychuck and Rod Brind'Amour? Those teams wanted to win so bad for those guys.

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:39 AM)

Bingo, it's precisely why Ray Shero covets Iginla, you can't ever have enough leadership/characterGary Roberts and Bill Guerin found new life late in their careers in Pitt. Could be the same for Iggy

Suburban Rhythm (Pittsburgh)

If the coaches challenge system is adopted, how much would it really be used? Coaches now can challenge a players stick length, blade width, curve...but rarely do because it's so hit or miss and resulting penalty. Would many risk the 2min PK for something that seems unlikely, in most cases, to get overturned?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:41 AM)

The GMs voted to nix the Coach's Challenge idea Wednesday at the GMs meeting. It's a dead idea. They agreed to have it to review 4-min high-sticking penalties only but for the bigger picture Coach's Challenge idea that they floated for controversial goals/penalties, they decided the criteria was too difficult to come up with so it's a dead idea now

Robert (NJ)

Pierre,I know you don't always show much love for the Devs but what is your thinking on having Brodeur back. Can they give the Pens and Rangers a run for their money now. Also, how long can the Devs rely on Brodeur - they looked awful w/o him in net. His presence just brings the team together.

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:42 AM)

You Devils fans are hilarious. I don't show ''love" for the Devils? Didn't I pick the Devils to beat the Rangers before the Eastern Conference finals last spring?Devils fans have to stop being so darn sensitive and think the whole world is against them. Enough already. We respect Lou, we respect Marty, I have written a million column/stories on the Devils in my career. Enough already !!!!!!!

Bill (Vegas)

Who do you see Marc Bergevin targeting at the deadline or in the summer? Who would they be willing to trade that has value to other teams?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:45 AM)

Despite their amazing season, I'm told Bergevin isn't drinking the koolaid enough to deal away any kind of prime-time future asset for a rental player. He's more interested in a hockey deal, a player that can help his team not just this year but also beyond. Bergevin's No. 1 goal whether it's before April 3 or in the off-season is to find a real power forward with skill, a player in the mold of Ryane Clowe/David Clarkson.Now, it just so happens that Clowe is available but he's UFA after the season and like I said, Bergevin isn't keen on the rental thing. I guess the only question is, could he deal for him and be confidence he can sign him? I don't know

Marc (Malden, MA)

I love the idea of hybrid icing, but hate the idea of no-touch icing. Do people not realize it makes the ice smaller because it makes it almost impossible to attempt a pass behind the red line.

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:45 AM)

I'm with you on hybrid icing and so are the 30 GMs

ron (Shanghai China)

ANy chance the Hawks add a big 2nd line center who can win faceoffs and play with Sharp and Kane. I like Bolland, BUt like him better on the 3rd line or 4th line. (Leaving Shaw, Stahlberg, Bickell intact). They have prospects and picks to deal. Also maybe Montador if he gets a few games under his belt.

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:46 AM)

Welcome to chat Ron from Shanghai ! nice!Yes the Hawks are looking for a center. Stan Bowman told me last month he wanted a third-line center type player. But he may have described it that way not to hurt Bolland's feelings. My guess is if he can find a true No. 2 center he'd have no issue putting Bolland back to No. 3 line. Either way, yes, Hawks are working the phones looking for a 2/3 centre

Mike (Ithaca ,NY)

Will the Caps get a 2nd straight victory in the 'Peg tonight? And are they a serious SE Division threat if they do?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:46 AM)

Prediction: Jets 4, Caps 1

Marc (Malden, MA)

Go back to the 2011 ECF when Stamkos took a deflected slapshot that broke his nose. Would have been much worse if it didn't catch part of the visor first. Of course he only missed one shift, love hockey players.

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:47 AM)

I mean, it's such a no-brainer to wear a visor I don't even know where to start !!!!!!

brett (philly)

offer flyers fans some hope ... please

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:47 AM)

Oye.... not sure I can

Rich (Philly)

Pierre....you have just been given a temporary head coaching job in Boston....what do you do to get more production from your top line?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:48 AM)

I'd have my d-men take more chances on pinches like the Devils did their their d-men in the playoffs last year

Jonathan (Columbus, OH)

Pierre - The million-dollar question here in CBus is, "What do we make of the Blue Jackets?"They're obviously playing way over their head and riding a Hot Bob, but they're not a cup contender. JD has a "brick-by-brick" philosophy for building the team and (fingers crossed) won't trade off draft picks/prospects for a quick-fix winger to add some scoring. So the question is, "What should the CBJ do?"

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:49 AM)

Jarmo is a smart man. He won't get fooled by this run. It's great to see the work ethic and commitment that the Jackets players are displaying when everyone in the hockey world counted them out again this season. But Kekalainen has the long view in mind no matter what and he's smart for it

Suburban Rhythm (Pittsburgh)

Alexei Kovalev retiring. Where does he rank in terms of pure talent (not always production) of players you've covered?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:50 AM)

He's up there for sure. Loved his time in Montreal. he really responded to playing in hockey's most passionate and historical hockey market. That was a good time in his career

Dave (Jersey)

Patrick Elias... hall of fame?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:50 AM)

He's in my Hall of Fame, that's for sure. What I love the most about him in his consistency. That's so hard to do in this league.

Suburban Rhythm (Pittsburgh)

My 6 year old Sam scored his first mite league goal last week. When can we expect a blog entry about him?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:50 AM)

Congrats to Sam !

al (denver)

who do you think starts for the russians in net? at the beginning of the season i would have said varlamov, but now i am leaning towards bob. i think we can rule out bryzgalov.

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:52 AM)

Yeah I'd go with Bob at this point... obviously that's going to be the big question mark for host Russia next February. No matter who they put in net it's not going to measure up to Quick (USA) or Price (Canada) or Lundqvist (Sweden) or Rinne (Finland)

Robert (NJ)

:) I do respect you Pierre and yes, while you have given the Devils their due I merely stated 'sometimes'. My apologies if we have offended. I guess writers aren't immune to pessimism from the fans.

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:53 AM)

haha no worries Robert, I just find it so funny that the only team in the league where fans always accuse the national writers of dissing their team is New Jersey. Must be something in the water there.

Nicko (Sydney, Australia)

Pens fan here wanting to contribute as best I can. By my calc's if we say 54pts is a reasonable playoff making point total then the Flyers would have to go 13-4-1 from here to make it in. If they were playing us 18 times they might have a chance, but is it safe to say they're done for the year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:54 AM)

Chatting from Down Under, nice !Covered the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. One of the best experiences of my career. As for the Flyers, I mean, who knows... could teams like Carolina and Rangers fall out to make it interesting? Who knows

matt (south jersey)

bigger surprise this year....Flyers struggles, or Rangers?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:54 AM)

Rangers. I wasn't as high on Philly this year

Dave (Jersey)

we dont drink the water in NJ... im not going to go into why, just dont.. you're welcome

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:55 AM)

haha, ok thanks. I'll stick to beer when I go there :)

Matt (Pitt)

I'm seeing all these commrents regarding Iginla to Pitt but that isn't the logical move. While Pitts D has been great recently it has shown it can be spotty come playoff time. They missed out on Suter last summer and need to find a long term pairing for Letang. Keith Yandle. Yandle for Despres-Harrington-Kennedy and a conditional pick. Gives them two solid D prospects (one of whom will definitely play a top 6 role eventually) and a forward whose proven he can score goals and would play a top 6 role on that team. Deal or no deal?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:55 AM)

It's not crazy. All I know is that a Coyotes source told me they'd have to be blown away to move Yandle

Suburban Rhythm (Pittsburgh)

As a Pens fan, I'm enjoying the Flyers crumbling nearly as much as the Pens soaring. That said, still would not want to play them round one...those games, for whatever reason, are always disasters. Reassure me please, there is no chance they sneak in...right?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:56 AM)

Not sure as a Pens fans you should be hoping to play Flyers in the payoffs. If there's one team that has Pittsburgh's number, it's Phllly for whatever reason

Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)

Pierre, we have been over this a million times, but wouldn't teams like Calgary, Columbus, Dallas, Buffalo, even San Jose be better off selling off everything this year and tanking for not only the draft this year but also the next few years with players like S.Jones, McKinnon, Drouin and Connor McDavid on the horizon? We saw this happen first in Ottawa, then Pittsburgh, then Chicago, then Edmonton....and look at how it worked out (although the jury is still out on Edmonton). Hanging around for the 8th seed or narrowly missing the playoffs and getting a low draft pick or trying to patch together with marginal free agents is THE WORST strategy you can adopt for a rebuild. Trust me, I am a Mets fan in baseball and would much rather they finish dead last for 5 years than continue doing what they have been doing.

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:57 AM)

But Jesse you're also seeing with Edmonton this season AGAIN struggling to make the playoffs that bottoming out and building around top draft picks isn't an exact science. Fans in Edmonton are mighty tired of being patient.

James (Pa)

How did you leave Kris Letang off of team Canada?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:57 AM)

I didn't. Not sure what you're reading or heard but Letang is defintely on my Team Canada

matt (south jersey)

What do the Flyers absolutely have to do this offseason to help fix this?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:58 AM)

Drat Seth Jones, haha

Erik (SF)

Is team speed one of the main reasons teams like Philly and SJ are struggling this year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:58 AM)

YES

Pierre LeBrun
  (10:58 AM)

OK guys, that was fun. Everyone have a great weekend and be safe out there.