Bonjour les amis, great to be back for a FULL NHL season. Let's talk hockey !
Hi Pierre, thoughts on the Wild this year. How long do they stick with Yeo if they get off to a poor start? Really need to score more this year. Thanks
Todd, not sure how fair it would be to axe Yeo for a slow start when you consider the number of young players he need to integrate into bigger roles after the off-season departure (cap related) of veterans like Cullen, Bouchard and Setoguchi... I'd give Yeo _ a smart dude _ a good/fair leash
Pierre, First let me say Welcome Back! Now I'm a big hockey fan, but I feel like I've let down a lot of hockey fans down because I've been sleeping on Alex Pietrangelo. Can you give me some quick insight on him?
Let's put it this way: Al MacInnis compared him to Nick LIdstrom when I was talking to him for a story I wrote on Pietrangelo. Now, that's a bit of stretch and MacInnis was quick to say that, but his point was more that Pietrangelo plays a lot of mistake-free hockey with his passing and decision-making, nothing flashy but incredibly steady, etc...
What do you think of the Rangers, Islanders, & Devils playing 2 NHL Hockey Games on Super Bowl Week at Yankee Stadium?
Chris, welcome back. I think it's a great opportunity to take advantage of the Super Bowl buzz in that area, absorb some of that media spotlight for hockey. Good idea
What is going on with Derek Stepan? Why hasn't he signed and do you think he will?
Latest I heard is that he wanted something comparable to Matt Duchene ($3.5 M a year) and I don't think the Rangers are willing to pay north of $3 M
Do you expect that the league change the "remove your own helmet" rule in light of the Gallant / Barch tilt from last night?
Do you think the Penguins bounce back this year?
Yes, I'm picking a Chicago-Pittsburgh Cup final with Hawks repeating as champion
Hey Pierre, great to be talking hockey again! Would you consider the Leafs defense without Franson worse than it was last year? Or would a full time Gardiner and Paul Ranger make up that difference?
yes I'd say full-timer Gardiner and a Paul Ranger that looks like the top-4 version of his old self would help make due. But Franson certainly was a stud last season
If Nonis and the Leafs sign Raymond, it will put the squeeze on any opportunity to sign Franson... Do you think there is any chance that the Leafs opt to keep Rielly, and potentially trade Franson...? If not, do you foresee a trade of Liles as a potential cap-clearing move to get him signed...? Personally, Franson proved a lot last year and I would love to see him sign with the Leafs...
If Raymond signs with the Leafs, it won't be for much money. Not sure it has that much affect on what Franson does
Pierre, what do you think of the Oilers giving Nugent-Hopkins 42 million after playing just 102 games in the NHL?
These deals are always gambles, there are no sure things. Heck, even the Ovechkin deal looked like a bad idea until he re-discovered himself last season.I like buying up 7 years of RNH's time because the cap will likely go up and up and up over the next decade. On the flip side, my concern with him is his lack of durablility so far in his young career, Definitely a risk there for sure
Hey Lebrun, How do you think the Oilers will do this year under new coach mr.compete and is this the year they make the jump and join the playoff picture? Thanks!
Love the Dallas Eakins hire, young star coach in the making. he's a stud behind the bench. Still worry about the blue line but I believe the Oilers knock at the playoff door this season, right on the bubble
Pierre -Thank you for your contributions over the years for us fans. Do you believe Nonis will be able to move JM Liles? I don't believe there is enough forward depth to deal Kulemin & Liles unfortunately appears to be the only cog that makes sense to move in order to accommodate both Franson
Butch, just don't see any team wanting Liles' contract right now, his cap hit is $3.875 M but his actual salary this year and next is $4.25 M. Now, in the last year of the deal in 2015-16 the salary goes down to $2.75 M so maybe there's a taker then, especially a team needing the cap hit more than the salary
Pierre, what is one thing (and probably the only thing) I have in common with Teemu Selanne? We are both back for another year baby! To borrow a phrase from the NHL commercials...is this the year....that Sidney Crosby finally goes wire to wire on the scoring race and runs the table on the Ross, Hart and Lindsay Awards? Something he obviously would have done in 2011 (concussion) and 2013 (broken jaw) if it weren't for injuries. And probably would have done in 2012 as well if he hadn't missed practically the whole season. Isn't it almost impossible to believe that Cros has been "the best player in the league" for 7 years running but only has one MVP and one scoring title...and both of those were back in 2007. Gretz ripped off like 8 in a row of each.
Jesse, welcome back buddy.It really struck me how many NHL stars we interviewed in NYC earlier this month when we asked them for their top NHL forward that 90 percent of them said Sidney. There's just no argument right now. And it was really interesting to hear Jonathan Toews talk about it. He feels Crosby is 30 percent better than the next player after him. That's high praise from one of the best players in the world in his own right.If Sid stays healthy, he'll run away with the scoring title, just as he was last season before the unfortunate puck in the jaw
If the Reimer/Bernier race becomes even ... Do you think it's in the best interests to trade Reimer, come deadline, to get value prior to the end of his contract? I doubt Reimer and Bernier will go for this duo two years in a row. And if so, what could he realistically fetch?
Milan, especially if the Leafs are in ear shot of a playoff spot, I don't think they'd deal a goalie. That's more of an off-season decision I think. One thing Nonis made clear to me last week was that having that 1-2 punch in goal was really important to him
If you had to draft one rookie in a fantasy draft, not including McKinnon and Drouin, who would you draft?
VALERI NICHUSHKIN, Dallas StarsI haven't seen him play yet but by all accounts from NHL people I've spoken with over the last week, he's electric
Pierre, how will we react when under the new playoff format a sixth place team in a tough division (say Vancouver or Toronto) misses the playoffs while a third place team in a weaker division (say Nashville or Columbus) makes the playoffs with 20 less points? You know it is going to happen.
Remember the 1980s and the Norris Division? :) C'est la vie
Why has nobody signed me yet? Granted I did not set any foot speed records during my stint with the Penguins in the playoffs, but I still hit like a freight train.
My guess is it won't be very long before you're signed....
Over under on combined hits for Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck - 1,000?
Keep your head up !!!!
Any chance the NHL changes it's point system and rewards 3 points for a regulation game, so all games are 3-pointers? When I watch Eastern conference games not involving my favourite team, I only cheer for no OT/SO.
Don't think so. I actually have written for years that I'd want that. But NHL GMs voted on this a few years ago and it was a No vote and adamently said they didn't want to talk about it again.
Who do you think are the major winners and losers of the realignment? Do you think the conferences are well balanced in terms of skill, salary, etc.?
I mean the Florida teams get screwed in terms of extra travel plus tougher competition; on the flip side, they'll sell more tickets to snowbirds for Montreal, Boston, Toronto and Detroit....Winnipeg has a much better fit now in the Central in terms of travel and game times, etc., but certainly going to be tougher competition than the Southeast with playing Chicago and St. Louis now...Obviously easier for Western teams to make the playoffs, 2 fewer teams in their conference.I think Toronto and Montreal really lost out with Detroit now in their division in terms of on-ice competition because if you figure the Wings are a sure bet to get in, as well as Boston and Ottawa, that leave Leafs and Habs battling for fourth place in the Atlantic and there's no guarantee that fourth place is even a playoff spot
hi pierre do u see the rangers making a trade 4 a tough guy i donot think they have enough toughness on the team thoughs?
Don't think so. Coach AV only wants toughness than can play. So that's Dorsett and Asham (if he makes the team). AV isn't a guy who likes tough guys who can't play
Will Iginla or Eriksson start on the Bruins' first line and how much does Iggy have left in the tank?
At this point it appears Iggy with with Krecji and Lucici while Eriksson is with Marchand and BergeronI have to say I'm not a big believer that Iggy is that 80-point guy of yesteryear but so far in pre-season he's proven me wrong Eriksson is a stud, going to be a fantastic star in Boston. B's fans are going to love him, 200-foot guy, high hockey IQ, perfect complement to Bergy
Pierre, to quote Jimmy Vaughan and the Fabulous Thunderbirds, is this incarnation of the Penguins "tough enough" to compete at the top of the East this year? Cooke, Kennedy, Morrow and Iginla are all gone. So if Deryk Engelland cannot crack this lineup on D (which he probably shouldn't), our only real grit is Tanner Glass, an aging Craig Adams, and maybe Robert Bortuzzo. Meanwhile we have "soft" skill players like Bennett and Jokinen and Despres likely to see bigger roles. Not exactly going to be banging bodies with the Bruins, Senators, Flyers and Rangers. Do I have to go shopping mid-season AGAIN??
I think the Blackhawks proved last season that skilled players who are willing to play tough can win a championship
Haven't seen any Sabres preseason games but it sounds like Myers looks healthy and well-conditioned unlike last year, playing really well. Should Sabres fans expect progression this year unlike the regression we've seen over the last 2?
yes, I'd finally bet on bounceback from Myers
Two questions. 1. Why on Earth did the new honcho at MLSE (Tim L.) find it necessary to extend Dave Nonis for 5 years, with such a small and questionable sample of his GM abilities? 2. Nonis appears to be bereft of simple mathematical skills? and now he has to play hardball with Cody Franson (arguably the team's best defenceman). What's the deal with THAT?
Disagree, I think Nonis has an excellent hockey mind, he did some great work in Vancouver (Luongo trade) before being fired there. His patience in the way he's handled the Toronto job also has impressed me. He's a keeper in my mind
Pierre, Torts is out and Vigneault is in. Now I know what Andy Dufresne must have felt like after he escaped from Shawshank.
Mister Pierre, today coach Tort ask me how come I did not lay down to block that shot in a meaningless pre-season game. I tell him, you must have me confused with someone else that looks just like me.
If you need some background, call up Marian Gaborik and let me know what he tells you, haha
Carey Price average goalie?
Top 5 in the NHL
Hi Pierre. Wanted to get your take on Boston and Detroit's preseason game last night. I understand that the coaches have no way of knowing who the other is icing for these game, however, do you think this experience has hurt Subbans confidence? He was creamed last night in his first game. Thanks!
I didn't see the game (hate watching pre-season, haha) but I wouldn't put too much stock into what happens in a pre-season game. Not much imipact
Do the habs figure in your top 8 in the East even if they'll have to play without Emelin for 3 months or so? Price and special teams will be the key for this season, but they should have a deadly 1st PP unit!
I've got Ottawa, Boston and Detroit (in that order, Ottawa being my surprise pick of the season as Atlantic winner) as my top 3 in the Atlantic. That leaves 4th place to either Montreal, Toronto and possibly Tampa. I think the Leafs and Habs are so close, they're going to be a point or two apart at the end of the day.
Hi Pierre, what are your thought on the Panthers this year and our goalie situation now that Tim Thomas has been practicing the team?
Dara, long term I love where Dale Tallon's team is headed. But this is clearly a case here of one step back again this year in order to take two steps ahead going forward. Thomas will be fine but no way this team makes the playoffs this season.
As crazy as the sudden enforcement of the NHL's jersey tuck rules are, I'm surprised how inconsistent the enforcement is. One area that I haven't seen enforced is goalies not wearing team socks, often just using skate socks and bare legs. Is there any discussion on that crackdown or did the NHL decide that goalies have been beat up too much this summer with other issue?
yes the league office is closely monitoring all of this, believe me
Pierre, thanks for your great coverage as always. The feeling in Columbus about the Blue Jackets is pretty high this year after last year's amazing second half run. How is the team viewed around the league as an actual playoff contender and do you see a huge benefit in moving to the East?
In speaking to other NHL team execs around the league, the sense on Columbus is that theyr'e headed in right direction but there's 2 areas of concern for this season1 _ is Bob for real in goal, does he have a drop off after his surprise Vezina?2 _ secondary scoring. WIll there be enough?
Is Minnesota building the perfect balance of players in their prime along with top prospects on ELCs? Do you think they will be a legitimate contender in the next 2-3 years?
Yes interesting year in the regard in terms of closing the gap between the high-salaried stars (Koivu, Suter, Parise, Heatley) with the kids (Granlund, Coyle, Brodin, Niederreiter, Zucker, Scandella) and having it all align. I'd say if even just half of those kids take a huge step in their development _ plus the fact they'll be given more ice time this year _ then Minnesota should make the playoffs
What do you think about having an outdoor game in Southern California at Dodger Stadium? I'm sure it will be a success with fans, but will it be a success for the NHL?
I think Kings/Ducks fan will love it, I've covered all the Winter Classics plus the Heritage Classic to date and the buzz in those markets is unreal for those games.However, I do think having 6 games this year is pushing it. Clearly an attempt by the NHL/NHLPA to push up HRR after a lockout year. Danger is watering down the product
thoughts on the hawks this year?
well, I'm picking them to be the first repeat Cup champs since Detroit in 97-98 so.... I think that answer that :)
I thought Boland and Clarkson looked very good last night and contributing in a way that was expected...Thoughts?
Agreed. Bolland is perfect fit as No. 3 man. Really think if they sign Raymond that would be a good fit as well on his wing. Clarkson as long as forgets how much money he signed for and keeps to his game, he'll be tremendously effective. Danger is when players try to react to big-money contracts and get outside of their comfort zone with what they're doing on the ice
What are your impressions of Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome up front, and Griffin Reinhart and Ryan Pulock on the back end? How good could these 4 players be for the Islanders moving forward.
Will focus on Strome; important that he shifted to right wing and welcomes the change. Will help his chances of making the team
Good morning Pierre. I really feel the canucks are gonna crash...even with Tortorella. What's your take on that?
Agreed. I have the Canucks missing the playoffs this season in one of my upset/surprise picks. Odds are I will be wrong on that but I try to have fun with predictions. I just don't think the mix is right anymore there
Hey Pierre - How do you think the Red Wings will fare in the east?
Picking Ottawa first in the Atlantic followed by Boston and Detroit
What do you think about the Sharks situation? Do they keep Thornton, Marleau, Boyle etc?
Going to be interesting. I know Doug Wilson has already spoken to all three camps about how they'll move forward... not sure how it all plays out but I figure Wilson wants to see how the season begins and then he'll get further into talks with all 3. My guess is Thornton would want to see what happens with Boyle and Marleau before he gets into it too deeply.
Pierre, have to say I'm not a fan of the 16/14 conference split. How do you think this ultimately shakes out?
Ultimately, I think the NHL expands by two more teams so you get an even split. When exactly I don't know. The NHLPA committed to the alignment for 3 years, with the idea of beginning to revise how it's worked after 2 years.
Did you get a chance to see the Behind the B show the network aired about the Bruins. Pretty compelling stuff especially what all the front office folks thought about Seguin? Also, I know it's only pre-season but Iginla looks great with Krecji and Lucic. Maybe the Bruins did improve/upgrade the roster with their trades and signings.
It's been clear for a long time Julien/Seguin were not going to co-exist there.... Hopefully a deal that helps both franchises and I think that will be the case Joe Thornton has proven there's life after Boston. He's been a superstar stud in San Jose since he left Boston. Life goes on
Where do you think Morrow lands?
Slated to speak with Morrow later today so perhaps will get a better idea. We'll see
Pierre, Who's the biggest fantasy sleeper going to be this year?
I'm no fantasy expert ! But I think Colin Wlson keeps taking steps in Nashville, I hink Spezza rebounds big time in Ottawa now that he's healthy, and I bet Jaro Halak has his best year in St. Louis
With goalie leg pads being downsized, do you see other goalie equipment being downsized, because the last thing I want to see is the net increase in size. I think the pads have gone from PROTECTING the player to just taking up net space. I'd like to see them reduced in size, but still protecting the players.
I think for now the league has pushed the goalies as far as they can with this year's decrease in pads, etc.... I think they'll hold off for a bit now
Better season:Torts or AV?
Hi Pierre. Of all the off season signings, I think that Keith Ballard is a sneaky, under the radar grab for the Wild. With Suter, Brodin, Ballard and Potentially Dumba/Cuma, the blue line is shaping up nicely. Thoughts?
Ballard definitely needed a change of scenery, very little expectation in Minny, under the radar, should work out nicely, agreed
Hey Pierre what do you think of the Clarkson deal. Is ho not poised to be the next whipping boy in Toronto if he is not scoring on a 30 goal pace?
My sense is people won't have an issue with his contract for the first 2-3 years, but then once his production taiils or his body wears down over the course of time that deal near the end won't be pretty
Does Patrick Roy turn the ship around and get the Avs back into the playoffs this year?
Don't think so with that blue-line
Thanks for all your coverage. Devils don't have enough offense, right? Can't make up for losing a star player in the offseason? Don't produce enough from the blue line? Are all ESPN writers digging out their favorite motto's from the early 2000s and predicting the Devils don't have a chance in...well, you know...
I've actually been very kind to the Devils over the years, remember picking them to beat the Rangers in the East finals two years ago. But yes, I don't think they make the playoffs this year.
With the salary cap low & many teams up against it - do you see short term injuries causing teams to play with less than 18 skaters. I know the Sharks are up against the cap - if 3 guys are out without being on LTIR - they have no cap space to bring anyone up from the minors. Is the league or NHLPA concerned about this and is there any way around it?
It's a great question and something worth monitoring over the next few months. But as this point haven't heard too much graft on it
Hey Pierre,35 goals for Bobby Ryan this year, do you take the over or under?
Make it 37 goals
What is your take on the Colorado Avalanche this year? competitive or same ol?
THey will make strides for sure, I like the Roy hiring. But that blue-line, oye.
Salut Pierre! Did you heard anything about those expansions teams that could be coming in the near future? Is it too optimistic to hope for a 2014-2015 expansion? I'm really hoping for the return of the Quebec Nordiques....
Haven't heard anything new but I figure Seattle (or Portland), Quebec City and second team in Toronto will be the top 3 candidates once it's time to look at this
Good Morning,Do Miller and Vanek both get traded? Do either or both get moved before March? Thank you.
I'm betting both get moved before March deadline
Pierre, were you surprised at how early the Bruins began discussing whether or not it was time to move on from Seguin. The new 24/7 style show about the Bruins showed the front office starting that discussion at the beginning of the Eastern Con. finals
When Carl Sodeberg replaced the injured Patrice Bergeron in Game 5 of the Cup finals instead of Seguin moving up and doing it, I think that said it all
The Pacific..toughest division? Who survives?
yes agreed toughest division for sure ! I think my picks were:1. San Jose2. LA3. Phoenix4. Anaheim5. Edmonton6. Vancouver7. Calgary
Last year the Sabres got a disappointing rookie season from Michsel Grigerenko....do you expect him to start to progress much this year?
Yes I think given the direction of the rebuilding Sabres, the patience of Rolston behind the bench, my sense is Grigorenko will get every chance to grow this season
When is Colorado or maybe even Minnesota -the hockey state- gonna get a Winter classic instead of this favouritism to eastern seaboard teams.
I'd bet on both those markets having a real good shot over the next 5 years
Pierre - Thomas Vanek seems like just the player the Predators should be going after. Would a package of Craig Smith and a pick get the trade done?
Interesting idea... not crazy
Do you see Torts and Luongo getting along this season or is a blow up on the horizon?
Bobby Lu is a pro, I don't see it being an issue
The Avs have one of the best top 9 in the leauge. (Maybe the best? What do you think?) Any chance Roy gets them into the playoffs?
yes oodles and oodles and oddles of talent/depth up front. I'd like to see them flip a player (Stastny, O'Reilly?) at the deadline for D help
Carolina hurricanes. Playoffs or no?
I've got No right now; not sold on blue-line
Thanks Pierre for answering all these questions. Big St.Louis fan and was liking the evolution of Jaden Schwartz last year do you think he can put up 50 points this year?
He really impressed me in the playoffs playing up on the top line. He's a fantasy sleeper too in my mind. High hockey IQ, great skates, if he can turn those chances into goals, could be a nice year for him
You're predicting Ottawa to win the Atlantic division. I wouldn't have predicted your prediction. What makes you think they'll do so well this year?
I'm just trying to shake things up a little in my predictions. Obviously odds are Boston or Detroit will win the division but I really like where Ottawa is headed, the experience so many young guys got last year playing more minutes with all the injuries _ really valuable. Paul MacLean one of the best coaches in the league. Blue-line is deeper than most people realize (Karlson obvious but Methot invited to Team Canada camp, Cowen a monster). My biggest concern with Ottawa is secondary scoring behind Spezza's top line
Do you see the Islanders trading for a goalie midseason? If so, who would your top 3 options be?
Yes if Nabokov struggles (he wasn't very good vs. Pens in playoffs) that wouldn't surprise me. Ryan Miller and Jonas Hiller among the goalies that might be available before March deadline. Ducks have John Gibson coming at some point and all indications are that he' s going to be a stud
OK folks, great way to kick things off this season. Superb questions today. Sorry for those I didn't get to.Until next Friday !