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October 11, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Pierre LeBrun

Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)

Pierre, when I saw the highlights of Tomas Hertl's fourth goal against the Rangers, the first thing I thought was "sweet goal." The the second thing I quickly thought was "he is going to get accused of showboating, especially in a blowout, and the next time they play the Rangers we are likely looking at another "John Scott v. Phil Kessel scenario." How not surprised are you that this is exactly how it has played out. Why is this kind of stuff constantly still an issue? If the Rangers were so concerned, their D should not have let Hertl get the corner and then Biron should have stopped the shot. And you know this Saturday night we are getting the inevitable Don Cherry "keep your head up rook" threats...just like Yakupov last year.

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:58 AM)

It's absolutely ridiculous that anybody had any issue with Hertl's fourth goal. He was 19 years old playing his third NHL game in a foreign country and league he's still getting used to. Mercy, have some perspective, people. And enjoy the goal ! It was a beauty!

Sam Bodner (Long Island, NY)

Do you think that the Islanders can keep up the pace, and have a chance at the cup this year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:00 PM)

Man they've really impressed me. I was really concerned heading into this season about how Mark Streit left and basically wasn't really replaced; and I though Nabokov was brutal in the opening round last spring vs. Pittsburgh and thought Garth Snow should have addressed his goaltending in the off-season. But so far Nabby has been terrific, the blue-line is holding up, and the Isles' top-9 offense is deep and balanced. Fun team to watch. The Cup? Maybe a little premature for that talk, more growing needs to happen here. But playoff-bound? I'd say

Drew (Indy)

Pierre, the metropolitan division is not looking nearly as good as many believed it would be, wouldn't you agree? The rangers look terrible. The caps are off to a shaky start. Philly, CAR, and NJ don't look like they've improved from last year. Columbus is still Columbus. The only two teams who look good are Pitt and NYI. Is it too early to call this division overrated? Thoughts?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:02 PM)

Drew, it's funny you say that, I had the EXACT same thought this morning while scrolling through the division standings... It's way too early to form permanent thoughts on the subject but at the very least you can argue that is' possible the Atlantic could put 5 teams into the playofs (Boston, Toronto, Detroit, Ottawa, Montreal or Tampa?) and only 3 from the Atlantic. Definitely a possiblity based on early season play

Drew (Indy)

Tomas Hertl was the 17th pick last year???? Those 16 guys taken before him must be pretty unreal.

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:03 PM)

ACtually the 17th overall pick in the 2012 draft two seasons ago.I wrote about Hertl this week, check out the blog where I quote the NHL's Central Scouting director Dan Marr explaining why Hertl went that low at the time

Rich (New Jersey)

Hi, Ranges lost last 2 games by scores of 9-2 (Sharks) & 6-0 (Ducks), did the New York have bad defense, poor goaltending or are San Jose and Anaheim two of the elite teams in the NHL West this season?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:05 PM)

I don't just have enough space or time here to totally get into the Rangers but there are a million things going on here. For starters, not sure how wise it was to hold most of camp in Banff, Alberta, adding to an already long time away from home with the 9-game road trip mandated from the final renos at MSG. I really question that decision. The injuries during pre-season and early in the season has held back the Rangers' ability to really gel. Now Nash's concussion is huge setback for the team. ANd yes, King Henrik has struggled as well. Plus you've got a new coach trying to implement a new system, that always takes some time to adjust for players. A bleak picture right now to be sure. But I live AV a lot as a coach. Give this time

Adam (Toronto)

Adam Larsson came into the NHL as the, "Most NHL ready player" the year he was drafted and yet, he still looks not ready to me. Are we close to calling him a bust? It's not like NJ has a load of top tier D men.

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:06 PM)

Too early to call him a bust but like you, I've definitely raised an eyebrow at his slow progression. Scouts loved that kid in his draft year. He's done nothing so far.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Is anybody wearing Pink in the National Hockey League to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:10 PM)

Yes for the 15th season in a row the NHL and NHLPA have a cancer charity initiative this month. For more details to go: hockeyfightscancer.com.

Zach Williams (Nashua NH)

Are you at all surprised with the Capitals start?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:17 PM)

Nope, unlike most people, I actually wasn't overly high on the Caps this season. I still have them playoff-bound but I didn't think they'd be one of the top 7-8 teams in the league.

Hollister (Bean Town)

Landeskog wouldn't throw down with Lucic last night. We know you abhor fighting, but he (or another Av) should have answered the bell, no? Even the refs thought he should throw down - they let Lucic and Landeskog mouth off to each other for a couple minutes before getting involved. I'm surprised Roy's fire hasn't trickled down to the team yet.

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:18 PM)

I don't want fighting out of the game, I just want to see it made safer and minimized to a degree.As for Landeskog not fighting Lucic, that's the best decision he's ever made in his life. Roy said after the game he was happy his captain didn't fight Lucic. What's to gain?

Jeremy (NJ)

AV is a good coach, but the rangers would never have two clunkers in a row with torts (not sure they ever looked this bad for even one game under torts). What does AV have to do to wake this team up? the injured players coming back would obviously help, but there is still young talent on this roster.

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:19 PM)

No easy fix here, patience will be paramount

Greg (North Tonawanda NY)

Pierre, the Sabres are a mess. And it's not the rookies' fault -- Pysyk is rock-solid and Zemgus Girgensons and Rasmus Ristolainen have been good. But some of the veterans have been terrible or invisible -- and it's hard to say which is worse. Does this team need to bottom out and if so should it trade Miller and Vanek immediately?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:20 PM)

Personally I think it was not a good decision to sit on Vanek/Miller in the off-season and not move them. The only this team can ever truly turn the page and rebuild is by getting those trades over with, while obviously getting decent return on them.But look at Calgary, Iggy and Kipper will forever be remembered as all-time heroes there as they should be _ but once both guys were gone, it's as if it allowed the Flames to breathe, rebuild, and turn the page.

Riley (St. Louis)

How do you see the blues stopping the sharks on Tuesday?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:21 PM)

Oh man, wish I was there for that game. I'll take the Blues 3-2 in OT

Matt (South Jersey)

Hi Pierre,With the Flyers coaching change, I expected to see a little more fire out of the guys on Tuesday night. Instead, they played sloppy and barely came out with a win that was handed to them by Tim Thomas, and really stolen by a great performance by Mason. What's really the problem?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:22 PM)

As one NHL coach said to me via text this week, ''Flyers D is S-L-O-W."

Muge (NJ)

What's your guess on length of Kaleta's inevitable suspension for last night's hit? I've followed the sport for over 25 years now. I know the hockey media, such as yourself, is on a quest to have fighting removed from the game, despite it's overwhelming popularity with the fans and players. What I don't understand is why the same media isn't beating the drum to get players Kaleta out of the league. It's funny, we'll always read how somebody is going to die in a fight, which is terrible. You don't think there's just as much of a chance of somebody dying from an open ice hit or a check from behind? Should body checking be taken out of the game too? When I see a hit like Kaleta's last night, I'm more afraid for the safety of players than I am when I see Gazdic and Prust drop the gloves, at least there, both are willing participants.

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:23 PM)

Yes I do believe dangerous/dirty hits are just as dangerous.And I hope the NHL sends a strong message here with Kaleta. It's time.

Justin (Phila, Pa)

Giroux came out publicly and said he doesn't have confidence at the time? I am not sure that is something the fans want to hear especially during this awful time for the club. Can claude and company turn this around?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:23 PM)

well at least he's honest. Give him credit for that. Not sure what to make of the Flyers, they're mystifying

Corey (Pensacola)

How about that Blues/Hawks tilt on Wednesday? What a game. Is there anyone playing better than Pietrangelo right now on defense?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:24 PM)

Still stuns me how many fans outside of St. Louis haven't caught on to Pietrangelo and how he's among the very elite d-men in the world.

Les Deux Claudes (Edmonton)

What are some of the other things that Jumbo has said to you that haven't been printed? Are there enough for some sort of compendium?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:27 PM)

NO COMMENT :) Seriously, what makes yesterday so sad is that Thornton is a player that has always been generous with his time with reporters, always a fun guy to be around, you'd think he'd warrant the benefit of the doubt in that situation.

Bill (Pasadena, Ca)

Hi Pierre,Great to be talikng hockey again. The Kings are kind of off to a rather pedestrian start. What is your early impression of their play and, while it's early, any weakensses you feel that they might need to address? Thanks!

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:29 PM)

They'll be fine as time goes on here, just finding their way right now. My biggest concern for them this season is making sure both Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene stay healhty. Can't afford to lose those guys for long stretches after losing Scuderi to free agency. Those type of warriors are nearly impossible to replace

Jordan (NY)

I'm going on the record now and saying the Islanders knock out Pitt in the playoffs this year

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:30 PM)

Almost did a year ago !

Mitch (Chicago)

Is it too early for Stanely Cup aspirations out of St. Louis. Seems like they have had the pieces the last couple years, but haven't been able to make that push. Is this their year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:31 PM)

I picked the Blues to go the Cup finals a year ago, a little premature I guess, haha. For sure they've got the goods. I picked them to win the Central division this year but Chicago to repeat; my way of saying I love the chances of both teams

Tim (Washington D.C.)

Pierre-What seems to be the issue with the Caps? Ovi looks red hot and they are one of the deeper teams in the league, so what do you think has been the main reason to this slow start? Oates' system works well when the players buy into it as evident from the surge in the second half of last season. How would you rate him as a coach thus far? (It's a small sample size to judge upon but I expect him to be here a while and establish a real methodology of how to play the game. He was also my favorite player growing up.)The players often talk about Positioning and I know they focus on it heavily in practice. You could argue that Lady Luck has been against us so far in this young season and obviously that will balance out with time, but with improved positioning might the puck bounce in favor of the Caps a little more often? Where do you draw the line between being "lucky" and in being in proper position at those key moments?I appreciate your time.

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:32 PM)

It's early, I woudn't be too concerned. Just don't overrate them, either. I think they can finish 3rd or 4th in the Metro

Mike (Montreal)

Are the Sharks as good as they have appeared early in the season.? Could it be finally... their year!? Different from Shark teams of the past.

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:33 PM)

Their pace is really noticeable, and that's something Todd McLellan has told me he's worked on over the past six months. He wants his team to play hard and fast. So far they're looked terrific. But they had a good start last year before crumbling for a while. Joe Thornton told me this week they're aware of what happened last year and trying not to let the hot start change their approach.Fun team to watch !

Stuart (Brooklyn, NY)

Who was the better player, Phil Esposito, Marcel Dionne or Bobby Clarke? Thoughts?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:35 PM)

Oooof,,,, great question.... Clarke had a bit of everything, gutsy leader, heart of that Flyers team of the '70s... Dionne so underappreciated during his great career... Espo was a goal machine and really unbelievable with the weight of a country on his shoulders in 1972 Summit Series vs. Soviets....Man, so tough to call this one, but I'll take Espo

Pierre (Cupertino)

Pierre, How do you rate Vlasic's chances to make Team Canada on D?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:37 PM)

Funny you ask that, after he scored last night I was thinking he having a real nice start to the year. What helps him for sure is that he's left-handed, Canada is loaded with right-handed studs on D, not as much on the left side. To me he's a real nice, safe choice, won't hurt you in a big game, will make smart decision. He's a real underrated player still in my mind

Mike (SJ)

The Joe Thornton quote. What do you think? Should it have been reported or did some reporter I have never heard of before cross the line trying to make a name for himself?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:38 PM)

I wasn't in the room so I can't fully know the context but spoke with other media there who didn't report it and from what they told me, and also knowing Thornton well and his goofy sense of humor, I'm 100 percent sure I would NOT have reported that quote, I would have understood it was part of locker-room banter, off record then

Stan (New York)

Pierre,What would YOU do if you scored four goals?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:39 PM)

Not sure I ever did during my Northern Ontario hockey playing days. I did have a hat trick once I think though. Probably would have gone down center ice Tiger Williams-style and ridding my stick

Talan (Red Deer, AB)

What is wrong with the Oilers, Pierre?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:39 PM)

Check out my weekend notebook which will be published later today. I deal with the Oilers in there

Adrian Charlie (Victoria, BC)

How do you compare Edler's hit to Stuart's? And will he get suspended?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:40 PM)

I predict a suspension, dont like the path he took to Hertl to pick the head

Zack (Manhattan)

I know it would be crazy to think that Vigneault isn't the coach for the Rangers' first home game on Oct. 26...but...this is alarming.

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:40 PM)

would be crazy to panic like that

Oscar (Sweden)

Do you think the Avs will reach the playoffs this season?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:40 PM)

yes

Justin De Maria (Mississauga)

What do you think the leafs lines will look like when clarkson Mclaren kulemin fraser are back

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:42 PM)

Hmmm, good question. Here's guess based on everyone being healthy:JVR-Bozak-KesselLupul-Kadri-ClarksonRaymond-Bolland-KuleminMcLaren-McClement-Orr

Matthew (Brooklyn, New York)

Hey PLB, who is in bigger immediate trouble in the "Metropolitan": NYR or NJD?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:43 PM)

Well I mean, the different there is expecations, they're higher for the Rangers than the Devils given the roster losses in NJ

Dan (Pittsburgh)

Hi Pierre: With Kris Letang coming back to practice and in the lineup soon, what do you see the Pens doing with their defense? Can't possibly sit Maata with the way he's played. Do you see a trade coming?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:43 PM)

Not sure when exactly, but between now and March deadline, the Pens will deal from their surplus on D, yes

Chaz Stephens (St. Louis)

What do you think of Halak and the progress he is showing from last season to this one?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:44 PM)

He looks terrific, credit to him for spending the whole off-season in St. Louis, getting stronger and working hard. This is big year for him, the Blues have handed him the keys, it's a contract year. So far so good

Justin De Maria (Mississauga)

What do you think of Bernier

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:45 PM)

I mean if you've been reading me over the past couple of years you should know I've always big a HUGE fan of Bernier. Total steal by the Leafs. I'll have more on Bernier today in my notebook after talking to Dean Lombardi about him

mike (minnyw)

What are your thoughts on Jonas Brodin?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:45 PM)

So smooth, poised, can't believe how good that kid is going to be once he's totally done developing. STUD.

Sarah (Chicago)

Will the Hawks bounce back tonight against NYI?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:47 PM)

Hawks 5, Isles 4, 14-round shootout

Andy R (Miami)

The Panthers are a mess again. Here is a 3 part question. 1) Dineen safe after his team gave up 7 goals twice to start the season? 2) Will Markstrom ever be ready? 3) Any chance this team doe snot get #1 pick?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:47 PM)

Andy I think it was clear entering this season this was about the long-term approach, growing pains again this year to continue to build a contender long term. So you should not be surprised.

George (NJ)

hertls goal was a fraud. Marek Malik did it first!

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:48 PM)

Haha, I remember that goal. Shootout right?

Marco (Giordanella)

Where do the leafs look to upgrade? a top line centre would be nice, but a line up of Bozak-Kadri-Bolland-Mclement looks good minus having Bozak as your #1 and lack of cap space.Is it top 4 D they would like to play with Phaneuf?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:48 PM)

If the Leafs trade a d-man this year it will be for a forward I bet, bring more depth to top-9 group so that they don't have to rely on kids like Bodie or Devane when injuries happen. Let those kids play in AHL and grow

Claude (Montreal)

Is there any chance David Desharnais gets traded anytime soon if nothing turns around for him? Is there a market for this kind of player at this kind of salary? Seems to me Marc Bergevin made his first mistake here by giving him 14 M$ for 4 years...

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:49 PM)

Um, not sure any team would ever touch that contract right now... Habs have to find a way to get him going internally.

Stefan (Halifax, NS)

Hey Pierre, I know you have a particular fondness for Claude Giroux given your hometown connection. I never expected he'd start the season this slowly (which is why I took him in my fantasy draft) and he seems uninspired. What will it take to get him going?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:49 PM)

To be fair, his hand injury put him behind the 8-ball entering camp but yes, he certainly hasn't been himself yet

David (Montreal)

Alex Galchenyuk: superstar in the making?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:49 PM)

YUP

Tom (Chicago)

I always think it's dumb when people get upset about celebrations. Let the players enjoy themselves! And if opponents don't want to see players celebrate, then don't let them score...

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:50 PM)

agreed

Jamie (Chicago)

Is it absurd to think the Hawks should try and get Miller or another top tier goalie? Crawfords great, but getting a top tier goalie, especially with their young talented goalie prospects coming up, will make a lot of Hawks fans more confident in a repeat.

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:51 PM)

Yes, absurd

Seth Meade (Raleigh, NC)

What do you think about Carolina so far? I think they seem very impressive. They let the game vs. Detroit slip away from them. Missing Tim Gleason and Ruutu, I think they look promising for a playoff spot. Would you agree?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:52 PM)

Gerbe has really caught my eye there so far, great pickup it would appear

Drake (Nashville, TN)

Don't get me wrong, I'm not necessarily in favor of it, but do you think there's any chance that Barry Trotz winds up on the hot seat sooner than later if the Preds can't get anything going in the first month or two of the season? It seems like he's taken the team as far as he can over the years and sometimes the only way to cure a stagnant organization is change.

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:53 PM)

I haven't heard any rumblings and I'm a big fan of Barry's, but yes, it wouldn't be completely unheard of given how long he's been there and the team wanting badly to get back into the playoffs after missing out last season. I hope not, but it's not out of the question

Alex (Ottawa)

How did you know I was stuck in an elevator? Hehe... People always talk about the "code". Did Lucic try and break it last night? He looked kinda foolish going after Landeskog like that and totally cost his team by sitting for almost 13 minutes of the 3rd.AVS look great so far!! Good on Roy, he's a winner!

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:53 PM)

Yeah I mean, not sure why/how Lucic ever thought a skilled guy like Landeskog, who doesn't fight, would do that? Strange to say the least

Mike (St. Louis)

The Flames are off to a much better start than everybody predicted. They've got good all around speed and seem to be committed to a hard-working, team system. Can they keep it up or are we looking at a mirage?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:54 PM)

so you read my blog from yesterday: )

David (Denver)

Count me among those who want no-touch icing. The new hybrid system causes more problems than it solves and gives linesmen yet another worry. Why are we insistent on making the rules more complicated? Keep it simple, it's either icing or it's not. Next time someone breaks his leg because the "judgment call" went the wrong way...

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:54 PM)

The players are in favor of no-touch icing, the GMs are not, the GMs feel there would be too many stoppages in play, would hurt flow of the game.

Gregg (Raleigh,nc)

Whats your take on the Buffalo at this point ? Getting booed out of the building last night

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:55 PM)

Going to be a l-l-l-l-l-o=o=o=o=o=o=n-n-n-nn-n-n-n-=g=g=g=g=gg=g=g= year.Can't turn the page there until the big 2 are dealt

Brandon (Ottawa )

What is your overall impression of the Ottawa Senators so far this year do you think that they could benefit with the moves that they made and could Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson, and Craig Anderson bounce back from their injuries from last year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:56 PM)

Need a healhty SPezza ! That worries me

Peter (Ottawa)

I'm assuming Monahan isn't coming back to the 67s?

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:56 PM)

Flames I don't think have made that decision yet but if he keeps playing like he has, not sure why they would send him back.

garo (Montreal)

hey Pierre, how come the "B" in your last name is capitalized? is it so that we dont confuse you with LeBron?thanksPS desharnais is no good

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:59 PM)

It's the way my name was spelled on my birth certificate, same as all the other LeBrun's from my lineage :) As the proud French-Canadian that I am !

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:59 PM)

OK folks, thanks for dropping by on this Friday. Happy Thanksgiving weekend to my Canadian readers.Have a good weekend, everyone