Greetings all. Never a dull moment around the National Hockey League so let's get right to it. Now, where were we?
Scotty, I have always defended Pat Kaleta and his style- on the edge, sometimes over. After this latest incident, I've changed my mind. I thought his suspension for the Brad Richards push was a bit of a joke, but the sum of the parts is starting to add up in his case. I love the comments Matt Cooke made about offering to help him, and what Cooke did to change his game. Has the league considered "counseling" these types of players vs just fines/ suspensions? It seems that rehabilitation would be the preferred route for all parties.
kurt; Kaleta, of course, was given a 10-game suspension for his head-shot on Jack Johnson of Columbus his sixth suspension and/or fine in the last four years and it gets harder and harder to rationalize his kind of play. Your question about counseling is a good one and Brendan Shanahan probably doesn't get enough credit for reaching out to players he sees as being on the edge of getting into trouble with their play and counseling them on how to avoid suspensions etc. And I agree that it was a big gesture of Cooke to offer to help Kaleta if he's serious about wanting to change his game. Would love to hear the Sabres demand more accountability from their player as the Penguins did with Cooke back in 2011 but maybe that'll come after Kaleta's appeal is heard.
Hi Scott,Looking forward to tonight's Hawks vs Blues matchup! Prediction of who wins?
Sarah; Seems like every night the Blues are involved in a 'statement' game. Coming off 6-2 pounding by San Jose this will be interesting. Jaroslav Halak looks to get the start and I think they'll bounce back although I think the Hawks end up with an extra time victory; 3-2 in a shootout.
So far the Ottawa trade with Anaheim has not been a succes for the Sens, Ryan has been mediocre while Silverberg has been pretty good, and thats just those two, will this change?
Kent; I think it's pretty early to judge the deal. Ryan will get better. But I do know Bruce Boudreau was thrilled with Silfverberg and his potential and he's going to get loads of opportunity in a market where there isn't the scrutiny there is in Ottawa which is a good thing. Ducks, by the way, five straight wins after getting pounded by the Avs in their opener in Denver.
Scott, do you think any of these young guys will stay with their respective teams for the long haul? Reilly? Monohan? Maata? Or will they be sent back to junior?
Drew; My guess is Monahan stays in Calgary. The other two are a little bit harder to get a handle on. Olli Maatta's future may be determined in part by how quickly Kris Letang returns from injury but he's certainly made a positive impression early on.
Rangers looked good last night. maybe all they needed was to get away from the west coast crazy trip, traveling for the last month (including preseason), and playing against the best teams in the league.
Jeremy; Sure looked like the Rangers most had expected this season. You wonder if all the talk about the trip and being away from MSG for most of October somehow got in their collective heads. Regardless, a fine performance just when they needed it from Henrik Lundqvist against Washington Wednesday. He was solid. Let's see how they follow that up, though, as they travel to New Jersey, Philly and Detroit to close out the season-opening road trip. Devils and Flyers off to rugged starts so in theory provide positive match-ups.
Looking forward to watching my Panthers and Thomas play ag the Bruins tonight. What do you think of Jacob Markstrom? I have watched him play quite a bit now and he is deemed the "goalie of the future" for the panthers but i'm not convinced he is ever gonna be a full NHL goalie. Thoughts?
Dara; I'm with you on both fronts; looking forward to seeing how Thomas responds to his first game back from injury and playing his old mates from Boston. And I agree that I'm not completely sold on Markstrom as 'the guy' for the Panthers moving forward. That said, he's still a kid, 23, and it's pretty early to say whether he's got the goods or not. He's never really had a top-end defense in front of him so best to hold judgment in reserve for now. If Thomas can stay healthy it should be a good learning environment for Markstrom because not matter what you think of Thomas he is a battler.
Have you heard anything about the Leafs moving a top 4 defenseman and Reimer to a team for a top center?
Paul; Some whispers that the Leafs, deep along the blue line, might be looking at adding down the middle but I think that's more idle chat than real. James Reimer's name has come up as well which is natural given how well Jonathan Bernier has played but it's pretty early to be dealing young defensive assets or goaltending assets. My guess is Dave Nonis will continue to see exactly what he has along the blue line and while it seems obvious management/coaching staff is leaning towards Bernier as 'the guy' he has a pretty small sample of work at the NHL level and Reimer has shown he can handle a heavy workload. My guess is status quo for the foreseeable future. If it ain't broke, don't fix it kind of thing.
Do you think Montreal is regretting the "bridge" contract they signed Subban to? He's going to go for much more than he would have two seasons ago. And do you foresee a situation where he doesn't resign with the Habs?
Jim; That's been the ongoing joke that GM Marc Bergevin was livid when he found out that Subban won the Norris because he knew the asking price just went through the roof. That's the risk you take as a GM. I prefer those deals, from the outside, because it allows a club to see what exactly they have in an asset. In this case Subban will likely end up much richer over the long haul and good for him. As for staying with the Habs hard to imagine they won't swallow hard and lock him up long-term even if it'll cost them exponentially more than had they done so before this current deal.
Who will be the team to beat SJ and COL to hand them their first loss?
Adem; I'm going to go for the daily double; I say Detroit does it to both clubs starting tonight with the Avs. Who knows, maybe a little Chris Osgood/Patrick Roy dust-up at the pre-game meal as Osgood doing some analysis for the Wings.
Everyone is talking about the need for Edmonton to trade a young gun for a goalie...but do you think that solves their problem? The games I've watched the defensive play has been abysmal, and I'm not sure a change in the net is going to fix that.
Andrew; I agree that it's easy to pin all of the Oilers' problems on their goaltending and my colleague Pierre LeBrun and I were talking about that after the Leafs' OT win how poor the Oilers were in their own zone. Still, my point would be that consistent, solid goaltending helps to overcome those mistakes. If every mistake doesn't end up in your net I think it's easier for an evolving blue line to find cohesion. I just don't think Devan Dubnyk is the guy to provide that kind of goaltending. Pressure is on GM Craig MacTavish to decide whether he agrees and if he does what move does he make to rectify it. My vote (I know it's not a democracy) would be Ryan Miller.
Has Miller's start (assuming it continues) earned him a place on the US roster for Sochi?
PC; Good follow-up question. If I had to rank the U.S. goalies right now I'd go Quick, Miller, Howard/Anderson. I think Miller ends up in Sochi but question is what role; back-up or third as I think Quick will begin the tournament as the starter.
Hi Scott: What are your thoughts on the cheap shot to the head on Stephan by Troy Brouwer last night? The announcers were shrugging it off as accidental, but it looked like a deliberate blind side shot to the head to me. Full disclosure- I am a die had NYR fan. I hope that Brouwer gets a well deserved suspension! Thanks!
Chris; I see from various reports that the NHL has ruled there will be no supplemental discipline on the Brouwer hit on Stepan.
What are your thoughts on the Lightning so far?
Justin; The Bolts have quietly put together a nice start to the season. Not too difficult to narrow down one of the keys if not 'the' key and that's been the performance of Ben Bishop. Four straight wins, seven goals against. Going back to our discussion about the Oilers this is the kind of goaltending that allows a defense that took all kinds of lumps last couple of years (deservedly so) to come together. Here's hoping Martin St. Louis gets back to action sooner than later (he's listed as day to day).
Any chance of the Flyers making a trade over the next month to shake things up, or are they content to ride out the coaching change for a while to see if that improves the play?
Patrick; The problem when you stink like the Flyers have stunk all year it's almost impossible to make a trade that actually helps you either short or long term. As Brian Burke (and other GMs) have often said, when you stink the only thing other teams want to give you is an anvil. I would think Paul Holmgren will continue to look for ways to get his offense going but he'll be loath to part with guys like Couturier or B. Schenn or youngsters who still have great up-side even if they're not producing now.
Hi Scott,Which team do you think has been the biggest disappointment in terms of how they performed in preseason and how they are performing now?
Ben; Not sure vis a vis pre-season performance but the Flyers would definitely be at the top of the list of teams that have disappointed thus far. Edmonton, too, although I didn't like them as a playoff team before the season. Rangers in spite of their big win in Washington, have been a big disappointment. And speaking of the Caps another weird start for them that I didn't see coming.
Any latest news on Boyler Scott? Felt horrible for him when i saw that. Shanaban imo HAS to crack down on these guys. I think an example should be made of repeat offender Lapierre. The guy is just dirty. Full disclosure, I am a huge Sharks fan.
Ian; Agreed on watching that hit on Dan Boyle. He and Mr. LeBrun traded messages and it sounds like his injuries aren't going to be long-term although with head injuries the danger is that over time other symptoms appear but here's hoping he's back in action soon. Class act. As for Lapierre, not so much. Dirty hit and worse, needless. He sees Boyle's numbers and still gives him the push. My guess is five games but the fact he has been offered an in-person hearing suggests the league will be looking longer. Me? I'd love to see six to eight games.
Hi Scott,If you could coach one team for a game who would it be and why?
Cory; Hmm. Great question. Might be kind of fun to stand up behind the bench at the Bell Center in Montreal. Still one of the great places to watch a hockey game let alone coach one. Plus pretty sure the coaches get as many of the famous pressed hot dogs as they want.
Yes, the Rangers got blown out in 2 games but they are 2-4-0 despite a new system, missing players, and games against some of the NHL's best teams. In fact, when they open at MSG in 2 weeks, they could easily be a .500 team (if they go 2-0-1 vs NJ, Phi, Det)...and now have time to rest and practice. Thoughts?
Henry; Absolutely. In fact I think the prevailing thought heading into the season was that if the team was .500 after the road trip they'd be okay. I would be more concerned about the long-term absence of Rick Nash but agreed that there's a door open to get back quickly to respectability.
Burnside, give us some history here from your memory. The Blackhawks have often looked bored playing lesser teams from the East and let them back into the game. Is this a usual thing for a Stanley Cup team who would probably prefer to just start the postseason already? They seem to consistently play too fancy in the 3rd on offense while slacking on defense.
Mike; I think historically there's a tendency to view Cup champs differently as a fan and as a player on either side of the puck. Doesn't matter what players say when you win it's hard to get that juice going again at the start of the next season. Thought they looked in the zone against St. Louis but less so against Carolina. To your point. But I also think for fans the expectations are so high they think of the finals against Boston and expect that out of the gate. I think it's natural and I have no doubts the 'Hawks will end up within a point or two of the top spot in the west when the dust clears in April.
Has the recent uptick in scoring (and SOG) eased the Predators offensive concerns? Should they still be looking for an upgrade via trade?
Boyd; Oh I'm not sure those pressures have gone away just yet. Need to see where Stalberg is at and they need to keep getting contributions from up and down the line-up. That's the Preds way. But definitely a better stretch than we saw during the first week, 10 days of the regular season.
At what point do the Kings look to replace some of their "grinder" role players with the younger skill players like Toffoli, Vey and Pearson? I understand they are built on being a big, tough team but the lack of offense is concerning and they aren't exactly shutting other teams down thus far.
Carlos; I know in talking to GM Dean Lombardi during training camp he expected those talented players were going to put the pressure on some of the guys who stayed with the big club and that pressure is coming sooner than expected with the Kings not just tearing it up offensively (they have 17 goals in seven games). I was particularly impressed by Tyler Toffoli late last season and in the post-season although all three are going to be NHL players.
Seeing how Zatkoff faired in the one game he played does Pittsburgh search for another goalie or tough it out until (if) Vokoun comes back?
Rob; Certainly would have been better for the Pens and Zatkoff if he'd come up with a better performance in his NHL debut (he allowed six goals on 30 shots in a loss to Florida) but it's just one start and he has put up impressive numbers at the AHL level. Bottom line is that the Pens don't really have the cap room to make a quick move and I am pretty sure Ray Shero wants to know for sure if Tomas Vokoun is really going to be out of the picture for the stretch run/playoffs before he makes a move. I would say end of January maybe around the Olympics will be the time the Pens look to add some depth in goal if they're going to go that route.
President Burnside, What is wrong with the Caps? Was Brouwer right that they have the talent but the will to compete is simply not there?
Mike; Glad you're back at work. Enjoy. As for the Caps I am a bit mystified that they haven't been better overall. Yes, the goaltending has been spotty but when they've got better performances from B. Holtby the offense has disappeared. I would be shocked that guys aren't playing hard for Adam Oates after the work he did last year in getting them out of that early-season hole. Still think they're a playoff team but definitely a confounding start especially after they looked solid coming out of training camp.
Scott. Something I noticed watching the Caps Rangers last night. With the new nets more pucks are coming off the boards and out in front of the nets now. How long until teams figure out those new angles?
Jim; That, along with the different pad lengths (shorter) seems to have had an effect on a number of teams/goaltenders. But it's a great point. Everyone looked at how the additional room behind the net would allow for more movement, wrap-arounds etc. but the different curvature also presents a different set of dynamics for pucks coming off the end boards and potentially directly back in front.
So what is your take on Tomas Hertl. I am far from being a Sharks Fan but do consder myself to appreciate good players from all teams.Personally I think he has the workings of a true star..okay time for a brew aye?
Hoser; A great example of a young player that benefitted from playing an extra year away from the NHL, in this case the Czech Elite League, after the Sharks drafted him 17th overall in '12. Very little pressure on him, either, with the continued emergence of guys like Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski as the next generation of leaders. Pretty seamless transition for a highly skilled player. Good for him. And, of course, the Sharks.
Okay folks, as always thanks for stopping by and chatting some pucks. Until next week. Be well.