Chat with EJ Hradek
Keep up with what Hradek has been up to through his blog on ESPN.com.
Send your questions now and join Hradek in The Show on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (3:39 PM)
EJ will be here at the top of the hour!
EJ Hradek (4:33 PM)
Let's get started!
EJ Hradek (4:33 PM)
I am in the bowels of Wrigley. Everything is a go for the classic and the ice is good.
can the hawks overtake the red wings for the central division lead?
EJ Hradek (4:34 PM)
I think the way they are playing now they can. I think injuries play an important part in how teams play in the regular seasons and Detroit misses Lidstrom right now. If he is out for a prolonged period of time, that will crack the door open for the Hawks, who have been playing very well the last couple of weeks.
What can the Sens do to right the ship? Its almost the exact team that went something like 17-3 to start last season... What happened?
EJ Hradek (4:36 PM)
It's not the exact same same team, and they have made changes particularly on defense. I think their defense while a little grittier now it not as good moving the puck quickly out of the zone and starting the attack. There are subtle differences. To me this is a team on the downslide, and I think some significant changes are necessary.
Mayor Goldie Wilson (Hill Valley)
The Wild really stink right now EJ. And i've just about had it with Gaborik. Any chance he'll be moved at the deadline?
EJ Hradek (4:37 PM)
I think he will be moved between now and the deadline. I think these type of deals take time to put together and I think his injury did not make things easy. But I do think that he will be moved and it will be interesting to see what they can get in return for a player who can be an UFA in July.
Victor (Chicago, IL)
EJ, what do you think are the best seats for the Winter Classic besides front row? Also do you think the Blackhawks still need a veteran presence at the trade deadline to help them in the playoffs? If so, then who do you think might fit for them?
EJ Hradek (4:40 PM)
I walked around the field today and I think there are a lot better sight lines than people realize and I think many fans will have a great view. As far as a vet, I think the Hawks are playing great and you do not want to mess with that too much. Now every GM wants to improve their team, and if there is a deal out there that makes sense, I think it will be made. But I would be careful about messing with things since things are going so well right now.
Bill (Tampa, FL)
Did you skate today, EJ?
EJ Hradek (4:42 PM)
Yes I did, and unfortunately we could not bring sticks or pucks, but it was fun to be out there and it was a good way to get an idea of the conditions on Thursday. For the most part it was good. There were a few choppy spots that I am sure the ice crew will be working on. Oddly enough the biggest problem was the sunshine, which could create an issue for the goaltender if it is that sunny again on Thursday, so let's hope for an overcast day.
Alex (New York)
What do you think about the success the Devils have had without Brodeur and is the depth and talent they have on offense enough to win the division or make a deep playoff run?
EJ Hradek (4:45 PM)
I have been very impressed with what they have been able to do without Brodeur. I think it is a really testiment to the group they have there. Watching them recently, they seem to be a very confident group and their veterans like Patrick Elias, as well as young Zach Parise, have really been great. Right now it seems like it is a real team effort. But then again that's just the Devils, isn't it?
Can you possibly see the Pens missing the playoffs?
EJ Hradek (4:45 PM)
No. Next question.
Adam - Boston MA
Can the 2 goalie rotation the B's have going now hurt them come playoff time? 2 goalies in the playoffs rarely works. Will they trade one of them?
EJ Hradek (4:47 PM)
I do not think they will. I think that Tim Thomas is clearly the No. 1, but Manny Fernadez has been used enough to make the split. I think it keeps both guys fresh. They are both in their early-mid 30s. I think it is a nice option right now. It seems like everything is working for them right now, and I would leave both guys right where they are. The problem will be next year when both guys are in the final year of their contracts.
Sergey, Brooklyn, NY
Hi EJ, Do you see any possible way for the Rangers to move either/both Roszival or Redden before the trade line. Any other possible moves you see Rangers make before the deadline?
EJ Hradek (4:50 PM)
I doubt it. I doubt they can trade either. They are both making a lot of money on long-term contracts and with the cap they will not have a lot of trading partners. I think they can more easily move Roszival, and I think it is nearly imporssible to move Redden. They need to try to do anything they can to improve their scoring. It is just too hard to win four rounds of playoffs 2-1, or 3-2, and it would not hurt if they added a little toughness, but these things are easier said than done.
Have you heard any new news from the coyotes? about the owner situation. Do you see them moving the team from Phoenix?
EJ Hradek (4:52 PM)
I have not heard anything outside of the reports. I thought ESPN.com's Scott Brunside did a nice job with this story last week. It is something that will have to be monitored closely. Clearly the league wants to keep teams where they are, but if the money is not there, something has to give. I think we will hear about this for a while.
Is Duncan Keith the most underrated defenseman in Hockey?
EJ Hradek (4:53 PM)
I think he is one of them. I think he is a guy who just goes about his business. He is not flashy, but he plays a ton of minutes and he has been a + player the last few years. he is definitely an underrated guy.
John (Brownstown TWP, MI)
Good afternoon EJ, With the lack of quality goaltending for the Red Wings this year is it possible they could make a deal for a goaltender prior to the trade deadline?
EJ Hradek (4:55 PM)
I think Kenny Holland is monitoring the situation. But the Wings do not have a lot of cap room. I think if there is a continued issue, they will try to address it. But if I had to guess, Osgood and Conklin will be the two guys in Detroit when the postseason starts.
Matt Simpson (Bronx, NY)
Any word on Dipietro's latest injury EJ? The new tin man indeed
EJ Hradek (4:57 PM)
I think the Isles are being very careful with him. They probably feel he came back too soon, which caused him to miss more time. They realize they are rebuilding and there is no sense in risking permanent damage to a guy who will be important to future success.
Dan (New York, NY)
what's going on with my pens? I know injuries have hurt this team, but three goals in three games? Come on. We seem to not be able to score without Crosby or Malkin on the ice.
EJ Hradek (4:59 PM)
You play a long season and even the best teams have runs where they get hot scoring or cool off and do not score. Hossa and Malone's departures have caused them to lose depth, but they still have the two best centers in hockey. The injuries have been a factor, but I am just not concerned at this point.
How do u see the Flyers handling their cap problem when Briere gets healthy?
EJ Hradek (5:01 PM)
Well the talk is that they may try to move randy Jones to create the cap room they need. I am sure Paul Holmgren will take a look at the options. But barring any other injuries, where he could dump a contract on it, he will have to do something and Jones may be the odd man out.
Pat Charlestown RI
What do the canes need to do to make the playoffs?
EJ Hradek (5:02 PM)
They need to be more consistent in all areas. I think their margin for error is slim. They need to be better on special teams. And it would really help if Rod Brind'Amour can get back to speed. He has not been his usual self and that does not help things in Carolina.
Avery for Redden? Dallas is desperate to move Avery and he played well in NY. Dallas also bid for Redden in the summer. Rangers need to clear cap space and he's not working out anyway! win-win to me.
EJ Hradek (5:04 PM)
Not going to happen. Redden's contract is much too big for anyone to want to take. Sean Avery's issues are pretty well documented at this point. I just do not see it.
Harv (North Haven, CT)
Do you see the Avs hanging in to make the playoffs or will they fall short? Also do you see any big moves from them by the deadline?
EJ Hradek (5:05 PM)
I get the sense that they will fall short. They have had key injuries, and their goaltending is not very good. I think they will fall short, but I do see them trying to make something happen as far as a move, but I do not know that there is a deal out there, other than to upgrade their golatending, that puts them in the playoff mix.
Everyone wanted/expected the Hawks to move Khabibulin over the summer, but it never happened. It turned into a blessing, but with Huet playing so well do you see any chance Tallon moves Khabibulin between now and the deadline if he can find another sniper?
EJ Hradek (5:08 PM)
I would be hesitant to tinker, at this point, with a goaltending move. Both guys have worked well with each other and it has given them strength in net. If Tallon can trade one, even if it helps in another area, he might put himself in a much weaker position in goal. At this point, where they are, and how it has worked out, I would be very careful with a goaltending move.
Keith (Raleigh, NC)
If you're George McPhee, do you trade Nylander for goaltending help or not trade him at all because the Caps are playing so well?
EJ Hradek (5:09 PM)
I would try to make a deal like that. I think it will be tough to move Nylander because of the salary. But I think the Caps need more depth in goal. To me that could be a trouble spot for them when we get to the playoffs.
Things are not looking so good for my Predators EJ. Do you see any major moves on the horizon for them or will they gut it out and go with what they have?
EJ Hradek (5:11 PM)
I think they are the type of organization that will go with what they have. They have a lot of young players they like and I do not see any big moves. They did that a few years ago with Forsberg, and that did not work out for them. I think if there is something out there that will help they will try to go for it, but it would have to be an inexpensive move.
Marc (Malden, MA)
Any update on Patrice Bergeron? The area he's missed the most is on the penalty kill.
EJ Hradek (5:14 PM)
I think this is a case where the team and the player will be cautious. He seems to be doing okay, from what I understand, but I think both sides will be very careful before he returns to action. Let's hope it's soon.
EJ Hradek (5:15 PM)
Thank you for the great questions. Have a great New Year and check out the Winter Classic on Thursday. it should be fun!