Chat with EJ Hradek
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Buzzmaster (3:02 PM)
We're getting EJ right now!
Buzzmaster (3:04 PM)
Thanks for joining us! Let's go!
Mac (North Carolina)
Shanahan's first game back?
EJ Hradek (3:05 PM)
I thought it was a terrific game for Brendan. He had a goal and six shots on goal in the game. At the end of the game, when the team was protecting a one-goal lead, his coach felt comfortable having him on the ice for a couple of important shifts. There is an adrenaline rush for a guy in his spot playing his first game. It will be interesting to watch and keep an eye on him for the next several games. To see where his energy level is and to see how he fits in.
I'm still kind of obsessing about acquiring Spezza from Ottawa. I think he's been struggling and the team obviously needs to make some changes and if he becomes maybe the Hawk's 2nd line center and not the focal point of the team he may get back to being an elite player. Anyway these 2 teams would be interested in a trade (possibly for some of our glut of defenseman). What would need to happen for it to work? Thanks a lot!
EJ Hradek (3:06 PM)
I think that Jason's price, with his contract, I think you're going to have him be more than just a second line player. The Hawks are right up against the cap this season with their current roster. I think it would be a difficult deal to work. I don't see that happening any time this season.
EJ Hradek (3:07 PM)
The Blackhawks' payroll situation probably makes it virtually impossible for that to even happen in the future.
David (South Brunswick, NJ)
Any updates on Statsney's return..can his team continue to play well w/o him?
EJ Hradek (3:09 PM)
No, I don't really have any update on that. I think that it's surprising. Teams that have good structure and good chemistry within seem to find a way to overcome big injuries. Look what hte devils have done without Marty Brodeur. I think the Avs, in their circumstances have done a good job so far of staying in the playoff picture so far.
David (Houston, TX)
Who will be in goal for the Oilers for the rest of the season, any frontrunner?
EJ Hradek (3:09 PM)
I think it's got to be Roloson. I think he's played well. They're comfortable with him being the guy. I think it's Roloson's job as long as he plays well.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Can the Eastern Conference defending champions actually miss the playoffs? What is wrong with the Penguins?
EJ Hradek (3:11 PM)
A few weeks ago, I would have said no. But now I think it is a possibility. I do think they've played better in their last couple of games, winning three of their last four. I think the problems are obvious, they've lost some key guys to free agency and they miss their top defensemen Gonchar. They haven't been able to adequately replace any of their losses and it's shown in their play.
EJ Hradek (3:11 PM)
Alo, the goaltending hasn't been consistently strong. I think they'll make the playoffs, but it's not a given.
Alright, two game losing streak. Time to blow up the Bruins roster and re-build!
EJ Hradek (3:12 PM)
Sure!...I guess not, let's give them one more loss. They are missing a lot of guys to injury right now. The good news is that they're going to get most of the wounded back in the near future. Once they get their lineup back, I think the Bruins will be just fine.
can the rangers move any pieces to improve? gomez? rosival?
EJ Hradek (3:13 PM)
I think it would be really tough to move their high-end guys, because of the financial implications of their contracts. I would say that Scott Gomez, Drury and Redding are virtuatlly untradeable.
EJ Hradek (3:14 PM)
It's not a good situation to be in when you don't have flexibility on your roster. By contrast, the Penguins could trade just about anyone they have, that's a tribute to their management, which has signed guys to appropriate contracts to their skill level.
With the Red Wings cap space next year, is re-signing Hossa possible? Are the younger FA a priority?
EJ Hradek (3:16 PM)
I think it's possible. The Red Wings have three key unrestricted free agents in Zetterberg, Hossa and Franzen. I think the Wings would like to keep two of the three. I think really, it will depend on what kind of deal they end up doing with Zetterberg, who is currently a huge bargain, making less than $3 million per year. He'll more than double his salary on his next deal.
EJ Hradek (3:17 PM)
If Zetterberg's willing to play ball with the Wings to stay, that might open the door to keep Hossa as well, but it's going to be very tricky.
EJ Hradek (3:17 PM)
Logically for me, I would say that it seems to make the most sense that Zetterberg and Franzen will stay, just because that seems to make the most fiancial sense.
Jeff (Rochester NY)
What do the Wild need to do to make sure they make the playoffs?
EJ Hradek (3:19 PM)
I think they're in a tough spot, losing their best player to injury. I think this is a team that's going to have to rely on good goaltending and real attention to detail in each and every game. They got a good win last night, over Chicago. I think the combination of coaching and good goaltending keep them in the mix. But it's going to be tough in a very competitive conference race.
What are your thoughts on the season that Nikolai Khabibulin is having?
EJ Hradek (3:20 PM)
I've always thought that he was a really good goaltender. He's won a Stanley Cup during his career. When he's working behind a good team and he's supported by a team in front of him, he's a guy that could win a lot of games. So, I guess I'm not surprised that he's playing well behind a much improved Chicago team.
Jack Louis (Washington)
What do the Avalanche need to do in order to becoms elite again?
EJ Hradek (3:22 PM)
Right now, they don't have that real go-to stopper in goal. During their best years in the late 90s and early part of this decade, they had Patrick Roy. They really haven't had anyone since then that really has been anywhere near that level. Those types of goalies are hard to find, but certainly I see that as a big difference between those terrific Avs teams of the past and those of today.
Stelios G (Toronto)
What is wrong with my leafs? Are they just out of gas or what?
EJ Hradek (3:23 PM)
They're just not very good. This was a rebuilding situation in Toronto. What yo'ure getting right now is what you get when a team is trying to rebuild and retool. I think if anything, they were overachievers early in the season.
with Briere coming back this week, who are we gonna trade or send down to the phantoms?
EJ Hradek (3:24 PM)
Well, I think they're going to make some adjustments to accomodate Briere's salary under the cap. The rumor has been that they would make some changes on defense, perhaps sending rookie Sbisa back to junior and/or making a trade or two.
EJ Hradek (3:25 PM)
One thing is for sure, the Flyers will have to do something.
Sean (Chicago, IL)
So, Detroit Red Wings- great team or greatest team... Can the Sharks really beat them in a 7 game series?
EJ Hradek (3:26 PM)
Yeah, I think they could. I think that it's very tight between teams like Detroit and San Jose. I still rate the Red Wings a slight edge. But so many things happen in a 7-game series it could easily go either way. If I'm picking, I'm still picking the Wings. But it would be a heckuva series and I'm hoping it happens.
Are the Islanders to shopping Guerin & Weight?
EJ Hradek (3:27 PM)
I think the Islanders would be wise to do anything they can to help their franchise in the long term. They'll be sellers at the trade deadline. They could turn any of their current short term assets into prospects or draft picks. That would make sense.
Do you think the next Winter Classic should be in the new Yankee Stadium?
EJ Hradek (3:29 PM)
I think the new Yankee Stadium is probably the frontrunner at this point. I don't think it's the only venue that the league is interested and I don't think it's the only venue interested in hosting the Winter Classic. I think there are hurdles when you talk about dealing with the Yankees and the city of New York. so, a lot will depend on whether the parties can elude those obstacles. I'd like to see it, and I think at some point we'll see the Classic take place at the new Yankee Stadium.
EJ Hradek (3:29 PM)
Thanks for all the questions. We'll talk next week.