Chat with Pierre LeBrun
Based in Toronto, LeBrun joined ESPN in September 2008 after spending 13 years with The Canadian Press as its national hockey columnist. LeBrun was also a contributor to Rogers Sportsnet and a regular guest on CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada."
Send your questions for now and join LeBrun in The Show on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. ET!
Pierre LeBrun (4:27 PM)
Greetings from Chicago, pucksters. Let's rock and roll.
hey pierre! where do you see the most logical destination for patrick marleau, joe thornton, or evgeni nabakov when the sharks wake up and trade these guys!
Pierre LeBrun (4:29 PM)
Easier said than done Steve. I know for sure both Marleau and Thornton have no-trade clauses while I believe Nabokov has some form of no-trade. So this is no easy jackpot to fix.
eric ny [via mobile]
the sabres trade d.roy, d.stafford and a #1 pick to phoenix for doan. whatta ya think?
Pierre LeBrun (4:30 PM)
I think Phoenix would do it in a heart break. That's not a knock on Doan, a heart and soul player and a great one at that. But Roy and Stafford are also first-line players plus you want to throw in a pick? Too much
sean kenmore,ny [via mobile]
hey pierre, whats up with the emery to philly rumors? please tell me its not true!!!
Pierre LeBrun (4:30 PM)
I believe they are true. Emery is an unrestricted free agent so for the right price it's not too bad a gamble. He has a monster year in the KHL. Not sure it' sthe answer but for the right price not a bad gamble
Brian (Culpeper, VA)
I have a question about the financial state of hockey. With the Coyotes apparently having filed for bankruptcy protection and the Islander's owner coming out and stating that if he had to do it over again, he would not buy the team, is the league in greater trouble than previously thought? Are there more teams on the brink of bankruptcy? Does the league have any plans to deal with this situation? Although they are saying that the economy might start to recover soon, they are still looking at around October or so before that happens. By this point, season ticket packages will have likely have already been do and teams will likely see a big drop in income from those. So even if the economy starts to recover, there may be another very rough season ahead.
Pierre LeBrun (4:33 PM)
Brian, I don' thave enough time to give your excellent question justice. We've been telling our readers all eyar long that there were trouble spots in the league, namely in Phoenix, Nashville, Florida and Long Island. So none of this is a surprise. The global recession is hurting a lot of entities around the world and hockey teams are not immune to that. If you go back and read my column from the Board of Governors meeting in December you have seen that I painted a pretty gloomy picutre in large part because of the recession. I believe will league-wide revenues will go down next season and that will therefore bring down the salary cap for the 2010-11 season
Marc (Marlboro, MA)
Pierre, the league cannot simply ignore what happened last night. It owes it's fans a statement of some kind. Brad Watson simply should not work anymore playoff games this season. If I perform at my job like that, I am either terminated or moved off the work I am doing, and the NHL should do the same thing. I don't want the guy fired because I'm sure nobody feels worse about it then he does, but still, it is a critical mistake that should not be tolerated. Your thoughts on what SHOULD be done, and what the league WILL actually do?
Pierre LeBrun (4:34 PM)
Believe me Marc, when a ref screws up, he gets an earful from Stephen Walkom, and then some. It has not gone unnoticed
I just read bob mckenzie column on the messy situtaion with the coyotes. What are the chances that the coyotes relocated to canada before next season?
Pierre LeBrun (4:35 PM)
Impossible to say David. A very complicated situation. Big-time legal battle awaits. Nobody knows how this will play out in the end.
Guy Enfield NH
The Bruins have their first bad game of the playoffs and everyone is jumping off the band wagon..What gives...I still think they have the talent to outlast the 'Canes...
Pierre LeBrun (4:36 PM)
Well Guy, I actually picked Carolina to upset the Bruins. It was a gut feeling. And I know there's plenty of hockey left and the Bruins could easily win this, but there's just something about the balance in Carolina's game right now, not to mention their speed. They've got their mojo going and Cam Ward is at the top of his game
Pierre, this thing with Jim Basillie is going to get worse before it gets better, mark my words I see court being the final straw to end Gary Bettman's Commish days. According to a report I heard Phx sold Mr. Blackberry his assets in the club and not the hockey club itself, so a bankrupcty court has no option but to take PHX/Basillie offer to settle all debts with creditors.
Pierre LeBrun (4:37 PM)
As I just said earlier, this will be a long and nasty legal fight. Not much else anyone can say at this point
Duckpuck, Irvine, CA
As a duck fan, I fully acknowledge that the ducks got a break on the no-goal last night. However, people ignore all sorts of other calls that break both ways. For example, Holmstrom's elbow wasn't called (at a minimum, 4 minutes, could have been a 5 minute major and game misconduct). That would have wiped out Detroit's subsequently power play goal and put the ducks on the power play. Do you know if the NHL is looking at that hit and do you think a suspension is warranted?
Pierre LeBrun (4:38 PM)
sorry bud, I've been in Chicago all week doing Hawks-Canucks
Jim Bourbonnais, IL
Missed ya last week Pierre. As a passionate NHL fan, it's sad to see a franchise on the verge of moving for financial reasons. Do you see any hope for the Coyotes to stay in Phoenix, or is the U-Haul gassed up and ready to head for Canada?
Pierre LeBrun (4:39 PM)
The only hope is that if the NHL can somehow get Jerry Reinsdorf's offer on the table. He's got developments in Arizona an would want to keep the team there... but right now his offer is way below Balsillie's... the courts will figure this one out
Mark (Charlotte, NC)
Pierre - I Keep seeing the players sniffing something before the playoff games. Is this a sniffing salt or a new energy drink that has yet to hit the market?
Pierre LeBrun (4:40 PM)
I'm not 100 per cent sure but I believe it's some kind of smelling salt
Chris (Baltimore, MD)
Whoever wins Game 4 in the Caps Pens Series wins Game 5 too. What do you think? And tell your boy Burnside to come up for air from the Pens collective crotch.
Pierre LeBrun (4:41 PM)
Hey, Scotty has been very objective in his coverage as always. Lay off my boy. This series is going 6 or 7. Amazing stuff to watch, too
There is starting to be a feeling that the Penguins are receiving NBA like treatment from the refs. A look at the penalty disparity for the series with the Caps backs this up. Its amazing the capitals are up in this series, when the pens get about as many power plays as the caps have gotten in three games. What do you think of this disparity?
Pierre LeBrun (4:41 PM)
I'm not covering that series so it's hard for me to say without being there first-hand...
Hi Pierre - do you think Hossa's lack of production thus far in the playoffs is going to bring his price tag down for the Wings or any other potential suitors?
Pierre LeBrun (4:43 PM)
That's an interesting question Bruce. He definitley isn't helpin his cause right now. But some teams are desperate for offense and this year's UFA class isn't deep unless the Sedin twins go to market.... I still think the Wings re-sign Hossa
Hey Pierre... if Balsillie is successful in purchasing the Coyotes and moving them, is that a sign that the other 29 owners are beginning to turn against Bettman?
Pierre LeBrun (4:43 PM)
If the Board of Governors ends up approving his purchase of the Coyotes, then yes, it's a sign Bettman's control is slipping
Joey (Pittsburgh, PA)
It's getting old with everyone calling Sid a cry baby and what not when you see other people doing the same stuff. Take Ovie last night calling it a joke that the Pens only got 2 penalties all game. Maybe he doesn't realize that when a team is in the offensive zone for 3/4 of the game that they're going to draw more penalties. Also Alex deflected any question about Varlamov and seemed frustrated that the reported asked him about his goaltender even though he's been the difference in this series thus far. Is there a potential beef there?
Pierre LeBrun (4:45 PM)
Pens fans dont' like OV. Caps fans don't like Sid. Everyone _ listen to me _ they are both superstar players who deserve our respect. Sit back, enjoy the great hockey and stop whining
Ken, Washington, DC
Pierre, Based upon what you have seen from Simeon Varlamov so far, do you think he is the real deal and will be a mainstay between the pipes for the Caps for years to come?
Pierre LeBrun (4:46 PM)
Well I got to see him in the first round when I covered Rangers-Caps and I came away dully impressed. He's so calm under pressure. I think he is the real deal. And the Caps are also high on Michael Neuvirth so the future in goal looks bright
Greg - Pittsburgh, PA
Pierre, does Hair Club for Men work on your face? If so, can we get some delivered to Crosby?
Pierre LeBrun (4:47 PM)
haha... you should see Patrick Kane's attempt at a beard... I'm in Chicago this week. I love the kid but he can't grow a beard, man
Elisabeth, Boston, MA
Big PLB! Please tell me there is hope for the Bruins. They don't look so good, but I know they're capable! Can they find their true form before it's too late?
Pierre LeBrun (4:48 PM)
Of course there's hope, this is going to be a long series. But one thing I've noticed from afar, watching on TV, is that Carolina's speed seems to be an issue for Boston's blue-line
Charlie, Hickory NC
Hi Pierre, I know you've already been asked, but what are your thoughts on the Coyotes moving? And, just for yucks, what does my friend Mr Cherry have to say about it? I'm sure his loving it! Long live the Senators!
Pierre LeBrun (4:50 PM)
I think clearly selling hockey in Phoenix has not worked, so I'm not opposed to the team moving, especially to Toronto or Southern Ontario where there's a gigantic hockey market that could defintely support two teams. Having said all that, I don't like the way Mr. Balsillie went about this yet again. There's something sinister to it. The NHL is a private club. The owners don't like guys acting like this. On the other hand, some owners might be tired of propping up a team like the Coyotes and perhaps that's the gamble that will help Balsillie when the Board of Governors has to eventually vote on this
Mark (Durham, NC)
What are your thoughts on the NHL going to a playoff TV schedule similar to the NBA? I know its extremely long, but it showcases each series. How is the NHL going to grow the sport if all we see is the same 3 or 4 teams?
Pierre LeBrun (4:50 PM)
What we need is the NHL back on ESPN.
noahtahl las vegas nevada
the history of pronger and holmstrom show a lot of real animosity. my question, with holmstrom wanting to establish himself in front of the net , how important is the desire of the refs to not call a ton of penalties as the playoffs get deeper? it seems pronger is taking advantage of this.
Pierre LeBrun (4:52 PM)
You are right about the history between Holmstrom and Pronger. I can tell you this, Holmstrom has repeatdly been warned over the years by refs to be careful he's not interfering with the goalie and he's been called on it many times. He knows that and he tries to walk that fine line
Julian (Vancouver BC)
I believe that if the Canucks can win in Chicago again tonight, the series is over, what do you think?
Pierre LeBrun (4:53 PM)
I'll second that. Hawks must win tonight to stay alive.
Hunt (Wilson, NC)
Pierre, My favorite topic--how far do the Canes have to go for Paul Maurice to keep his job next year? Ron Francis might be the guy long term, but can they really replace Maurice at this point?
Pierre LeBrun (4:55 PM)
Hunt, Paul is fine either way at this point. He'll coach again next year or he'll be in the front office in some capacity. That's what I've been told. By the way folks, the semifinals are set at the IIHF world hockey championship, a tournament that's near and dear to my heart after covering six of those babies from 2000 through 2005. USA vs. Russia in one semi and Canada vs. Sweden in the other. Great stuff !
Davey (Columbia, MD)
Despite all of the chances the Pens are being handed, do you still see my Caps coming out to represent the East in the show?
Pierre LeBrun (4:56 PM)
Well, I picked the Caps in seven before the second round. I'm certinaly not going to change my mind now !
Mikko (Atlanta, GA)
Hi Pierre. You and Scott both pick Zdeno Chara as Norris winner. He was on ice for many goals during regular season. He has been on ice for 5 of the last 6 Canes goals including BIG mistakes at end of Game 2 & Game 3. Mikko thinks he is overrated. Average agility. Jussi agrees. Psycho Pierre, qu'est-ce que c'est?
Pierre LeBrun (4:57 PM)
Mikko, please consult a specialist as soon as possible
Gary Bettman: "We don't run out on cities." Apparently that doesn't include Winnipeg, Quebec, Hartford and Minneapolis the first go round.
Pierre LeBrun (4:57 PM)
I expected a great series between the B's and 'Canes. But Boston doesn't look too good. Our best players don't seem to be showing up. I know you picked Carolina, but do you think Boston can turn it around?
Pierre LeBrun (4:58 PM)
I predict Boston wins Friday night and we get a seven-gamer...
Why has there never been a major PED scandal in the NHL like in MLB?
Pierre LeBrun (5:01 PM)
That's a very good question Bob, and one that I've been mulling over for a long time. Sean Hill is the only player to have failed a drug test since the NHL started testing three years ago. One of the problems we have in the NHL is that the policy isn't strong enough. It doesn't test, for example, in the off-season when you would think if there's anyone using they would do so then during their off-season training.... So one thing I would like to see, and I know the NHL is pushing for this, is for the NHL Players' Associtation to agree to tougher testing. I think the NHL should get ahead of the curve here and make sure it doens't have a basball on its hands... Having all that Bob, I've been around the NHL for 15 years and I've never got the sense that PED were a big part of it... But perhaps that my naivety. The truth will come out at some point.
Pierre, How nasty do you think the Ducks/Wings Game gets tonight, after many of the Ducks viewed the elbow by Holmstrom as dirty??
Pierre LeBrun (5:02 PM)
Yeah that's been the most nasty of the four series so far. I covered the first two gamesin Detroit and I'll be back there for Game 5 on Sunday and I can't wait. Right from the get-go those two teams hated each other. It's great theatre.
Hockey Joe (Chicago, IL)
Looking forward to a great game and atmosphere in the UC tonight! I've been reading and listening to a lot of the Hawks quotes today and yesterday talking about how important it is to "score first", in order to win. Do you think that this might be putting too much pressure on the Hawks to actually score first, in case the Canucks (yet again) do score first, and instead Hawks players/coaches should focus and talk about playing a solid, balanced game tonight?
Pierre LeBrun (5:03 PM)
Good point Hockey Joe, and I, too, can't wait to be there tonight. I think it is important for the Hawks to score first for the first time in this series so they can better excecute their game plan and not have to force plays because they need goals. Also, it would help the Canucks open up their defensive game a little if they were behind.
Sarah (Charlotte, NC)
Why do you think the Hurricanes never seem to get the respect they deserve? I feel they have proven themselves first against NJ and now 3 games into the Bruins series? Is it simply because they are a "southern team"?
Pierre LeBrun (5:04 PM)
Small market, Sarah.They get very little national coverage because of it. Even winning the Cup in '06 didn't change things much. But as you probably know Sarah, I often write about the Hurriacnes if you look at my blog this year; and I picked the 'Canes to beat Boston !
Now the pens finally won a game against the caps do you see the pens fighting back to win the next home game or do you think caps have a better chance?
Pierre LeBrun (5:05 PM)
Who knows ! Every game has been close and exciting. Since I'm not there in person covering it, tough for me to give you a deeper analysis. But it's been amazing hockey to watch. Enjoy the ride !
david (elk grove village, IL) [via mobile]
pierre, how great would it be for the nhl if the blackhawks met the bruins or pens in an original six matchup for the cup?
Pierre LeBrun (5:07 PM)
Hawks-Bruins would be an amazing Original Six matchup, no question. League would be drooling. Caps or Pens in the Finals is also a good one for the league because of OV or Sid
What has been the most exciting game this post season? No offense to Crosby or Ovechkin but the .2 seconds left in the game goal by Jokinen has to be #1.
Pierre LeBrun (5:07 PM)
I don't think you can beat the duelling hat tricks from 87 and 8. That's history there.
Eric: Minneapolis, MN
Malkin was a beast last night. Do you think he'll continue to play like that throughout the remaining games?
Pierre LeBrun (5:08 PM)
Yes looks to me like he's off the schnid now
Dave - Irvine, CA
If Hiller continues to shine, will the Ducks try and trade "Jiggy"? Would Burke in Toronto want him? Who do the Ducks have ot back-up Hiller in that case?
Pierre LeBrun (5:09 PM)
Yes I've written about that a few times over the past few months.. Giggy has a no-trade clause so keep that in mind. But I'm not sure he'd want to be a backup next season.... I think that's a conversation Bob Murray and Giguere and his agent Bob Sauve will have to have after the season. Philadelphia, if it can clear cap room, would be a good fit for Giggy
devin whitmore lake michigan
what duse the redwings need to do to stop the high flying ducks
Pierre LeBrun (5:10 PM)
Covert on PP chances. Make Ducks pay for their aggression
Jon Raleigh, NC
This years team reminds me alot of 2006. Everyone doubts them, but they keep winning. What are the canes chances to make it back to the cup finals?
Pierre LeBrun (5:11 PM)
It is beginning to feel that way with them, isn't it? They've got as good a chance as ny of the four teams int he East, no doubt
Mike (Chevy Chase, Maryland)
hey pierre, what are the chances that the caps go out and get a big namer in freeagency or a trade? if there are any who do you think?
Pierre LeBrun (5:12 PM)
I don't think that's the game plan for the Caps this summer, Mike. Just trying to keep their core together will be expensive and the cap will probably go down for the 2010-11 season (two years from now). Plus, karl alzner will be a regular next year
In regards to Bettman saying the owners would not agree to the move from PHO to S. Ontario...why not? Why would owners, who are apart of revenue sharing NOT want a financially unsound team in an unproven market to move north of the border into a stronger market?
Pierre LeBrun (5:15 PM)
Spencer, from my conversations with Bettman over the last year, I don't think he's against having a second team in Southern Ontario one day down the line...I think what he's saying right now is that owners won't agree in the manner in which Balsillie is attempting his latest power play. On that point, we'll see how the owners feel about it when the Board of Governors convenes
How much of a chance do realistically give the winner of Chicago - Vancouver in a Western Finals with Detroit or Anaheim?
Pierre LeBrun (5:16 PM)
Right now, from having witnessed games in both series... I'd have to say that the winner of Det-Ana will go the Cup Finals. But the x-factor might be Detroit and Anaheim beating the living crap out of each other and running out of steamin the conference finals... we'll see
Tom (River North)
Pierre, while I am still upset about the non-goal in the Wings-Ducks game, I realize it's time to move on. Do you think that Datsyuk and Zetterberg need to reunite? That line was essentially unstoppable in the playoffs last year, and Hossa has played well with Franzen and Cleary before.
Pierre LeBrun (5:17 PM)
Tom, that's not a bad idea. Clearly the Datsyuk-Hossa combo has fallen asleep for too long now. You can't lose tonight if you're Detroit
Steph Walkom another Northern Ontario boy, he's from North Bay!
Pierre LeBrun (5:18 PM)
yessir, every time Stephen and I see each other, and I saw him Tuesday night after the Canucks-Hawks game, we also say _ ''North Bay !" When you're from a small town in Northern Ontario you have to get excited when you see another native !
Dustin (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
Big Caps fan here, last night began to remind me of the heartache the Penguins caused on the Capitals in the 90's. Give me a prediction, do the Penguins come back for the and win the series or do the Capitals find a way to close it out?
Pierre LeBrun (5:19 PM)
Caps in 7, as I said before the series
Kris Letang is going to be something special.
Pierre LeBrun (5:20 PM)
Ryan, especially with Whitney getting moved to Anaheim, it especially opens up first-unit time on the PP. Great pickup in fantasy next year
Rick (Pittsburgh, PA)
Hey Pierre! What do you make of the gamesmanship going on between Bylsma and Boudreau after each of the last two games? After game 2 all the talk was about all of the interfering the Caps were doing off of the face off, then in game 3 the Pens have a 7-2 advantage in power plays. Now after game 3 we hear from Boudreau about how the ice was "tilted" in the Pens favor by the refs. Do these sort of things really affect how a game is called by the refs, subconsciously or not?
Pierre LeBrun (5:21 PM)
It's fairly typical at this time of yearRick. Did you see what Carlyle and Babcock have had to say so far in that series? Much the same. It's fun for us in the media because it gives us good copy. But it's very normal at this time of year
I was chatting with a buddy of mine who was saying the Ducks were the most underrated #8 that he's recalled. I don't think they underrated so much as they were built for the playoffs. I knew that if they squeaked in, with their blue line, they can make a playoff run as far as their goaltending will carry them. Are they under-rated or just built as a playoff machine rather than a reg. season powerhouse...like the sharks?
Pierre LeBrun (5:22 PM)
Well, it's just wrong that they're a No. 8 seed. These guys were the Cup champs just two years ago. But they struggled so much in the first half of the season that they feel too far back to make up ground by the time they started playing like they should.
Tom (River North)
The Ducks (and their fans) have been whining about non-calls in the last game. What about the ridiculous penalty to Stuart or the punches that Perry is throwing to the back of Osgood's head?
Pierre LeBrun (5:23 PM)
I will say this, Corey Perry is one of the dirtiest players in the game right now. Of course, if I'm a coach or GM I love the guy. But I now he's driving other teams around the league absolutely crazy
What do you think about the 'Hawks chances tonight? Do you think if they score first and get the crowd into it early that they will be able to keep up the momentum and get a win?
Pierre LeBrun (5:23 PM)
I predict a Hawks win, in quadruple OT
With the recent situation with the Coyotes do you for see any other non traditional market teams possibly moving in the near future (I would love Indiana to have a team though I don't see it happening)?
Pierre LeBrun (5:25 PM)
I still think nashville is barely hanging on. Florida isn't great. And Long Island, while not being a non-traditional market, is in big trouble
With the possible move of the Yotes to Canada, do you think there would be a re-alignment of east & west teams? Who from the East could or would want to move out west?
Pierre LeBrun (5:26 PM)
Whoaa... that's way ahead of the curve... let's wait and see how this plays out in the courts, first
Ciao, has you talk with Roberto Luongo about hockey play with Italia? Viva Spaghetti, Pierre.
Pierre LeBrun (5:27 PM)
Haha... Roberto is indeed a proud Italian-Canadian... Big Italian population in Montreal where's he is from
Shouldn't teams like Phx and Florida be looking at Carolina for how to not only survive but prosper with the game of hockey in the south?
Pierre LeBrun (5:27 PM)
Great point !
Casey, Salt Lake City
Pierre, every other chat person has ignored me. I hope you won't. Game 2, Pens and Caps, Ovechkin, in one of the most unsportsmanlike moves I've ever seen, throws his head back to buy a high school. It was completely phantom. I know Crosby has been known to embellish, but this was disgusting. What does something like that do for Ovechkin's reputation around the league?
Pierre LeBrun (5:29 PM)
Casey, how dare they ignore a Salt Lake native ! Wow, didn't know OV bought an entire ''high school." that's very generous of him ! Listen, there's goin to be theatrics and gamesmanship in a heated playoff series. I wouldn't get too caught up in it. It's been happening for years and years and years in this league
Southern Ontario can have the Avs. We don't want them anymore.
Pierre LeBrun (5:31 PM)
LOL.... you just made my day with that one Andy. But isn't funny how the Nordiques left Quebec City in 1995 for Denver and the Jets left Winnipeg in 1996 for Phoenix _ both for ''better and bigger" markets? N ow the Coyotes are bankrupt and may move, and the Avs may qualify for revenue sharing this year after having a major drop in attendance... Things that make you go hmmmm.... On that note folks, talk to you next week ! Time for me to make the drive to United Center. Drop the puck !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!