Chat with Barry Melrose
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN NHL analyst Barry Melrose will drop by to take your questions as the 2009-10 NHL season gets underway.
Melrose re-joined ESPN after coaching the Tampa Bay Lightning for the first part of the 2008-09 season. He first started with ESPN after coaching the Los Angeles Kings to the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals and was a commentator on ESPN and ABC since 1995. Melrose made his NHL debut with the Winnipeg Jets in 1979. A defenseman, he played for the Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings before retiring after the 1986 season.
Send your questions now and join Barry in chat Thursday at 1:45 p.m. ET!
Barry Melrose (1:46 PM)
Hope everybody is as excited about the start of the season as I am.
Barry, Do you see Ryan Callahan becoming a 30 goal scorer this year?
Barry Melrose (1:47 PM)
I think that might be a stretch. He will be a guy that you can count on for 20 goals a season. It depends on who Callahan plays with but 30 goals isn't impossible.
How much hangover will the four teams feel when they come back from the games in Europe?
Barry Melrose (1:48 PM)
A lot. That's a tough trip. No teams have stated the season off great after coming from overseas.
Pittsburgh still has Crosby and still has Malkin...doesn't the discussion of the best team in the East kind end after that?
Barry Melrose (1:49 PM)
No, I don't think so. If the question is "who has the best two players in the league", then Pittsburgh is on to. Philly and Washington are both better so it will be though road for Pittsburgh.
We always hear about how good of a player Crosby is...with that said, how does he improve his game?
Barry Melrose (1:51 PM)
I think what he has to is continue to be consistent. Great players play great all the time. He needs to continue to do those things that make him great but do it yea-after-year.
Where do you place the Hurricanes coming into the season?
Barry Melrose (1:52 PM)
The Hurricanes are exactly where they always are. They are a team that nobody gives a chance of winning but they are a team nobody wants to play in the first round. They are definitely a playoff team and a dangerous playoff team.
John (Parts unknown)
Barry, do you see the Kings finally making the playoffs this year?
Barry Melrose (1:53 PM)
I think they are getting a lot better but I don't see them making that playoffs. I don't see any of the team that made the playoffs getting any worst. I see LA on the outside looking in.
How would you rate that NHL preview on First Take this morning? Good or Bad
Barry Melrose (1:54 PM)
Everything on First Take is good, everyone knows that!
Barry, do the Bruins finally have what it takes to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals?
Barry Melrose (1:55 PM)
I don't think the Bruins right now are as good as they were last year. You can't lose your top goal scorer and be at the same level that you were a year ago. I think they are a playoff team but they are a couple years away from the Stanley Cup.
Where do you see the Predators finishing the season?
Barry Melrose (1:56 PM)
I think they will finish eighth in the West.
Do you think Alaska will ever get a NHL team
Barry Melrose (1:58 PM)
Unfortunately Joe, I don't think so. They have get hockey in Alaska. An NHL team needs big city with a big population and Alaska has neither. So for now, they will be just a state with great hockey and no NHL team.
Where will Phoenix be next year?
Barry Melrose (1:59 PM)
I think Phoenix will finish the year in Phoenix with the NHL running it. It will be anybody's guess where they will be next season.
Kyle (Bowie, MD)
Over under, 60 Goals for Ovechkin
Barry Melrose (1:59 PM)
Wil (Orlando, FL)
What do you see from the Buffalo Sabres if they stay heathly this season?
Barry Melrose (2:00 PM)
If they make the playoffs, it will be a great year. You're right they need to stay healthy. Making the playoffs will be huge for Buffalo.
Mike (New Jersey)
Is Brodeur going downhill? His recent goaltending including game 7 have been showing nothing but signs of decline.
Barry Melrose (2:02 PM)
Yes, I think he's going downhill. I don't think he's as good as he was five years ago. With Jacques Lemaire, Brodeur isn't going to see as many shots and that should help him out a lot.
The Blackhawks made a good run in last year's playoffs...however the West is very crowded with good teams. How does Chicago stack up out West?
Barry Melrose (2:03 PM)
I like Chicago. I like what the did in the offseason getting Hossa and Madden. All their young players are a year older. I like Chicago out West.
Should we just completely stay away from the San Jose Sharks this year? They've let me down too many times.
Barry Melrose (2:04 PM)
I agree. On paper they look think one of the three best teams in the NHL. But until they win in the playoffs, it's going to be very hard for me to believe in them.
Greg (Great Falls, MT)
Barry, who do you see winning the Art Ross Trophy this season? Do you think we will see a 150 point season out of any the game's young stars on the rise?
Barry Melrose (2:06 PM)
Malkin will win the scoring the scoring race. It will be out of Crosby and Malkin but my bet goes for Malkin.
What are the chances of the Cup returning to a Canadian team this year?
Barry Melrose (2:07 PM)
Not really good. Calgary has the best Canadian team. It's possible but I will only give it about 25%
Jim (Bourbonnais, IL)
First off, I love that you picked the Blackhawks to win the Stanley Cup. Do you think they need to add another physical D-man, or anything else for that matter, to cement their status as a contender?
Barry Melrose (2:08 PM)
They will start the season and see how it goes. They can address what they need to at the trade deadline. But for now, I think they are ok.
Hey Barry, last year the Red Wings lost in the Cup finals, the year before that, Pittsburgh lost in the finals and the backup goalie both times was Ty Conklin from the University of New Hampshire. So, does that mean that the Blues lose in the Cup finals this yeaR?
Barry Melrose (2:10 PM)
I think the Blues will take that any day of the week. I think St. Louis will love to be in the Finals with Ty Conklin in the net.
Chris (Arlington, VA)
The 2009-2010 Washington Capitals: is this the year they lift the Cup?
Barry Melrose (2:11 PM)
I think they will be right there at the end. They are one of the best teams in the East. But they do need to work on their goaltending. They will be right there at the end along with Pittsburgh and Philly.
Does the addition of Hossa make up for the Blackhawks' loss of Havlat?
Barry Melrose (2:12 PM)
Hossa is a better player than Havlat. Hossa is bigger, stronger, faster, and can score more. I think Chicago is a better team with Hossa than with Havlat.
Do you see the Leafs being one of the top 8 in the East?? I really think they have made a good start to bringing that team back to glory!
Barry Melrose (2:14 PM)
They're not at glory yet but I like Toronto. I think they will make the playoffs in the East.
Can Heatley put up 50 goals playing with Thornton?
Barry Melrose (2:16 PM)
He better but up at least 50. If he doesn't score at least 50, Sharks fans will be very upset. Playing along Thorton, he needs to score at least that 50 goals.
Freelo (SDCA, CO)
Duchene rookie of the year ?
Barry Melrose (2:17 PM)
I think it will Tavares from the Islanders.
Barry, What do you think of the Av's deal for Ryan Smyth? if they made a deal with the Kings shouldn't they have gotten one of their young goalies?
Barry Melrose (2:18 PM)
Unfortunately the Av's are going through a rebuilding time. I do think they should have gotten more for Smyth.
Barry Melrose (2:19 PM)
Hopefully everybody enjoys tonight and hopefully we can start the season off with some great games.