Chat with Matthew Barnaby
Welcome to Sportsnation! On Thursday, ESPN NHL analyst Matthew Barnaby will stop by to take your questions on the NHL.
Barnaby played 14 seasons in the NHL for eight different teams. He netted 113 goals and 300 total points. He was also one of the league's tough guys, accumulating 2,562 penalty minutes.
Send your questions now and join Matthew Thursday at 3 p.m. ET!
Matthew Barnaby (3:07 PM)
Weird opening to the season. A lot of upsets so far. One thing is still true: Ovechkin is the best player in the game. Let's get to it.
Tyler Ross (Rhode Island)
Hey Matt, as a Rangers fan I really feel like theres a good chance for success this season. If Gaborik can stay healthy, all our offensive additions prove their worth, and the youth steps up in a big way, do you think theres any chance the rangers make it deep in the playoffs?
Matthew Barnaby (3:08 PM)
I am one of the few that agree with you. Everyone has laughed at my pick of the Rangers even making the playoffs. I think Gaborik, when healthy, is the best offseason pickup. They have one of the best goaltenders in the league, and if they had that added scoring last year, they could have beat Washington.
James (Richmond, VA)
What's the deal with the over application of the goalie interference penalty? I was under the impression that if you were pushed into the other teams goalie by a defender, it isn't interference, but that did not seem to be the case twice in the Caps-Flyers game.
Matthew Barnaby (3:10 PM)
That is supposed to be the case, but even if you are pushed and you don't make an attempt to get out of the way of the goalie, it can still be called a penalty. Remember, the referees only have a quick second to make that call.
Rich (Ft Lauderdale FL)
Any chance my FL Panthers can make the playoffs this year or are we going to set the record for playoff futility?
Matthew Barnaby (3:11 PM)
Definitely. This is a team on the rise and even though they lost Jay Bouwmeester, they have very strong goaltending and a core of good young kids up front. I don't have them in the playoffs, but they will compete. They are very well-coached.
Pierre Morris (Montreal)
Who was the toughest player to play against during your career?
Matthew Barnaby (3:11 PM)
The most dominant player by far, when he was healthy, was Eric Lindros. To me, that line of Lindros, LeClaire, and Renberg was the toughest line and most dominant offensively that I played against.
Matt (Scottsdale, AZ)
If the Blackhawks can only keep 2 of Keith, Toews, and Kane after this year, who is the odd man out?
Matthew Barnaby (3:13 PM)
I would say Kane and Toews, because they have marketed this team around them Toews will be their captain for the next ten years, and Kane's offensive abilities you cannot let go of. Having said that, I think they'll find a way to keep all three by trading the likes of a Cam Barker, or a Patrick Sharp.
Will the Wings be able to make another run this year or will they be worn down from two years of long seasons plus the Olympic games plus shaky goaltending?
Matthew Barnaby (3:14 PM)
I don't have them going to the cup finals this year. One, it's just too hard with all the parity in the league. Two, they lost Marian Hossa, Samuelsson, and Hudler. Three, their goaltending just isn't good enough. They are still a good team, but I think there are better teams out there.
just how big of an addition will hossa end up being to the Blackhawks?
Matthew Barnaby (3:15 PM)
He is a huge acquisition. Anytime you add a 40-goal scorer to your lineup and take him away from your archrival, it is huge. He needs to be a little better in the playoffs, and I think he will.
Rob (New Castle, Pa.)
The pens have been out played in every period but the third period on Long Island. They look slow as a team and can't sustain any offense and can't keep their opponents from doing the same. Whats up?
Matthew Barnaby (3:16 PM)
One problem they have to address is penalties. In the Coyotes game, they took ten. I don't care who you're playing, if you take that many penalties, you're gonna get burned, especially when you lost your two best penalty-killers in Gill and Scuderi.
Is Mike Green ready to take the next step in development and turn into a force at both ends of the ice?
Matthew Barnaby (3:17 PM)
Mike Green, everyone knows, has a bomb of a shot and is very talented offensively. I still haven't seen him commit to being the same way defensively. For Washington to move on, they need to battle harder in their own zone, and it starts with Mike Green.
As a player, what were you looking to get out of the first few games of the season? Obviously you want to start strong, but were the players feeling out the chemistry of the team as much as us fans think they do?
Matthew Barnaby (3:18 PM)
I think the first few games, you always wanna look for a team identity. Chemistry has something to do with it, but I don't look as much into wins and losses as I do how the team looks.
I know it's only been 4 games, but Hal Gill has been terrible with the habs so far. Do you think he will be able to play to last year level or is it too late for him?
Matthew Barnaby (3:19 PM)
Gill was terrible in Toronto, and then found a niche in Pittsburgh. The reason he was successful there for the most part was Pittsburgh had the puck for most of the game. He's a good penalty-killer because he has a long stick, but foot speed has always been a problem for him. I don't look for him to have a great year.
Liam Murphy (Boston, MA)
How much will the loss of Kessel effect my beloved Bruins this season? Will Timmy Thomas be able to keep up his strong play?
Matthew Barnaby (3:20 PM)
Timmy Thomas is just a great battler. He gives you everything he has every single game. Phil Kessel's loss will hurt. This is a 40-goal scorer and you just don't replace that easily. I still think they're a good team, but not nearly as good as last year.
Freddy (Long Island)
What is the ceiling for our new #1 pick, Tavares. Is he a Crosby that sets people up or more of a goal scoring sniper like Heatley? p.s. Has anyone seen Ricky Dipietro, we would like to discontinue our subscription with him
Matthew Barnaby (3:21 PM)
Tavares is a one-dimensional scorer, like a Mike Bossy or Dany Heatley. He has scored in every single level and been scrutinized since he's been twelve years old. He will continue to score at this level and be a great player for the Islanders for a number of years.
Is the NHL on the upswing when it comes to popularity. I grew up LOVING hockey. It seems that sports nation likes to except that it's second tier sport. But I disagree.
Matthew Barnaby (3:23 PM)
I really think HD is the best thing to happen to hockey. The casual fan has always had trouble following the puck, and it is now much easier. To me, it's the best live sport there is, maybe being a little biased. But last year being my first year at ESPN, what started the year with a few casual fans, it exploded in the playoffs. Ovechkin and Crosby have also done a great job selling our game. Not so much in Phoenix.
Bill (Pasadena, Ca)
Who has a better chance at making the palyoffs kings or Sabres?
Matthew Barnaby (3:24 PM)
I think both are in a battle for that last playoff position. My preseason picks had the Kings making it in the eight-spot, and Buffalo not.
What do you think of my Jackets this year - Can they win a playoff series?
Matthew Barnaby (3:25 PM)
The jackets are very well-coached, and look like they've taken the attitude that just making the playoffs isn't good enough. With Mason in net, anything can happen, but I still think they are a few years away from making it big-time.
When people say Philly, they immediately think Emery or Pronger or Richards or Carter. How about that third line, though? Powe-Giroux-JVR could really make some noise as the season (and their careers) goes on, don't you think?
Matthew Barnaby (3:26 PM)
This is a very deep team. I don't think anyone would want to face these guys in the first round of the playoffs. JVR has had a terrific start, and Claude Giroux will only get better.
Christian (Staten Island, NY)
What do you see for the Stars this year? With Morrow and Richards back healthy, could last year have been an abberation?
Matthew Barnaby (3:27 PM)
It can't get any worse than it did last year. Marty Turco was terrible, and with Morrow and Richards healthy, look for them to improve. They lost Zubov to Russia, and he has been, to me, the best player on the team for the past ten years. That is too hard to replace, and I don't see them making the playoffs.
Have you seen Tyler Myers play in Buffalo. that kid is a stud! I think he will be a star d-man very soon
Matthew Barnaby (3:29 PM)
They started not thinking that he would make the team, but he had such a good camp and some injuries on D that he was forced to stay. He's big and skates well for a big man. This was a great pick in the draft by Darcy, and he does not look out of place whatsoever.
What do you think are the Calgary Flames chances this year?
Matthew Barnaby (3:30 PM)
This is the best defense in the NHL. They have looked very good, quick, and physical. Kiprusoff will play roughly 70 games and has looked good. Wait 'til Iginla catches fire. Great team, anything less than winning the West, I would think, would be a disappointment .
Matthew Barnaby (3:30 PM)