Chat with Scott Burnside
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN.com's Scott Burnside will stop by to chat about the NHL's latest news and events.
Before joining ESPN in 2005, he was a reporter for the Windsor Star and Toronto Sun. Burnside has won numerous awards, including the 1990 National Newspaper Award, and also co-authored the best-selling true crime book "Deadly Innocence" in the mid-1990s. He is based in Atlanta.
Send your questions now and join Burnside on Monday at 4 p.m. ET!
Scott Burnside (4:03 PM)
Greeting hockey fans hither and yon. Let's talk some pucks.
Why dont the Islanders get any media love? They have to be with Colorado as the 2 most suprising teams this season yet nothing. The Islanders are still a couple years away from making any big difference in the league but in a couple of years going in this direction they will be an elite team. So wheres the love from ESPN and the NHL?
Scott Burnside (4:04 PM)
Dom; Well, define love? I recently did a piece on Matt Moulson - great kid with an interesting tale - and I think they've been included in most discussions about surprising teams thus far but they certainly aren't in the category of a Phoenix or Colorado wouldn't you agree?
Eric (Boulder, CO)
Thoughts on Howard as rookie of the year so far?
Scott Burnside (4:05 PM)
Eric; Interesting. Of the rookie goalies you would have had to look at Semyon Varlamov in Washington but he's been hurt and Howard has been terrific. Long way to go to catch guys like Matt Duchene, John Tavares and Tyler Myers but closing the gap on a daily basis. Wings make the playoffs and he's going to be on lots of voters' lists.
Scott, since Varlamov has been out, the Caps have been giving Neuvirth a lot of work. I know they won't move him until Varlamov is back from his injury, but what does his stock look like right now? Would teams be interested and would the Caps trade him?
Scott Burnside (4:07 PM)
Ryan; Further to the previous question I happened to see Neuvirth in Atlanta on Saturday and he was terrific. Big dilemma, I think, for GM George McPhee given what is a pretty low confidence factor in Jose Theodore. Do you go into the playoffs with two 21 year olds no matter how talented or do you dispose of Theodore and trade for veteran help like Martin Biron or Marty Turco? As for dealing Neuvirth I wouldn't think that would happen until Varlamov proves beyond a shadow of a doubt he's the real deal.
Wency (Vestal, NY)
Hi Scott - do you think Daniel Alfredsson's best days are long gone at this point?
Scott Burnside (4:08 PM)
Wency; Hard to tell because the Sens have been such a train wreck in terms of injury etc. etc. I think it's too early to count Alfredsson out. He's one of the classiest guys in the league and I think he's got more in the tank. Let's see how next year turns out before we put him out with yesterday's papers.
Two questions. 1) Have the flyers turned the corner? 2) Any names that could possibly come the flyers way before the deadline?
Scott Burnside (4:10 PM)
Greg; I do think the Flyers have turned a corner and now with Ray Emery back the question is how far up the ladder they can get before the end of the season (I am guessing 5th). And I think the Flyers would like to add a scoring forward but GM Paul Holmgren has said he won't trade Jeff Carter who is the player most teams (like Atlanta) will want in return for a top rental player (like Kovalchuk).
Freelo (Cogent, CO)
What is up with the Stars? How inconsistent can one team be ? Do you think they can tighten it up and get in the playoffs or does the West just have too many good teams for them to get in ? Is Turco done ? Is it Crawford's style ?
Scott Burnside (4:11 PM)
Freelo; Good questions all. I was not a fan of the move to fire Dave Tippett and replace him with Marc Crawford and the team is, as you accurately point out, wildly inconsistent. Maybe worse, they just aren't that good. And in a conference where three or four teams are overachieving I think the chances of them making the playoffs are slim. As for Turco, have to imagine GM Joe Nieuwendyk will look to move him at the deadline even though Turco would like to stay in Dallas.
Scott, Why is it so hard for the bottom fifth of the NHL to pull themselves up? Should it really take a decade to turn a cellar dweller into a playoff team? You see the same teams at the bottom of the standings year after year. What gives? -Joe
Scott Burnside (4:14 PM)
Joe; I'm not sure I agree. True, teams like the Islanders and Phoenix and Toronto have struggled for years (or at least since the lockout) but since the lockout we've had four different Cup winners and six different teams in the finals. Only a couple of teams, Florida, Toronto, Phoenix, Los Angeles, have not made the playoffs at least once since the lockout.
tell me what you think will happen with KOVALCHUK?
Scott Burnside (4:16 PM)
Neal, I think the chances of Kovalchuk re-signing in Atlanta are slim, maybe 30-70 instead of the opposite a couple of months ago. The Kings will be in the hunt, the Bruins, perhaps the Caps but it will take a big package as it should given Kovalchuk's talent. My guess right now is Los Angeles.
Let's cut to the chase - Malkin has to be playing hurt; Vanek too, right? If not, how else do you explain their huge drops in production? It's not as if something like this hasn't happened before. Look at Lecavalier the other year - played hurt then revealed he was basically at 70% because of his shoulder.
Scott Burnside (4:18 PM)
George; I don't know enough of Malkin or Vanek's situation to know if they are playing hurt although your point is a good one. Malkin's played a ton of hockey the last two years and may be hitting a bit of a wall (we saw him hit one in the final two years ago) and Vanek is a bit of a mystery. The Sabres will need him to be better if they're going to make a run, though. Malkin I figure to have a great second half with the Olympics sparking him back to form.
Will Henry Sedin get the Hart?
Scott Burnside (4:19 PM)
Hank; It's now an interesting debate, no? Put up points while his brother was hurt, may end up winning a scoring title or certainly being in the top five for a team that doesn't have a ton of offensive depth. He's getting some Hart attention, that's for sure. I had him as my dark horse at the mid-point for whatever that's worth. (I know, that and 50 cents...)
Kurt (Center Point LA)
Scott,How come the Red Wings get no credit for staying in the playoff race with all there injurys that would of doomed other teams.
Scott Burnside (4:21 PM)
Kurt; Au contraire. I think they've got lots of credit but the bottom line is they've accomplished nothing yet other than staying close. Lots of teams stay close it's the ones that actually close the gap that should get the credit. I think the Wings will do just that and I expect many teams at the top of the Western Conference standings are fearful of that happening and drawing them in the first round.
B-Diddy (Munstoeville, WYO)
Who you got tonight, Avs or Flames? And who wins rookie of the year? I think Duchene runs away with it.
Scott Burnside (4:22 PM)
B-Diddy; I like the Flames at home. I think Duchene is going to be in the mix but I think there is a lot of support for Myers in Buffalo. Kid is tremendous and would be deserving of the honor.
Julius (Bethesda, MD)
Do you see any veterans who've never won a Stanley Cup pulling a Ray Bourque this year, namely trying to go to a team at the trading deadline with a good chance to hoist the Cup?
Scott Burnside (4:23 PM)
Julius; Well, Curtis Joseph is retiring tomorrow so that lets him out. Not sure there is an obvious one. Keith Tkachuk perhaps. Tkachuk gets traded every trade deadline, it seems, but he could be on the move again and hasn't won the big prize.
Is Ryan Miller a Hart Trophy candidate?
Scott Burnside (4:25 PM)
Dean; Yes. Although I think as a Hart Trophy voter (the Professional Hockey Writers' Association does the voting for many of the major awards) I think a goalie has to be head and shoulders above other players to earn a Hart nod given that the Vezina exists to honor goalies (same for defensemen and the Norris). Still, a worthy candidate for certain.
Is Vinny committing career suicide by staying in TB?
Scott Burnside (4:26 PM)
Leo; Or did the owners commit career suicide by signing him to that monster contract? Discuss amongst yourself. Bottom line Lecavalier is the master of his own domain. He has a no trade and if he approached ownership about getting out I am sure they would try and make that happen.
Richard (Greensboro, NC)
I've been hearing that Ray Whitney may be one of the top rentals for this season. What will a team have to give up for him?
Scott Burnside (4:27 PM)
Richard; I think Whitney will be on the move and he is a winner who would command a first-round pick. There aren't a lot of top offensive players who will be available - at least not right now - so Whitney's value would be pretty high for a team like Boston, Philly, Los Angeles, perhaps Chicago.
Teemu Selanne (Anaheim, CA)
Scott, I think I know the cure for Malkin's offensive woes...and it's not shoulder rehab. How about a 500 goal scorer playing on his wing instead of a combination of pluggers like Talbot/Rupp/Fedotenko. I think I know of one that might be available right here on the Ducks....
Scott Burnside (4:28 PM)
Teemu; I failed to mention you in a list of possible rental players. The Ducks, though, may be in a position to jump into the playoffs and so GM Bob Murray will be reluctant to make a move unless he can move J.S. Giguere and his whopper contract.
Why no mention of Brad Stuart for the Norris? He's been SUPERB for the last 2 years and is outplaying everyone again... physically, positionally and chipping in offensively.. likewise, when will there be a Bobby Orr award for the highest-scoring D-man and let the Norris go to the best defenseman?
Scott Burnside (4:29 PM)
Mike; Love Brad Stuart. Very under-rated. But not that under-rated. Interesting to see if there is such an award - Mike Green would own it right now - in the future of the NHL. the league likes awards and this is one they could turn to without making too much of a mockery of the awards process.
Mike (Hammond, IN)
Do you know what happened to Hossa and the lower body injury?What's up with the nondescript injury reports?
Scott Burnside (4:31 PM)
Mike; I do not know about Hossa other than the ubiquitous 'lower body' description. I think the NHL does a great disservice to its fans by hiding injuries behind such vague terms. GMs love it and in fact would prefer not to tell their fans anything about an injured player as they feel it gives opponents an unfair advantage. I think it's another indication of the league not recognizing the needs of its fan base. But that's just me.
Jason (Portland, Oregon)
Scott, the Avalanche rookies just seem to really impress. Duchene was expected to be great but how about Wilson on defense, O'Reilly, Galiardi, and now Brandon Yip. Are we seeing a very quick re-build and how good do you expect the Avs to bein the coming seasons?
Scott Burnside (4:33 PM)
Jason; Agreed. The young players up and down that Avs line-up have been the catalyst to their surprising season. Sometimes, though, those big seasons are followed by some backsliding. We've seen that in Columbus this year and Edmonton the last couple of years. But the Avs have to be happy at the sudden production out of players they might not have expected to see blossom for another year or two. Let's see if they can hang on to a playoff spot this year and then look beyond that. I think they'll still be there come mid-April.
Is burke going to finally move kaberle at the deadline or no? I know he says he never asks someone to waive their no trade but come on....we gotta move him
Scott Burnside (4:36 PM)
Doug; The problem for Brian Burke is that the one piece of his grisly line-up most teams would want is the one he can't give up. Kaberle is talented and relatively cheap. Who's going to replace him if you deal him? Luke Schenn? Mike Komisarek? Sorry, got to keep him at least until next trade deadline when he'll be in the last year of his deal.
Dion Phaneuf...traded by the deadline? he hasnt looked quite the same thus far this year...any chance of a turnaround?
Scott Burnside (4:36 PM)
tom; Phaneuf won't be going anywhere (including the Olympics as it turns out). No chance Darryl Sutter moves him.
I thought the only reason Drury was on the Olympic team was to be the captain, or at least an alternate. If he won't be wearing a letter, why put Drury on the team?
Scott Burnside (4:37 PM)
Jim; Fair question. I like Drury being on the team and I am guessing at some point he delivers a key play to keep the Americans in the medal hunt. But it is perplexing he is brought in for leadership purposes but doesn't get an 'A' or the 'C' (which went to Jamie Langenbrunner).
What should Columbus be shopping for in the offseason to better their team and Nash? What will be out there for them to go after?
Scott Burnside (4:42 PM)
Jesse; Well I think given the team's defensive woes they'll need to look at finding more mobility, more offensive help from along the blue line. Hard to come by though. They are also thin down the middle.
Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)
Scott, who was the biggest forgotten name to make an Olympic roster for any team. Jozef Stumpel? Alexei Morozov? Didn't Zigmund Palffy "retire" 5 years ago?
Scott Burnside (4:45 PM)
Jesse; Great question. Love that Palffy's coming back. He's playing in what would be a very good beer league back home in Slovakia. It will be fascinating to see what he's got left in the tank. Sometimes, though, these players emerge at the Olympics and have great tournaments. I think of Kenny Jonsson who was voted best defenseman four years ago and was playing for his home town in the Swedish third league (or something like that).
Bryan (Napa, ca)
What has happened to the Penguins? They've chased Brodeur from more games than any other team but they just can't seem to do that this season.
Scott Burnside (4:46 PM)
Bryan; The Devils sure do own the Pens this season. Not that that will mean anything come April. The Pens may be finally hitting the Cup hangover portion of the schedule. Still, come April the road to the Cup will wind through Pittsburgh.
Tyler Myers (Boston)
Should I be playing on Team Canada? I would bring some youth to this team..I think I will be playing on this team for the next 3 olympics. I could use the experience now.
Scott Burnside (4:46 PM)
Tyler; Patience grasshopper, patience.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
If the New York Islanders want to host a Winter Classic Hockey Game where will they Play the Winter Classic Hockey Game?
Scott Burnside (4:48 PM)
Chris; It's not going to happen. The Rangers may get a shot but it won't be against New Jersey or the Islanders as the NHL is fearful it would chase away television viewers - and it would. With all due respect this isn't an event to be shared equally around the league it's got to have the league's best and brightest in the coolest spots.
How long til I get to see another Winter Classic at Ralph Wilson Stadium?
Scott Burnside (4:50 PM)
Drew; Hope you took a picture as I doubt it will come back. I think the last two years have shown the Classic needs to be in a downtown setting. Better vibe, better optics with all due respect to Orchard Park.
Is it too soon for the Pens to play in another winter classic?
Scott Burnside (4:50 PM)
Collin; No I expect they will be back next year against Washington, maybe at PNC Park.
Bill (Pasadena, CA)
Hi Scott, What do the Kings need to get back to winning consistently? Are they still too young, and anyone else besides the Kovalchuk rumor that might be heading to L.A.? Thanks!
Scott Burnside (4:54 PM)
Bill; I think this is the point of the year where you start to see teams fade if they lack leadership and depth etc. etc. The Kings have to prove they have those qualities. I think they do but these are the hard days for young teams who think they're there. Ray Whitney might helpful and there is a history of deals getting done between the two teams. The Kings have to believe they can get it done with the guys in the room, though, and not be looking for a Selanne or Whitney or Kovalchuk to ride in and save them or they are truly cooked.
Tyler (Erie, PA)
will the wings look to make a move at the deadline or rely on players coming back from injuries to boost them??
Scott Burnside (4:55 PM)
Tyler; Wings don't have a lot of cap room and so I figure any moves will be cosmetic. Their moves will be in getting guys like Franzen, Kronwall and Holmstrom back.
John (Buffalo, NY)
Who are your two favorites to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals this year? Based on team play so far.
Scott Burnside (4:56 PM)
John; I picked Chicago and Pittsburgh to meet in the final at the start of the season and I'll stick with that even though the Pens are a bit off the rails. The Devils are tough and I think Philly is going to make some noise come playoff time. The 'Hawks are the real deal, though, and provided they don't get stung by Detroit early on I think it'll be tough to stop them en route to the final.
Rod Kern (Alaska)
With all the offensive talent in the world, why is Pittsburgh's powerplay among the worst in the league?
Scott Burnside (4:58 PM)
Rod; It's a question for the ages, no? Maybe too many cooks not enough dishwashers. Something like that.
Gennadiy (Ny )
There are talks that the rangers are looking to deal, who do u see them dealing for ?
Scott Burnside (5:00 PM)
Gennadiy; Well, I think they'd like to unload Rozsival or Redden but that's not going to happen unless GM Glen Sather is going to move some youth, too, which he should be unwilling to do. You hear Chris Higgins or Vinny Prospal who should be back from injury this week. But that supposes Sather is looking beyond the end of this season and he has not shown to a man of vision since coming to New York so I don't expect much of consequence to happen with the Rangers.
So are you saying that Philly has better chance to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals than Washington?
Scott Burnside (5:01 PM)
Matt; Didn't mean to enrage Caps fans. Like their chances just fine and am hoping for a Caps/Pens rematch somewhere along the line.
Jeffro (Olympic Village)
Scott, who do you see for gold, silver, and bronze in mens and womens hockey this year (and if the USA is not one of them, where do you see USA finishing)? Thanks!
Scott Burnside (5:02 PM)
Jeffro; Have to do a closer look at the lineups come mid-February but right now I like Canada/Russia/U.S. in the men's tournament and Canada/U.S./Sweden in the women's tournament.
Does Leighton's success mean Boucher is going to be an adirondack phantom?
Scott Burnside (5:03 PM)
Dan; I would think so. Hard to keep three tenders and Boucher's definitely the odd man out based on level of play. This assumes, of course, that Ray Emery can get back to form after the abodminal issue, something that is pretty tricky sometimes.
Scott Burnside (5:04 PM)
Okay folks. Thanks as always for dropping by. Let's do it again next Monday.