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 (3:57 PM)
Greetings hockey fans. So, where were we?
Bill Miller (Boston)
I know that everyone says that the Bruins need to get a top six forward and i agree, but i think with some of the injuries to Mark Stuart and Boychuck i think that they should try and get a defensemen. I like Widemen but he tries to make long up ice passes to much resulting in turnovers. Which defensemen is out there for them?
Scott Burnside (3:59 PM)
Bill; A few questions about the Bruins' woes early on today and I think your point is a good one. Assuming the forward group can stay healthy and that means guys like Milan Lucic and Marc Savard getting back into a groove not just being in the line-up, the blue line is now vulnerable with the aforementioned injuries. Best defenseman available is likely Dan Hamhuis assuming the Predators don't think they can re-sign him. Marek Zidlicky and Kim Johnsson could be available if the Wild fall off the pace. Tomas Kaberle - almost a Bruin at the draft - is also out there.
Steven (Sunny SD)
What do you think about the Wallen trade and what does he add to the Sharks?
Scott Burnside (4:00 PM)
Steven; I think Niclas Wallin is one of those great under the radar pick-ups that people might go, 'oh man, what a great deal' about the middle of May. Wallin has better than average offensive skills, he knows all about playoff pressure and he's a good guy, an easy guy to fit into the Sharks' dressing room.
James (Washington, DC)
Is this the year offense wins championships, and would it be unique to this season or a post-lockout shift to building more explosive offensive teams?
Scott Burnside (4:01 PM)
James; It's easy to look at the Caps and say, the heck with who's in net, it won't matter. And it might not in the first round but I still think they're going to have to find ways to win 3-2 games if they want to get to a conference final and beyond. Not saying they can't but I don't think they can count on coming back from 4-1 deficits on a regular basis beyond the first round. Just not going to happen.
If Crosby was Russian or Ovechkin was Canadian would there even be a debate who's the better player? I don't think its fair to say Crosby has a Cup, he's better...The Penguins rebuild was assembled at a much faster pace. Look at the season Ovechkin is having, Dominating every single statistical category and missed 8 games, and the team is 17-1 since he's been named Captain. Can the debate finallly end?
Scott Burnside (4:06 PM)
Mike; If you're suggesting that there's a debate over who's better because of some latent bias against Russians or Europeans I think you're misguided. Last I checked Ovechkin had two Hart Trophies to his credit - voted on by the NHL's writers. And I think it is valid to note the Stanley Cup - it is after all what they play for and the fact Crosby and his team bested Ovechkin and his team mano a mano is significant - at least until the two teams meet again or the Caps' enjoy a longer playoff run than Crosby and the Pens. It wasn't long ago people were debating Henrik Sedin and Ovechkin as possible Hart candidates. Last I checked Sedin was a Swede.
Brad (Nashville Tn)
Will Lidstrom return next year? And if he does, what kind of cap hit are the Wing's looking at? Assuming they do have some extra cap space, do you see the Wings being active in free agency to acquire any key additions?
Scott Burnside (4:08 PM)
Brad; Great question and I'm not sure even Ken Holland can answer that. I think a lot depends on how the Wings finish; in or out of the playoffs and then whether it looks like they could realistically bounce back into contention next year or not. I think they can regardless of how things shake out this year and I would think Lidstrom will give it one more shot. As for contract no one plays for free but Lidstrom gets how important it is to have good players around him and would, I imagine, take less than market to stay as have many Wings players over the years.
Was it good or bad that yesterdays Caps-Pens game was on Superbowl Sunday? Up to the Superbowl it was a great story but as always, once football rolls around everything takes a back seat even with that "super" game by the two teams. The likely hood of casual fans watching the game had to be an all time high due to nothing else being on before the Superbowl other then pregame shows left and right. Hopefully when the ratings are released they will tell us what really happened. Hopefully alot of new fans were created yesterday and we can all hope that the next two meetings will be just as good. Do you think if this game happened on any other day it would have been better for hockey or on Superbowl Sunday.
Scott Burnside (4:09 PM)
Dan; I remember when the NHL first started scheduling games that led up to the Super Bowl and I like the idea. People are at home watching television anyway so I don't think it's an issue of games 'getting lost'.
Will the LA Kings make any moves since they are on a 9 game winning streak or will they keep everything the same?
Scott Burnside (4:12 PM)
Carlo; I don't think GM Dean Lombardi will be resting on his laurels even though the Kings are on fire and own fourth place in the west right now. He's already made a pitch for Ray Whitney and I think will continue to go after the Carolina forward. If not look for him to try one of the other wingers that might be available. He could also use a veteran blue-liner - Kaberle anyone? - to give the team better defensive depth.
Do you see the Flyers making a high-profile move to try improving the team in time for the playoffs?
Scott Burnside (4:13 PM)
Chris; The Flyers were interested in Ilya Kovalchuk but didn't want to pay the freight (Claude Giroux or James vanRiemsdyk) but look for Paul Holmgren to try and add another offensive piece especially with his offense currently in the tank. I'm sure he'll kick the tires on Whitney and may look at Alexei Ponikarovsky from Toronto.
Do you think the Blackhawks can go all the way if they stand pat and go with what they have or do you think they will make a trade? And if so, who are they looking at?
Scott Burnside (4:16 PM)
Jay; I think they are a fine team as they are but sometimes adding a piece whether it's a depth defenseman (that is one of the rumors percolating around the Hawks) or some offensive insurance up front, it sends the message to the room that management believes the team can make a long run. The persistent theory is that because the Blackhawks will have to shed salary before next season that they'll move a Cam Barker or Kris Versteeg to grab a rental because they'd lose some of those assets anyway. I think the bigger question is the goaltending and whether the rumors are true that GM Stan Bowman is looking at an upgrade over Cristobal Huet. That would mean burying a monster contract in the minors which most clubs are reluctant to do.
SCOTT! What is wrong with my Sabres? Is this just a slump or do we need a trade deadline addition to help get us back on our feet?
Scott Burnside (4:19 PM)
Joe; I know it's a cliche but every team goes a little sideways over the course of 82 games, the good ones just go for a week or so. I assume the Sabres will get their mojo back but it does raise an issue that has persisted since top leaders like Daniel Briere, Chris Drury, Brian Campbell, Jay McKee, Jaroslav Spacek and others have departed Buffalo. Is there enough leadership among that young group to right the ship and keep hold of the Northeast Division lead and not slide back into the back and end up facing a New Jersey, Washington or Pittsburgh in the first round?
Jason (New York)
Thoughts on the Rangers? One game they lose 6-5 and play horribly defensively. Next game, beat the Devils 3-1 and Lundqvist plays excellent. What gives with this team?
Scott Burnside (4:21 PM)
Jason; Great question and I think the Rangers continue to lack for identity. In the win over New Jersey it was vintage Rangers from the last couple of years with Lundqvist standing on his head and Avery disrupting the Devils. Too little of that this year by far. Can they do it often enough to get into the post-season? Honestly don't have a sense of it given how mediocre the bottome part of the Eastern Conference standings are.
Many people are looking forward to a Russia vs. Canada gold medal match, but is there a chance they play each other in the qualifying portion of the schedule? When will the schedule and brackets be released?
Scott Burnside (4:22 PM)
Philip; The preliminary round schedule is already out; if you go to IIHF.com you'll find it. And yes, the two countries could meet before a gold medal game pending their record in the preliminary round and how the cross-over games work - I will admit trying to figure out who will play who after the first round is virtually impossible at this point. But it could happen as it did in Italy when the Russians ousted the Canadians in the quarterfinals.
Josh (aventura fl)
is it safe to say Chris Osgood is finally done in Detroit? seems like he has used up his nine lives
Scott Burnside (4:23 PM)
Josh; Never say never. Remember Jimmy Howard has never played in an NHL playoff game. And remember two years ago Dominik Hasek started the playoffs and then was replaced by Osgood against Nashville and never looked back.
With the addition of Kovy to the lineup. the Devils Offensive funk has to end soon right?
Scott Burnside (4:25 PM)
Ken; One would think so but as you know it's not just a matter of plugging a player in like a math equation. The Devils did give up two everyday players in Bergfors and Oduya and Kovalchuk has to adjust to a much more stringent system than he was used to in Atlanta. It will take time - remember how long it took Marian Hossa to adjust in Pittsburgh two years ago? But there is no way they won't be better, more dangerous offensively. Will it be enough to get out of the second round for the first time since 2003? That's another question altogether.
Lawrence (Des Moines)
Giguere - two starts two shutouts for Toronto. What gives? I get that changes of scenery and fresh starts can have a positive impact, but this takes those things to a new level. If he keeps up this pace, what happens next year with The Monster?
Scott Burnside (4:27 PM)
Lawrence; Weird, eh? And the Leafs would be riding a three-game winning streak if Gustavsson didn't spit the bit in the final two minutes against New Jersey on Friday. The jury still out on The Monster but one would think the young Swede and Giguere would make a nice tandem as Gustavsson learns the ropes and Giguere tries to play himself into another contract at the end of next season.
Tim Thomas name is on the block. What teams would be interested in him and what is a realistic return the Bruins could get for him?
Scott Burnside (4:28 PM)
Jon; I know his name is out there but I just don't see it both because of his age and contract and the fact the Bruins still need to see more of Tuukka Rask before they ship out a Vezina Trophy winner.
John F. (California)
Who is your sleeper pick out of the western conference/eastern conference, for the cup?
Scott Burnside (4:31 PM)
John F. I don't know about actually winning the Cup but I still think Detroit can throw a scare into anyone including Chicago and/or San Jose. Likewise Anaheim has a lot of playoff experience and are hard to handle if they can sneak into the post-season. In the east no one below fifth should win a game let alone a series but that's not how it plays out is it? So what about Tampa? Good to sometimes great goaltending and a core of guys that have won it (St. Louis, Lecavalier) or been close (Malone) so they could surprise.
What do you think of Franzen's return? With the break coming up wouldn't it have been a better idea to just wait until the end of it?
Scott Burnside (4:33 PM)
Kurt; I think it's a bit shocking and one wonders how much of this is Olympic-motivated. I know he wasn't on the 23-man roster but maybe he's hoping to put himself in a position to be named if someone else goes down (Holmstrom, for instance was hurt in Saturday's game against L.A.). Not saying he's not ready but he is well ahead of schedule. Will bear close watching starting tomorrow.
Gerard (Pittsburgh )
Who are the guys the Penguins are Interested in at the deadline?
Scott Burnside (4:35 PM)
Gerard; I think GM Ray Shero will be beating the bushes for this year's Bill Guerin/Chris Kunitz/Marian Hossa. Never in on Kovalchuk but will take a run at Whitney who looks like a nice fit. Maybe Ponikarovsky who will presumably require fewer assets. Personally I still love the idea of Paul Kariya there but he's got a big ticket and the Blues are still on the bubble in the west.
Realizing the Capitals have won 14 in a row, do you think they will make any additions at the deadline especially defensively?
Scott Burnside (4:37 PM)
Mike; I think George McPhee will look at providing some defensive depth. But he sure won't disrupt his line-up and he generally hates giving up assets at this time of the year as he feels it's not a good value situation and he's probably right. Still I will be surprised if McPhee doesn't do something even if it's just tinkering. Personally, I'd take a run at Dan Hamhuis if he's available. That might just tip the balance all the way to the Caps in the east.
Mike (New York)
Whats the word on Bob Gainey resigning and how do u think that is going to effect the Canadiens at the trade deadline? Does this mean Price is a goner?
Scott Burnside (4:39 PM)
Mike; Interesting developments in Montreal as you know with Gainey stepping down as GM and Pierre Gauthier taking over. Gauthier is a good hockey man and I doubt you'll see anything rash and frankly I don't think there's any real hurry for the Habs to deal with the goaltending issue. Halak is playing better right now, keep him and see what happens. If he bolts he bolts. It's not like Kovalchuk or Jay Bouwmeester walking away after years of proving they are elite players.
Will there be round 3 this postseason of Pittsburgh-Philadelphia? If so who wins this time?
Scott Burnside (4:41 PM)
Ken; Greetings from Istanbul. I thought the Pens/Flyers would lock into a 4/5 clash like last year until both New Jersey and the Flyers faltered, now I'm not sure. Would seem inevitable on some level, though, and following that pattern of inevitability the Flyers will lose in the most gruesome way possible. I say blowing a 3-0 lead at home in the deciding game. Oh. That was last year.
Baron (large, PA)
You mentioned Wallin being a good guy, who are a few of the players who are not nice guys? Thanks
Scott Burnside (4:42 PM)
Baron; I'm not going there.
Rumor has it Colorado is shopping Svatos? Given him numbers, could they even get more than a draft pick or a prospect for him? Also, what kind of additions do you think would help the baby Avs as they had down the stretch?
Scott Burnside (4:44 PM)
Jason; Yes I think Greg Sherman is shopping Svatos and you're right his return would be nominal although he did once upon a time score 32 goals in the post-lockout NHL. As for adding bodies I doubt the Avs will do much to disrupt what they have given how young they are and how they are building for the future and not just this spring. Pending their health up front I would say adding a veteran scorer if they could. A guy like Ethan Moreau who is being shopped by Edmonton might be a nice add which wouldn't cost much.
Turco has played really well of late. It is a foregone conclusion that he'll have a new address in March, or might the Stars keep him around if he continues to stand on his head?
Scott Burnside (4:49 PM)
Bart; I think it's a fait accompli that Turco will be gone by next season but if he rolls out a few more wins before March 3 the Stars may decide to keep him and let him walk. His contract (he is making $5.4 million this year) plus a handful of other goalies on the market who are cheaper will make it hard to move him by March 3 regardless of how well he's playing.
whats your take on the devils now? (Post trade)
Scott Burnside (4:50 PM)
James; Obviously the Devils are a good team and Kovalchuk makes them more explosive. But he's only played in four playoff games in his career and that has to be a bit of a concern. Plus there is the blue line which is missing Oduya and will get a Paul Martin back who will essentially have missed the entire season - assuming he's back before the playoffs. And the reality is Martin Brodeur hasn't a strong playoff since 2003. So, I don't think a trip to the conference final or beyond is a given at all.
Cornelius (miami, fl)
can anyone win the east besides washington or pittsburgh
Scott Burnside (4:54 PM)
Cornelius; This goes to my previous comment on the Devils but I find it hard to imagine although the issue could be that the Pens and Caps end up meeting in the second round again unless the Pens can win the Atlantic.
Rachel (Irvine, CA)
How far do you see this young Kings team going in the playoffs this year?
Scott Burnside (4:56 PM)
Rachel; The Kings are in a great position to have home-ice advantage in the first round which would be nice (first time since '92) and assuming they get some depth players by the deadline I think they have a pretty good shot at winning at least a round. How will Jonathan Quick and the rest respond to their first taste of playoff life? Remember how the Pens were humbled by Ottawa in '07 and it could be the same kind of learning process for the Kings if not in the first round then the second if they face a Chicago or San Jose.
Russell (New York)
Another Rangers question, Scott. With the Jokinen trade, we basically saw a wash out as far as what was swapped. Do you think Sather is done, or does he have something else up his sleeve?
Scott Burnside (4:58 PM)
Russell; Do you mean is Sather done as in employment wise? Or making another move? Unless he is prepared to bury either Wade Redden and/or Michal Rozsival in the minors - not going to happen - he is done. No room to move cap-wise. As for employment the shocking thing won't be what happens in the off-season it's that he's been allowed to continue making a hash of the Rangers line-up for as long as he has.
For teams playing well right now, (Ottawa, Washington, LA) is this olympic break a blessing or curse? A chance to reload before the final push or an untimely break in momentum? Or does it not really matter at all?
Scott Burnside (5:00 PM)
Brian; Great question. I know teams that are playing well like the ones you mentioned and others like Phoenix would just as soon keep on going especially when you've struggled to sell tickets all year. It does take a certain amount of discipline to stop in the middle of the race for two weeks and then ramp right up for the final six weeks. This will tell the tale of coaching and leadership when the break ends on March 1.
big m (st. louis)
do u honestly think the blues have a chance at makin the playoffs and if so what type of chance do those young-stars have, and thanks.
Scott Burnside (5:02 PM)
big m; Well, it's not a great chance but the thing going for them is that they have all been through it last year, that must-win mentality for the last two/three months of the season. Are the young kids mature enough to replicate it? Do the veterans like Brad Boyes and Paul Kariya who have struggled all year snap out of it? Honestly I don't like their chances of doing it two years in a row.
Jason S. (Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania)
What do you think of the Coyotes and do you think they could keep their good style of hockey up?
Scott Burnside (5:04 PM)
Jason; I spent some time in Phoenix recently and it's hard to describe what a job Dave Tippett and his staff have done there. On paper they shouldn't be anywhere close to where they are in the standings but that team believes and they are hard to play against. Right now they'd play the Kings in the first round and I think it'd be a pretty darned close match. Not bad for a team that was left for dead in September.
Scott Burnside (5:05 PM)
Okay folks. Many thanks. Next time we chat I will be at the Olympics. And join us Thursday for our weekly 'game of the week' festival.And for all you Caps fans who complained that Ovechkin's picture on the site shows him wearing an 'A' and not a 'C' it should be corrected asap.Cheers