Thursday Night Hockey chat
Welcome to SportsNation! ESPN.com marks Thursday Night Hockey with an afternoon chat leading into the night's schedule of games.
Barry Melrose, Matthew Barnaby and Pierre LeBrun will all be stopping by to share their thoughts on the NHL season as well as Thursday's games. Melrose will start the chat at 3 p.m. ET, followed by Barnaby (4 p.m. ET) and LeBrun (4:30 p.m. ET).
Send your questions now and join the chat Thursday at 3 p.m. ET!
Barry Melrose (3:03 PM)
Tough loss for the Capitols in another fantastic game. The streak is broken.
Please tell me Detroit is not interested in Turco.
Barry Melrose (3:04 PM)
I don't think so. It they are pretty happy with Jimmy Howard. He might win Rookie of the Year. The rumor right now is that Turco will end up with the Flyers.
David (Mt. Pleasant, MI)
Do you believe in the curse of Marian Hossa? Detroit looked good going into the playoffs last year too.
Barry Melrose (3:06 PM)
I tell you, if Chicago gets to the finals and losses then I might believe in that curse. It will be three years (if he makes it this year) that he'll make it to the Finals and lose. I don't believe in it now but I might start looking into it if it happens.
Doug (Toledo, Ohio)
Hey Barry big fan, Lets say the Red Wings are in the play-offs can they get healthy enough to make a run?
Barry Melrose (3:08 PM)
Deficiently, there are a lot of teams in the West that are scared to see them get all their players back. There are a lot of teams that would like to see the Wings miss the playoffs.
Alex Ovechkin (Washington)
O Barry, I'm sure you watched my game last Sunday, am i the greatest player of the modern NHL? I mean after all I am 17-1 (as of Monday morning) since I got the "C"
Barry Melrose (3:08 PM)
Alex, I think you're in the running for the best playing in the world. it's between you and Crosby and right now your playing better than him.
The Coyotes have already equaled their point total from last year. Do you think they could potentially be a dangerous playoff team?
Barry Melrose (3:09 PM)
Very much. They are beating everybody and have had long winning streaks. Phoenix is a team that will scare everyone come playoff time.
Who do you see as the odd man out in Detroit if Andreas Lilja returns to the Wings line-up?
Barry Melrose (3:10 PM)
I don't think coaches worry about things like that until it happens.
Anthony Magrini (The Hill)
Barry you think the blues have another end of the season run to get them im in the playoffs like last year?
Barry Melrose (3:12 PM)
I don;t think so because their are so many other teams right there with Them. Minnesota, Detroit and Nashville are all in the same boat. I think the magic of the St. Louis Blues is almost over.
Turco is getting paid a good chunk of $$$. Who might they deal based on what you heard?
Barry Melrose (3:13 PM)
The team mentioned is the Flyers. I think that is a pretty good choice because their goalteanding hasn't been good and I think Turco could change that.
Bill (Pasadena, CA.)
Hey Barry, What, if any acquisitions do the Kings make from here till the deadline, and when does Williams come back? Thanks!
Barry Melrose (3:14 PM)
I'm thinking Williams will be back after the Olympics. LA with like more scoring and veteran defense, the same thing every other team wants. But if LA doesn't do anything, I think they are pretty happy with their team.
Are the Coyotes going to keep the playoff pace or are we going to see a second half meltdown like last season???
Barry Melrose (3:15 PM)
I think they are for real. They are playing a good style and their goaltending is very good. They will be one of the six teams standing come April.
I have heard rumors that the Senators are looking to trade Jonathan Cheechoo. Is there any truth to this, or are they just rumors?
Barry Melrose (3:17 PM)
I'm sure Ottawa would like to move him. He's a major disappointment offensively. I think they would move him in a heartbeat if that could.
John McCain (Arizona)
What can the Flyers take from their back-to-back wins vs NJ? Trailing both games 2-0 and winning have to give them confidence, eh?
Barry Melrose (3:18 PM)
They have to get on an extended streak. They have to start putting some wins on the board and start playing consistent. They look like the best team in the East for five games and then the worst team for five games. The really need to work of being good on a consistent basis.
Justin (Arlington, VA)
Please explain how Ovie's goal was reversed without the ref even looking at a replay nor giving an explanation. Thanks!
Barry Melrose (3:20 PM)
He gave an explanation. The goaltender has the right to make the save. Gill hitting Price took his opportunity to make the save and that's why the goal was taken away.
Do you think the lack of playoff experience (having so many contributing rookies and 1st year players) will hurt the Avs in the playoffs?
Barry Melrose (3:21 PM)
Number one, they have to make it first but they do have a lot of guys that have on Stanley Cups on that team so I don't think the lack of playoff experience will be a problem.
Who do you see winning the Northwest, and do you think it will make a difference, come playoff time?
Barry Melrose (3:22 PM)
I see Vancouver winning the Northwest.
Is Joe Sacco a lock for coach of the year and can Anderson carry us to win a series or two?
Barry Melrose (3:23 PM)
Joe is a candidate for Coach of the Year. He's done a great job in Colorado. It depends on who Colorado is playing weather or not they can win a series or two.
Woody (Columbus, Ohio)
How do you explain the CBJ going 3-0 and Mason posting a 0.33 GAA since the Hitchcock firing? Were they gripping the sticks that tightly under Hitch?
Barry Melrose (3:25 PM)
I think when Hitch got fired the pressure was on the players again. They didn't have Hitch to blame things on again. If Chris played the way he is playing now back then, Hitch wouldn't have been fired.
With the way that The Sabres have played of late, could Quick or Thomas see some ice time at the Olympics?
Barry Melrose (3:26 PM)
I would be surprised unless Miller falls on his face early. If Miller starts well then he will play every game.
Bill (Canmore, Alberta)
Do you see any team really challenging Canada in the Olympics?
Barry Melrose (3:27 PM)
Oh yes. Russia or Sweden. In a one game series, it's scary.
Anthony Magrini (The Hill)
What are you hearing about the blues on the trade market. Theres so many rumors out there its hard to figure which ones to be legit.
Barry Melrose (3:28 PM)
The Blues are a small market club so that won't spend a lot of money. They aren't a team that will shop younger guys for older guys in order to make that playoffs.
Barry Melrose (3:30 PM)
We have about three or four game left until the Olympic break. They should be some good games.
Buzzmaster (3:35 PM)
Matthew Barnaby will be by at 4 p.m. ET to take your questions!
Matthew Barnaby (4:01 PM)
Last couple of days before the Olympic break, some teams, I'm sure, it can't come soon enough and for some others that are playing great, would love to keep playing.
Matthew, when you were playing did you ever experienced what the Pens had to go through to get to Washington on Sunday and how does that affect play? Especially late in games
Matthew Barnaby (4:03 PM)
In the NHL, the travel is tough already and when you add in delays, it makes it even tougher. Everyone goes through it and you have to battle. Getting in late, battling through snow is all part of the job. Basketball players would be the ones complaining, not hockey.
Matthew Barnaby (4:03 PM)
Thank goodness basketball analysts are no where close.
Eric (Boulder, CO)
What chances do you give the Red Wings in making the playoffs? In their last few games, they have looked pretty lack-luster, slow, and uninspired.
Matthew Barnaby (4:04 PM)
I would bet my life on it that they'll make the playoffs. This is a team that's been hurt all year long and is still in position to make it. After the Olympics, they should be very healthy and poised to make a run to the playoffs. Guarantee no one wants to face them in the first round.
Charles Dolan (MSG)
What is wrong with my Rangers team?
Matthew Barnaby (4:05 PM)
This is a team that relies on two players. Henrik Lundqvist and Marion Gaborik. Lundqvist has to be spectacular on most nights because the only one that seems to put the puck in the net is Gaborik. Hopefully for them the addition of Ollie Jokinen will give them more scoring, but this is not a great team by no stretch of the imagination.
Tom (Southport Corridor)
Matthew, if you are a defenseman in the Olympics, is there a scarier line combo than Ovechkin-Datsyuk-Malkin?
Matthew Barnaby (4:07 PM)
No. When you look at the Russian team they are going to scare a lot of defensemen. They are so talented offensively and we didn't even mention Kovalchuk in those top three. If there is a weakness on that team, it will be their defense, but they can score with the best of them.
Robert (Bonnyville, Alberta)
What does the Oil need to do to have a serious shot at the playoffs next year? We seem to be getting worse and worse.
Matthew Barnaby (4:09 PM)
This team needs an overhaul. Not a very big team, but when you look at their top paid players, I don't think that they are slotted right. I think when you look at Horcoff at over $6 million, Hemsky over $6 million, those are big tickets that you will be unable to unload. A big problem with this team has been drafting and successful teams are very good at it. Coaching I think will be changed as someone has to pay the price and I think Pat Quinn's best days are behind him.
Hey Matthew, I was looking at the schedule after the Olympics. How are teams going to survive the onslaught of playing all thise games? Sometimes 3 in 4 days or 4 in 5 days. It is more like a playoff schedule!
Matthew Barnaby (4:10 PM)
This is one year where you're going to have to be very lucky to win the Stanley Cup. You always need the breaks but especially now with the condensed schedule you have to get lucky that your star players don't get hurt. I never got hurt sitting on those beaches during the Olympic breaks sipping Pina Coladas.
What defines a large sports market, compared to a small sports market?
Matthew Barnaby (4:11 PM)
I think it's purely based on population. You look at Chicago with 8 million people compared to Buffalo or an Ottawa with 1 million. It's a lot easier to sell tickets, sponsorship and TV revenue.
Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)
Matthew, what was the worst weather related travel disaster you had during your playing days in the minors or the NHL? Anything like the Penguins over the weekend having to fly from Montreal to Newark, then take a bus overnight to Washington and having to stop at Burger King on the Jersey Turnpike for their meal since it was the only thing open?
Matthew Barnaby (4:12 PM)
My toughest was playing for Rochester in the minors, traveling back from Hershey to Rochester, middle of a snowstorm, bus breaking down, getting back sleeping an hour, eating McD's and jumping on the ice. Do not miss those days, but great memories.
Scott Burns (Los Gatos, CA)
MB-What are the chances of the Oil unloading high salaries/underperforming players? How long do you expect it to take the team to rebuild?
Matthew Barnaby (4:13 PM)
I think it will be really tough. When you unload your big salaries, people are going to want to give you what they consider their junk, big salaries back. It's tough, you really have to figure out what guys are going to make the big money long term and you really can not make mistakes. It sets you back so long and I think we'll see that with the Oil.
Imre (Missoula, MT)
What's up with the Hawks power-play? Lots of talent and not a lot of results...thoughts?
Matthew Barnaby (4:15 PM)
This is a very talented group. Roughly at 20%, which isn't bad, but this group should be better. I love the way they move it around and I think it will get better. If they can get this up to 25%, which is just a goal here and there, watchout NHL.
Are you ready to reverse your opinion on Phoenix yet?
Matthew Barnaby (4:17 PM)
I am ready to eat crow. This team, with the system that Dave Tippet has put in place and the unbelievable goaltending they are getting from Bryzgalov, this team believes in itself. I did not think that they would be able to sustain it, but you can't always be right. They deserve all of the accolades that they get.
Mike (San Diego)
I think Cheechoo has been a disappointment because he was playing on a line with one of the league's best passers in San Jose. Was Cam Neely or Brett Hull the same without Adam Oates? No. Cheechoo was great because of Big Joe.
Matthew Barnaby (4:19 PM)
Obviously, playing with a guy like Thornton makes everyone a better player. Remember what Mario Lemieux did for Rob Brown. Not only did he get to score 50, but he got to date Alyssa Milano. The problem with Cheechoo is he is not a great skater. Good shot, has been snakebitten, has worked very hard, but has lost power play time which is where he scored most of his goals.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Which NHL Team does the United States Men's Goaltender plays for in the 2010 Winter Olympics at Vancouver,BC(Canada)?
Matthew Barnaby (4:19 PM)
Matthew Barnaby (4:20 PM)
You just wasted a minute of my life. I read that question 9 times.
Dave (Washington D.C)
How bout the Caps! Do you think the Caps can win the cup, and what do they need to lock it down?
Matthew Barnaby (4:21 PM)
They definitely make every game very exciting, but re: Montreal, this team can score with the best of them, but has got to play better defense and will need great goaltending because of the chances they take offensively. Having said that, if anyone gets in a punch for punch attack with them, good luck.
Matthew Barnaby (4:21 PM)
I don't think they're good enough to win the Cup yet, as I think San Jose or Chicago is the best.
Who do you like for gold, silver, and bronze?
Matthew Barnaby (4:22 PM)
Canada, gold. Russia, silver. Sweden, bronze.
Why was last night's "non-goal" on Alex Ovechkin not reviewed by the video judge? I read in the rule book that for a goal to be overturned has to be sent up to the video judge.
Matthew Barnaby (4:23 PM)
I really don't know why and I am the only one that thinks this should have been a goal. I get the fact that you can't hit a defender into the goaltender, but when you're playing the puck and making a clean play, to me that should result in a goal. I thought it was a bad call, but I'm the only one. Only Ovie could do this.
B-Diddy (Munstoeville, WYO)
Maybe this is just the homer in me (and I don't really want to see it happen due to fatigue) but why haven't I heard Duchene's name mentioned as an alternate for Getslaf for team Canada? You could do a lot worse at center... and perhaps they will.
Matthew Barnaby (4:24 PM)
He has had a great rookie year and will have a tremendous career. He's a rookie and at that stage, I think you have to go with a more veteran type player.
I heard the Dman the Thrashers got for Lehtonen is a top prospect? How's that possible? Kari stinks and is always hurt.
Matthew Barnaby (4:25 PM)
Lehtonen has been hurt a lot, but a lot of people that I respect like the way he plays goal. I think he's a big guy that has played very well at times and if he's on a better defensive team, I think could be very strong.
Do you think the addition of Kovalchuk is good for the Devils?
Matthew Barnaby (4:27 PM)
I think it's a great trade. He is off to a slow start, but sometimes when you get traded for the first time, you grip that stick a little tighter, trying to prove everyone what you can add to the team. He has over 23 shots in 4 games and will score. This is desperately what the Devils needed and when Parise is back in the lineup, along with Elias, will have a very strong power play.
Matthew Barnaby (4:28 PM)
Enjoy the games tonight. And enjoy the Olympics. No matter who wins, it promises to be some exciting hockey with the best players in the world fighting it out for their country. We will be analyzing games throughout the tournament. Tune in and don't get blinded by Barry's suits.
Buzzmaster (4:41 PM)
Pierre is running a little late but will be here shortly to answer your NHL questions.
Buzzmaster (4:52 PM)
Hey everyone...Pierre's traveling out to Vancouver for the Olympics. Looks like he got delayed. We'll try to catch up with him at a later date.