Chat with Barry Melrose
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN NHL analyst Barry Melrose will drop by to take your questions about the NHL season.
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 Thursday at 3:30 p.m. ET!
Barry Melrose (3:31 PM)
I hope everyone out there will be watching the start of the Bruins-Pens game. It will be pretty exciting.
Barry Seabrook got his clock cleaned. He had no idea what was going on when he got hit. Except for the hands being high it looked like a really hard hit that Seabrook didn't have time to brace for. Clean or not?
Barry Melrose (3:33 PM)
It was probably interference. It might have been a retaliation hit for a hit that Seabrook had early in the game. The puck wasn't near him so I think it should have been an interference call.
Barry, do you think the Coyotes can catch the Sharks in the Pacific?
Barry Melrose (3:34 PM)
I don't think they can catch the Sharks. Phoenix has been awesome and they are an unbelievable story. The Sharks are very strong and I don't see the Coyotes catching them.
Finnerty (New York, NY)
Barry...Do the rangers make the playoffs...yes or no?
Barry Melrose (3:35 PM)
I would say no. They have to pick up three points on Boston and that's two extra wins. Boston is playing well right now and if the Rangers don't beat Boston on Sunday then they are defiantly out. Right now their chances are slim.
Coach Q (Chicago)
Is it time for me to turn my players loose and send a message to the rest of the league if the NHL doesn't?
Barry Melrose (3:37 PM)
The best protection is when players take care of problems on the ice themselves. You are exactly right, if people are taking hits at your star players, as a coach you have to make sure that doesn't happen.
Zach (New Jersey)
If the Devils and Pens were to meet in the playoffs who would win as of right now?
Barry Melrose (3:38 PM)
As of right now you will have to say the Devils. New Jersey beat them six times this season and the Pens can't score on them. The Devils have everyone healthy and they are a very scary team.
How important is getting Paul Martin back for the stretch run into the playoffs for the Devils? He scored a goal in his first game back last night.
Barry Melrose (3:39 PM)
Very important, you saw what he does for the team last night. The Devils got their best defenseman back and you see how much better they are with him then without him.
Barry Thanks for your time! What do the Blues do with there Goaltending next year Mason has been shaky and is gonna be a FA! DO you go to the Future with a guy like Bishop or find a big name vet on the FA market!
Barry Melrose (3:41 PM)
I think Mason has played very well for the Blues and last year he was spectacular. Marty Turco from Dallas is available. Bishop hasn't played a lot but he is a talent. I think the Blues have their eyes set on Mason but if he continues to struggle I see them going after Turco.
Jim Thompson (Chicago)
Hi Barry,If you where the Penguins coach would you keep Cooke out of the line up. Pens need a win this game and I just believe it would be one less problem to worry about.
Barry Melrose (3:42 PM)
I don't think keeping him out of the lineup will be enough. I think they might look at giving Crosby a rest. It will be a crazy start to that game tonight.
Joe (Detroit) [via mobile]
How far do you think the Red Wings will go in the playoffs?
Barry Melrose (3:43 PM)
I think they are scary. I see them finishing in the sixth spot and they can beat anybody. They know how to win so be aware of the mighty Wings.
i think the Coytes have a slight chance at winning the cup do you?
Barry Melrose (3:44 PM)
If you make the playoffs, you have a chance of winning the cup. They might have to beat the Blues and the Wings and that's a tall order for any team. I think they have a chance just not a good chance.
Who would you give the edge to in goaltending in the Western conference if the playoffs started today (SJ, Chi, Van, Phx, Col, LA, Nash, Det)?
Barry Melrose (3:45 PM)
That's a good question.
Barry Melrose (3:46 PM)
I would say Bryzgalov from Phoenix. He's been playing better than anybody else in the West this season.
steve (fall river mass)
why not a suspension if the league is trying to rush this type of hit as a suspension ? Doesnt make sense at all
Barry Melrose (3:47 PM)
Well because in today's rules, that wasn't a penalty. Right now a hit to the head isn't a penalty.
What do you think about no touch icing in the NHL?
Barry Melrose (3:48 PM)
I don't like no touch icing. I know there have been players hurt in no touching ice but I like the rule the way it is in the NHL and I don't want to see it changed.
Who will win the Atlantic?
Barry Melrose (3:49 PM)
I would say New Jersey with the way they are playing with everybody back.
Jason (Portland, OR)
Barry, who do you think will be the odd team out in the West: Detroit, Calgary, or someone else higher up in the Top 8?
Barry Melrose (3:50 PM)
Big one for Calgary last night. I will say Nashville. Calgary in and Nashville out.
who do you think will end up taking the 8th spot in the east playoff race?
Barry Melrose (3:51 PM)
I think the Bruins will hold on to the 8th spot. They are playing well right now and if they beat the Rangers on Sunday, it will be the nail in their coffin.
Jaromir Jagr (KHL)
Am I going to play in North America next season? Where might I be a good fit?
Barry Melrose (3:52 PM)
A good fit would be a good team like Pittsburgh. I would think you would go to a team that has a chance of winning the Stanley Cup. It would be interesting to see him back with the Rangers but a good fit for him would be Pittsburgh.
Jason (Portland, OR)
Barry, where do you see the Avs finishing? And regardless of how the playoffs go for them, do you see them being pretty active this summer given their cap space and the strong showing this season?
Barry Melrose (3:53 PM)
If they get in, they will finish 8th. They are struggling right now so if they get in, they will finish 8th.
Ryan (Rochester, NY)
If Lidstrom retires do the wings sign Kovy?
Barry Melrose (3:55 PM)
If Lidstrom retires, which I don't think he will, the Wings will spend the money for another defenseman.
Barry who would be your pick to win the west?
Barry Melrose (3:55 PM)
Chicago. I've liked them all year long and I think they are the best team in the West.
Leighton gone 8-10 weeks. Seriously, are he Flyers cursed when it comes to goalie situations and how much does this affect their season going forward?
Barry Melrose (3:57 PM)
I think they will make the playoffs because they have a points lead. It seems like every year we are talking about Philly goaltending and not in a good way. If they don't get it together, it will be an early exit from the playoffs for Philly.
why did ovie get a two game suspension but cooke got nothing.
Barry Melrose (3:58 PM)
Because the Cooke hit wasn't illegal. They are talking about changing the rule before the playoffs and that's fine but as of now that was a legal hit.
Tyler Myers (Tampa Bay)
Who is my biggest competition for Rookie of the year Melrose
Barry Melrose (4:00 PM)
I would say Jimmy Howard form Detroit. He's played in tough circumstances and has played well. Right now, Howard and Myers and my two top choices.
Barry Melrose (4:01 PM)
Sit back and enjoy, it should be a great final great 10-12 games left in the regular season. Playoff sports are not secure so this should be a fun ride to the end.