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)
Hope everybody enjoyed the Washington-Pittsburgh game last night.
Who will be the 8 seed in the west?
Barry Melrose (3:32 PM)
I think Colorado will be the 8th seed. I think both Colorado and Nashville will both get in but Colorado will finish in the eight spot.
Great matchup tonight between a NJ team looking to clinch the playoffs and the rangers who are fighting to survive. Who do you got pulling out the win and whats your over/under for brawls tonight?
Barry Melrose (3:33 PM)
I don't think there will be any brawls. The Rangers aren't a team that brawls very much. I think the Devils would love to beat the Rangers and knock them out of the playoffs. I don't think the Rangers are playing well enough right now to bear the Devils.
Nick (Arcata, CA)
Barry!! How awesome would it be if the Red Wings and the Sharks faced off in the first round of the playoffs??!!
Barry Melrose (3:34 PM)
Not very awesome for the Sharks, it would be a nightmare for them or any other team in the West. The all will be very happy to stay away from the Red Wings.
Jason (Madison, WI)
Barry, every year it seems that a lower seeded team makes a run in the NCAA Hockey Tournament. Who is favorite sleeper in this year's field?
Barry Melrose (3:35 PM)
I think Cornell, although I'm not sure if they are a sleeper or not. IF there is a team that can beat the Miami's and BC's, it would be Cornell.
How far can the Blackhawks really go? Sure, they're a talented bunch, but their coach has never taken any team beyond the second round in the playoffs and their goal-tending looks a little shaky.
Barry Melrose (3:37 PM)
I think the Blackhawks are the best team in the West. IF they don't come out of the West, it would be a very disappointing season for them. Their goaltending is a bit shaky but I still like them to win the West.
Mike Higgs (DC)
Barry! Tell me Caps are BEST and how great we are.
Barry Melrose (3:38 PM)
The Caps are playing great right now. They've beat Pittsburgh every time they've played them. Right now you would have to think they are the favorite to come out of the East with the way they are playing right now.
Justin A. (Allen Park, MI)
If the playoffs started today, which team has the best and worst goalie situation? How does Jimmy Howard fit in the mix also?
Barry Melrose (3:39 PM)
Jimmy has had a great year. He'll be one of the guys in the final for Rookie of the Year.
Tim [via mobile]
Barry, what team would the Coyotes match up best with in the first round?
Barry Melrose (3:40 PM)
I think everybody except Detroit. No one wants to play Detroit in the first round. Nashville is very young, Colorado has question marks, I think Phoenix matches up well with a lot of teams in the West except Detroit.
Matthew (Alexandria, VA)
How important is team speed come playoff time? I am a Caps fan, and have been loving the last few seasons, but even with all that talent, they still seem slower than some other teams, specifically the Penguins.
Barry Melrose (3:41 PM)
I don't think they are slower than other teams. They have big guys that might look slower than the smaller guys on other teams. I'm not worried about Washington being slow.
Is it as clear to you as it is to many of us that Niemi will be our goaltender throughout the playoffs? Do you think the Hawks inconsistencies of late are due to a "let's just get to the playoffs" mentality, or do you think it's a legitimate concern?
Barry Melrose (3:43 PM)
I think one of the Hawks said it best "All of the teams are in playoff mode". Meaning a bunch of teams are fighting to get in or fighting to stay in. I think Chicago needs to pick it up and get the fight that other teams have.
Brandon, NYNY [via mobile]
Why do the wild suck so bad? Minnesota needs a team?
Barry Melrose (3:44 PM)
Well the Wild have lost a lot of players. They aren't spending the way other teams are. There goaltending has been ok but they just aren't as other teams in the West.
Barry, who finishes first in the Pacific and does that seed end up as 1, 2, or 3?
Barry Melrose (3:45 PM)
I think San Jose and they will be a two.
Will the Buffalo Sabres re-sign hometown kid Tim Kennedy this summer? and if so, for how much?
Barry Melrose (3:46 PM)
I think Kennedy has been good and a pleasant surprise. I think the Sabers will sign him for as cheap as possible.
Who poses the biggest problem in the East for the Caps?
Barry Melrose (3:47 PM)
Pittsburgh. I like Jersey a lot but with the Pens having their players back, they are the biggest problem for the Caps in the East.
Barry, how do you like Vermonts chance in the NCAA tourney this year? They beat a very good UNH team in a best of three series in their conference tournament and have frozen four experience from last year.
Barry Melrose (3:48 PM)
I think if Vermont wins it would be a pretty big upset. They are a good team but they aren't as good many teams in the field.
nathan (cleveland )
how close is columbus to becomg a winning team and what do they need to add to get there
Barry Melrose (3:50 PM)
I'm afraid Columbus has gone backwards. Their drafts haven't turned out they way they wanted and their goaltending has been good. They need a top big in the draft in order to move forward instead of backwards.
Where will Detroit finish and will they knock off a 1, 2 or 3 seed in the west?
Barry Melrose (3:51 PM)
I think they will finish 5th or 6th. They are playing better than any other team in the West and they have playoff experience. With the way that they are playing right now, they can knock off any team in the West.
Jason (Los Angeles)
Do you think the Kings can win a round this year? What would that mean for this young team?
Barry Melrose (3:52 PM)
Certainly they can win a round, they have played great this year but it all depends on who they play. If you make the playoffs, you always have a chance of an upset.
Alex, NYC (New York)
barry, what are the Devils chances in the playoffs and how far do you think they can advance
Barry Melrose (3:53 PM)
I like the way the Devils are playing right now with everyone healthy again. They aren't as talented as Washington or Pittsburgh but I wouldn't be surprised to see them come out of the East.
Hey Barry, what are your thoughts on the new head shot rule?
Barry Melrose (3:54 PM)
I would like to see a more black and white rule. There are still a lot of grey area. I want to see any hit to the head be illegal and serially dealt with.
Does Ovi win the Hart and Richards trophies this season?
Barry Melrose (3:56 PM)
He's in the running. He and Crosby are the favorites right now. I think he'll win the Richards for sure and will be a finalist for the Hart.
Jason (Los Angeles)
What cup droughts do you think are going to be the next ones to end?
Barry Melrose (3:57 PM)
Chicago. I think the Blackhawks can make a run this year. They are a very young team that if they don't make it this year, they will in the years to come.
Who is the MVP of the West?
Barry Melrose (3:58 PM)
I would say Bryzgalov. Phoenix has been unbelievable and my vote would go to Bryzgalov.
Barry Melrose (3:59 PM)
Another great week of hockey and hopefully another to come.