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!
Buzzmaster (3:33 PM)
Barry will be here shortly ...keep sending in all your NHL questions.
Barry Melrose (3:35 PM)
If you an Aves fan, I'm sure you're not sleeping very well right now. They need to change things very quickly.
casey m (il)
who do you think the coytes first round openit is going to be and how far do you see them going
Barry Melrose (3:36 PM)
It looks like it will be Detroit. The Wings will finish 5th and the Coytes 4th. Detroit is playing great right now and that will be a tough matchup for Phoenix.
David (Long Island,NY)
What is the likely hood that Pittsburgh can shake off the inconsistent play and beat NJ and the Caps in the playoffs?ps... can i get a recipe for wheat puff cake?
Barry Melrose (3:36 PM)
The puff wheat cake is a secret.
Barry Melrose (3:37 PM)
Pittsburgh haven't beat New Jersey or Washington all season long. Going into the playoffs, I don't think people are saying Pittsburgh is a favorite in the Eastern Conference.
Ok, Barry, Where does Kovalcuk call home next season?
Barry Melrose (3:38 PM)
That's going to be interesting. I don't think he'll make the money he turned down from Atlanta. Boston looks like a good choice and maybe New Jersey is they play well in the playoffs. But don't think anyone will offer him the contract he was offered in Atlanta.
Barry,I was just looking through the chat wrap with Barnaby and he responded to a question regarding the Flyers goaltending situation, he stated that Turco might be a good option. However with rumors floating around about Carey Price, do you feel he is a goaltender the Flyers should go after? What would it take to get him and would you do it?
Barry Melrose (3:40 PM)
First off Carey Price hasn't been great and I don't think he will be an upgrade for the Flyers. The Flyers also have to cap problems so they will have to move players to get players. I don't think Carey Price is the answer in Philly.
Do you think that it would be more beneficial to the Penguins to trade Malkin for a big time winger or a few players, with the emergence of Staal? The Pens have many "Centers" on the roster. Or do you think that the dept down the middle is what primarly separates the pens from the pack?
Barry Melrose (3:41 PM)
No, I think Malkin is the cornerstone of Pittsburgh. He hasn't been as good this year and years past but I think you have to keep Crosby and Malkin together.
donny (dallas, TX)
Yo Barry do you think any team from the Pacific division can make it to the finals?
Barry Melrose (3:43 PM)
Sure, if you get in it you can win it. The favorites and San Jose and Chicago. There are very good teams in the Pacific right now and any team can win it if they catch fire at the right time.
magnus (san jose, CA)
hey Barry, what likely 1st round playoff matchups in the West are you most excited about coyotes v wings would be a very entertaining one,
Barry Melrose (3:44 PM)
Whoever plays the Wings will be the most interesting because of the way the Wings are playing right now. Whoever plays Nashville will be a good series also. I can guarantee you that people are rooting for the Wings to lose in the first round.
With the way Detroit has been playing lately, do you see them making a deep run in the playoffs? Maybe getting back to the Western Conference finals, possibly another Stanley Cup final?
Barry Melrose (3:45 PM)
It's not out of the question. They are playing better than any other team in the West. It will be difficult for them because they will have to beat three very good teams.
What non-playoff team will be back next season?
Barry Melrose (3:47 PM)
If you look at that teams that will miss the playoffs this year and might make it next year you have to think of Tampa Bay and Calgary. I think they will get a lot better in the off season and be a contender next season.
Despite the recent fall of the Avalanche, I see a bright future with the young players. How important is it to them to get at least a taste of the playoffs?
Barry Melrose (3:48 PM)
Very important. It will be tough on them to play the way they have all season and fall towards the back stretch and miss the playoffs. They need to get to get their act together if they want to make the playoffs. Friday's game against Calgary will be a huge game.
any chance the Thrashers sneak into the playoffs?
Barry Melrose (3:50 PM)
Sure, they are only two points out. They have a terrible schedule coming up playing the three best teams in the Eastern Conference. They need to win all of them to get in. It doesn't look good for the Thrashers.
Capitals biggest weakness, goaltending or defense?
Barry Melrose (3:51 PM)
I would say their defense. If they tightened up defensively their goaltending will be a lot better. They can't score their way to a Stanley Cup. Once they take care of their defense, I think their goaltending will be ok.
Jeff F (PV Beach Florida)
What is happening to the Devil's offense? I thought with Ilya and Parise leading the way they would be as productive as Malkin and Crosby = ( Can Marty carry them to a title again?
Barry Melrose (3:53 PM)
The Devils have never been a high scoring team and that's why they went out and got Kovalchuk and he hasn't been scoring they way they thought he would. They are more of a defensive team. I like new Jersey's chances in the playoffs.
where do you see the bruins finishing, and how far do you think they will go
Barry Melrose (3:54 PM)
I think they will finish 7th and the Flyers will finish 8th. I don't see them going far because they don't score enough goals. They will have to got up against New Jersey or Buffalo in the first round and I don't see them getting past either team.
If the Wings do finish 5th and Phoenix beats them in the first round, does Phoenix's run this year become the story of the decade?
Barry Melrose (3:55 PM)
It's a great story. Story of the decade will be Phoenix winning the Stanley Cup this year and moving to Winnipeg next season.
Zach (St. Louis)
Can the Blues still pull off streaking into the playoffs again this year and if not, what do they need to do to get in next year?
Barry Melrose (3:57 PM)
They can't, they are too far out to make the playoffs. Next season, they have to start winning games a the beginning of the season. They can't always come from behind with a great finish to the season and expect to make the playoffs.
Do you think the 'Canes can be a playoff team again?
Barry Melrose (3:57 PM)
No, they are too far behind. There aren't enough games left. They just ran out of time.
Barry Melrose (3:59 PM)
I know I'll be watching the Calgary-Colorado game Friday night. It's the most important game we've had in the past two months. Both teams are fighting for the final playoff spot in the West. This should be a good one.