Chat with Matthew Barnaby
Welcome to Sportsnation! On Thursday, ESPN NHL analyst Matthew Barnaby will stop by to take your questions on the NHL.
Barnaby played 14 seasons in the NHL for eight different teams. He netted 113 goals and 300 total points. He was also one of the league's tough guys, accumulating 2,562 penalty minutes.
Send your questions now and join Matthew Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (2:17 PM)
Matthew Barnaby will be here at 2:30 p.m. ET to take your questions!
Matthew Barnaby (2:25 PM)
Great first night. A lot of upsets. There is so much parity now, expect some more as we go through the playoffs.
What is it about Philly that gives NJ the fits? What can they change?
Matthew Barnaby (2:26 PM)
Obviously there is a big rivalry, but they are capable of scoring on limited chances. New Jersey played a good game, didn't give up much, but they do have some quality scorers that can take advantage. Should be a great series and I still see the Devils winning, but power play has got to come up big.
Mark (New York)
Please explain the rules behind secondary assists. Yesterday on both of Malkin's goals, basically the exact same things happened - Crosby passed from behind the net to Malkin on the halfboards, Malkin held the puck and then passed to Gonchar at the point, Gonchar held the puck and then passed back to Malkin, Malkin skated in, shot, and scored. However, Crosby got secondary assists on both of Malkin's goals, even though it was probably like 5 seconds since he last touched it and Malkin touched in twice since the time Crosby did. The secondary assist is definitely one of the most arbitrary stats around.
Matthew Barnaby (2:28 PM)
It's basically pretty easy. The primary assist is the guy who passes it to the guy who scores. The secondary assist is given if a player from the other team does not touch the puck from when the second guy gives to the first guy who gives to the scorer. It can be a little tricky as sometimes it does deflect a little bit, but yesterday is an example where it was clear cut. Total control of the puck and movement deserved both assists.
Robb (Ohio) [via mobile]
Does Buffalo have a chance if they get out of the first round? And who is your favorite to win it all?
Matthew Barnaby (2:30 PM)
Buffalo definitely has a chance. I think the East is very open and there is so much parity in the league. Buffalo has a great goaltender, very well coached and while they don't have even a 30 goal scorer on the team, a lot of guys contribute to the scoring. Washington would be a tough task, but we've seen what Miller can do. I like Washington and New Jersey in the East and I like Chicago and San Jose in the West.
Should we read anything into the Pens dropping Game 1 to the Sens?
Matthew Barnaby (2:31 PM)
Yes, for sure. There is not a switch you can turn on when the playoffs start and to me, the Ottawa Senators outbattled the Penguins last night. Goaltending has been streaky all year long and last night was not a good one for Fleury. Having said that, their power play was a bright spot, scoring two goals, but if they don't play with more emotion, Ottawa is a good enough team that could pull off the upset.
Barnaby, the Sharks got off to a shaky start. Could it be that now their first round problems have gotten into their heads?
Matthew Barnaby (2:32 PM)
So much a part of sports is mental and confidence. Parts of the game they played great, but at one point in the game, they were being outshot 12-2. Not good enough. This is a team that should keep it simple, use their speed and be physical. Take the soft spots out of your game and I believe they will be more successful. Nabokov played well and neither goal was his fault. Now the pressure is on Joe Thornton.
Matthew, I'm a HUGE Hawks fan. What should I be thinking/feeling going into the first round?
Matthew Barnaby (2:34 PM)
Well, you have reason to be very excited as your team is as good as anyone in the NHL. I would also have cause for concern as Niemi will be tested. Nashville is very well coached, expectations are not that high and they may have the best young defense in the league. I think Chicago will win, but I would not be surprised if there was an upset here. I promise it will be nuts in Chicago Game 1.
Matthew, there were a lot of road teams picking up wins last night....why is that?
Matthew Barnaby (2:36 PM)
It's not like the NBA where there is that much of an advantage with home ice. It's nice to have, but I loved playing on the road opening a series up. The pressure is on the home team and sometimes they try to play to impress the crowd. On the road, it's simple, stupid. Get it deep and go to work. Fans will turn on teams and that can have a negative effect on the way they play. Also, the parity is so close that anyone can beat anyone. We saw that last night.
Paul B (Manistee, MI)
Matthew,Who is your first round upset pick?
Matthew Barnaby (2:36 PM)
If I had to pick it now, I would pick Ottawa, but my upset pick before we all started was Nashville.
Was what happened in the special teams last night for the Wings-Coyotes an anomaly or something we should be worried about here? 3 goals allowed on the PP is half as many as they had allowed during their post Olympic run.
Matthew Barnaby (2:38 PM)
Tom, please don't use big words like anomaly. Retired hockey player, trying to keep it simple. LOL...I thought the Wings played a very good game last night and deserved a better fate. Yes, their PK let them down, but I also believe that they will figure it out, break down the tape and it won't happen again. I am still very big on the Red Wings, as at times in that first period I caught myself with my jaw open just watching. It felt like I was playing in Joe Louis again, watching these guys skate around us. Should be a great series.
Charlie (Hickory, NC)
Hey Barnaby -- love my Senators beating the Pens last night. That being said, how about punching Melrose if he wears that yellow jacket again! LOL...
Matthew Barnaby (2:39 PM)
I just got the playoff suits out of the closet and Barry's been wearing them for 15 years. His playoff beard is set and I'm just starting to grow mine. Should have peach fuzz and some more colorful suits in the next few weeks. I'm sure you guys will be ripping me soon enough. Good luck to your Sens.
Were you surprised by the Coyotes win last night?
Matthew Barnaby (2:40 PM)
No, I wasn't surprised by the win. But I was surprised in the fashion that they did it. Three PP goals, a bad goal allowed by Bryzgalov. Those are not the way I would have expected them to win. They showed a lot of resiliency and a team that truly has belief and is well coached. Should be a great series.
Matt, Should I be worried that my sharks are down 1-0 already?
Matthew Barnaby (2:42 PM)
I would be. It's not time to panic, as they are the better team. But at some point they can't let a bad goal cost them a game. You have to come out and simply dominate and they did not do that. Joe Thornton has got to get that mentality that he is going to be the best player on the ice. If he doesn't do it, Colorado Avalanche could cause an upset. The mental state of this team, if they lose the next team, will be very fragile. It is a must win for them and I think they will come through.
Matthew: It sounded on TV like at least 33% of the crowd at the Devils-Flyers game in NJ was rooting for the Flyers. Would you be annoyed as a player if your home arena had so many fans rooting for the other team?
Matthew Barnaby (2:43 PM)
I would be. My favorite part about playoffs was walking into the buildings when we were at home, the fans with all of their paraphenalia coming out on the ice and seeing everyone cheering for you. That's playoff hockey and that, as a player, is what you look forward to the most. I couldn't imagine not having 100% of the crowd behind you. That would stink.
Mike ((Phoenix, AZ))
All of the experts picked Detroit to win this series in 5 or 6. Does last night's game change that?
Matthew Barnaby (2:44 PM)
It doesn't change it for me. I thought it would be a tough series, as Phoenix had a great year. Very well coached and have a great goalie. I do believe Detroit is the better team and in no way did losing one game effect their morale.
Bryan (Philadelphia, PA)
how big of an impact is Hecht's delayed return??
Matthew Barnaby (2:45 PM)
Hecht might be Lindy Ruff's favorite player. Good offensively. Finds ways of coming up big and very good defensively. Exactly the kind of guy you want in your lineup in the playoffs. Great to have Connolly back for some offense, but they look forward to getting this guy back in their lineup.
Any thoughts on LA-VAN series? I think it's a 7-gamer.
Matthew Barnaby (2:47 PM)
Everyone thinks about San Jose and Chicago in the West scoring goals. But Vancouver was the highest scoring offensive team in the Western Conference. Henrik Sedin won the scoring title and his supporting cast is very good. LA is a young team that will be good for a long time. LA has to play physical and try to grind it out. I see Vancouver winning this in 6.
Adam (Washington D.C.)
Are the Capitals' problems in goal being overstated?
Matthew Barnaby (2:48 PM)
Right now they are. Do I think Jose Theodore is among the elite in the NHL? No. Do I think that they can win with him being good and not great? Yes. This team scores a lot of goals and if they commit to team defense, I don't think goaltending will be a problem. If they don't commit, both defense and goaltending will become a problem.
I love the Rangers. Who would be there best option with the 10th overall pick or should they trade the pick?
Matthew Barnaby (2:49 PM)
You should be more worried about your GM giving $8 million a year to the next fourth liner or 7th D-man that's available come July 1. I will get back to you on the 10th overall pick next week.
What is your most memorable playoff moment? The '99 run to the finals?
Matthew Barnaby (2:51 PM)
Chico, I absolutely hated the '99 run to the Finals. I was traded right before the trade deadline and was cursing these guys every day that they would lose and not win the Cup because it would have been thrown in my face for the rest of my life. Like Marian Hossa. I would love to say that I cheered on my buddies, but I would be lying. I was actually in the stands cheering with a beer in hand when Brett Hull's infamous goal was allowed. My favorite memory was sweeping the Montreal Canadiens in '98 and scoring a hat trick. Great day for me and my mom.
Would you agree that Fleury played a terrible game? Do you think he should have been pulled?
Matthew Barnaby (2:52 PM)
He did play a terrible game. Also got a bad break but at the end of the day, I'm sure he would have loved a couple of those goals back. I would not have pulled him as it was still a close game and it's tough to pull the guy that you believe gives you the best chance to win.
Following Boucher's decent showing against New Jersey, do you think he has enough to keep holding off the Devils and keep the Flyers in this series?
Matthew Barnaby (2:53 PM)
Boucher did what he needed to do yesterday, looked very solid, but it's one game. I still think New Jersey and the way they play will win the series. The power play has to be better and I think Kovalchuk will bury chances if he has as many opportunities as last night.
malkin or backstrom of the caps who would you bulid around for now and the future
Matthew Barnaby (2:54 PM)
If I had to pick one of them, I would take Malkin. Backstrom is a terrific passer and great player, but Malkin to me is in the top three in the world. He's big, strong and to me can win a series all by himself.
Earl (Bucks County, PA)
Would you compare your game with Avery and/or Carcillo? Seems to me every team needs an Avery, Carcillo or Barnaby!
Matthew Barnaby (2:56 PM)
Yes, good comparisons. I think we all, and if you throw in Ian Laperierre, are all very similar. Carcillo does a great job of getting under the skin of players and can also play the game. Very important role in the playoffs if you're an agitator to tred that line, without being undisciplined.
Hockey blows, I'd rather watch paint dry than the NHL playoffs. Your thoughts?
Matthew Barnaby (2:57 PM)
John, hockey is the greatest sport in the world and seeing that you live in DC, you should probably go see the Caps play. Your options aren't great. Go see the Caps or you can catch the Redskins or Nationals or Wizards before any of their playoffs start. Playoffs just aren't an option for other Washington teams. Come to the dark side.
Matthew Barnaby (2:58 PM)
It promises to be another great night of playoff hockey, where injuries happen and the players are back the next shift. Unlike anchors that get a hangnail and are out for a month. Talk to you next week.