Chat with EJ Hradek
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN The Magazine's EJ Hradek will stop by to chat about the NHL season.
Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.
Keep up with what Hradek has been up to through his blog on ESPN.com.
Send your questions now and join EJ to chat Monday at 3 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (3:02 PM)
We're getting EJ right now!
Justin (Birmingham, AL)
I know it is extremely early, but if the Pens lose today to fall to 0-3 should there be some serious concerns about this team?
EJ Hradek (3:04 PM)
No one would want to start 0-3. Let's face it. That said, we're also not ready to jump off a building. It is early in the year. They lost a couple of one goal games at home. They could have won and be 2-0. This is a team that won a cup within the last couple of years. They just want to be playing well. I'm sure there are some things they would like to tweak. The thing tonight is they're playing a team tonight that they had some trouble with.
Ryan (University Park)
I know its early but which team's surprise start is most likely to last?
EJ Hradek (3:05 PM)
Yeah, it really is early. They've played two games, some will play three tonight. Am I surprised Edmonton is 2-0? Yes and no. They beat some not so good teams. I guess maybe because my perspective is different, in that I think these teams are closely matched. Check back with me next Monday and maybe I'll have more of a feeling of surprise at that point.
Ryan (University Park)
The pens are really missing jordan staal arent they?
EJ Hradek (3:07 PM)
I think any time you have a player like that that does so many things during a game to help you win, you miss him. They have so many superstar players on a team, it's hard to have depth in a salary cap league. When they lose Staal, they're not as hard to matchup against as they might have been. Absolutely, when you have a guy like him that does a lot of things well, you're going to miss him when he's not there.
Steven (San Diego)
EJ, How should the sharks feel after there trip overseas? What did you like and what didnt you like.
EJ Hradek (3:08 PM)
I think they should be OK. They came out and got a win. Niemi played well. They had an OT loss in the second game. They got the season off and running. They're off to a good start.
Do you see the Bruins making a charge towards the top of the Eastern Conference this year? And what do you expect from Tyler Seguin?
EJ Hradek (3:10 PM)
Their top center in Savard is out and may be out indefinitely with the consussion issues. The fact that they're getting key players signed and in the fold for a long term is a good thing. Seguin scored a goal in one of his first games over in Prague. I have to see more on the ice from the Bruins. They need to score more this year. Lucic has had some injury issues, but if he is healthy, I think he will be a guy that can really help them.
I guess it's time to realize Fleury isn't an elite goaltender, eh?
EJ Hradek (3:11 PM)
I think it's a little early for that. He had a stinker the other night against Montreal. He gave up some bad goals in the past. I would just say that he has to be better. He's already won a Cup. He's played in a lot of big games. He's not the first in the league, but he's one of the top 10-12 guys. You could do a lot worse.
Kyle (Boston, MA)
Do you see the Coyotes scoring more goals this season than last, and do you see them giving up fewer than last season?
EJ Hradek (3:12 PM)
That would be something they would want to do. They really need to be better on the power play. That was really something they had to overcome in having the season that they had. There are a lot of keys for them in such a tight conference. But they need to be better on the power play. They hovered around 10% for most of the year last year.
The red wings look like the most complete team in the NHL. What can you see as there achilles heel?
EJ Hradek (3:14 PM)
They're real strong. But two things: they have to be concerned with having so many guys in their 30s. They're more susceptible to injuries. And their goaltending. They need to make sure they are solid there. Howard played well last year, but he needs to show he can do it again. But they have some guys that can really get it done. I've been saying about them that this is their last best chance to get it done.
when the blackhawks lost/ trade those players in the offseason, does that give them little hope of repeating?
EJ Hradek (3:15 PM)
I think they still are going to be a very competitive team. They kept their core group together. They replaced their goaltender with a guy with a lot of experience. It will be more a matter of how they play together. There will be more pressure on their key guys this year and how they mesh with some of the younger guys. And Turco in goal. He's been average.
EJ Hradek (3:16 PM)
Sorry, I have to run short today. I'm off to the Penguins and Devils game this afternoon. I'm looking forward to a great season and plenty of good questions from you all.