Chat with Scott Burnside
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN.com's Scott Burnside will stop by to chat about the NHL's latest news and events.
Before joining ESPN in 2005, he was a reporter for the Windsor Star and Toronto Sun. Burnside has won numerous awards, including the 1990 National Newspaper Award, and also co-authored the best-selling true crime book "Deadly Innocence" in the mid-1990s. He is based in Atlanta.
Send your questions now and join Burnside on Monday at 4 p.m. ET!
Scott Burnside (3:59 PM)
Ah, back to our original time slot. Feel more comfortable here. Now, where were we?
What were your thoughts on the Pronger penalty that took away a potential GWG? Looked like the screening happened long before the shot was taken.
Scott Burnside (4:00 PM)
Bill; Have gone back and forth on this. Saw head of officiating Terry Gregson's explanation and I'll buy it; there's a lot of latitude for calling unsportsmanlike conduct as it relates to the so-called Sean Avery rule. Whether he was facing Kiprusoff or not Pronger was guilty of the foul. I have no problem with the call.
Kevin Shattenkirk is piling up points as a rookie Defenseman, 10 pts in 12 games. A legitimate Calder candidate?
Scott Burnside (4:02 PM)
Harv; Shattenkirk is taking advantage of a pretty thin Avs blue line and is indeed piling up points. I am think it's going to take sustained level of production and ice time for him to creep up on guys like Jeff Skinner, Logan Couture, Michal Neuvirth, Sergei Bobrovsky et al. Still, nice find for an Avs team that's had to battle through some significant injuries.
Will the loyal fans of D.C. hockey ever see a Mike Green trade? He is highly overrated because of his offense numbers. He constantly gives up 2 on 1s by pressing deep in the offensive zone. Who could the Caps get for him?
Scott Burnside (4:04 PM)
Edward; Mike Green is what he is; an offensive dynamo. I think his defensive game has come around but the real test will be in the playoffs where he's struggled the past two years. If John Carlson continues to develop I suppose Green could be offered as trade bait at some point and lots of teams would love to have a PP quarterback like him (ie. Rangers) but that's well off in the distance. This spring looms large, though, for Green to prove that he can deliver the goods when it counts.
Steven (Sunny San Diego)
So I understand that Injuries are starting to mount, but this shouldn't cover up the fact that Doug Wilson failed to get a top 4 defenseman, and overpaid Huskins and Wallin. Should he or Mclennon (for lack of consistency) be on the hot seat in San Jose?
Scott Burnside (4:06 PM)
Steven; The Sharks are a bit of a curiosity. Have only two regulation losses in their last 11 yet are in 10th place in the west. Like the Caps, though, the Sharks' true test comes in April. I would think a trip to at least the conference final again and GM Doug Wilson and head coach Todd McLellan will both be feeling the heat big time. As they should.
Mike (Atlanta, GA)
Scott,It may be a little premature, but does Byfuglien have a realistic chance to win the Norris Trophy?
Scott Burnside (4:07 PM)
Mike; A couple of questions about Byfuglien who has turned into a monster on the blue line for the Thrashers in spite of a lot of criticism of the decision to move him back from forward. Certainly his point production and penchant for scoring big, dramatic goals will keep him on voters' minds but I think the true test of whether he ends up on the ballot is if the Thrashers can solidify a hold on a playoff spot. Hard to imagine Byfuglien knocking off Nicklas Lidstrom among others but he's been terrific season thus far.
Stevo (Pottstown, PA)
The rule states that the player (Pronger) must be facing the goalie in order for it to be a penalty. How is what Pronger did a penalty?
Scott Burnside (4:09 PM)
Stevo; Don't mind going back to this. Yes, the original wording said 'facing' but the wording didn't even make it into the rule book so it really is a discretionary call. Again, did he try and distract the goalie by waving his hand? I think it's obvious he did even if he wasn't facing him. I am still okay with the call.
Tough break (pun intended) with Stewie....when will we see him back? total shame..he was off to a great start
Scott Burnside (4:10 PM)
Joe; I have yet to see an update on how long Chris Stewart is expected out and yes, tough break. Not a complete 'fighting is bad' kind of guy but to me this illustrates once again the stupidity of it. What if Stewart's loss costs the Avs a playoff spot? Think of the millions of dollars of lost revenue. For a fight in a game the Avs were walking away with. But to your point, terrific young player. Too bad he'll miss suiting up against his brother Anthony this week too.
how are datsyuk's chances for the hart this year?
Scott Burnside (4:13 PM)
tom; I think as superlative as Datsyuk is at both ends of the ice he's going to have to be in the 100-point range to challenge guys like Crosby, Stamkos et al for the Hart. Might not be fair but that's the reality. Not sure you can give it to Datsyuk when he's likely going to be 20 points off the pace of guys who also do a lot more than score points. I'm sure he won't mind, though, if he's still playing in June.
Any chance the B's can move Thomas to free up cap room for Savard? how do you see this situation playing out? they have to make a move soon...
Scott Burnside (4:14 PM)
Jack; Yes, tough times coming for the Bruins as Savard inches closer to return (and Marco Sturm not far behind Savard). Michael Ryder, Blake Wheeler, perhaps Sturm himself, are all names you hear about being on the move as the Bruins are up against the cap. Still, would be shocked if GM Peter Chiarelli tried to move Thomas especially with Tuukka Rask not playing up to the level we saw a year ago.
What do we need to do to turn things around? Shea weber was a stud last year on the PP....needs to shoot more
Scott Burnside (4:17 PM)
Jonny; Yes, troubled times in Music City especially for Weber who has just two goals. He's had a lot go on in the last year, the loss of his mother, being named captain. But one of the reasons the Preds always seemed to hang around the playoffs in spite of a lack of offense has been the ability of the guys on the blue line to chip in especially Ryan Suter and Weber. It's not happening this year and it may cost them a playoff spot.
How do you feel about moving Kadri to 1st line? can he handle the D responsilbity and add some offense? Do you see him sticking with the big club?
Scott Burnside (4:19 PM)
Ted; I could act surprised that the Leafs actually have a first line but that would be cruel. True. But cruel. The Leafs are so thin up front I'm not sure how Kadri will do. And whether he stays or goes will it make any real difference for a team that continues to spin its wheels? To me the big question is whether it is better for Kadri to be with the Leafs or not. Not sure of the answer.
If Mike Richard's shot would have went wide, that penalty would never had been called on Pronger. It was called because he scored and that brings into question competance and bias. Am i the only one who sees this?
Scott Burnside (4:20 PM)
Dave; Fair point. In theory that penalty should have been called either way. But you're right, easy to see the play going on without a stoppage if the shot is wide.
Can the Wings continue at this pace? Will age play a part in this? I'm a lifelong fan, and this is the best I've seen them play in possibly 10 years. Including Cup years. They look pretty much unstoppable right now.
Scott Burnside (4:22 PM)
Brandon; Whoa, now, Brandon. It's not even December. And I remember a pretty good team in 2009. But the Wings are sure looking good. Yes, health will be an issue as it is for every team looking to run the table in the spring. But Mike Babcock is determined as much as possible to spread the ice time among his three (and sometimes four) forward units and six defenseman. With Brian Rafalski back he'll have an easier time of it. The other issue will be goaltending depth. With Chris Osgood still nursing a groin the Wings really don't have a Plan B for spelling Jimmy Howard.
How good are the Rangers? Do you see them contending for a top 4 Seed when Drury & Prospal return?
Scott Burnside (4:23 PM)
Kev; Rangers are a pleasant surprise in terms of their team play. Play hard. Very gritty. Still thin down the middle still lack a real power play quarterback on a very young blue line. Are they a playoff team? Maybe. Don't see them entering that top four area with Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Washington and Montreal.
Craig G. (Newcastle, WA)
Hey Scott, who are some of your underrated teams, currently playing well, who you think will make the playoffs?
Scott Burnside (4:25 PM)
Craig; I know it's hard to consider either the Avs or Coyotes as underrated but they have been impressive and I think both should be playoff-bound. In the east Atlanta has been a nice surprise especially with their play of late and the aforementioned play of Dustin Byfuglien. Tampa is fun to watch although goaltending remains a big issue for them. Still like them to make the playoffs.
Top 3 teams right now in order?
Scott Burnside (4:26 PM)
Jordan; Detroit, Philadelphia, Washington
Scott...I can't believe your (or ESPN's) lack of love for the Rangers in the latest power rankings. The Rangers have played the whole season without their captain and Vinny Prospal. They played a considerable amount of games without Gaborik and when he has played, he's not really done anything. This team has a top 5 goalie and is being led by young players who will only get better. Not to mention the fact that on Saturday, they beat a well-coached Nashville team on the road, in the back end of a back-to-back, without Gaborik. How can they not crack your top 15 when they're 5th in the East? Quite puzzling.
Scott Burnside (4:27 PM)
Chris; I will be bringing your concerns to the attention of Pierre LeBrun who must have been thinking about how much he loves the All-Star game when he did this week's rankings. I will attend to the matter next week when it's my turn. Unless the Rangers go 0-for this week of course.
Garry (New York)
Who finishes 1-4 in the east?
Scott Burnside (4:28 PM)
Garry;WashingtonPittsburghBostonPhiladelphia(Of course the three division winners are seeded one-two-three even though I imagine Philadelphia will have more points than the Northeast Division winner).
Do you see the devils turning their season around now or is the season a lost cause for new jersey
Scott Burnside (4:30 PM)
andrew; Devils will need a lot more than a decent week of play (they picked up four of six points) to get back in the hunt. Losing to the Islanders is inexcusable but they've had lots of those losses. And it goes without saying that Ilya Kovalchuk has to produce. He remains a ship adrift and there's no way back for the Devils without him contributing given the ice time he gets.
Why are people so worried about who is going to win the (Insert Individual Trophy Here) when the season is only 25 games old? Datysuk, Crosby, Stamkos, Sedin...etc. are all great, how about we let them play a full season before we hand out hardware.
Scott Burnside (4:31 PM)
Phillip; Because it's fun? But it's a fair point. It will be interesting to see which of the top players at any position can sustain their level of play until late March or early April when the voting is done. That said, I think the Hart Trophy race may be as compelling as any in recent years given that Stamkos isn't going anywhere and if Alexander Semin can continue his torrid pace not to mention his better two-way hockey, should be a fun time when it comes time to cast those ballots.
Cam Fowler - thoughts on this kid? 40 pt potential?
Scott Burnside (4:33 PM)
Andy; That's a lot to ask any rookie let alone a rookie defenseman. That said he is really turning a lot of heads with his maturity. Let's say this, if he gets to the 40-point mark the chances of the Ducks sneaking into the playoffs goes up exponentially.
Chris (Long Island, NY)
What can be done to save the Isles?
Scott Burnside (4:35 PM)
Chris; Oh, the temptation is great to fall back on the tried and true; a large moving truck? Incendiary device? Big broom? But seriously this is a team that has some interesting young parts but will never be able to attract top free agents given their current situation at Nassau County Coliseum. They continue to pinch pennies in hiring cheap coaches and they are saddled with a ridiculous contract for a goalie who has proven to be injury-prone and a marginal goalie when healthy. In short, this is a team that needs a dramatic make-over from the top down. Will it happen? Don't hold your breath.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What team & when did we see a female goalie in the NHL?
Scott Burnside (4:38 PM)
Chris; Don't believe there's ever been a female goalie play in a regular season game in the NHL. If I'm not mistaken Manon Rheaume played in an exhitibition game for the Tampa Bay Lightning in pre-season in '92 and '93.
Is Jagr back in the NHL next year? I know he marches to the beat of his own drum but i would think he would like to get back here for at least one more season.
Scott Burnside (4:41 PM)
Luke; The more time passes I think the less likely it is to happen that Jagr will come back even though the NHL is a poorer place for his absence. He's 38 so I suppose a team (Pittsburgh for instance?) could take a one-year flyer on him. Edmonton was always rumored as a potential landing place and it would make sense given how well he played for Tom Renney. But somehow I think we've seen the last of Jagr in the NHL.
M.A. Bergeron is due to come back....what teams could use him and where do you think hell end up?
Scott Burnside (4:43 PM)
Josh; Well if we look at teams that struggle on the power play which is where Bergeron excels then you'd have to consider Columbus or Buffalo. Not sure Calgary would have room for him and likewise the Devils. The problem is that he remains an awful liability defensively and there simply aren't that many teams that can take on a player and only have him play five or six minutes a night on the power play.
Brian (Eugene, Oregon)
How long do you think it will take for the Oilers to try and ship off Penner for a d-man so they can address their sieve of a defense, and then bring up Linus Omark to take his spot in the lineup?
Scott Burnside (4:45 PM)
Brian; Well the trick will be in finding a team that doesn't look at any videotape because it's hard to imagine any team taking on Penner and his contract having watched him loaf through most of this season. Don't see it happening as much as Oiler fans might wish it were so.
M. Zidlicky - hurt? why are they calling up the kid?
Scott Burnside (4:47 PM)
Dicky; According to the peerless Wild beat writer Mike Russo the Wild called up Jared Spurgeon in case Zidlicky can't go. Sounds more precautionary.
If the Stars had money to spend, who do you think are some names they could add to make them more of a contender?
Scott Burnside (4:49 PM)
Mike; I think the issue for the Stars remains depth along the blue line. Would a healthy Sheldon Souray look good in Dallas? Absolutely. But that's not going to happen, sadly for Stars fans. What will be more interesting is how much pressure there is to shed salary even if they're in a hunt for a playoff spot. Brad Richards would likely be the top forward available at the trade deadline but hard to trade him and stay in the hunt (as the Thrashers found out a year ago after trading Kovalchuk).
Joel (Niagara Falls/Buffalo) [via mobile]
Scott, is Chris Chelios still on a NHL team's payroll ? Thanks.
Scott Burnside (4:52 PM)
Joel; No. I assume you mean as a player. He does have an off-ice role with the Red Wings although was apparently recently courted by a couple of KHL teams as reported by my colleague Pierre LeBrun.
if ur the coach, do u go with bob or leighton as your starter come playoff time?
Scott Burnside (4:53 PM)
Mikael; Welcome from Russia. Oh I think you go with Bobrovsky assuming he maintains a consistent level of play. That said with rookies in the post-season I think the leash will be pretty short especially given Leighton's penchant for coming up big last spring (or at least until the final).
Sergei Bobrovsky (Philly)
Am i the one to finally break the curse of Pelle Lindbergh?
Scott Burnside (4:55 PM)
Sergei; A good follow-up to the previous question. That question can't possibly be answered at the end of November. Let's see in the first round against Montreal or Boston. Or in the second round against Washington. Could be a Varlamov/Bobrovsky match-up. But that's a big weight to carry for a young man and as we know Philadelphia isn't exactly the most warm and fuzzy place to play goal.
Mark (Pittsburgh, PA)
Is there any way Malkin gets traded for two legitimate wingers?
Scott Burnside (4:56 PM)
Richard (Greensboro, NC)
Any reason the Hurricanes aren't giving Ward more time in net? Seems like Peters has played more than a normal backup and the team plays much better with Ward between the pipes.
Scott Burnside (4:59 PM)
Richard; Well Ward has played in 19 of 23 games so I would hardly call taking it easy on the former playoff MVP. The 'Canes have played a ton of road games so maybe head coach Paul Maurice has spelled Ward a bit because of the travel. And no question Ward is 'the man' in Carolina and he'll play an awful lot if they hope to squeeze into the playoffs.
ross (spokane wa)
what will it take for Alex the great to win the cup im not a huge follower of the nhl but love watchin him play
Scott Burnside (5:02 PM)
ross; Get with the program and start doing the hockey thing. As for Ovechkin and the Caps it may sound simple but it really is about sacrifice and the willingness to do more than the guys across the ice. I know a former Caps player who said there are a bunch of guys in the room who have to grow up. It's not easy no matter how many regular season games you win. I think Ovechkin gets it after last year. Now we'll see next spring whether he can put that learning into action.
Kenny (New Jersey)
Is there any way Malkin gets traded at all?
Scott Burnside (5:02 PM)
Why didn't Patrick Sharp get an all-star nomimation? He's been arguably the best player on the Hawks team this year.
Scott Burnside (5:03 PM)
Rich; The all-star ballot is a joke but Sharp can certainly go as a write-in. He has been terrific. Important, underappreciated part of the 'Hawks Cup win.
Scott Burnside (5:03 PM)
Okay folks. Thanks for coming out. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and have a great week. See you next Monday when I'll be at the NHL Board of Governors in Florida.