Chat with Scott Burnside
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, 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 Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET!
Scott Burnside (4:02 PM)
Greetings all. Welcome back to some more puck chatter. So, where were we?
K Andrews (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
Great feature on Lidstrom today no doubt he stacks up as one of the greatest of all time. He doesn't quite stack up to Orr (who does though) which, leads me to my question. Orr or Gretzky Burnside?
Scott Burnside (4:03 PM)
K; No doubt that my colleague Pierre LeBrun knocked one out of the park with his work on Lidstrom. Great to hear guys like Scotty Bowman, Scott Niedermayer et al weigh in on Lidstrom. For me it's got to be Gretzky. Not Orr's fault but shorter career and his impact not as far-ranging, mind-boggling as Gretzky.
do the pens see staal as their 2nd line center for the next decade or do they see him as trade bait
Scott Burnside (4:05 PM)
jim; Oh I think they see him as the second-line guy for years to come. He brings such important elements to the game; killing penalties, his physicality, he is when healthy the perfect foil to Crosby and Malkin.
Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)
Scott, I wrote into the live power hour chat yesterday asking about the potential for Pens-Wings III and whether the same two teams had ever played in the Finals three times in four years. You said to get back to you today? Do you or the stat department have any answers?
Scott Burnside (4:06 PM)
Jesse; I have not forgotten but do not yet have this answer. Bear with me and we will get to the bottom although by answering know full well we put the heebie jeebies on either the Wings or Pens or both. Thanks for your patience.
Jesse (Rosslyn, VA)
Doesn't a change have to be made for the Caps at this point? Seems to me they are tuning Bruce out and the whole "get the puck to the forward as fast as possible to create a break" offense has been figured out for the most part. I'm not seeing any major adjustments being made - and there should have been plenty after last years Montreal series.
Scott Burnside (4:08 PM)
Jesse; I think Bruce Boudreau has earned a little longer leash than this. And a little perspective is important (even though it's hard when you've been spanked 7-0 by the Rangers and are winless in six). This kind of adversity will either reveal a team as wanting leadership-wise or will galvanize it. We saw the Pens roll through some difficult times in '08 and '09 (yes, they did fire their coach so maybe a bad example as did the Blackhawks two years ago, but I digress). Still think the answer is in the room not behind the bench.
nik (nc )
Will the Hurricanes make a run at getting into the playoffs?
Scott Burnside (4:10 PM)
nik; There are a couple of things in their favor. The 'Canes are traditionally a second-half team. Don't know why exactly but they are. And they have a schedule that will be heavily weighted to home games later in the season. Now they haven't played well enough at home yet but they should. Right now I think they may be the only team with a legitimate chance at jumping into the fray from the teams currently outside the bubble. That said I don't think they are mature enough yet to do that.
What is your take on the Ducks up and down season so far and their league leading number of games played?
Scott Burnside (4:14 PM)
Stephen; You make a good point in that the Ducks have played more games than any other team (33) so their place in the standings (6th in the West) is a bit misleading. Still, the fact that head coach Randy Carlyle and senior VP of hockey ops David McNab to extensions I think is important to the stability of the club. Carlyle isn't going anywhere so players better get used to that. They will need to get more production out of that second line (Blake and Koivu have gone silent lately) but the blue line is better than people thought and with good goaltending they'll be in the mix right to the end.
Are the Kings back? Impressive win last night.
Scott Burnside (4:16 PM)
Mario; I was watching that game and was shocked at the end to see that Quick had 51 saves. But impressive win to be sure especially in Detroit. Now, back is a relative thing. They are still only 6-8 on the road and that's not good enough. But I will be equally shocked if the Kings aren't in the middle of the playoff pack when the dust settles.
Do you see Nabokov signing with an NHL team? if so, who?
Scott Burnside (4:18 PM)
tom; I wouldn't be surprised to see the former Sharks keeper land somewhere. The issue will be that teams interested in signing him will have to risk losing him through waivers. Tampa would be interested. At some point, maybe not now, but at some point he might be of interest to the Caps in spite of their insistence they like their two kids (Varlamov and Neuvirth). Would Nashville be interested if Pekka Rinne takes time to rehab (not that Lindback has been anything but spectacular). It will be fun to watch.
With the Rangers they give effort every game but some games are so much stronger than others. Duby had 12 goals a long time ago and has only scored 2 since. Gaby is under performing as well. The Rangers have cap space issues, but what can they do to get a deep run into the playoffs?
Scott Burnside (4:21 PM)
Bob; Yes, the Rangers are a bit of a confounding unit. Look like world beaters Sunday against the Caps and then can sometimes come up lame. I think that's a function of having to work so hard for everything. They are still thin down the middle and very young across the blue line. Lundqvist has been up and down as well. I think they're a playoff team but will be hard-pressed to add any significant pieces at the deadline given their cap issues. Hard to imagine they could beat any of the top three or four teams in the conference in a best-of-seven.
Nick (St. Louis)
As time goes on it is looking more and more like Perron and McDonald aren't going to be back for a while. And with Oshie out at least until March do you think the Blues can stay in playoff contention until these guys get healthy or do you think Armstrong will need to make a move? And when it is all said and done, do you think the Blues will make the playoffs?
Scott Burnside (4:22 PM)
Nick; The injury picture isn't very pretty in St. Louis right now but not sure the Blues are in any position to do much about it. They don't have a lot of money to spend given their internal budget and spending money now complicates matters when those players you mentioned return so I expect they'll try and muddle through with call-ups and hope to stay close. They are only two points out right now and I think they'll sneak in.
Burnside, do you see any chance the Leafs are competitive to finish out the season and next season?
Scott Burnside (4:23 PM)
Chris; I think this is an interesting little road trip they're on now. They have wins over three good teams in the last 10 days or so (Boston, Montreal and Washington) now can they sustain any of that? Honestly I doubt it. Still too talent-challenged up front.
Jason (Long Island, NY)
Name some of the most underrated players that most casual fans wouldn't know about. Obviously we know about Crosby, Ovechkin, Stamkos, etc
Scott Burnside (4:27 PM)
Jason; Well, James Neal is having a great year for a surprising Dallas team. Am a big fan of Stephane Robidas, too, on the Stars' blue line. Dan Cleary is often overlooked in Detroit but he's a big part of that secondary offense in Motown. Rene Bourque is a guy few people give much credit to in part because the Flames are so bad but his point/goal per game numbers are impressive. How about Brian Boyle in New York. He has more goals than Ryan Getzlaf, Henrik Zetterberg and Teemu Selanne.
Could this Isles team be one of the worst all-time?
Scott Burnside (4:31 PM)
Tony; That is a fair question. Just looking at their point totals and my rudimentary math has this year's team on pace for about 45 points. Even if they were in the 50-point range given the three-point games on the schedule that would certainly qualify them as one of the worst ever. Given how they are run the Islanders are getting exactly what they deserve. Sadly the fans deserve a lot better than that. Not that Charles Wang or Garth Snow seem to care much about what fans want.
mike (Walnut creek)
Scott, what division is better, pacific or central? both are filled with teams that have well over .500 records...
Scott Burnside (4:32 PM)
mike; Right now I think the Pacific is the best division, top to bottom, in hockey. St. Louis and Columbus have fallen off the pace in the Central but it's not beyond the realm of possibility that all five Pacific teams could be in the playoffs.
Doughty had a huge game last night. How many more games like that till the voters realize he is Norris worhty?
Scott Burnside (4:35 PM)
Ross; You are right about Doughty and it's nice to see after a slow start thanks to injury. He'll have to go a ways before he catches up to guys like Nik Lidstrom, Dustin Byfuglien and Kris Letang along with Chris Pronger. But a strong second-half surge by the Kings will go a long way to getting back on the ballot.
Loving having a Thrashers team that I can be proud of...have you heard whether Pavelec credits his work with Clint Malarchuk for some of his success? Do you think it is just a matter of coming into his own at this point? On a separate topic, is there any openness amongst GM's and league officials to expanding the 4x4 OT to 10 minutes? Love that format and would love to see it lengthended. I think 3x3 would feel more gimmicky than the SO.
Scott Burnside (4:37 PM)
Tom; Pavelec is a great story. Haven't spoken to him in awhile so don't know where Malarchuk fits into his evolution. Did talk to someone who knows him and credits simple maturity for helping overcome some of his consistency problems of last year. He's in better shape, realized the work that needs to go into being an NHLer. Not rocket science but it looks like Pavelec has found that groove that teams need from their starters.
Does Osgood get in the Hall of Fame as a player, journalist or not at all?
Scott Burnside (4:40 PM)
Jason; If he goes in as a journalist he'll have to put on a shirt that's for sure. He's interesting when you consider he's one more win in '09 away from being a four-time Cup winner. He is 10th right now on the all-time wins chart and will likely finish in the top four or five before he retires. How do you not put him in? Still I know there will be a lot of resistance given that he was never a 'dominant' player at his position. I would give him the nod over, say, Curtis Joseph who is 4th right now.
The feature on Lidstrom was great today but nobody would actually rank him. Where exactly would you rank him among NHL defensemen all-time?
Scott Burnside (4:40 PM)
Jeffrey; I'll put him at two behind Orr in my list.
Who belongs in the Allstar game? Ilya Kovalchuk of the Devils, or Brian Boyle of the Rangers?
Scott Burnside (4:42 PM)
Neal; Well, that's a bit of a trick question. 'Deserve' and 'All-Star Game' are rarely used in the same sentence. I think it's safe to say neither would be in my All-Star Game. With all due respect to Mr. Boyle who is having a fine season.
I thought that since the Blackhawks still had their core in tact they would still be the class of the Western conference. That is obviously not the case as they really lost the heart and soul of their team. can they redefine themselves and remain a contender?
Scott Burnside (4:43 PM)
joe; Well, it has been a bit of a rough ride, no? No Kane, no Hossa and Marty Turco playing like a bag of hammers. Duncan Keith off the rails a bit. Still, I think this is a team that can right itself. Some of the kids are getting a taste of responsibility and I think by playoff time they'll still be a force.
Am I the only one who sees PK Subban as an incredible physical talent who needs A LOT of work on understanding how to become a defenseman? He seems lost in his own zone a lot of the time, does he deserve all the attention being paid to him right now or is that more of a byproduct of his potential/attitude?
Scott Burnside (4:45 PM)
Brian; I was in Montreal last spring when the fans began cheering PK, PK in his first playoff game. Weird. A great talent in the making but you are right he has a lot to learn about the game. I still love his attitude, his zest for life, his reluctance to be forced into the tiny box most rookies are kept in by their coaches and teammates.
Pens or Flyers tonight?
Scott Burnside (4:46 PM)
KJ; Pens to keep the streak alive, Crosby, too. In overtime though. Should be a great tilt.
michael (Santa Barbara )
Hey Scott, who was more valuable to the redwings, Datsyuk or Federov in their prime?
Scott Burnside (4:49 PM)
michael; Interesting question. Fedorov was such a multi-talented guy at his prime. Did it all very much like Datsyuk. I think Fedorov's flamboyant personality sometimes got in the way of his legacy. Not his fault. Datsyuk is the opposite. Would be happy not saying 'boo' from Game 1 to the end of each season. Both great two-way players, though, and both with a really high compete level. Fedorov played behind Yzerman and Shanahan while Datsyuk in some ways plays in the shadow of Zetterberg and Lidstrom so very similar in that sense.
Jeff (ann arbor)
You spoke about the most underrated players in the NHL. Who do you think are some overrated players in the NHL?
Scott Burnside (4:51 PM)
Jeff; Usually we talk over-rated in terms of production versus salary which sometimes isn't fair but in a salary cap it is what it is. So Kovalchuk goes to the top of the list. I must admit I've always felt Roberto Luongo has been over-sold given his lack of playoff production. Olli Jokinen would have been near the top of my list for his career body of work (or lack thereof). Alex Kovalev is getting a lot of dough for doing precious little in Ottawa. Jay Bouwmeester likewise in Calgary. Scott Gomez is another.
Is John Tavares a bust as a #1 pick? I realize it is still very early and he is a solid player. But he hasn't seemed to make the impact of other recent #1 selections.
Scott Burnside (4:54 PM)
Steve; I think it's too early to tell and given the junk with which he's been surrounded I'm not sure if there's any way to accurately assess where he's at in his development. Shame, too, as he is a good kid and like Isles' fans deserves better than that (well, I mean, he is getting paid handsomely but in terms of work environment.)
Hi Scott- How great was that Avs/Hawks game last night? 100 points for Duchene this year?
Scott Burnside (4:56 PM)
B-Diddy; Well he'll have to get going as he's on pace for 82 points. Still, if he's a point a game guy the Avs will take that I'm pretty sure. And yes, that was a good one, love that the Avs didn't fold when the Blackhawks took the lead. Gritty bunch there playing for Joe Sacco.
sctvfan (washington state)
when will Malkin becomea 'healthy scratch' -- come on pittsburgh..is he really 'injured'????
Scott Burnside (4:57 PM)
sctv; My sense is he's pretty banged up. I think he's expecting to play tonight.
Ryan (Germantown, MD)
Do you think the return of Drury will have a big impact for the Rangers?
Scott Burnside (4:59 PM)
Ryan; I expect Drury's return to the line-up to have a more subtle impact. He's not likely going to play top-six minutes up front. But he'll help out with the penalty kill and he remains the consummate pro/teammate even if he hasn't put up the offensive numbers fans (and no doubt management) expected when they signed him. He's the kind of guy that can make a difference in a playoff series, though, so I'm sure John Tortorella is happy to have him back on the ice.
Scott Burnside (5:00 PM)
Okay folks, thanks for dropping by. Let's do it again next week. Stay warm.