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)
Hello friends of the frozen surface. Welcome to another chance to kick around the game. Now, where were we?
Don (Miami, FL)
What in the wild wild world of sports happened in last night's Flyers-Panthers game? For one night, at least, it was the Panthers who looked like the Cup contender. Is there reason for optimism in South Beach?
Scott Burnside (4:05 PM)
Don; I think there is optimism. Even before last night if you looked at the Panthers' goal differential it was very respectable. That suggests good team defense and a team that seems to be in sync with its coach. Too many parts that don't really fit, still, but GM Dale Tallon will be shedding some of those parts by the trade deadline and then by July 1. Playoffs next year? I don't think it's out of the question.
Chris Osgood (Detroit, MI)
Will I get my 400th Burnie?
Scott Burnside (4:05 PM)
Chris; You should have had it the other night. But yes, you will. Soon, too, I think.
Lou N. (Easton, PA)
Hi Scott: How do you see the Flyers' goalie situation shaking out? Does Bobrovsky get sent down to the minors? Do they play Leighton for a few games to showcase him for a trade?
Scott Burnside (4:07 PM)
Lou; Delicate situation with the Flyer goaltending situation given how well Brian Boucher is playing. To me he has the best trade value and even that is modest given the marketplace. That said do you send Leighton down without giving him work at the NHL level and risk losing him on waivers? Bobrovsky has hit a bit of a wall which is also problematic. Do you send him down because you can or does that hurt his confidence? Not sure how it will all play out but it is adding some drama to an already interesting season in Philly.
Ryan Parker (Blueland)
What are your thoughts on the Russian Rocket Alexander Burmistrov and his rookie season?
Scott Burnside (4:08 PM)
Ryan; He's been a nice surprise pretty much like the entire Thrasher team. Want to see a bit more, though, to see if he's the real deal. But if he can keep up his level of play it adds another piece to what has turned out to be a surprisingly potent Thrasher offense.
Sean (Orange County, Ca.)
Any news on Paul Kariya? Could he possibly make a return to hockey this year? I'd sure love to see him finish his career back in Anaheim along side his old friend Teemu Selanne.
Scott Burnside (4:09 PM)
Sean; I think Kariya has already ruled out coming back this season with post-concussion issues. Next year? Selanne remains productive so could play one more but Kariya remains a question mark. He will only return if he can compete at 100% so I think it's possible we have, sadly, seen the last of Paul Kariya in the NHL.
Nucks/Wings biggest game of the year? Who ya got!
Scott Burnside (4:11 PM)
Brandon; It's a big one for sure. Like the way Vancouver is playing especially Ryan Kesler. But the Canucks play so poorly on the road relatively speaking that I have to go with the Wings to turn things around at the Joe.
Where does Evgeni Nabokov end up at the trade deadline or before? Caps? Lightning? Somewhere else?
Scott Burnside (4:12 PM)
Joe; Tough one. Nabokov would have to clear waivers before he could show up on an NHL roster so a team might have to overpay to ensure that didn't happen. But you don't want to pay too much for a guy who's coming in cold halfway through your season. With Mike Smith now on the shelf in Tampa the Bolts remain a definite possibility. But I don't think it's for sure Nabokov will end up anywhere this season.
Richard (Greensboro, NC)
What do the Hurricanes need to do to become better than a middle of the road team?
Scott Burnside (4:15 PM)
Richard; Well you know the 'Canes go in spurts and they are building to another one after making a surprise appearance in the '09 conference final. They are very young and need to mature both offensively and in terms of team defense. Still, of the teams currently outside the playoff bubble in the east I think the 'Canes are the only ones capable of jumping into the dance.
Scott, with as many as 10 NHL clubs up for sale as of this past weekend, does the league's plan to bring clubs back to previously failed markets (K.C,Winnipeg,Quebec) make as much sense as expanding or transferring clubs to Europe/Russia? I ask because the world economy had never been on such an even playing field as it is right now and it seems like the time to explore those uptapped sporting markets. Heck, even Donald Fehr says the European/Russian markets make more sense then reshuffling the deck again in North America.
Scott Burnside (4:17 PM)
Travis; Is this really Pierre LeBrun using a pseudonym? I understand the allure of the European market and I have no problem with the Premier games but the NHL will never have a team let alone a division across the Atlantic. I know the time difference isn't that much different than east to west coast in North America but the optics are completely different and the travel and time zone issues will make it a non-starter as far as I'm concerned.
Scott, who do you think will win the Pacific this year?
Scott Burnside (4:18 PM)
Ryan; I just filled in San Jose in pre-season out of habit but I love the way the Stars are making a run at the title. Can they keep up this level of play? If Kari Lehtonen stays healthy the division is theirs.
Brian (Berlin, CT)
Are the B's really this Bad?
Scott Burnside (4:19 PM)
Brian; No, I don't think they're as bad as they've looked the last couple of weeks. But I also don't think they are as good as people imagined early in the season when Tim Thomas won every single game. Not sure about the blue line and wonder about the 'go to' guy up front. Is there one? They are a playoff team in my mind but right now not much more than that.
i'm a huge Lindy Ruff fan, but do you think its time for both sides to part ways (assuming they let GM darcy regier go as well)?
Scott Burnside (4:21 PM)
kurt; It's been disappointing to see the decline of this team in such a short period of time. The first two years after the lockout and they were as fun a team to watch as any in the NHL. I think a lot will depend on new ownership. If the sale goes through as expected it's hard to imagine a new owner won't want to create a new dynamic in Buffalo. As good as Regier and Ruff have been for that franchise and the city I'm not sure a new coat of paint wouldn't be best for all concerned.
Mike (Rottenchester NY)
Hey Burnski, Seeing as how you are a die hard Sharks fan. Is Logan Couture your hero?
Scott Burnside (4:21 PM)
Mike; Love the Sharks and their annual display of grit and character come playoff time. But right now Couture would be number one on my Calder Trophy ballot. Kid has been terrific.
do you see the NHL expanding to 32 teams by the end of the decade? and if so what markets does the NHL want more teams in Canada or would they rather see teams in places like Houston, Las Vegas and Kansas City?
Scott Burnside (4:23 PM)
Parker; I think it will take a lot of work at stabilizing the franchises already in place; Atlanta, Long Island, Dallas to name three, before any discussion of expansion. Would the NHL like to expand, sure, it's found money for the current owners. Toronto would be tops on the list (or Southern Ontario however you want to describe it) with Winnipeg, Kansas and Quebec City in the mix assuming Quebec City can get an arena built.
JMH (Columbus, Oh)
After a fast start the Blue Jackets are falling on hard times again. What has happened to this team? Any news on potential moves? Or are we looking at another long winter here in Columbus?
Scott Burnside (4:25 PM)
JMH; I fall back on the old chestnut about goaltending being 75% of the game unless your goaltending is junk then it's 100% (I actually saw my friend Mark Spector at Sportsnet.ca write it more eloquently the other day). The Blue Jackets are living proof of this with Steve Mason falling apart at the seams - again - and the team with him. Don't see any quick fix solutions for this team although once again the lack of a blue chip center is an issue and the lack of foot speed along the blue line. No way this team makes the playoffs in my books.
Scott, Are we going to see any WJC coverage on espn.com this year? Thanks in advance. -Joe
Scott Burnside (4:26 PM)
Joe; Yes you should find some although I will confess both Pierre and I will be in Pittsburgh for Winter Classic and not in Buffalo. But don't you dare go anywhere else for hockey coverage.
At the end of the season can the Avs have 4 or more 20+ goal guys?
Scott Burnside (4:29 PM)
Harv; Assuming Milan Hejduk and Chris Stewart are able to get back in the line-up in a timely fashion they could have six or more. Terrific story, the Avs, leading the league in offense with an almost entirely homegrown line-up (with a couple of key free agents) and in spite of a spate of potentially crippling injuries to key offensive pieces. Kudos to Greg Sherman and Joe Sacco.
Jason (Columbus, Oh)
Hey Scott! I am going to Tim Horton's. Want anything?
Scott Burnside (4:29 PM)
Jason; Large double cream please. And some chocolate timbits.
Should Boudreau be fired? Bad language aside, he's given up...
Scott Burnside (4:31 PM)
Andrew; I may be soft on coaches but I think they deserve a good, long look in general. And given what Boudreau has done in Washington (notwithstanding last spring's collapse) and his willingness to try and adapt to get his team on track I think he deserves more leash. Wouldn't surprise me to see the Caps win 9 of 10 or something along those lines after big win against Ottawa Sunday.
Geard (Pittsburgh )
Is Sidney Crosby the mvp of the league this year ?
Scott Burnside (4:31 PM)
Geard; Right now he's the runaway Hart Trophy winner.
With the loss of Pronger and a horrible showing last night, is there cause for concern in Flyerdom?My gut instinct says no, but I'm curious of yours...Also- Isn't it time that we incorperate Lavy in the Jack Adams debate? I can't help think he got snubbed a little last year, but if the Flyers make a deep run, does he have a chance?Thanks for your time. Have a Merry Christmas...
Scott Burnside (4:35 PM)
Matt; Not sure Peter got snubbed given his team got into the playoffs on the last day of the season on a shootout (that's when voting takes place, late in the regular season). But he does deserve a ton of credit for last season and for his work this season. Yes, they'll miss Pronger and the goaltending situation is fluid but they remain in my books the best team in the NHL right now.
Jason (Long Island, NY)
Torts for coach of the year? I understand the argument he is coaching on a big market team, but are you telling me every time the award is given out it has to go to a team that isn't a big market. For what he's dealt with the injuries and the young talent, he's done a pretty good job minus the sudden outbursts here and there.
Scott Burnside (4:38 PM)
Jason; I am with you on this. I do think it's harder for coaches to win in a big market (the writers' don't vote on this sadly but this is my impression) as they generally have more resources. But Tortorella has done a masterful job getting maximum production out of young players and with a line-up that still lacks much depth down the middle.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Merry Christmas!!!! Where will be the Winter Classic be held at in 2012?
Scott Burnside (4:41 PM)
Chris; Thank you. Same to you. Next year? Hmm. It's going to be a great talking point. New York (specifically the Rangers) will be in the mix I would think. Maybe invite the Kings? And how about Denver and the exciting Avs? At some point I think the game will go to Detroit, too. How about Red Wings/Avs?
Brad Richards (Dallas)
Hey Scott! Am I going anywhere at the deadline? If I stay, what are our cup chances in the Big D? Can we bring back the cup for the first time since 99?
Scott Burnside (4:43 PM)
Brad; Big dilemma for GM Joe Nieuwendyk. I am guessing if Stars are where they are now, tops in their division with a good shot at winning at least a round Richards stays. Not sure Stars are ready for a Cup run, though, pretty tough competition in Detroit, Chicago and Vancouver for such a young team. And I am guessing the longer the run the more likely Richards is to stay.
Chris (Orange CA)
Who is your current pick for the Jack Adams award?
Scott Burnside (4:44 PM)
Chris; Right now I would go Craig Ramsay, Joe Sacco and John Tortorella.
Thrash (Atlanta, Ga)
What do I have to do to put more butts in the seats in Blueland(Phillips Arena)?
Scott Burnside (4:45 PM)
Thrash; Well, Rome wasn't built in a day although it didn't take long to burn it. The Thrashers are trying to reverse a decade of scorched earth. No playoff wins turns a lot of paying fans off. But the key is to continue with the current program. Good, exciting young team makes playoffs and maybe wins a round. Then do it again next year only better. And so on.
Andre (Plandome, NY)
Do you see Nelson Peltz purchasing the Islanders? It is time for the Islanders to legitimize that franchise and bring stability.
Scott Burnside (4:46 PM)
Andre; Worst franchise in the NHL by a country mile. Something has to give there and if it means a new owner, so be it. The sooner the better. And if it means a new owner and a new city, well, so be it as well.
Scott,With the penguins playing this good now. Where do you see them with a healthy Malkin and Stall? Can they get better?
Scott Burnside (4:48 PM)
Jon; I think Malkin (five points last night) seems to be getting in a groove which is crucial for those who see the Pens as Cup contenders. Staal is interesting in that he does so many little things. It's obviously going to take him awhile to get into some sort of groove but the Pens are being cautious about his return. No sense rushing him. But i see him floating between playing center on the second line and centering a third line maybe with a Matt Cooke and Mark Letestu or something like that.
i just checked and i have $354 to my name in my checking account. i'd gladly pay it all and survive on sugar packets from work until next payday to keep richards in dallas. no direspect to modano/hull, but richards/neal/eriksson is the best line dallas has ever had. amazing chemistry there.
Scott Burnside (4:49 PM)
tad; Let's hope it doesn't come to that. But it is a selfless thought.
B-Diddy (Munstoeville, WYO)
Winter Classic 2012 = Avs/Red Wings at Mile Hi. Out with the old, in with the new.
Scott Burnside (4:51 PM)
B-Diddy; I would be okay with that. The dilemma for the NHL is keeping the storylines for the Classic compelling. That means some teams will never get an invite. Just the way it is. But it is also important to include young, vibrant teams who have good stories to tell, like the Avs.
Should the Rangers trade Lundqvist to really expedite the rebuilding and get some high end prospects to pair with the good solid core they've been able to build?
Scott Burnside (4:53 PM)
Bob; That would seem a bit drastic to me.
Daniel (College Station, TX)
What, no love for Marc Crawford? Tell me where you predicted the Stars to finish, and look where they are now. If that doesn't scream Jack Adams award, I don't know what does.
Scott Burnside (4:54 PM)
Daniel; I had no idea Stars fans were so sensitive. But Crawford sure deserves credit especially after a pretty unimpressive start to his tenure in Dallas. Just isn't in my top three right now.
Mick (Harrisburg, PA)
Who wins the East?
Scott Burnside (4:55 PM)
Mick; Will stick with my pre-season picks; East seeds one through four; Pittsburgh, Washington, Boston and Philly in that order when the playoffs start (even though Philly will likely have more points than Boston and even Washington).
Caps vs Pens twice in 10 days...whats the split after the winter classic?
Scott Burnside (4:56 PM)
Paul; Hate to be a fence-sitter but figure they'll split those games. Like the Caps on Thursday to get out of their funk and the Pens to even it up at the Classic.
Glen Sather (NY, NY)
At the trade deadline, am I a buyer or a seller?
Scott Burnside (4:57 PM)
Glen; You'd like to buy but you won't have much room so I am guessing you will tinker and then take a run at Brad Richards on July 1.
Do you feel the Stars are legit? And do you think they could get a PPD or a Top 1/2 D at the Trade Deadline?
Scott Burnside (4:59 PM)
David; Yes, I do think they are legit. They have nice balance and explosiveness up front. I wonder about the blue line and their ability to stand up to the big boys in the west over seven games. But as long as Kari Lehtonen stays healthy they are full measure for being among the top teams in the conference.
Scott Burnside (5:00 PM)
Well folks, hope you all have a safe and happy holiday. I will be back next week on the eve of my departure for Pittsburgh. Look forward to catching up then. Until then.