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 3 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (3:01 PM)
We're getting Matthew!
Buzzmaster (3:02 PM)
Matthew got delayed. He'll be here in 15 minutes.
Matthew Barnaby (3:13 PM)
Nice to be out of the Connecticut snow. It's sunny out and I look forward to seeing a lot of great games tonight.
Do you think Alex Ovechkin can modify his game to pick up his scoring? Other D-men are playing him close and stopping his cuts to the middle. He has the speed to beat most everyone to the outside--what can he do to get back on track?
Matthew Barnaby (3:14 PM)
I think Ovechkin really has to commit to playing the way Alex can play. He will pick up his scoring, but the worst way to try to solve it is to stay on the ice too long. He needs to simplify his game.
Whats your prediction for the rest of the season for the Hurricanes? Lots of momentum right now behind young talent and the return of injured players.
Matthew Barnaby (3:15 PM)
They do. Staal is playing well. Cam Ward has been as good as any in the NHL. It rest on his shoulders, as they still aren't a very deep team. But Ward has played great.
How about that Ducks v Blues game last night? More of that, please.
Matthew Barnaby (3:16 PM)
I didn't stay up for the whole thing, but I did catch a lot of the highlights and caught the first two periods. Definitely a playoff atmosphere. Ryan has really come a long ways since being second fiddle to Crosby.
JR (San Jose,California) [via mobile]
Are the sharks still a contender to win the stanley cup?
Matthew Barnaby (3:17 PM)
I do not. I think the lack of productivity up front and lack of defense has taken them out of serious contention. Hey, we picked them for four straight years and have done nothing, so maybe this is what they've been waiting for.
Michael, Potsdam, NY [via mobile]
Matthew, do you think Milan Lucic deserved to be a part of the All-Star Team?
Matthew Barnaby (3:18 PM)
No. I think he's had a great year, but I don't put him in all-star category yet.
Matthew Barnaby (3:18 PM)
Although, having seen some of the names on the roster, he deserves it more than them.
Brittney Anderson (Los Angeles)
Do you still expect the LA Kings to make the playoffs, despite their recent skids and bad decisions on the ice?
Matthew Barnaby (3:19 PM)
I do. This is still a very good team. I look for them to maybe add another veteran come trade deadline. Everyone goes through a little bit of adversity, but I still think the Kings are better than some of the teams with 40 games remaining.
Jeremy (Dallas, Tx)
What are your thoughts on the Dallas Stars right now and do you see them winning the Pacific division?
Matthew Barnaby (3:20 PM)
This is a team that has surprised me all year long. I didn't even have them in the playoffs. I didn't think their D was deep enough and I thought they were too young. I also didn't know if Lehtonen would hold up, but he has impressed us all. I am going to say no.
Andrew (Midland, MI)
who do you think is the best team right now in the NHL?
Matthew Barnaby (3:21 PM)
Today, right now, I would say the Canucks. The forwards are awesome, maybe the best 1-2 punch with the Sedins. Solid on defense and Luongo finding his groove. When Detroit is healthy, this will be an epic showdown.
Wild Man (Minnesota)
Do you see the Wild ever rising to power and becoming a force?
Matthew Barnaby (3:22 PM)
Is it possible? Yes. But they do have a long way to go. They have a great captain and some good young talents. But they are years away from building a powerhouse. Great hockey market. I would love to see it there.
How do the Habs figure in to the playoff picture in the east? I feel like they are playing mediocre hockey as of late. Can Carey price continue to start an overwhelming majority of their games, without any sort of weardown?
Matthew Barnaby (3:23 PM)
I do see them sneaking into that 8 spot, or 7th. I think there is a huge disparity between the playoff teams and the non-playoff teams in the East. Price is in good shape and is thriving this year, being the No. 1 guy. Keep riding it until it bucks you off.
Jason (Long Island, NY)
Canucks v. Rangers tonight. Should I be worried as a Rangers fan? Canucks have been playing great hockey and with the youth/inexperience on the defense for the Rangers, I worry it won't be competitive.
Matthew Barnaby (3:25 PM)
I think it will be competitive, because you have a great goaltender. He's going to see over 30 shots and have to stop the best power play in the NHL. But the Rangers are finding a way to get it done, but this will be a tough task.
I was hoping the Preds would be able to make the playoffs this year - but it looks like they could end up a top four seed. Do you think they have enough to make it out of the first round for the first time ever?
Matthew Barnaby (3:26 PM)
Anything is possible. This is another one of those teams that not a lot of us picked to do well. For them, I'm going to say yes. They are very well coached and have two very good goalies, both who are, by the way, 8 feet tall.
JP (McLean, VA)
Are you excited by the possibility of a new Sabres' owner? As a broadcaster, I know you are sworn to like all 30 teams equally, but don't you think that Terry Pegula would be a good thing for the Sabres and for Buffalo in general?
Matthew Barnaby (3:27 PM)
I really am. He seems to be a fan and he has a ton of dough. Buffalo fans are some of the best fans out there and have never had a winner or someone really committed to putting money to building a winner. I think this will be a great fit for Pegula and Buffalo fans.
What are your thoughts on the restructuring of the All-Star game (team selection) and do you think this will become the staple for years to come?
Matthew Barnaby (3:28 PM)
I don't know what the future holds. There is a first time for everything, but I think Shanahan has done a great job of increasing the excitement of all-star games. I am intrigued. Most fans are intrigued and I think most players are too. I hope it's a success.
Ian (New York)
Do you think the Flyers should make any moves at the deadline or stand pat?
Matthew Barnaby (3:29 PM)
This is one of the few teams that I think can stand pat. Having watched them play a lot, they have great scoring, the best defensive core in the East and goaltending has been great on most nights. If it's an addition, it will be a depth player coming in.
Matthew, Colorado contendor or pretendor?
Matthew Barnaby (3:30 PM)
They've surprised me for two straight years. I love watching them play, I just don't know if it's possible for this group to keep scoring goals at the pace that they have. Goaltending to me is still a huge question mark, but why not fool me for another half year and make a run?
lets cut down to the main point... The penguins blue jerseys are wearing on me, and everyone i think. How do you feel about bringing back the old diagonal "PITTSBURGH" jerseys? Possibly the best jerseys in all of hockey, behind the habs.
Matthew Barnaby (3:32 PM)
I hated them, because every time I saw them, it seemed like Mario, Francis, Coffey were stepping on the ice and I was getting a minus. But I do love those jerseys. I also love the blue. Pittsburgh is a great sports town and very passionate about their teams.
Team dynamics are pretty fascinating. Hawks won the Cup last year and look like a completely different team this season. Gotta give (lamentably) credit to how Detroit runs their organization. For them to have a run that goes back to 1994ish is just insane.
Matthew Barnaby (3:33 PM)
It really is. You look at Ken Holland and what he's done there consistently, managing the cap, having players not try to break the bank every time they're up to play for a Cup contender, it's pretty amazing. They have great scouting and have found diamonds in the rough like no one else. A model for everyone to follow.
Ovechkin, Malkin, and Kovalchuk are all having awful seasons, is that remnants from losing in the Oylympics?
Matthew Barnaby (3:34 PM)
I don't. I think it's coincidence. Malkin has had some injuries. Ovechkin and Kovalchuk are just having off years. I can guarantee one thing, and this I promise, they will all rebound and score a TON of points for their teams in the coming years.
Eric (Holland, Pa)
What is the ceiling for this Rangers team? Can they come out of the East or is that unrealistic?
Matthew Barnaby (3:35 PM)
I think that's a little unrealistic. I've been impressed with what they've done this year, but I think the playoffs and maybe getting through a round of the playoffs is a much more realistic goal. They're still young up front and on the back end.
Blair (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
Why doesn't Henrik Zetterberg get even a fraction of the pub other NHL stars receive?
Matthew Barnaby (3:36 PM)
I think he's a quiet guy. But you're absolutely correct. He is a top 5 or 6 player in this league and does get the recognition, just maybe not from the casual fan.
Thoughts on the Pens? and is this the year where they raise the cup again?
Matthew Barnaby (3:37 PM)
It could be. Andre-Fleury has rebounded after not having a solid year last year and his confidence seems very very high. Crosby is the best player in the NHL, by far. Some great additions on defense. This team will challenge for a Cup run.
Charles (Taunton, MA)
I saw a fight of you and Zdeno Chara from when he was with the Senators on YouTube last night...who was the toughest fighter that you ever had to go to battle against?
Matthew Barnaby (3:38 PM)
I would say the toughest guy was Stu Griffin, because he was mean and punched really, really hard. Chara was tough and 6-7, 265, but he was a super nice guy, besides when he was beating the crap out of me.
What do you see for the Bolts the rest of the way? Are they a legitimate threat to win the Southeast, or do they need to make some moves?
Matthew Barnaby (3:40 PM)
Do I think they will make a move? Yes. I still think they will do some tinkering, but for the first time in years, Washington has some opposition. Those guys have done a great job in building a very good team and I think even more importantly, they have structure, not only on the ice but in the front office.
Matthew Barnaby (3:40 PM)
Next time everyone on this chat will be required to dig my car out of the snow. Enjoy your team. Good luck to you all. Talk to you soon.