Chat with EJ Hradek
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, 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 Friday at 3 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (3:06 PM)
EJ is here!
Do you see the Bruins first line being more effective in the Flyers series now that they are playing a team they matchup better against? (I mean a bigger physical team as opposed to a speedy smaller team)
EJ Hradek (3:07 PM)
I think they better be. Lucic had two assists and no goals. Lucic and David, those two guys have to provide better offense. They're two important top six forwards on the team. If they're not better in this round, the Bruins have no chance in my mind.
Has there any coach who does so well in the regular season, yet has little to no success in the playoffs as Jaques Martin? Is the speed only with small diving players a recipe for an early playoff exit?
EJ Hradek (3:08 PM)
When you look at last year, he got to the conference final. That's three rounds deep. At the end of the day, you have to have the horses. Scotty Bowman once said that it pays to get on the right bus. The team with the best players wins. I'll tell you this, I think Martin is not the most dynamic guy to listen to as a media member, but he's a pretty sharp technician.
what did you think of the Hawks?
EJ Hradek (3:09 PM)
I thought it was a great comeback by the Hawks. I thought they played terrific over the last 3-4 games of the series. It's unfortunate that they didn't find their game sooner in the series. I think they showed a lot of character in how they continued to fight. They have a real good hockey team there in Chicago. With less upheavel on their roster, they'll contend again next year.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who do you think will be in the Stanley Cup Finals This Season?
EJ Hradek (3:11 PM)
I'll tell you this: certainly Vancouver dodged a bullet. They've set themselves up to maybe push forward. I think Detroit did themselves a great service by sweeping their first series. Those two teams have put themselves in a great spot. I'm worried about San Jose. That's a negative for them. In the East, I like how the Capitals were playing in the second half of the season. Philly-Boston will be a real battle. Right now, after that long-winded response. I will say Washington still looks like the team to me and in the West, I like Detroit.
Do you think it's more that Luongo has lost confidence, or that the Canucks have simply lost faith in their goaltender? It seems like when he plays, the Canucks play differently than the game that Schneider started. Or was it just a bad couple of games and Lou will come out ready to play today?
EJ Hradek (3:12 PM)
I think it was a combination of things. The Blackhawks really upped their game and that was a part of it as well.
EJ Hradek (3:13 PM)
I think the Canucks got complacent. To their credit they were able and the coaching staff was able to get back on track. In previous years, when that happened, they just got off the tracks and couldn't get it back.
how much should detroit fear san jose?
EJ Hradek (3:15 PM)
They should definitely fear them. They should respect them. They would be foolish not to respect them. I'm sure they do. Knowing the Red Wings as we do, they're a competitive group. I think it will be a great series. At the end of the day, it will come down to the two goalies.
EJ, the last few years, the NHL must have loved how the Cup finals ended with the great matchups they had. What would be the ideal matchup from their point of view do you think?
EJ Hradek (3:17 PM)
If you're just talking about trying to create a large TV audience, you go with the largest markets. Philly and Boston in the East, those are the two big markets. On the flip side, Detroit and that area. If San Jose advances, that brings in the Bay Area.
What does the Lightning have to do to beat the Caps?
EJ Hradek (3:17 PM)
Roloson is going to have to continue to play well. They'll have to continue to play their game, which is a conservative, trapping game. If that happens, they'll have an excellent chance to win the series.
EJ Hradek (3:18 PM)
Thanks for the questions. Sorry I had to be short today. Busy day. We'll talk to you next week.