Chat with Barry Melrose
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN NHL analyst Barry Melrose will drop by to take your questions about the NHL season.
Melrose re-joined ESPN after coaching the Tampa Bay Lightning for the first part of the 2008-09 season. He first started with ESPN after coaching the Los Angeles Kings to the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals and was a commentator on ESPN and ABC since 1995. Melrose made his NHL debut with the Winnipeg Jets in 1979. A defenseman, he played for the Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings before retiring after the 1986 season.
Send your questions now and join Barry Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Barry Melrose (1:01 PM)
I'm a Ranger fan and not happy about the Avery callup. Your thoughts?
Barry Melrose (1:02 PM)
I'm going to wait and see if he plays or how much he plays. A month ago he wasn't good enough so now he's good enough to change your team? Doesn't make much sense. I agree, it's not a thing that makes a lot of sense.
Joshua Sung (Washington, D.C.)
Hey Barry,So the Capitals pulled a comeback yesterday against Anaheim. Then they rallied back and won the game in overtime. I saw Ovechkin not playing in the final minutes of regulation. He looked upset then he played in OT and helped the Caps win. Because Boudreau sent a message to Ovechkin to how he played that day. How do you rate Boudreau's performance near the end of regulation? I thought he was genius in doing it though. Also what do you think of the relationship between Boudreau and Ovechkin after the game?
Barry Melrose (1:03 PM)
Obviously Bruce wasn't happy with something Ovi had done during the game. You could see them talking on the bench. Bruce got his message across that even great players have to do what they are told. He put Ovi back out there to redeem himself and he did. As a coach it worked perfectly. Bruce got everything he wanted. Smart coaching.
Barry Melrose (1:04 PM)
If they hadn't won the players still would have respected him I think in that situation.
Ryan (Chicago) [via mobile]
Teemu Selanne is off to another great start and looks like he can continue playing for another 3 years. Where does he rank in your all time greats?
Barry Melrose (1:05 PM)
If you look at his goals, determing how much longer he plays, he is really climbing the ladder. He will be near the top. You have to look at him as one of the greatest to ever play. He is still a great skater and had a great shot. I agree he could play beyond this year for sure. He is a freak of nature.
Patrick (NH (Day 5 no power))
What's more surprising? Joe Thorton calling the Rangers "soft" after they beat the Sharks 5-2 or Tortorella's response saying Joe has never won anything?
Barry Melrose (1:06 PM)
Definitely Thornton's statement. It's very uncharactarestic for him to say anything at all, especially after a loss and to rip the other team. It caugh Tort by surprise as well I think.
I'm not sold on Corey Crawford, do you ever see him being an elite goalie in the NHL?
Barry Melrose (1:07 PM)
I don't know if elite is the answer. But he will be solid. If you are looking at elite, who do you put in that category? Luongo came close to a Cup but he's not really elite. Tim Thomas? Price? Quick? I'm not sure. Crawford is a solid goaltender. Time will tell how much he wins and that will decide if he is elite.
Why don't the Rangers try to pry Penner from LA? Wouldn't he be a good fit with them as a big grinding forward that plays in front and can SCORE?
Barry Melrose (1:07 PM)
He makes a lot of money and the Rangers have no cap room. They would have to move a couple guys probably to get him. Unless they can get more cap room, they just don't have the space for him.
Can the Blackhawks keep up their current pace with their abysmal power play production? Should we be concerned with how ineffective they have been at up to this point in the season?
Barry Melrose (1:08 PM)
Yes, they can. They will get the PP going. Too much talent not to. They are the most talented team in the NHL. They should be fighting for the Cup this year.
Ryan (Saginaw, MI)
Why can't Detroit score?
Barry Melrose (1:09 PM)
Great hockey town, Saginaw! It is amazing. They are struggling bad. Datsuk has 8 points. -5. They have more goals against than what they have scored and I can't remember the last time that happened. They are taking bad penalties which is uncharacteristic. History shows they will bounce back. It's funny to watch right now, though. Not the Red Wings we are used to.
Don (Great Lakes Naval Base, IL)
With the NBA lock-out going on, are there any plans for the NHL to take advantage of being the only pro sports league playing Tuesday-Saturday and try and get put national games on NBC?
Barry Melrose (1:11 PM)
I think the NHL will take very advantage they can. I saw Bettman interviewed before the season and he doesn't think there is much carryover between people who watch NBA and NHL. There is room to bring the casual fan over but I don't expect a big turnaround. What could happen ... if ESPN gets more hockey coverage on with the lack of NBA highlights.. I'm hoping to see that. That's a benefit that could come.
How ridiculous was Jeff Skinner's first goal last night?!?
Barry Melrose (1:12 PM)
The kid is great. The second goal was a highlight goal as well. He is tenacious, courageous, very skilled, just a great young player.
What did you think of Minnesota's OT goal last night? I thought a penalty should have been called but still dont think detroit deserved that one.
Barry Melrose (1:13 PM)
I don't know where you thought the penalty should have been called. Forsberg did that every shift 10 years ago. There was contact between Howard and Zett but Howard had hold of the stick. It was a good non-call. I agree the Franzen call was tick-tacky because there was contact with the defenseman also but I didn't see a penalty on this play.
Chad (Schenectady, NY)
Barry, Is Toronto legit this year or are they just riding a hot goalie and leading scorer?
Barry Melrose (1:14 PM)
If the goalie stays hot they are legit. He was great at the end of last year and no reason to think he will fall apart. Kessel off to a great start as well. They are playing better defensively. You have to think they are legit. But I don't think they will win the East. But a legit playoff team? Yes.
Adam Los Angeles [via mobile]
Do you think the Bruins have what it takes to turn it around this season, and do they need to make a move before the deadline?
Barry Melrose (1:15 PM)
I think they have the pieces to make the playoffs. They have basically the same team. A couple older players are gone. But they are still very good in net and have a good defense. Big, no huge, win last night. They should be going in the right direction now. Just a lot of great teams in the East.
Last I checked you can't throw your shoulder into the head of someone who didn't have the puck. And you know better than anyone that this isn't the same game it was 10 years ago. Penalties are different. Not saying it's right though
Barry Melrose (1:16 PM)
Yeah. We see it every game it seems there is a hit to the head. Some with suspensions and some not. The NHL should make it a black and white rule that any hit to the head is illegal. The onus has to be on the player without the puck. It's too tough to make these calls right now. It should be black and white and I think we will eventually get to that.
Where do you rank Marty Brodeur in your top 3 goalies of all-time?
Barry Melrose (1:17 PM)
You have to put him and Roy right up there. In any argument he has to be in that discussion.
Hi Barry, Nice to see the Wild win so many close games, but you cant count on late goals every game. Change coaches,change players same results. What is a wild fan to expect the rest of the year? Thanks
Barry Melrose (1:19 PM)
They need Koivu to score and he did so that is changing. He needs more than one goal a month. Heatley needs to put the puck in the net more. They have always been good defensively. They just don't have any room for error. Koivu has been bad news so far but hopefully he is turning it around.
matt (pittsbugh pa)
Barry i keep hearing november 11th is the date of crosbys return..any chance?
Barry Melrose (1:20 PM)
There is a chance he could play tomorrow. Who knows. The doctors have cleared him for contact. When he feels confident I'm sure he can go to the doctors and they will give him the green light. There is no set date but I just want to see him back. As long as Pittsburgh is winning they can keep him out. But anyone who loves hockey wants him back playing the sport.
Barry Melrose (1:20 PM)
I've seen that date mentioned as well but I've also seen about a half dozen other dates.
Barry, do you think Lindy Ruff is making a smart move by putting Leino on the Sabres' top line? I want to see him perform like he has in the past, but that line was really producing with Adam centering Vanek & the mayor of Pominville.
Barry Melrose (1:21 PM)
He's a new player. Buffalo has had an OK start but expected more. He's toying with things to see who works with Leino and who doesn't. Until you get on a real roll, coaches will contiue to make changes to find that perfect lineup.
Lou (San Francisco, CA)
After the Sharks recent road trip, finishing 5-1 (excluding Joe's comments), what are your thoughts on San Jose and their new additions?
Barry Melrose (1:22 PM)
The Sharks are one of the most talented teams in the NHL. They have everything. They should be fighting for first overall. That's just how they are. Five in a row isn't a surprise with this team. Would not surprise me at all if they are in the West finals.
sonny (los angeles)
Hey Barry I picked Quick to win the Vezina and so do you, do you still feel confident he will win?
Barry Melrose (1:23 PM)
The way he is playing right now, yes. He is unbelievable. LA has a heck of a team and his numbers are great. He's not playing a huge amount so fatigue shouldn't be a factor. His team doesn't let a lot through so he just has to stop the ones he is supposed to.
Brodeur is overrated. Not saying he wasn't good, but top-3? Helped greatly by the GREAT devils defense.
Barry Melrose (1:24 PM)
If you look at his numbers in the regular season he might be No. 1. His wins are fantastic, he has won Cups, he has done it all. Usually these arguments are decided by numbers and if you go by that he is top 3.
Marc (Malden, MA)
Is Krecji/Lucic enough to get Parise?
Barry Melrose (1:25 PM)
Hahaha. I think that would get you Parise. But, New Jersey is doing everything in their power to sign him to a longterm contract. The only way he becomes available is he tells NJ he simply won't sign with them.
Paul (Greenville, SC)
Hi Barry, what can the 'Canes coaches/gm do to get Staal going? He's been dragging out the gate. Do you see a trade coming?
Barry Melrose (1:26 PM)
No on the trade. I don't see that. It has been a tough start. It's surprising Carolina is a good as they are without him being a major factor. If Carolina has any playoff hopes, he has to pick up his offensive pace. When he's not scoring, he's playing good two-way hockey which is nice. But he is paid too much to be struggling this way.
Do you think Nashville will make the playoffs again? Peks is awesome but he cant score for them.
Barry Melrose (1:27 PM)
I do see them making it. They find a way. They are so good defensively and the goaltending is great. I cheer for them being such a small market. Gary Sutter ... what happens? He will be traded at the deadline. But I do see them making the playoffs.
Patrick Kane (Chicago)
This center thing is easy!
Barry Melrose (1:28 PM)
Center is easy when you have the puck. If Kane has the puck good things happen. He is climbing back up the scoring charts. Defensively center isn't as easy. He's not as big so can he win those physical battles by the net? Is he strong enough for that?
Any chance the Hockey Falls commercials come back? Those were gold.
Barry Melrose (1:29 PM)
Those were great. I don't think so. The advertising world seems to have a formula that commercials last 3-5 years and that's it. They know when to get out of them. I agree, they were fun to do and just looked awesome on TV.
What team makes the next big trade?
Barry Melrose (1:31 PM)
It's going to be a struggling team with high expectations. A team like Boston maybe but the win the other night was big. I don't see Columbus doing anyting other than firing the coach if things don't improve. Not a lot of high profile teams are struggling. In the West those teams are doing well. It might come down to not being able to sign a guy. I think Boston likes the way they have played of late so I don't expect much in the way of trades from them.Thanks for the questions! Enjoy the games tonight and all of you Northeasterners without power, I hope you get it back real soon! We'll talk again next week!