Chat with Scott Burnside
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, 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 Monday at 2 p.m. ET!
Scott Burnside (2:00 PM)
Hello all. In Monterey, California, awaiting the start of the Board of Governors' meetings. So, where were we?
JimH (Miami, FL)
2 questions: How important is the Panthers/Caps game tonight? Could it be used as an indicator of the rest of the season or is it just another division game?Speaking of divisions, the latest realignment has FL and TAM in the same division (conference, whatever) with MON, OTT, and TOR. Does that nonsense actually have a chance at happening?
Scott Burnside (2:02 PM)
JimH; In the grand scheme of things a loss isn't as important for the Panthers as a win would be if that makes sense. A win would open up a seven-point lead over the Caps who are trying to win two in a row for the first time under Dale Hunter. Cats are banged up still but Clemmensen's return is helpful in spreading the workload with Jose Theodore. As for that potential alignment, yes, have heard those whispers and it could happen. Might even become a reality before the end of the day.
Scott, do you agree with Lindy Ruff that it has become 'open season' for goalies? Also, do you expect Shanahan to star in a new short film featuring Jordin Tootoo later today?
Scott Burnside (2:03 PM)
Alex; No, I just think it's open season on Ryan Miller (okay, just kidding). Goaltenders have always been the subject of a lot of abuse and I doubt it's any worse now than in the past. That said wouldn't be surprised to see Mr. Tootoo go to the suspension bin for a game or two.
Ice Ace (Alabama)
With the return of Reimer to go along with the good play of Kessel and Lupur, how far do the Maple Leafs go in the playoffs? Also, what do they need to improve their club? Will they go after Ryan even though the Ducks have changed coaches?
Scott Burnside (2:05 PM)
Ice Ace; How far will they go? Let's just get them there first, no? I'd like to see Reimer put together a few quality starts before we suggest the Leafs' goaltending situation is solidified. Also I think a little more offensive depth will be crucial to getting the Leafs to the post-season for the first time since the lockout.
Scott, do you think the flyers will make a trade for a defenseman while Pronger is out, and what do we have to give up? Thanks
Scott Burnside (2:06 PM)
Greg; Unless Pronger's recovery takes longer than anyone thinks I doubt if Paul Holmgren will make a move now. Closer to deadline, maybe, but he'll be cautious about moving some of his nice young assets unless it's a real eye-catcher.
Nate (Bristol, CT)
Scott, we got Bruins-Pens tonight, Bruins riding their streak and Pens riding the emotion of Crosby's return. The scary thing about the Bruins is that Tim Thomas has been better than last season, which I didn't think possible. The Kid didn't waste any time in his return and is on pace for over 100 points in only 62 games. Prediction for tonight? Do you see a Bruins-Pens conference finals, and if so, who wins?
Scott Burnside (2:07 PM)
Nate; Game of the night I think. Pens really miss Kris Letang especially on the power play so I wouldn't be surprised if the Bruins won again. That said I think this might very well be the conference final preview and assuming the return to health of the Pens' defensive corps I still think they win a seven-game set.
I've been pleasantly surprised by how much poise the Rangers seem to have. Is a top 4 spot attainable for them?
Scott Burnside (2:09 PM)
Alex; The Rangers are as good as I've seen them since the lockout and have a good shot at catching the Penguins for top spot in the Atlantic (they're three points back with four games in hand). They need to keep Gaborik healthy but otherwise I would be surprised if they're not a top four team when the dust clears in mid-April.
John (St. Louis)
Although the Blues had a rough weekend, David Perron looked stellar in his return to the ice. How do you think they will fare against Detroit?
Scott Burnside (2:10 PM)
John; Might be the game of the night part deux. Spoke to Ken Hitchcock in Washington last week and he's really got the Blues buying in and with Perron back that's another weapon for Hitchcock to use especially on the power play. This is the first real adversity the team has faced since Hitchcock took over but I doubt if they'll be off the rails for long.
Timmy G. (California)
Is Ovechkin ever going to get back to where he was 2 years ago? He still skates hard and all, is the luck just not going his way?
Scott Burnside (2:11 PM)
Timmy; I'm not sure it's a luck issue but rather teams defending him better and Ovechkin not really evolving in a way that allows him to take advantage of his enormous skill. Not sure we'll ever see the Hart Trophy Alex Ovechkin again which is more than a little sad.
Scott, what is wrong the Hawks penalty kill. No way they are going to the cup with the worst penalty kill.
Scott Burnside (2:13 PM)
Douglas; Weird, eh? Still can't quite get my head around how poorly they are on the PK. You almost wonder now if it's not as much a mental thing as a scheme thing for the 'Hawks now. They expect bad things to happen when they take a penalty. Good thing is Joel Quenneville is a smart guy and I wouldn't be surprised to see it turn around in the second half of the season. But you're right, hard to imagine winning a Cup playing like that.
To me the biggest thing Dallas is missing is a shut down defenseman. Even before the injuries I think they were too soft in their end and gave up way too many shots. Do you think there's any chance the new owner would go after Weber or Suter either in a trade or free agency in the off season?
Scott Burnside (2:15 PM)
Matt; When they were rolling that's what they were getting from Sheldon Souray. Big body, nasty, good reach. But somehow that seems to have evaporated from the Stars' game. Gaglardi has said he'll support the team which means going after players but to land the big fish you have to not just pay dollar and term but have an attractive team to entice top free agents. Not sure the Stars are there just yet.
Will the Bruins ever lose in regulation again?Kidding.But seriously, how good are these guys right now. And how big of a surprise has Chris Kelly been?
Scott Burnside (2:16 PM)
Mike; Peter Chiarelli deserves loads of praise for his moves last season as guys like Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly keep on giving (and he walked away from Tomas Kaberle who is now Carolina's problem). No doubt that swagger is back for the Bs. That game tonight should be dynamite.
Should we maybe pump the brakes on the idea of Kessel winning the Hart? Yes he leads the league in points, but he is currently a minus player, so as many points as he's putting in, he's on the ice for even more.
Scott Burnside (2:18 PM)
John; Not sure Kessel would be on my ballot of I had to vote now. But the guy shows no signs of slowing down which is a bit of a surprise and one of the main reasons the Leafs haven't fallen off the map like many (myself included) expected would happen after their strong start. And plus-minus is a stat that can sometimes make you look way better or way worse than you are defensively. Might be some of that with Kessel's numbers.
IF the caps continue to tailspin what are the chances a green,ovi,backstrom gets moved?
Scott Burnside (2:20 PM)
jeremy; Doubt if any major personnel changes will be made this season, not after firing Bruce Boudreau and installing Dale Hunter. GM George McPhee will let it play out for a few months and see what shakes down. Alexander Semin would be more likely to be moved than the big three. Now, if they miss the playoffs the off-season will mean some hard questions and at least one of those three, likely Green, could depart.
Matt (South Bend)
You've got the inside scoop, which one passes, the four division setup keeping Detroit with Chicago or the six division with Detroit going East?
Scott Burnside (2:21 PM)
Matt; Not sure my scoop is any more inside than anyone else's. My sense is the league would like to move to the four conference setup because it does more to alleivate more teams' issues. But it's not a done deal. Not yet. But it's important to note that Gary Bettman most often gets what he wants. And he wants four conferences.
I'm not sold on Corey Crawford as goaltender that can lead the Hawks to another Cup. I hear about getting more offense or a defenseman but they seem sold on Crawford. Any chance on acquiring a veteran goaltender, and if so, who?
Scott Burnside (2:23 PM)
Don; There doesn't seem to be much confidence in Ray Emery as a viable Plan B so you wonder if Stan Bowman will look to bulk up between the pipes. Just water cooler talk but what if the Devils continue to flounder and Martin Brodeur told Lou Lamoriello he'd like one more playoff run think he'd look okay in a Blackhawks' jersey? It would be weird but interesting to consider.
JoseLuis Miami [via mobile]
How far are the Panthers going this year?
Scott Burnside (2:24 PM)
JoseLuis; Well I liked them as a playoff team at the start of the season and if they can stay at the top of the Southeast that gives them a decent shot at winning at least a round given home ice and a softer opponent. Lots of guys on that roster with lots of playoff experience so that wouldn't or shouldn't be a factor. If they fall to the bottom of the bracket, though, I don't like their chances against a Boston, Pittsburgh, Rangers or Philly.
John Ksionska (Philadelphia)
Do you think Bobby Ryan is on the move? If so where to??Also Bryz finally got over the .9 save% make last game and his GAA is around 2.8 but still has a 10-5 record, do you think he will continue to tighten up his play only to lead to a legit Flyers SC contending team?
Scott Burnside (2:27 PM)
John; Don't think Bobby Ryan will be going anywhere soon. Trade deadline? Maybe, depending on how far out of it the Ducks are. And Bryzgalov will be fine at least until the playoffs. Still curious to see how he responds to post-season play given how poorly he played last year for Phoenix. The microscope is a whole lot more intense in Philly as he has already discovered. But if he's on he'll make the Flyers very difficult to beat.
matt h (narragansett RI) [via mobile]
How hard will it be for Bruce Boudreau to get his new players to buy into his coaching when he struggled to do so in Washington?
Scott Burnside (2:29 PM)
matt; I think the thing to remember is that his players did buy in, at least for awhile. Even when he changed styles last season they bought in and finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference. I think the Ducks will be happy to hear a new voice with all due respect to Randy Carlyle and Boudreau's in a good spot there.
scott, no doubt the penguins are great (and i think even better than the bruins when healthy) but their goaltending does worry me - even though andre-fluery has won a stanley cup i dont think he could beat tim thomas in a 7 game series.
Scott Burnside (2:30 PM)
charles; That would be a great tilt. Fleury's numbers over the last year (from this point last season to now) have been pretty darned good. That would be a battle royale, Fleury versus Thomas. And Fleury wouldn't need Thomas to pump his tires either.
Ruutu to Detroit is on rumor central today, which I really like and think makes sense. Would it only take draft picks and will we see trades before Christmas or aqre moves like this one likely to take place after New Years?
Scott Burnside (2:33 PM)
Josh; The 'Canes are looking to make moves and I think Jim Rutherford would make them as soon as he could and there's always a team or two that tries to get ahead of the curve by filling a hole early. As for Ruutu's value I would think a package that included a second or third round pick would do it given that Tuomo will be UFA in July.
Scott, I was at the Devils Wild game first time I have seen Parise play in person since his days with the Souix. Would love to see him in a Wild sweater what are the chances the Wild go after him at the trade deadline? I know there is interest, but how much?
Scott Burnside (2:35 PM)
Joe; Well there would be a certain symmetry to Parise returning to his roots with the Wild. Not sure, though, that Chuck Fletcher is going to upset his developmental plans by going after Parise at the deadline assuming the Devils try and move him if they're out of the playoff loop. Better chance Fletcher opens the vault in the off-season and tries to sign him then. Have to admit he would seem like a nice fit with Mike Yeo's style and talk about a boost for a long-suffering fan base.
Dan (NY) [via mobile]
If Marc Staal is able to return to season form by Febuary how good will that make the Rangers defense and do you think Torts will pair him back up with Giradi?
Scott Burnside (2:37 PM)
Dan; I think a lot will depend on how long it takes for Staal to get back into full form playing more than 20 minutes a night. Issue for John Tortorella will be disrupting guys who have meshed so nicely with Staal out of the line-up. Good news is that he will have all kinds of options once Staal is healthy.
Matt (State of Hockey)
Whats with the east coast bias on these power rankings? id like to hear your top five teams currently in the NHL.
Scott Burnside (2:38 PM)
Matt; You'll have to take that up with my good friend Pierre LeBrun. Next week you can harrangue me about them. Top five:Boston, New York Rangers, Detroit, Minnesota, Pittsburgh.
What happened with Mike Richards? How long will he be out?
Scott Burnside (2:39 PM)
Andy; Took a hard hit from Sean Bergenheim and is out indefinitely. Will be in L.A. later this week and hope to look in on him.
Scott, how legit are the Wild? Being from Minny and going through what has happened with all of our teams lately, I am waiting for the rug to be pulled out from under us. Is this talent legit or are we taking advantage of an easy schedule and relying too much on our goalie? Thanks
Scott Burnside (2:41 PM)
Darrin; No, I don't think the Wild's play is the product of smoke and mirrors. Getting great play out of a mostly low-profile blue line and the goaltending between Backstrom and Harding has been stellar. I wonder about the scoring and whether there's enough but they get timely goals from up and down the line-up just like all good teams do. I liked the Wild from the start to sneak into the playoffs. Didn't expect them to be sitting atop the NHL standings one-third of the way through the season that's for sure.
ted (cape cod)
Has anything been discussed about moving Phoenix to Quebec City?
Scott Burnside (2:42 PM)
ted; Yes, there's been some discussion/rumors about that. But the funding for a new NHL arena in the city hasn't been finalized. No way the NHL commits to going back to Quebec City until a shovel is in the ground.
Baxter (st loius) [via mobile]
Claude recently had to talk of the surplus of centers on Boston saying it was actually a good thing. I'd have to agree given how well they have been winning faceoffs, especially in the defensive zone and on penalty kill. Would you agree?
Scott Burnside (2:43 PM)
Baxter; Like defense, not sure you can have enough depth down the middle. Plus having a surplus of pivots makes them work harder on things like faceoffs to make sure they're gettin the ice time. Whatever Mr. Julien is doing there in Boston it's working like a charm.
Cam Ward to Chicago?
Scott Burnside (2:43 PM)
Don; Don't think so.
Jesse (California) [via mobile]
The Sharks seem somewhat inconsistent this regular season. What are the chances Todd Mclellan keeps his job if SJ doesn't make a deep run for the cup?
Scott Burnside (2:45 PM)
Jesse; Having taken the Sharks to back-to-back conference finals I think McLellean has a pretty long leash. Good coach. But the Sharks have been a bit up and down. Still not sure on the defense corps and whether it's Cup-worthy yet.
Ed, NY [via mobile]
As a Devils fan regardless, what are the chances of one their playoff hopes and two Parise staying? Also if NJ does make the playoffs does Debour have a shot at Jack Adams? I think hes a good fit! Thanks
Scott Burnside (2:47 PM)
Ed; Well the Devils will need more from their best players, Parise, Kovalchuk and Brodeur if they're going to vault back into the post-season. If they do, that certainly helps the chances of re-signing Parise. Still, I would be shocked if Parise doesn't test the free agent waters. This is his big shot at dictating his own path and with the Devils still evolving - even with top young talent like Henrique and Larsson - not sure it's enought to keep Parise in the fold. As for DeBoer and the Jack Adams. If the Devils make a strong run into the middle of the pack maybe.
Does Mike Smith have the skills to play this well all season? (Excluding the game he was pulled in of course!)
Scott Burnside (2:49 PM)
Adam; What's been encouraging if you're a Mike Smith fan (he's a great guy) is that he's been able to bounce back from soft performances. That's the mark of a good one. Credit to Sean Burke for getting maximum production from Smith. Bottom line is that he will have to be that good if the Coyotes are going to surprise again and be in the playoffs.
Patrick (Ithaca, N.Y.)
Has there ever been an NHL team so unwilling to stand up for their goaltender like Buffalo? What other team wouldn't have retaliated in some form at this point?
Scott Burnside (2:50 PM)
Patrick; I'm not a big fan of the whole retribution thing. But it is a bit curious that the Sabres' fallback position is to whine about things as opposed to doing something about it.
Chances Claude Giroux wins Hart and leads the Fly Guys to a Stanley Cup, if they can get/stay healthy that is?? What do you think is their biggest impediment to win it all, I mean they really can put the puck in the net regardless of who its against...
Scott Burnside (2:51 PM)
John; Giroux is definitely going to be a factor in the Hart voting if he keeps this level of play up into the second half of the season. I would say health will be a key for the Flyers (not that it's not a key for everyone but given Pronger's injuries and Jagr's groin and age etc. it's more of a talking point for the Flyers) as well as how Bryzgalov responds to the first playoff run in Philly.
Caps/Panthers tonight...who you got?
Scott Burnside (2:52 PM)
Phil; Caps in overtime. Neuvirth with back to back wins?
Timmy G. (California)
Does Iginla get traded this season and to where? Calgary should be in rebuild mode right now with Giordano out.
Scott Burnside (2:52 PM)
Timmy; GM Jay Feaster adamant this week that he wasn't trading Iginla. But I don't see how that team turns a corner without trading either Iginla or Kiprusoff or both.
Alright SB, now that it's Dec. do you see the Leafs holding steady in a 6-8 slot?
Scott Burnside (2:55 PM)
Chris; I'm not prepared to go that far just yet. I'd like to see them play better against quality opponents, something they've struggled with. And the penalty kill, 27th, has to be better for them to hang onto a playoff spot in my opinion.
Scott Burnside (2:55 PM)
Okay folks. Headed to Pebble Beach now to see what the governors have in store for us - and for you. Let's do it again next week.