Chat with Barry Melrose
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, 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 Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:00 PM)
Barry is here!
Buzzmaster (1:02 PM)
Hang on folks, Barry is here, but he's checking into his hotel. We're going to give him 10 minutes to get settled before we start the chat!
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Did Ovechkin owe it to the fans who support him to play in the All Star Game regardless of how he felt about the suspension handed down by the league? Will this guy ever get it?
Barry Melrose (1:12 PM)
Yes I do. I think he should have went. The one year Crosby was hurt, he still went. Here is the guy that's one of the most recognizable players in the sport, one of the most popular players. I felt he did owe it to the fans and the NHL to be in Ottawa.
Hi Barry! Watching the all star game one of the standouts was John Tavares. What do you think his ceiling is?
Barry Melrose (1:12 PM)
John's a great player. If he's on a contending team, put him in Chicago or New York, we're talking about a guy getting publicity as one of the best in our sport. Great offensive talent. Hopefully someday the Islanders get back to prominence and people start paying attention. He's a great offensive player.
Bill (St. Louis)
Hey Barry, with the next half of the season having the Blues on the road alot including a stretch of 13 times in 16 games, do you feel the Blues can remain in contention right where their at?
Barry Melrose (1:13 PM)
Obviously, they're not going to have the record on the road as they do have home. But the way they're winning at home, they can have a .500 road record. If you can do that, you're one of the better teams in the NHL. I don't think there's any reason to think they can't.
Michael C. (Westport, CT)
Shouldn't Martin Brodeur call it a career? He has become a very average goalie. Nobody 40 years old can have the quickness and reflexes of a 25-year-old. He's done it all, and it's sad to see him ranked as one of the worst NHL goalies percentage-wise. Your thoughts?
Barry Melrose (1:15 PM)
I think that's going to be a deicision that Marty's going to have to go over. They haven't had a great team. I agree, I never like to see great players keep playing and turn into average players. I dont want my last memory of Marty to see him giving up two soft goals. But if his talents are slipping, I don't like to see superstars continue playing for the sake of playing.
Rich (New Jersey)
In the East there is the Rangers (66 points) and Bruins (64) and out West there's Red Wings (67 points) and 5 teams with 60 or more points. Who do you see with the best overall record after the second half is finished?
Barry Melrose (1:16 PM)
You know what, I wouldn't be surprised if it's Vancouver. You've got the great Rangers division in the East. Those four teams will be beating each other up. I think it will be a team on the outside of those teams that will end up with first overall in the NHL.
Lots of love for the Blackhawks this season which is great to hear being a fan but...do you still hold onto your prediction even though the hawks wont be making any drastic changes to the lineup? It appears that their main targets before the deadline might have been locked up
Barry Melrose (1:17 PM)
I think they'll tinker with the lineup. I think everyone would like to have some more. I like the Blackhawks a lot. They're not a great defensive team right now. They'll start concentrating on goals against. If you matchup lineups in the NHL, there aren't many teams better 1-10. I think they'll be playing for the Cup come June.
myrtle beach south carolina [via mobile]
what is the problem with the sabres. goaltending or other underlying issues. thank you. richard..formally of buffalo
Barry Melrose (1:18 PM)
I think there are more issues. Too many things are going wrong there. Miller has not been himself in net, but there are other guys in 'net. A lot of guys have gone backwards this year. I don't think the answer is simple to say that Miller hasn't had a good year and that's it. The layers will come off of this as the season goes by.
Your first NHL Goal. Lets hear about it.
Barry Melrose (1:19 PM)
I remember my first pro goal very well. I was playing for Cincinnati in the WHA. I scored against Edmonton. I remember, because Louie shot the puck into the crowd after I scored. I never got the puck. My first NHL goal was against Pittsburgh. I do remember most of the goals I scored.
Can Ilya turn it around for the Flyers or are we going to have to go through this whole song and dance again about who should man the nets in the playoffs with him and Bob?
Barry Melrose (1:20 PM)
If we're doing that come playoff time for the Flyers again, it will be a disaster. Ilya has had almost half the season to turn it around. His record is good because Philly scores so many goals. Some other guy needs to be that goalie. Bryzgalov and that contract, you hope he's the one to come to the forefront.
nick (massachusettes )
whats your take on ottawa?
Barry Melrose (1:21 PM)
Surprising team. Never thought it would be this good. Career years from some guys. Spezza is rejuvenated. They're doing it the right way. They've opened up their system a little bit.
John (Berrien Springs Michigan)
Do the Sharks need to make a move for weber or Suter to contend or are they fine where they are at?
Barry Melrose (1:22 PM)
Everybody's wish list includes Weber and Suter. They'll probably be $7-8 million contracts. Certainly those guys will be mentioned the most come trade deadline.
John Skinner (Michigan)
Hey Barry, what are the Wings chances in the west do you think?
Barry Melrose (1:23 PM)
If they can continue to play the way they are, they're as good as anybody. Howard is superb. Datsyuk is as good as anyone in the NHL. They've gotten a lot of use out of their 3-4 lines. They're as good as any in the NHL.
Jeff (St Paul, MN)
Barry, what do you think of the Pens playoff chances without Crosby? They are 10-0-1 when Letang, Orpik, Martin and Michalek are in the lineup together, so it seems like they have a chance if they can otherwise stay healthy.
Barry Melrose (1:24 PM)
They're still a very good team. You look at what happened last year, they were a goal away from the Eastern Finals. The way Malkin is playing. Fleury is playing the best year he's ever had. Even without Crosby they're an excellent hockey club.
Michael D. (Staten Island , NY)
The Rangers 1st half has been a memorable one. Can they sustain this pace right on through the 2nd half and into the playoffs and are they a definite contender for the Stanley Cup right now?
Barry Melrose (1:25 PM)
Yes. I see no reason unless they get a ton of injuries. The goaltender is still great. They eliminate the other teams chances. It's a simple formula.
Caps fan (DC)
Will the Capitals ever win the Stanley Cup and is Alex Ovechkin still great?
Barry Melrose (1:26 PM)
His offensive numbers still aren't as good. He's not scoring 50-60 goals any more. He's changed that way. Washington is following the new style of play. They look like they'll make the playoffs now. Right now, whether it's the new system or whatever, Ovechkin isn't the same player he was two years ago. Hopefully he can find that because the NHL is better when he's scoring SportsCenter goals every night.
Marc (Malden, MA)
What do you think the Bruins do next year, when they have Krecji/Bergeron/Kelly (after they resign him) and Tyler Seguin ready to be the #1 Center?
Barry Melrose (1:28 PM)
The Bruins are built to be good for a number of years. They are young. The only older player they have is Thomas and he looks like he can play for a couple more years. The future looks bright. What they've created in Boston is free agents want to come there too. This is as good a time to be a Bruins fan since probably the late 60s, early 70s.
Richard (Greensboro, NC)
Do you like the Gleason extension by Rutherford? As a Canes fan I'm glad to see them continuing to try to contend in the near future instead of trying to blow things up and start over.
Barry Melrose (1:28 PM)
Yeah, I do. I like Gleason. He plays hard every night. He's a hard guy to find. I don't think Carolina is at the point they can get rid of all of their good players because they're losing. They need guys to rebuild with.
Ben (San Jose)
Is this year the best shot for Thornton/Marleau/Boyle to win a cup with the Sharks?
Barry Melrose (1:29 PM)
No, because there are so many other good teams. I think their best shots were a few years ago when they were winning the President's Trophy. I can't remember a time when there were so many good teams in the Western Conference.
Kelly (Huntsville, AL)
Do you think Suter will be traded and if so where to?
Barry Melrose (1:30 PM)
I think if the Predators feel they won't be able to sign him, they have to trade him. They can't let him walk. He's a guy they get draft picks for. They have to take a shot at it. If it works, great, if not, they have to cut their losses and get something back for him.
Kelly (Huntsville, AL)
Do you think the Avs will make the playoffs?
Barry Melrose (1:31 PM)
I would say probably not. I think they will come up a little short. They're young yet. They had a losing streak earlier in the year. That will cost them. I think they miss by a few points.
Mike (New York)
Will the Rangers and Bruins be buyers at the deadline while both fighting for position at the top of the east? And if so who are some of the targets?
Barry Melrose (1:32 PM)
Definitely. Not big moves. Everyone would like to have another defenseman or forward. But there will be so many teams out there trying to make deals. And you have to make sure you don't overpay. Boston and New York are trying to do things. I think it will happen sooner rather than later. It could happen any time now.
Kevin (Los Angeles)
Will the Kings put it together and start scoring the goals this roster is easily capable of? What is wrong with Dustin Penner (clearly not his sense of humor)?
Barry Melrose (1:33 PM)
I would say they should be able to, but they haven't done it all year long. I don't know what will happen to let them start scoring. That team has talent. They have a lot of skill. When you look at a team's top ten players, LA's players, they've got as good a top ten as any in hockey. It's an interesting situation that they don't have more on the board.
Rick Runge (St. Louis)
Can the Blues beat the Red Wings, or Blackhawks in a 7 game series with the offense they have now, or are we looking at another classic Blues team that's really good but can't pull the trigger in the playoffs. "The Cubs of Hockey=The St. Louis Blues"
Barry Melrose (1:34 PM)
Yeah. I've watched St. Louis play those teams recently. They lost to Detroit, but they played them tough. It starts with goaltending. St. Louis' goaltending has been good. If you're in it, you can win it.
johnie (New Jersey)
Who is your pick for the Vezina and Hart Trophies this season? Is it safe to say lundqvist and Malkin?
Barry Melrose (1:35 PM)
I probably would agree with you, depending on what happens the second part of the season. Lundqvist, Howard, Thomas are all in contention. Chara, Malkin, Toews are there as well.
Barry Melrose (1:36 PM)
I hope everyone enjoyed the all-star game. It was a lot of fun, a good event. Hopefully we'll have a great finish!