Chat with Pierre LeBrun
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com NHL writer Pierre LeBrun will stop by to chat about the latest news from around the NHL.
Based in Toronto, LeBrun joined ESPN in September 2008 after spending 13 years with The Canadian Press as its national hockey columnist. LeBrun was also a contributor to Rogers Sportsnet and a regular contributor to TSN in Canada.
Send your questions now and join LeBrun Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Pierre LeBrun (1:58 PM)
Greetings from the home base in Toronto. Let's get it going.
Do you think LA will be active towards Trade Deadline? Do you think they will get a top-six wing? Could Jeff Carter be a possibility?Do they listen to offers for Jonathan Bernier?
Pierre LeBrun (2:00 PM)
I think the Kings would be willing to move for a top-six winger as long as it didn't cost them a huge futures package. They gave up a package for Dustin Penner last year and it didn't work out for them. On the other hand, GM Dean Lombardi knows his production on the wings for the top two lines isn't good enough to make a deep run... Like I said, I think he'll see what's out there and only act as long as it doesn't create a crater in their system
Bryan (Pullman, WA)
Hey Pierre, so once again the Wild are in need of a top 6 forward. Any chance they get someone this year? How about Jeff Carter? I would be willing to trade a young defensemen and either Backstrom or Harding for him. Good deal all around as the Blue Jackets are in need of a goalie.
Pierre LeBrun (2:01 PM)
When I chatted with Wild GM Chuck Fletcher two weeks ago, he said his priority was to add a top-six forward but he would not do it at the cost of making a terrible trade. So yes, he's trying to get a top-six forward, but not at any cost
What do you think about Mats Zuccarello Aasen? Does he still have a chance to play in the NHL? Are there any rumours regarding him? Which teams would he fit well in? I think Carolina, NYI or Florida.
Pierre LeBrun (2:01 PM)
Thank you for checking in from Noway but unfortunately I have zero new info on your man.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Even though You Cover NHL Hockey, Who do you think will win Super Bowl XLVI?
Pierre LeBrun (2:02 PM)
As a Cowboys fan, hoping for the Patriots to beat the Giants, LOL
Wayne (MA) [via mobile]
Who is more important to their teams success? Chara or Gaborik? And why?
Pierre LeBrun (2:03 PM)
Chara, not even close. The minutes he logs, his leadership, his physical presence, offensive production _ the man is going to either win the Norris this year or be runner-up to Weber.Gaborik has had a terrific season but he's more of a one-dimensial offensive force. He doesn't impact a game at all levels like Chara does.
Does Detroit have enough assests to trade for a Suter or Praise? What would a hypothetical trade look like? Thanks!
Pierre LeBrun (2:04 PM)
Well I know like many teams, the Wings covet both players. But I can't see them having a shot at either this season. It'll have to wait until the off-season when they'll have plenty of cap space to pursue both... they won't be alone, I think the Rangers also covet both and the list is long for teams that want a shot at either player come July 1...Devils GM Lou Lamoriello is tellings other GMs he's not going to move Parise.Suter? Harder to predict. My gut feeling is that Preds GM David Poile won't trade him, but even if he does, I can't imagine he'd move him within the Central Division
Hi Pierre - If you were in Peter Chiarelli's shoes, would you explore trading Tim Thomas this season and hand the goalie spot to Tuuka? Tuuka seems to be a future all star in net and any players or picks that TT would bring in could set the Bruins up long term. Thanks
Pierre LeBrun (2:06 PM)
John, I would not look to move him personally. But even if I were, I would wait until July when Thomas' NMC drops
Cody (Mankato, MN)
Hello Pierre, too bad this isn't Monday, otherwise this would have been an addition to your Monday Rants. 4-1 instantly turns 4-5 during the MN Wild vs NSH Preds, what in the... Why does this happen to all MN sports? I'm at a point now I just want to sell the whole team. Having Koivu, Latendresse, and Bouchard out is killing us, but we have a good group of guys that play the system well enough to not give up a 3 goal lead in the 3rd. Something has to change, NOW! I know Zidlicky is now on the block and all, but that's a hard contract to move. Can it be 2012-2013 season yet? Get some prospects in here, bring in Parise, and maybe a top tier defenseman. The State of Hockey deserves a cup. Thanks for listening.
Pierre LeBrun (2:07 PM)
Tough to take a loss like that for sure. They were already a fragile group, can't imagine what this will do... But not time to give up now, the Wild are still eighth in the West by a point. Still a legitimate shot at making the playoffs. As for July 1 _ I'd be shocked if the Wild didn't make a pitch for Parise
With the Penguins so deep on defense, will they look to move any blueliners?
Pierre LeBrun (2:08 PM)
Kristen, I don't know if they want to move a d-man or not but I do know that among the list of forwards they have on their shopping lists there's the names of Dominic Moore and Travis Moen... So from what I can gather I think they'd like to add a forward before Feb. 27
Rob Thompson (Detroit MI)
Pierre; Will the Stanley Cup return to Hockeytown this June?
Pierre LeBrun (2:09 PM)
If I knew that, I'd be a rich man in Vegas !
Ben (New Hampshire)
Montreal time to pull the plug and stop this hope and pony show. If they do, do they go 2nd round picks (aka currency of trade deadlines past) for Moen, Gill etc? or do they look for more prospects ala Bournival for OByrne? Does Kostitsyn survive?
Pierre LeBrun (2:10 PM)
If the Habs pull the plug you have to think Moen, Gill and Kostitsyn will all be gone unless the Habs have interest in re-signing any of them. Haven't heard that.
Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)
With the all-star break signifying roughly the end of the first half of the season, which off-season trade or signing do you think has worked out best this year? I would say Brad Richards in NY or Brian Campbell in FLA. What about worst? Kaberle in CAR and Leino in BUF were clunkers, but I think you have to go with Carter/Wisniewski in CBJ here.
Pierre LeBrun (2:11 PM)
I'd have to tip my hat to Paul Holmgren more than anyone _ having the guts to move Jeff Carter and Mike Richards because he believed Claude Giroux could elevate into a front-line role. He nailed that one
Do you think the LA Kings will make the playoffs? Have there been an improvement under Sutter?
Pierre LeBrun (2:12 PM)
yes and yes Kings playing with more confidence and purpose under Sutter. Goals still hard to come by but they're less rattled, they're more resilient now
Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)
Pierre, even though we know you weren't paying super close attention this weekend, which player at the ASG do you think impressed the most in the sense of "wow most people don't know how good that guy really is"? For me it was by far John Tavares with his hands in the skills. Jamie Benn too with the shooting accuracy.
Pierre LeBrun (2:12 PM)
I think folks on the East coast found out why Alexander Edler is such an important part of the Vancouver Canucks
Rick Nash (Columbus. OH)
Pierre, who should I take with the first pick in next year's ASG fantasy draft....James Wisniewski or Jeff Carter or Steve Mason? Haha....just kidding. I had you going there for a second didn't I?
Pierre LeBrun (2:13 PM)
If there even is an all-star game, Rick. Should the NHL/NHLPA labor war drag into October or November, you can forget any all-star game next season
What happens this offseason? Assuming there is no CBA before September (doubtful by all reports), will the league set a salary cap for next season in June like they always have and allow teams to sign free agents on July 1? Or are all signings going to have to wait until after the new CBA and have a mad scramble before the season starts (like the NFL and NBA did)?
Pierre LeBrun (2:15 PM)
Very good question Mike, one I checked with league on recently. Indeed, the NHL will set a salary cap in late June like it always does, based on current system and parameters. Teams will run their free agency and off-season based on that cap. But once there's a new CBA, and presumably a new cap number, everyone will have to adjust. Going to be a whacky summer/fall.
Alan Kram (Fair Lawn New Jersey)
Will the Avs be making moves at the deadline?
Pierre LeBrun (2:16 PM)
Alan, I spoke with Avs GM Greg Sherman two weeks ago and he indicated that he would need to see where the team was closer to trade deadline to decide if he was a buyer or seller, etc...
Hello Pierre. What is the market price for Ruutu and do you anticipate Rutherford would consider moving a young prospect like Boychuk or Bowman to sweeten a deal?
Pierre LeBrun (2:17 PM)
Bill, I haven't hard any talk of Rutherford wanting to include any prospects. I do know from talking to teams around the league that there's a lot of traction on Ruutu and that he could move if not this week, then next...
Hey Pierre,After seeing the way Alfredsson is viewed in Ottawa do you think he is their equivalent of Mark Messier and not just because he wears 11. Aside from delivering a Cup he has been everything to that franchise.
Pierre LeBrun (2:18 PM)
I would say Steve Yzerman and Jarome Iginla would be better comparisions because Messier played the first half of his career in Edmonton before going to NYR plus he even played in Vancouver.The point of the love affair between Alfredsson and Ottawa _ much like Yzerman/Detroit and Iginla/Calgary is that they played for one and only one team
Pierre old buddy, too bad I missed you last week in Ottawa, I was looking forward to see you. What the hell are the Habs going to do ? Are they currently buyers or sellers ? I personally think Gauthier should be fired. What is Mr Molson waiting for ?
Pierre LeBrun (2:20 PM)
Is this Sylvain B.? Man I haven't see you in ages my friend. Folks, this guy and I were best buds in high school in Hearst, Ontario ! To answer your question: Habs GM Pierre Gauthier told other GMs last week that he wanted to hang in there a bit longer with his team hoping it can make a run before he decides whether or not to pull the plug.To me he's kidding himself, The Habs have no chance. Time to pull the plug.
Sergei (Madison, WI)
Salut, Pierre! J'espere que vous aimaiz bien le jeux des etoiles. Moi, je le deteste, but I digress.. My concern is with the Wings' special teams. Their PK has been sub par for a few seasons now, but they are too good to have such a crappy PP! It was painful last night watching them struggle getting into the Flames' zone, and those constant feeds for a shot from the point were so transparent that Calgary had no problem defending. Where is all the "Red Wing" circling, all the moving around? What happens to all the creativity on the PP? They have way too many talented players to let their opponent off the hook time and time again. Being 12th in the league is very low for a team like Detroit, they should be in the top 5, for crying out loud! Why can't they get it done?
Pierre LeBrun (2:21 PM)
Sergei, you surprise me every week. Well done with the French.Interesting you should point that out about the PP... I think it's one of the reasons the Wings have been on the lookout for a top-six forward.
Gerry (San Francisco, CA)
Any thoughts on the possibility of both the Central and Atlantic Divisions sending 4 teams each in the playoffs?
Pierre LeBrun (2:23 PM)
Well you can bank on the Central sending four teams. The Atlantic will depend on NJ hanging in there. You can book 7 almost for sure, and possibly 8. Easily best 2 divisions in the NHL
Nate (Bristol, CT)
Pierre, what's the biggest issue that needs addressing for Chiarelli and the B's with the deadline coming up?
Pierre LeBrun (2:24 PM)
Nate, I don't think there's anything really pressing but I'd like to see Boston add a second-line forward and a 4th/5th defenseman if they can. No other reasons than going four rounds is a war of attrition. You need depth and able bodies
Corey (New York)
Good afternoon Pierre. Thanks as always. Can you give us some insight into what it means for contenders when a team signs a UFA unexpectedly, like Gleason in Carolina? What GMs were glad he came off the market? I read a story wondering if the Bruins fit that mold because their competitors couldn't get him and they didn't have to overpay for him themselves. Can you think of any GMs hoping a player in the mill (Suter, Ruuto, Parise, Gill) doesn't get moved -- aside from Polie, Lou, et al.
Pierre LeBrun (2:26 PM)
Well it depends on the player that signs. In Gleason's case, there several contenders that would have like to have traded for him, so they were very much disappointed. On the other hand, I know a few big-market teams that hope Parise is NOT re-signed nor traded before the deadline. They just want him to stay put until July 1. Why? Because they can't take a run at hime now for cap reasons but will clear some room in time for July 1 to take a run at him
Straight to the point. Does Ilya Bryzgalov turn it around?
Pierre LeBrun (2:27 PM)
Pierre LeBrun (2:27 PM)
Got a little Tom Sawyer from Rush now playing... love it
Dan (Detroit, MI)
Pierre, In the event that Zach Parise and Ryan Suter become free agents, where about would they rank in terms of guys to hit the unrestricted market since the lockout? I can't think of many elite players to become available before their 28th birthdays besides Marian Gaborik (who had injury concerns). They're both $7 million/year players right? Thanks!
Pierre LeBrun (2:30 PM)
Few guys since 2005 would have hit the UFA market _ if they get there _ with their talent, age, etc... Kovalchuk would be another.. Zdeno Chara in the summer of 2006 _ wow, that was a big catch for Boston... Scott Niedermayer going to Anaheim although he was older... Marian Hossa to Detroit and then to Chicago, he was UFA back-to-back summers... Brian Campbell UFA to Chicago... I'm sure I'm missing a few ....
did you get the chance to see the devils rangers game last night? what a gamewhat are your thoughts on the play of adam larsson? it looks like he has stepped up his game defensively and has improved alot since game 1, he is using his body more and has looked like our #1 dman for a good amount of the seasonalso who do you think the devils should try to add at the TD? *the financial situation is being way overblown, the fact every report is from or taken from the NY Post who cant even get their story straight shows alot, the issue is the loan with the city in which JVB is at odds since the city hasnt kept their promises, and the money the NHL provided is the revenue sharing money every team gets
Pierre LeBrun (2:32 PM)
Only caught a bit of it, 13 games on and I was changing the channel like a crazy man ! As for Devils, Bettman came out Saturday after BOG meeeting and told assembled media (I was there) that league was indeed advancing money to Devils, money that the team would have had access to later in the year.... So it's not exactly pretty on the financial side for NJ
Think Deboer runs any risk of playing Marty too often in the 2nd half? Hedberg, by all accounts, has outplayed Marty and you may risk him getting rusty if you're only playing him once every 7-8 games.
Pierre LeBrun (2:32 PM)
agreed that's a risk. The players on that team feel just as comfortable with Hedberg. If I were DeBoer I'd go two out of three to Brodeur and other game to Hedberg from here on out
Nikki (College Station, TX)
Any chance that Sheriff Shanny arranges hearings with Jared Boll and Derek MacKenzie for their headshots on Joe Thornton and Colin White, respectively?
Pierre LeBrun (2:33 PM)
The league says there are no hearings scheduled for today
Mark (San Jose)
Hello Pierre, Since about January of last season Niemi has been great for the Sharks. He's still prone to the odd clunker of a game and maybe that's way he's never discussed as a strong #1. What are your thought on him heading into the postseason? Do you still think of the subpar 2010 finals or has he matured since then?
Pierre LeBrun (2:34 PM)
I think he has matured and grown his game since then but I don't think we're every going to look at him as a top-5 guy... I'd rank him in the 9-12 range among 30 starters and that's plenty good enough for San Jose to win with
Sergei (Madison, WI)
Pierre, I just read your trade rumblings and want to ask you two questions:1. Brad Stuart will be a UFA July 1st, what's Kenny's plan? I know Brad still has his home in So Cal, so, wouldn't it be wise to trade him for a signed d-man now, before he walks?2. Pretend you're Wings' GM and tell me whom/what would you trade for Hemsky and where would he fit in our line up?
Pierre LeBrun (2:35 PM)
Brad has kids in California so while Stuart loves it with the Wings, I think he's thinking about whether he needs to be closer to them next season .... or maybe play another year in Detroit? My sense is that he hasn't made up his mind yet
jimh (miami, fl)
What's a chat without a Panthers question? The Panthers are in 9th right now but could be in 3rd if they win in regulation tonight. They're riddled with injuries. They NEED scoring. Any rumors that Dale Tallon will bring in someone who can provide offense? Or will he wait until closer to the deadline?
Pierre LeBrun (2:36 PM)
Jim, spoke with Dale about 10 days ago and at that time he said he wanted to wait closer to deadline and see where his team was in the standings ,etc., before deciding if he was buyer or seller. So many teams in that boat right now.
Hey Pierre, Out of the teams looking good for securing a playoff spot in the Western confernece, which teams do you see making a move to beef up the "O" or the "D" and who might you guess they acquire?
Pierre LeBrun (2:39 PM)
From talks I've had, here's my guess for what teams are looking for but doesn't mean they'll get it:Detroit _ top-six forward plus a d-manChicago _ defensemanSt. Louis _ top-six forward if they're still worried about Steen or McDonald (who was cleared this week)San Jose _ top-six forward and/or checking forwardVancouver _ bottom six forward with size, physicalityNashville _ top six forwardLA _ top six forward, preferrably a winger
Do you think Van and SJ having relatively easier schedules down the stretch(probably due to softer divisions) yielding them the 1 and 2 seeds again? Or do you think the Central winner will get a top 2 seed? Personally I think Van will take the 1 again but the Central winner will take the 2.
Pierre LeBrun (2:40 PM)
SJ plays 17 games in March, which I believe is the most they've ever played in one month. That's going to be a major grind for them
Nick (St. Louis)
In the 2008 NHL Draft, Drew Doughty, Zach Bogosian and Alex Pietrangelo went 2, 3 and 4. If that draft was redone today, would that still be the order?
Pierre LeBrun (2:41 PM)
I'd rank them: Doughty, Petrangelo and Bogosian in that order
christian gendron (Montreal)
Salut Pierre,My question it's about NHL stats on D-men, a lots of D's are good to block shots "look great" but on the other side they are the one they gave most "Give Away"..Gill,Girardi,Hamonic...are they blocking shots because they want's to repair miscue?...+ i think we really miss a crusial stats on D's, In 2010 i make the excersice when Dany Dube was asking the Q on radio....and it's look like a great stats to add...D-men attemp/complete pass in own zone...."1st pass completion", and you will fund the best NHL D's in that group but some stars names are awful.
Pierre LeBrun (2:42 PM)
How would a typical conversation between two GM's go over the next couple of weeks? For instance GM Joe.... will he call every other GM in the league once a week? Would he say, "who do you have available?" and they go through each others roster and talk? I am just curious how often they talk and wonder if it is more like a conversation between two friends instead of all business all the time.
Pierre LeBrun (2:43 PM)
Totally varies from team to team... some teams have assistant GMs do a lot of the groundwork before GMs get involved... other teams GMs are more hands-on and handle all the calls... really depends on the team
Jake (Saint Louis)
I know that the All-Star game is what it is, but has there been any talk about moving the game/skills competition to an outdoor setting? Make it a winter classic feel?
Pierre LeBrun (2:43 PM)
I haven't heard any talk of that at the league level, but I do like that idea
What do you think about what was said at the Sidney Crosby press conference yesterday? Do you think that the Pens medical staff is to blame, or perhaps there might be a rift between Crosby and the Pens because of this?
Pierre LeBrun (2:44 PM)
Everyone involved says there is no rift... but I would also say we're far from the finish line.. Let's see what transpires in terms of how long Crosby remains out and MORE importantly how long he can stay healthy once he's back
Ira (New Jersey)
Wild night of Hockey yesterday. Do you think those crazy results could be turning points for some of the teams involved, like the Devils, Wild and Leafs?
Pierre LeBrun (2:45 PM)
I really fear for the Wild after that collapse, more than the other teams you mentioned
Tim (San Jose)
I officially feel bad for Rick Nash. After watching last night's game between the Sharks and BJs, the dude deserves so much better. I commend him for wanting to stick around and help the BJs rebuild, but part of that rebuilding process might include the enormous haul Columbus would get for him, right? Also, Drew Remenda said it best last night: like the Joe Thornton trade, you can never get someone of Rick Nash's caliber in return... and that's why I think the BJs will hold onto him. Thoughts?
Pierre LeBrun (2:47 PM)
I know Scott Howson has told me repeatedly this season he would never trade Rick Nash...My only thought on all this is that maybe it's finally time for Nash after the season _ over a cold one in June/July _ to really de-compress and ask himself if he's really ready to stick around for another rebuild or re-tooking in Columbus?
Rick (Boston, MA)
Who is the best line/ your favorite line in the league right now?
Pierre LeBrun (2:48 PM)
Kunitz/Malkin/Neal a lot of fun to watch, obviously Sedin-Sedin-Burrows always is, any Chicago line with Toews on it works for me; Hartnell-Giroux-Jagr, too
Imre (Missoula, MT)
Do you think Morrison will fit in well with the Hawks 2nd line? One game isn't a good enough sample size, but I thought he had his ups and downs. A couple turnovers and iced puck early, but settled in later... Do you think he can solidify that 2nd center position through the playoffs? Is he the answer this year? Or does Stan need to keep looking?
Pierre LeBrun (2:49 PM)
I'm not sure Morrison still has what it takes to be honest. Really, really nice guy, I'm rooting for him _ but I think it's a long shot that this will work... Hawks will get a few weeks to look at him try it out before deciding whether or not they need a better fit or not
B-Diddy (Munstoeville, WYO)
Hi Pierre - My hot and cold Avs are cold again. Will getting Duchene back be enough to push them into the playoffs? Will they be able to say close enough until he gets back?
Pierre LeBrun (2:50 PM)
As their roster currently stands, barring what Greg Sherman does before Feb. 27, I don't think they make the playoffs
Matthew (Columbia, NJ)
Pierre: Do you think it would be a huge up grade for the Flyers to get either Hal Gill or Bryan Allen?
Pierre LeBrun (2:51 PM)
I wouldn't say a huge upgrade but they're both the kind of defensive, gritty, physcial, shot-blocking d-man they need
Jason (Long Island,NY)
Please tell me there is a guy coming to the Rangers at the trade deadline that can help that woeful powerplay!
Pierre LeBrun (2:51 PM)
That's the hope in the Rangers front office to try and acquire a PP quarterback d-man and/or a top-six forward
Prince Fielder (Detroit)
Pierre - is there anything the hockey team in my new hometown can do at the trade deadline to take the focus off of me?
Pierre LeBrun (2:52 PM)
Well I'm not sure trading for either Tuomu Ruutu or Ales Hemsky would take the focus off you :)
Do you see the Sabres trading away any of their top players? Maybe Stafford, Roy, Miller?
Pierre LeBrun (2:53 PM)
Mikey, Derek Roy is definitely available. Now whether or not there's at taker? That's another question
If the Capitals had one move to make before the trade deadline in order to turn this season around, what do they do? Move Alex Semin, add depth down the middle, try and get in on the Ryan Suter sweepstakes? Whats your move?
Pierre LeBrun (2:53 PM)
A little more jam up front is what I believe they need
Tim (San Jose)
Hey Pierre, thanks for taking the time to chat! (You should totally post my question regarding Rick Nash.) :)
Pierre LeBrun (2:54 PM)
you're welcome. You guys are great to chat with every week
Keith (San Jose)
What do you think of the Sharks Chances if Havlat and clowe return more productive, at a SCF Appearance? DO you think the team Needs to Add another Peice like a 3rd line winger or another top 6 forward (seems unlikely)? Also any nitty takers you thinK? Maybe columbus?
Pierre LeBrun (2:56 PM)
My colleague and friend Ray Ferraro said this on TSN radio 1050 yesterday and I totally agree: you look at the top 6 teams in the Western Conference standings and there's almost nothing to choose from them. Flip a coin between between all six teams
Pierre LeBrun (2:56 PM)
Folks, on phone now with Preds head coach Barry Trotz... give me a few minutes
Suburban Rhythm (Pittsburgh)
If the Ron Duguay trophy existed for best hair, would Kris Letang have it locked up?
Pierre LeBrun (3:05 PM)
Steven Stamkos? Scott Hartnell?
Pierre LeBrun (3:06 PM)
Hey folks sorry I ruined the last 5 minutes, had to take a call from Mr. Trotz. We'll do it again next week everyone. Cheers