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 4 p.m. ET!
Scott Burnside (4:01 PM)
Greetings all. In lovely Philadelphia getting ready for Game 2 tomorrow night. Now, where were we?
do you see JVR addressing his consistency issues and emerging as an elite winger or is he is what he is at this point? at his best, he is one of the best ... off his game, he is average ... what are your thoughts about his progression, because he sure took over game 1
Scott Burnside (4:03 PM)
brett; He sure was good in Game 1 and you're right when he's on his game he's an impressive figure with his size and speed. The injuries have taken their toll in terms of seeing that on a consistent basis so I think it will be interesting to see how he follows up through the rest of this series and beyond. He's got the tools but he has to show he's got the head. Good kid, though.
Cam Jannsen (NJ)
If this series starts to get chippy, any chance I can sneak into the lineup? (Maybe even take Kovy's spot as he is obviously injured)
Scott Burnside (4:04 PM)
Cam; Not sure about whether there'll be a place for you in this series. But you're right about Kovalchuk who looked off yesterday and did not have a shot on goal. I know a reporter asked about his health in a scrum after the game and he ended his chat with the media then. Coincidence? Maybe but the Devils are in trouble if he can't bring it.
Kendall (Brentwood, TN)
Do the Preds have a legitimate shot of coming back againts the Yotes, or are they toast?
Scott Burnside (4:05 PM)
Kendall; Sure. Still, it has been wildly impressive what the Coyotes have done in the first two games in terms of generating offense and that will be a key when the Predators get back home. Barry Trotz will be able to manage his match-ups better and I wouldn't be surprised to see the Preds tie it up at home.
Will Dale Hunter be able to rally the troops and take home ice back from the Ranger's tonight?
Scott Burnside (4:07 PM)
Michael; I would not be at all surprised to see the Caps do just that. There's a quiet confidence in this team that I don't think has been there in the past at playoff time. They got behind Boston 1-0 and 2-1 and still hung in there. Only gave up 14 shots in Game 1 and I expect Braden Holtby will be better.
Now that the Coyotes lead 2-0, who do you think takes the series?
Scott Burnside (4:08 PM)
Drey; I picked the 'Yotes to win this series in seven (of course this was after going 3-5 in the first round) and I think that's how it will play out.
Zack (New Britain, CT)
Best Defenseman, best Center, best Winger and best Goalie up to this point in the playoffs?
Scott Burnside (4:12 PM)
Zack; Great question. Goal: Mike Smith, Defense: Dan Girardi, Center: Claude Giroux, Winger: Daniel Briere. Honorable mention though for R. Klesla in Phoenix, Alex Pietrangelo in St. Louis and Dustin Brown in L.A.
West has the Central vs. Pacific. It sure is funny how once the playoffs begin regular season means so little. Can the Kings keep up their stellar defense led by Quick? Will Jeff Carter start to score?
Scott Burnside (4:14 PM)
Ross; Exactly. Quick has been so good I see no reason for that to change. Blues are a good team and they'll be better obviously if Pietrangelo can play which is a possibility. Still, I talked to a coach just before the start of the playoffs who insisted the Kings were the best team in the Western Conference and he might just be right. As for Jeff Carter? History suggests he's not a playoff guy. But they will need him to help spread the offensive load around if they're going to get to the final.
A couple of announcers have alluded to this but is Kreider potentially the fastest guy in the same already?
Scott Burnside (4:15 PM)
Kev; Not sure about fastest in the game but he is lightning quick and with his size no wonder the Rangers were happy to rush him into their playoff line-up. Terrific shot in Game 1, too. Pretty impressive kid.
Chances Danny Briere eclipses his regular season goal total in the playoffs? Almost halfway there!
Scott Burnside (4:17 PM)
Mark; Pretty incredible. I asked Briere about it yesterday after the game and he talked about not knowing if it was the concussion or just that he was terrible but he does light it up in the playoffs. Better than a point a game over his career in the playoffs. So, to answer your question, very possible.
WHOM DO YOU THINK WILL BE PLAYING FOR LORD STANLEY
Scott Burnside (4:18 PM)
CJ; Right now I am leaning to Flyers/Kings (and this in spite of the fact I picked the Blues to edge the Kings).
Kurt (Bowie, MD)
As hockey writers, do you secretly pull for the teams that have never won the Cup but play in less than ideal hockey cities (Phoenix, Nashville, LA) or the teams that have waited a long time between Cups but play in hockey crazed cities (Philly, NY)?
Scott Burnside (4:21 PM)
Kurt; I think we secretly pull for good stories or good storylines. Having a great city isn't a bad thing either. Guess how hockey writers feel about Nashville? They love it. Travel is an issue too when it comes to our own interests. Easier to be taking the train from Philly to Washington than to fly to Ottawa or Montreal. But in the end you just roll with it. Doesn't really matter what we want even though we often think it's all about us.
How do you see the shaky play of Bryzgalov effecting the Flyers moving forward? Or do you see him bounce back?
Scott Burnside (4:22 PM)
Eric; Weird thing how Bryzgalov and his ordinary play (3.70 GAA, .870 save percentage) hasn't really had an impact on the Flyers' success. They're 5-2 but one has to imagine that at some point either he will steady himself or it will cost the Flyers. Can't go on like this indefinitely, can it?
Do you really believe the flyers can beat the rangers? Look at the season series and look at the goaltending difference. Really?
Scott Burnside (4:24 PM)
Joshua; This is a good follow-up to the previous question. If the Flyers and Rangers do meet Bryzgalov will have to get better. That seems obvious. As for the regular season series I think by the conference final that is so far in the past that it has little bearing on how the series will play out.
Blaine Evans (Buffalo)
Mike Smith over Jonathan Quick for best goaltender so far in the playoffs? How do you figure? Quick shut down the top team in the regular season while Smith looked great against Chicago he has looked slightly above average (at best) against Nashville so far.
Scott Burnside (4:25 PM)
Blaine; Degress of brilliance. Look at the shot totals and how often the Coyotes have been out-played both against Chicago and in the first two games against Nashville, especially in Game 1. This is no slight against Quick who has been terrific but Smith is all that stands between the 'Yotes and a first-round exit.
Mr. Fawlty (Basil) (Los Angeles)
Hey Scott. I am in LA, but have no NHL team allegiance, makes me more objective perhaps. I know there is lots of parity but from what I see, Philly is team of destiny. They score, they pressure and get power plays, better than anyone else. Do you see this too?
Scott Burnside (4:27 PM)
Basil; Not sure anyone's a team of destiny just yet. What separates the Flyers from any other team right now is their explosiveness. Saw it in Game 1 yesterday after playing poorly in the first period they rediscovered the game we saw against Pittsburgh. No other team can match that kind of scoring depth. Are they infallible? Of course not. Blue line has been nicked up and there is Bryzgalov (see above). All in all pretty impressive though.
Brendan (Los Angeles)
What do you think about Dustin Penner's play this postseason? I've always enjoyed the guy because he's a character, but held my breath when he was on the ice. Not so anymore. What's going on? How will a good postseason performance effect his future with the Kings? Does he have any shot at redemption or has that ship sailed?
Scott Burnside (4:28 PM)
Brendan; I think a strong post-season covers up a lot of warts. Not that Joel Ward was a bad player before but look at what his strong post-season a year ago led to with his new contract in Washington? A guy who can get it done when it matters can earn himself lots of cushion when it comes to regular season faux pas.
Any thoughts on Philly being snubbed with no post season award nominations?
Scott Burnside (4:30 PM)
Robert; Not surprised at Giroux not being in the top three for Hart (I had him at four I think) but I was surprised that Paul Holmgren wasn't nominated for GM of the Year. What he's done in the past year with that team is incredible. He's built not just a contender for right now but that line-up is chock full of great young talent.
Hi Scott, do you think Callahan interfering with Semin and then diving when Semin slashes him in retaliation sets a good example as captain for his team? To me that seems like a horrible example to set.
Scott Burnside (4:32 PM)
Tom; I don't think that's Callahan's nature. It's the playoffs, he's looking for an edge. Don't condone the diving but that's not how he generally plays. I think he sets a pretty good example with how hard he works and his ability to produce in the clutch.
Ilya Bryzgalov (Philadelphia)
Why you heff to be mad? I made some humongous big saves yesterday in the first period to keep the game close while my teammates woke up from their 7-day-rest-period-induced slumber. Sure, I would like to have the Sykora goal back, but you can't really blame the goalie on a breakaway. I think I'm starting to turn things around Scott, don't you? I agree though I should probably stay in my net instead of attempting to handle the puck. I don't have too much skill in that area.
Scott Burnside (4:34 PM)
Bryz; Agreed that you were fine in the first and agreed that you need to stop playing the puck; at all. I'll get back to you on 'turning it around' after Game 2.
Is too much made about getting match-ups with the last change at home? Road teams have fared quite well this year, wouldn't you say?
Scott Burnside (4:35 PM)
Nick; Good point. It is pretty shocking how well the road team has fared this spring and I don't know if that's the extra pressure of playing in front of home fans, maybe trying to do too much. Road teams can often find a better rhythm because they aren't trying to do too much, regardless of match-ups. Weird that it's worked out that way although I think the home team is now 4-1 in the second round.
Hey SB, how surprised are you that Pekka Rinne has givin up 9 goals so far to Phoenix? Do you think this will effect his confidence moving foward?
Scott Burnside (4:36 PM)
Rob; Very surprised. And credit to the Coyotes for going to the net with speed and producing a lot more creativity in the offensive zone than I think many of us imagined. But Rinne's not a kid, I don't see nerves or confidence being an issue for him.
Your guess at who wins Coach of the Year?
Scott Burnside (4:37 PM)
Kev; Ken Hitchcock. Don't think it will be that close with all due respect to Paul MacLean and John Tortorella.
do you expect any fireworks tonight in the blues/kings game? with no action from the league on the king hit, do the blues have to send a message so the kings don't go after their top guys?
Scott Burnside (4:39 PM)
al; I expect the Blues will want to exact revenge by tying the series. They know if they go down 2-0 at home they are cooked (I know, the Bruins did last year against Montreal and came back but this Kings team is significantly better than last year's Habs squad). Will they try and get a shot in at King? For sure. But they'll feel pretty foolish if they end up giving up a power play goal just to get some measure of revenge. Doubt that will happen.
Ken (Elkhorn, NE)
Hey Scott, hope you are enjoying the playoffs. What are the Coyotes doing that the Red Wings didn't to score goals against Nashville?
Scott Burnside (4:40 PM)
Ken; I think it's all about the traffic in front of and around the net. The Coyotes' defense is also very active with Klesla, Yandle and Eckman-Larsson producing from the back end.
As of right now who do youm see lifting the cup, and who do you see winning Conn Smyth?
Scott Burnside (4:41 PM)
Allen; Right now I'd say Philadelphia and Claude Giroux earning MVP honors.
Luongo to Tampa.... Ya or Nay?
Scott Burnside (4:43 PM)
Chris; Possibly. How's that for sitting on the fence? I wonder if having the Vincent Lecavalier contract that has hamstrung them in some ways when it comes to making roster decisions if Steve Yzerman would take on another big, long-term deal especially given Luongo's spotty playoff record. What about the other other Florida team? The Panthers might actually make more sense.
Scott, Kovy's play is really bothering Devils fans. It seems, in big games, if he doesn't score early he just stops trying. With his cap hit continuing to grow and a new CBA on its way, I'm really starting to envision the Devils amnesty-ing him. He's just not a big-game guy (like captain Zack)
Scott Burnside (4:44 PM)
JD; I think you're being a bit harsh. He had a terrific regular season and my sense is his teammates have really grown to like and trust him. I think he's got some sort of injury thing that's slowing him down now. Does that mean the cash-strapped Devils wouldn't amnesty him if such an option is available under the new CBC, not necessarily, but I think he's become a much better teammate and leader than people imagined would be the case.
Please quickly explain the amnesty option...
Scott Burnside (4:47 PM)
Kev; Good idea. The feeling is that with the new collective bargaining agreement there may be a one-time option for teams to buy out one or more contracts and that wouldn't count against the salary cap to help teams prepare for life under the new deal. No guarantees this will be the case but it generates a lot of discussion or guesswork about what teams might buy out which players.
Marc (Malden, MA)
The home records might be skewed by the fact that the Bruins (1-3 at home) decided they didn't care about winning this year.
Scott Burnside (4:48 PM)
Marc; Not sure they didn't care but it sure did come to a grinding halt in Beantown, no? They didn't get nearly enough from their big guns.
Holtby was playing well above his head in round 1. On Saturday he let in 3 on 18 shots. Can he really take the Caps much further?
Scott Burnside (4:50 PM)
ASN; The impressive thing for me about Holtby was that in the first round against Boston he didn't let a bad goal or a bad outing rattle him. He has bounced back extremely well. Now, can his team do the same after generating very little offense in Game 1 (one goal, 18 shots)? I think you'll see a better Caps team tonight.
Biggest 1st round upset, LA-Vancouver or Caps-Bruins?
Scott Burnside (4:51 PM)
Mickey; Caps Bruins I think. Everyone knew the Kings weren't going to be patsies. I think few people imagined the Caps could show the poise and patience that was needed to take out the defending Cup champs.
Ice Ace (Alabama)
Who wins Game 2 of all the series except the Coyotes/Predators?
Scott Burnside (4:52 PM)
Ice; I will go with Washington, New Jersey and St. Louis.
You mention Holmgren, but not surprised that Laviolette didn't get any mention for coach of the year? His GM basically guts the team he is working with, forces him to play anywhere from 3 to 7 rookies a night, he loses his best defender for the whole year, yet he's only off by 1 point from last year's total, while playing in the toughest division in hockey
Scott Burnside (4:53 PM)
Vinny; All true. But the Jack Adams is traditionally about getting more from less and it's harder for big-market coaches to get a sniff. Tortorella is full value for it given how strong that team's defensive game is. Plus there are just a ton of guys you could make an argument for; Dan Bylsma, Dave Tippett, Barry Trotz to name just three.
Any word on if Meszaros might return and, if so, when?
Scott Burnside (4:55 PM)
hk; He is skating but no timetable for him to return that I know of. They're still saying six to eight weeks from the time of his injury. That would mean the earliest would be sometime late in this round. That would seem like a stretch to me.
Judeman5000 (Mountain Home, Idaho)
Call me crazy, but if the amnesty clause is put in place and Kovalchuck is bought out, wouldn't he go to free agency, where a bidding war would take place, and he would receive a fat contract like the one he has?
Scott Burnside (4:56 PM)
Judeman; Yes. That's happened with Bobby Holik when he was bought out by the Rangers after the lockout. Good deal for the player. I'm not convinced the Devils would pursue that with Kovalchuk.
Which of the big three rookies (Schenn, Couturier, Read) is the best for the Flyers right now and which will ultimately be the best?
Scott Burnside (4:58 PM)
Matt; Tough call. I think Couturier right now is slightly ahead but I think long-term Schenn has all the tools to have the greatest impact. Still, an impressive trio to be sure.
Scott Burnside (4:58 PM)
Okay folks. Enjoy the rest of the playoff week and we'll do it again next time. Be well.