Chat with Scott Burnside
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, 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 Friday at 1 p.m. ET!
Scott Burnside (1:05 PM)
Greetings all. Pretty interesting start to the NHL season, no? Now, where were we?
Dara (Boca Raton, Fl)
Sooooo happy hockey is back! What did you think of my Panthers win last night? How good do you think Barkov is going to be? He looked pretty strong out there
Scott Burnside (1:07 PM)
Dara; No question exactly what Kevin Dineen wanted to see from his crew; strong goaltending from Tim Thomas, a good start for Aleksander Barkov the number two pick in the draft, and contributions from up and down the lineup. Lots of work ahead but Dineen has experience in integrating lots of new pieces as he showed two years ago when the 'Cats were the surprise winners of the Southeast Division.
Chuck (Richmond, VA)
Hey Scott! What are your thoughts on Holtby's season outlook with the Caps? He has looked rough the first two games. A few bad bounces too though. Neuvirth looked stellar after they pulled Holtby last night in the 1st period. Came up big in the shootout.
Scott Burnside (1:08 PM)
Chuck; Was thinking about Holtby watching his play in the first two games. You have to wonder if the pressure of thinking about the Canadian Olympic selection process (he was of course an invitee to the Canadian orientation camp in Calgary in August) is in his head a bit. One thing about Holtby, though, has been his ability to move on from poor outings. Still, if Neuvirth can go on a bit of a roll it may be tough for Holtby to get starts. Not a great start to the season for Holtby, that is undeniable.
rangers had a sluggish preseason and were outplayed last night. have you seen any worrying signs, or just a team that needs to get healthy and gel? there's so much talent and it's obviously early but they've just looked bad.
Scott Burnside (1:11 PM)
Jeremy; I am almost always dismissive any kind of pre-season 'trend' either teams or individually. Just too hard to get a read on anything during camp. That said, the Rangers didn't look in sync at all and Henrik Lundqvist was definitely part of that being out of sync and Game 1 just seemed to be more of the same. The problem for the Rangers is that with this extended road trip to start the season with work being done in Madison Square Garden the process of fixing those problems becomes even more daunting.
Did Patrick Roy get a stern talking to by Bettman about his antics Wed. nigt? Those tactics may work in the Q but seems kind of childish in the NHL. Will he change his ways?
Scott Burnside (1:13 PM)
Steve; Happened to be in Denver for the end of game shenanigans and am torn. Yes, juvenile and more than a bit of an over-reaction to the hit on Nathan MacKinnon. On the other hand the fan base in Denver has had precious little to get pumped about relating to the Avs in a long time so maybe it was worth the $10,000 Patrick Roy had to shell out as a result. As some have noted, you can't buy that kind of publicity (or, rather, that kind of publicity apparently costs about 10 grand).
Adam (New York)
Did the Decision for USA Hockey not to Invite Jason Pominville to Camp Surprise You? Could he play his way on to the team? Also I know its a small sample and its only one Game but can the Panthers be a dark horse this year in the Atlantic?
Scott Burnside (1:15 PM)
Adam; I was surprised that Pominville was not originally among those asked to the U.S. camp in Washington and I think GM David Poile has acknowledged as much. And I definitely think he can play his way onto the team. Poile has made it abundantly clear that level of play in the first three months of the season will be a key factor in who ends up on the 25-man roster for the Sochi Games. As for the Panthers, sure, as I noted very few gave the Panthers a shot two years ago and I think they're a better team now than then. Lots has to do with Tim Thomas and whether he can keep delivering quality starts but if he can it takes so much pressure off the kids there.
I love the LeCavalier signing but I an concerned with Couturier and Schenn. Their skill set seems so average and pedestrian. This being the third year, is this a make or break year for both?
Scott Burnside (1:20 PM)
Brad; 'Make or break' is probably a little dramatic given how young Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier are. But I think your point is a good one. They took on big roles two years ago and responded better than most would have imagined. They both seemed to plateau a bit last season although the lockout and injuries really sent the Flyer season off the rails. But it is time for both to reassert themselves as part of the next generation of contributors and there's no excuse for it not to happen this season.
Judeman5000, CPA (Bakersfield, CA)
Has anyone reported on what Corey Perry and Patrick Roy were yelling at each other about? By the way, when the shenanigans happened, the avs looked like an army ready to destroy.
Scott Burnside (1:22 PM)
Judeman; My guess is that Roy was still angry at Ben Lovejoy's hit on Nathan MacKinnon. The two had roughed each other up earlier in the game and there was a collision late in the third which Roy and the Avs felt was potentially dangerous. I didn't think it was a blatant attempt at injuring MacKinnon and neither did the officials who didn't call a penalty. So, my guess is that's what they were jawing about before Roy went all Hercules and tried to knock down the glass partition between the benches.
Bruins PP looked pretty weak again last night -- again -- can this PP actually work with Chara down low instead of along the blue line?
Scott Burnside (1:25 PM)
John; True but the PK was rockin', no? (The Bruins scored twice shorthanded in their 3-1 win over Tampa for those who missed it.) And I must admit I like Chara bombing them from the point although I think like any coach whose PP needs to find a groove my guess is Claude Julien is trying to be less predictable. We've seen when the Bruins have had success with Chara cluttering up the crease area (ie. late in Game 7 versus Toronto for instance) so think there are examples where it works moving him to different places on the PP.
Niclas Schaub (Stockholm, Sweden)
Is Chuck Kobasew a better fit in your opinion than say Morrow or Iginla? He was Avs best plus/minus player last season and last night looked really strong without the puck to go with great forchecking and a pretty solid tally.
Scott Burnside (1:30 PM)
Niclas; Interesting question. Morrow was actually a pretty good fit with the Pens, I thought, although by the end he was playing with a badly damaged knee cap and so his effectiveness as the playoffs went along declined. But to your point I think Kobasew is a nice fit in that the expectations are low for him vis a vis point production. He needs to play well on both sides of the puck and if he chips in the odd goal, fair enough. He played just over 15 minutes last night none on the PP or PK although the Pens weren't into penalty trouble against New Jersey.
Hannah (Tampa, FL)
How will the Bolts do this year with Cooper's fast checking style, do they have a chance at the playoffs if one the twin towers in goal take over as a legit number 1?
Scott Burnside (1:33 PM)
Hannah; In theory this is a team that shouldn't have too much trouble generating offense (in spite of their opening night loss to the Bs) and you hit the nail on the head; is there a number one goalie waiting to assert himself in Tampa? The team has been searching really since the end of the '11 season for such a player. Still not sold on either Lindback or Bishop as that guy and if neither emerges as a go-to guy this season I don't see much chance that Tampa finds its way into the top eight in the very difficult Eastern Conference.
Riley (St Louis)
Do you see Halak having a Vezina trophy season after letting in 2 goals last night or was that due to the goal/ goalie changes?
Scott Burnside (1:35 PM)
Riley; For me it's all about Halak's durability. Can he stay healthy to get into the kind of groove we saw two years ago when he and Brian Elliott were an unbeatable tandem (at least in the regular season). But if he's nicked up and if the groin/core body issues that have dogged him return and with it tentativeness and a lack of consistency like we saw last year then never mind the Vezina a shot at the playoffs may hang in the balance. No doubt the Blues are giving Halak every opportunity to be 'the man' now he's got to show he can take advantage of that opportunity. Good start, though, in getting the win against Nashville Thursday.
Scotty! I'm glad your back.Tell me, how are the Coyotes gonna outdust the Kings with average goaltending and no talent upfront?
Scott Burnside (1:39 PM)
Jeppe; Welcome and thanks. As you know (or maybe not) I did pick the Coyotes to win the Cup so perhaps our view of the team's strengths and weaknesses are different. But to your point no question Mike Smith will have to be the Mike Smith of 2011-12 because Jonathan Quick gives the Kings as good goaltending as any team in the Pacific and maybe the league. I think the addition of Mike Ribeiro helps take some of the pressure off guys like Martin Hanzal who can drop down in the line-up. The Kings look on paper to have more scoring balance and depth up front but the 'Yotes may surprise with their own depth. Should be fun and I wouldn't mind a repeat of the WCF from '12 with King/'Yotes, how about you?
Mike (The Igloo)
If Letang does not make Team Canada, would that almost be the worst thing you've ever seen or the worst thing you've ever seen?
Scott Burnside (1:41 PM)
Mike; Not sure from whose perspective this question needs to be addressed. I think Letang will need to show Steve Yzerman that he can play a more disciplined, complete game in the first three months of the regular season. His play in the playoffs was atrocious (not that he was alone especially in the conference final against Boston) but he'll need to be a lot more responsible with the puck in his own zone. No one questions that he's among the top three or four puck-movers and offensively gifted defensemen in the game but he's going to have to show more to be invited to the big party in Sochi.
I really think this Hawks team will be alot better then last years team..baring any injuries. Thats scary!
Scott Burnside (1:43 PM)
Ashor; Agreed. Yes, they'll miss Frolik and Bolland who brought special skills especially on the penalty kill but there are good young players who will get the chance to fill those roles. I think Patrick Kane remains on an upward arc and the core is so solid that it's hard to see them not sitting atop the Central Division. Scary for sure if you're an opposing team.
Scotty doesn't know...well, hopefully you do know Mr. Burnside. Will the Wild ever fix their offensive woes? They should've destroyed the Kings last night if not for an unreal showing by Quick. Do we expect them to continue missing chances or will we wind up getting someone like Vanek to come in and boost our scoring?
Scott Burnside (1:46 PM)
Matt; Don't claim to know but the reality is that the Wild will never be more than a bubble playoff team and first-round fodder if they can't generate more offense. They had chances early in the first round against Chicago to really put the pressure on the 'Hawks but couldn't find enough timely scoring. With Pominville locked up long-term now there should be enough depth scoring to keep opposing teams off balance but that assumes guys like Charlie Coyle and Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter produce on a consistent basis. I really liked the Niederreiter deal and he played well last night but the proof is in finding the back of the net and the kids are going to have do a lot of proving if the Wild want to step up the ladder.
Do you think Ovechkin can keep up the scoring throughout the season or will he slack off a bit.
Scott Burnside (1:48 PM)
Kenney; Well Ovechkin has three goals, two assists and a shootout goal in two outings so it might be a bit much to ask him to keep up that pace but to your point, I do think he'll have a monster year. Coming off his terrific second-half last year I just think he's back in that Ovechkin groove having moved to the right side and playing with Nicklas Backstrom. Throw in wanting to show well for the Olympics and I think there's a lot of reason for optimism if you're an Ovechkin/Caps fan.
Are you surprised with the Hextall signing as Asst Gm which was a lateral move for him coming from LA. Is Holmgren on as short of a leash as Laviolette??
Scott Burnside (1:53 PM)
Sean; I thought it was an interesting move and certainly ups the intrigue that always exists in Philadelphia especially when the team hasn't met expectations as was the case last season. I don't think it's any secret owner Ed Snider wants results and he wants them now. That Ron Hextall, whose name has been on the short-list of assistant GMs waiting for their first full-time gig is back in Philadelphia does up the ante I think for Holmgren and I think it's fair to say that of all the coaches this season a good start would be most critical for Peter Laviolette's job security, fair or not.
When ESPN released their predictions, I had to convince my brother that you were only joking about the Coyotes going the distance. Come on, Scotty.
Scott Burnside (1:55 PM)
Frey; As I wrote; at the end of the day you can probably make a case for 10 maybe 12 teams to have a legitimate shot at winning the Cup. 'Yotes were a final four team in '12, are better now, have one of the best coaches in the businesses and a goalie who has shown elite capabilities. The blue line is under-appreciated and they have more depth up front. In short, why not the 'Yotes?
Scott Burnside (1:55 PM)
Frey; Now having said that is it possible the Coyotes miss the playoffs entirely? Sure.
RAYGORDOON REID ( JACKSONVILLE FLORIDA 32210)
QUESTION TO SCOTT BURNSIDE 1.25 PM WHO WINS THE DIVISON;S
Scott Burnside (1:57 PM)
RayG; I'm testing my memory but here goes; Pacific, Anaheim (how's that looking after Game 1?), Central, Chicago, Atlantic, Boston and Metro, Pittsburgh.
Peter (Leafs fan in Chicago)
If negotiations go south between the Leafs and Phaneuf (can't imagine the Leafs going above the current AVV of $6.5), do you see any of the current Leafs or prospects that can fill the void if Phaneuf is not resigned?
Scott Burnside (1:59 PM)
Peter; Agreed that cap hit seems to be about right given the comparables. Might go up a bit. But to your point the Leafs have a lot of terrific up-and-coming blue liners but I think Phaneuf is an important part of that mix. True, he doesn't have the playoff experience/success that maybe you'd like of your captain but I like how he plays and he's certainly off to a good start. My guess is he gets locked up long-term with maybe a modest bump in dollars but with Kessel-like term.
Scott Burnside (2:00 PM)
Okay folks, thanks for stopping by. Let's do it again next week. Until then, be well.