Chat with Barry Melrose
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Hey Barry,is it too early to throw Tomas Hertl's name into the Calder trophy for rookie of the year hat?
Barry Melrose (2:03 PM)
He's leading the NHL in goals, with six in three games. He probably scored the prettiest goal of the year and the Sharks look like the best team in the NHL. The kid looks for real. He's poised, confident. I'll be keeping an eye on him this year.
First time since moving to Colorado that the Avalanche have started a season 3-0-0 after a gutsy road win last night. What do you think of the attitude and physical mentality this young team has shown thus far under first year head coach Patrick Roy, and do you think they can sustain it?
Barry Melrose (2:03 PM)
They're still a very young team. They'll fight for a playoff spot. They showed character by coming back on the road against a tough team. They're getting goals from everybody. They look like a solid team right now.
Chris (Brooklyn )
Hi Barry, hope u had a great summer. What do you think about the st. Louis blues and there chances tonight against the Blackhawks. Big sports night for the city of St.Louis tonight.
Barry Melrose (2:04 PM)
I think you have the two best teams in the West playing tonight. It wouldn't surprise me if one of them came out of the West. St. Louis looks good. They're fast and have a good defense. Kane and Toews look good. This will be one of the most interesting games of this early season.
The Rangers have looked average at best so far this year, indication of whats to come or just a slow start under a new coach?
Barry Melrose (2:06 PM)
I think a little bit of both. The Rangers are trying to be better offensively, mainly they have a little bit. But defensively, they've been very poor. Lundqvist saw close to 50 shots last night. Right now the Rangers do not look good. Giving up 9 goals should take about 5 games. And they have about 6 more games on the road before heading back to New York. They can't afford to start 2-7 on this road trip.
Will Cooper's aggressive defensive scheme hinder Stamkos's offensive potential this year?
Barry Melrose (2:07 PM)
No. Steven's still getting a lot of chances. That's what you look for if you're a goal scorer. You start to worry if he's not getting chances. The good news is they're 2-1. The goals will come. If you play with Marty, you'll get chances.
Hiya Barry. Thanks for doing these chats. Which team (regardless of their current small sample record) has surprised you so far this season? Both best surprise and worst surprise. Also, do you think the Sabres will really go 78-0 the rest of the way?
Barry Melrose (2:08 PM)
Good: you have to say San Jose and Hertl. A 19 year old kid leading the NHL in goals is impressive. The bad: Laviolette getting fired after three games. It sounds ridiculous, getting fired after three games, but that's the way the NHL is right now.
Barry, Rinne looked an awful lot like his old self last night. With Jones and Forsberg looking like they belong is there more hope for the Preds than most are thinking?
Barry Melrose (2:09 PM)
Yeah. They have one of the best goalies in the NHL. They have one of the best defensemen. Jones has looked good. Nashville has never been a big scoring club, but they can get it done. I think they'll be a tough team and one you wouldn't want to play in the first round.
We need to get rid of the OTL ... New Jersey has 3 points but lost every game!
Barry Melrose (2:10 PM)
I don't like it. I hate the extra columns. I've always been a if you win, you get two points, if you lose, you get none. It's even crazier, if you win, you get three points, if you win in OT, you get 2 and if you lose in OT you get 1. Some have argued for that scenario. I don't like it.
Angry Rangers Fan (NY)
How does no one lay that kid out after pulling a move like that and completley embarassing them?
Barry Melrose (2:11 PM)
Well, yeah, I was very surprised someone didn't. I believe he didn't get on the ice again. That was a smart move. When you're winning the game that badly and he pulls a move like that, someone should have taught him a lesson. You're right.
Jim (Logan Square)
Barry. With the Hawks, Blues, Sharks start how much stronger is the West than the East?
Barry Melrose (2:12 PM)
Sharks, Blues, Hawks, Ducks, LA, those are some good teams. That's with Detroit leaving. There are some powerhouses out West. Pittsburgh, Boston, Toronto is for real, Detroit, Washington out East. There are strong teams in both sides. It will be a good argument all year on which conference is stronger.
Hey Barry,What do the Hawks need to do to get their PP up to snuff?
Barry Melrose (2:13 PM)
Boston has a terrible PP too. Chicago's isn't nearly as bad as Boston's. It's crazy, Chicago should have a much better PP. There is no figuring them out. Chicago will work hard at it. Maybe try different things, different philosophies. The one thing about their PP is they score big goals when it matters. Maybe it's better to have a PP that scores key goals than a PP that scores 3 goals when you're up 3-0.
Melrose, What do think of Colorado's blue line thus far this season?
Barry Melrose (2:14 PM)
It's been great. I think everyone thought it would be their weak point. Their forwards are awesome. That was supposed to be their Achilles heal. But so far, it's look good, as has their goaltending.
Thoughts on Sid the Kid so far? I like that he's seeming to be looking to shoot more. We know he is a dynamic passer, but I feel like he is pressing the action for himself a little more and being more forceful. I like that.
Barry Melrose (2:15 PM)
I think he sort of decides at the beginning of the year do I want to lead the league in assists or goals? Unbelievable talent. Malkin is getting his point a game. Crosby is getting his point. The Pirates are in the playoffs still. Everything is good in Pittsburgh.
What do you think about the Lightning after their three game road trip that included both Stanley cup finalists from last year? They did pick up four points.
Barry Melrose (2:16 PM)
Playing well. They have some good young players. The goaltending is good. Stamkos is scoring, which is impressive. They look very solid defensively. They look like a team that will fight all year long for a playoff spot.
Do you think Team USA has a shot at gold?
Barry Melrose (2:17 PM)
Sure. The Americans have some great players. They'll be strong in net, probably stronger than the Canadians. They have forwards that can score. A lot of skill. A lot of speed. They're one of the favorites for gold.
Do you think Lovejoy's hit on MacKinnon that made Patrick Roy go crazy was intentional and that he was trying to injure MacKinnon?
Barry Melrose (2:18 PM)
It wasn't even a big hit. They made contact. MacKinnon is a slippery character. They had been going at it all game long. I didn't think it was that big of a deal. I think it was more of a brush than a real knee to knee collision.
Nobody on the Rangers D gave Hertl the business after his 4th goal because that would have involved moving their feet. They looked tired, old, and uninterested all game.
Barry Melrose (2:19 PM)
Yeah. They certainly looked slow. They looked slow in Game 1 that they lost as well. That was as bad a team effort as I've seen out of the Rangers in 3-4 years. Not a lot of fight or energy. That's as bad as I've seen them play in a long time.
walter (Bogota NJ)
With the Isles on the up and with kids like Strome, Reinhart, and Pulock they seem set to be a contender. But where do u see them going about getting a goalie for the future?
Barry Melrose (2:20 PM)
They have to hope their goaltending now will be solid. It was good last year. It got them into the playoffs. It looks like they'll be better offensively than last year. They scored 6 on Phoenix against a good defense and goaltender. Maybe they have to use some draft picks on goaltenders. Or maybe move some of the young assets for a goaltender. But last night they looked great.
Take on a Sharks run at the finals this year? Theyve been there before I feel like they might be the surprise to finally slip through!
Barry Melrose (2:21 PM)
It's pretty hard not to pay attention to them after the game last night. I'm from Missouri with them in that they have to Show Me. They have slipped up early in the playoffs before. I'm not a buyer yet, I'm still on the fence.
Lots of talk that the Hawks can repeat...legit or just that..talk?
Barry Melrose (2:22 PM)
I think they have what it takes. But I thought LA had what it takes and Boston had what it takes. It's just too hard to repeat. It's been nearly 20 years. It's too hard. Too many good teams. They have what it takes, but I don't think they will.
How is Edmonton still struggling? There is so much talent there, play even a little defense and you'll win games but they still find ways to struggle.
Barry Melrose (2:23 PM)
That was a huge two points against NJ. They were down 3-0 and they got two points. Maybe that can be something that turns things around. Edmonton is like Colorado. They have enough talent to win. They are good enough. Now their coaches have to teach them how to win. Whichever coach does the better job, that team will be higher in the playoff standings. It's whichever team matures the fastest.
Any thoughts on the Wild and their start?
Barry Melrose (2:24 PM)
The Wild don't look very good. Backstrom gets hurt and that is terrible news. They had a team in Nashville who was struggling and Nashville wins. The Wild can't afford a terrible start. They need to win some games or it could cost their coach his job.
Harry Delrose (TX)
How far do you project the L.A. Kings to go this season?
Barry Melrose (2:25 PM)
I like the Kings a lot. I put them right there with St. Louis, Chicago, San Jose. They haven't had a good start. They're having trouble putting the puck in the net. If they have a weakness, that's it. Quick has been OK, but not unbelievable. This is a team you'll have to beat to come out of the West. They play that tough defensive game. They have great goaltending. That's one of the top four teams out West.
Lonny (Blaine, Mn)
Do you think the Edmonton needs to look in a new direction and trade at least one of their young guns (Hall or Eberle) for a proven veteran?
Barry Melrose (2:27 PM)
You see some of that a little bit. Underachieving first round picks being traded away. You've already seen that sort of happen with the Oilers.
Barry Melrose (2:28 PM)
Unbelievable night for Tomas Hertl last night. I congratulate him and the Sharks for the start they've had. Enjoy the hockey!