Chat with Scott Burnside
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, 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 Thursday at noon ET!
Scott Burnside (12:00 PM)
Greetings all. Just back from a long-delayed trip to Raleigh. Might not be a better press room meal on the circuit. But I digress. So, where were we?
Scott,The Caps got completely outclassed last night. Their supposed second line that consists of Laich and Brouwer and a 3rd piece, has been terrible all year. Are either Laich or Brouwer even tradable given their contracts? The Caps need to get rid of one of them and bring in some blueline help. Your thoughts?
Scott Burnside (12:03 PM)
No, I did not post this question myself. And (DC) you are right the Caps didn't look good at all against Pittsburgh in what should have been a 'statement' game. Still, Brouwer and Laich are key components of this team and my guess is GM George McPhee will ride this out. Laich is key and the injuries he's been dealing with the last couple of years have really hampered his effectiveness. If this is a playoff team and I think they will be both players will be important to the team's chances given their style of play.
Do you think the Sens will turn to Lehner now to take over the reigns of #1?
Scott Burnside (12:05 PM)
Gary; Delicate situation for head coach Paul MacLean. He has to get the uneven Sens back on track but he can't be looking like he's turning his back on an important veteran who has been the centerpiece of the team's twin playoff berths the last two years. Still, Lehner is in a position to really push Anderson if he can provide some quality starts. Ultimately he is 'the guy' the Sens hope will take over the goaltending reins and maybe this will be the start of the tenure.
Ian (San Jose)
What do you thinky my beloved sharks should be doing with Havlat? I want to give the guy the chance he should get but my patience is wearing thin. Im starting to think we should keep the guy playing until Burns gets healthy again and then try and ship him out. Also, what should the sharks be trying to get in return?
Scott Burnside (12:08 PM)
Ian; My good friend Pierre LeBrun and Barry Melrose and I kicked this around yesterday on our weekly podcast and you're right it's a sticky situation. The dilemma for GM Doug Wilson is whether he thinks Havlat will get his mojo back and stay healthy two separate issues. Then, if he feels the team is better off without him I think the issue will be finding a partner willing to take on the end of his contract (he has another year at $6 million real dollars and a $5 million cap hit). Sharks might end up eating some of that salary to move him if there is a partner somewhere. Hey, what about Ottawa?
Hi Scott, USA hockey question! I saw your latest projection. Because of their play this year I think it will be hard for Poile to leave off Kyle Okposo and John Carlson for the final spots. Thoughts?
Scott Burnside (12:10 PM)
Matt; No doubt Kyle Okposo has carried his strong playoff against Pittsburgh last spring into this season and there are a lot of eyes on John Carlson but my guess is that both are still bubble players. There are so many 'locks' up front for the Americans it's going to be tough to be among the 14 forwards named. As for Carlson he has a better shot although a sluggish start has put him behind guys like Kevin Shattenkirk, Keith Yandle and even someone like Seth Jones whose game is considered more well-rounded even though he's a rookie. I would say 50-50 chance he makes the team at this point.
Chances Flyers continue to stay hot and eventually become a top team in the east?
Scott Burnside (12:13 PM)
Brad; For me I want to see how the Flyers fare on a consistent basis against top competition. Yes, they beat Pittsburgh during their recent run. But beating Edmonton and a slumping Ottawa team twice isn't enough of a body of work to suggest a corner turned. That said Steve Mason has been a terrific story and they're finally getting some offense from Claude Giroux. More Ws against upper echelon teams and I'll start to buy in.
Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)
Scott, many of us in the NY area got our tickets to the Yankee Stadium games when they went on sale yesterday. Somebody in the Katie Strang chat made a great point that we all lined up to pay ridiculously inflated prices for the Mets-Yankees interleague games in the early 2000s (i know I did...every year), but now after 15 years of doing it nobody cares and those games don't even sell out anymore. I think it is safe to say the NHL is heading that way by oversaturating the outdoor games, but it is understandable why they are doing it this year to latch on to all the publicity surrounding the Olympics. Plus I was at the Winter Classic in Boston and the outdoor games are an amazing scene for anybody that has not been to one yet. Will never forget the flyover by the Stealth Bomber amidst the snow flurries right over the Green Monster.
Scott Burnside (12:16 PM)
Jesse; I am curious to see how the NHL handles this moving forward. I think it would be a mistake to have this many games or even more than say two outdoor games in any one season. But I understand this season. As you point out the Olympics will get a big kick-off with the Yankee Stadium games and the Ducks/Kings tilt at Dodger Stadium plus the post-Olympic schedule gets a boost from the Pens/Blackhawks game at Soldier Field. All will have a great ambience. But hoping next season sees the outdoor schedule significantly scaled back to maintain that unique feel that has been so important for the Winter Classic and the Heritage Classic in Canada. Hope you enjoy the experience.
Henry (US but so close to Canada)
Scott: Using the long-view, does the high-end West and dearth of talent in the East dynamic potentially line up for a ...gasp...east SC winner if the western representative is gassed by spring?
Scott Burnside (12:18 PM)
Henry; P. LeBrun and I always have this debate as he is a believer in all things west when it comes to the playoffs. Not sure you can generalize. Bruins had a relatively easy time of it last spring (notwithstanding the miracle comeback against Toronto in the first round) but injuries really blunted their chances against Chicago. In theory, yes, the road to the final through west looks straight uphill compared to the east but not sure that means Boston or Pittsburgh (or the Leafs for instance) would have a better chance at a Cup if they get to the final.
Gene Mullett (Columbus, OH)
Read an article recently that suggested St. Louis was a "bubble" player for making the HHoF. Seems kinda ridiculous, do you not think? He's won almost every trophy & has his name on the Cup.
Scott Burnside (12:19 PM)
Gene; Martin St. Louis is a first-ballot Hall of Famer in my books. No question.
Alex (Mankato, MN)
Should I expect Harding to regress? How much? He has a 1.48/.939 stat line this year, and 2.49/.917 for his career. What is the baseline/average for goalies? I think Harding is better than he is given credit for but I don't know if he is THAT much better than his career averages.
Scott Burnside (12:22 PM)
Alex; Not sure on the actual statistical view of where Harding's numbers should settle in at but I think it's fair to expect at least some regression given the numbers he put up in the first quarter. But maybe he's on a rainbow like we saw Sergey Bobrovsky get on a year ago. Bobrovsky's numbers have regressed as his team's play has fallen back. The key for Harding will be whether the Wild can continue to play well in front which means more 30-minute nights for Ryan Suter. Regardless, for me Harding represents one of the great stories of this NHL season. He is or should be an inspiration to all.
Will Tukka start for Finland in the Olympics? Is Bergeron a lock for the Canadian team?
Scott Burnside (12:24 PM)
Mike; Had another question on the Finnish Olympic team and with Pekka Rinne struggling to get a hip infection under control I would say Rinne is the odds-on favorite to start. Kari Lehtonen will push him as he's been terrific and that's not a bad tandem to head into Sochi with if you're the Finns. Rinne's condition should be clarified within the next couple of weeks but if he's healthy that adds another wrinkle for GM Jari Kurri to try and figure out.
Hi Scott,A couple of questions. Bear with me:how much does a coach earn in the NHL compared to star players? Despite all the injuries, the Kings are playing better hockey now, coincidence? Am I the only one who wants the shootout out of the game? I think it's an unfair way of deciding a teams season and playoff spots because those points count when seeds 7-10 are 5-10 points apart. Yes, entertainment value but is it really that much fun to watch?
Scott Burnside (12:27 PM)
Jeppe; Welcome. Coaching salaries are not made public like players' salaries are but my guess would be, based on experience and success (ie. Mike Babcock makes a lot more money than Jon Cooper at this stage) I would guess the average to be somewhere less than $1 million. As for the Kings, great story with the kids from Manchester, Toffoli, Vey, contributing and back-up Ben Scrivens delivering the goods while Jonathan Quick nurses a bad groin. Looks like they'll have to keep doing it too with Quick expected to miss time until Christmas. Good on Darryl Sutter regardless of what he makes. And no, almost everyone outside Commissioner Gary Bettman hates the shootout.
Why doesn't Andy Greene get any consideration for the USA olympic team? He is one of the steadiest defensemen in the game and is a solid skater.
Scott Burnside (12:29 PM)
Dan; I am a big fan of Andy Greene but I just think there are too many dynamic skaters and/or bigger bodies in front of him for him to make a run at the Sochi team. But your point is well-taken and he's assumed an important role on a Devils team many people assumed were cooked for this season.
Do you really think Krug is the Calder favorite at this point in the season? He's played soft minutes and has most of his production coming off the PP. I would think Hertl and Jones are the 2 favorites at this point but I'd like to hear your opinion.
Scott Burnside (12:30 PM)
Kit; I don't know if he's a favorite but he should be in the discussion. So hard for young defensemen to excel in the NHL. Taking nothing away from Hertl who has been excellent, or Nathan MacKinnon or Sean Monahan but I do think Krug and Jones are playing major roles at a difficult position and that has to count for something.
Is there any chance for Nick Leddy or Bradon Saad to make the U.S.A. Olympic roster.
Scott Burnside (12:32 PM)
Joe; No question in my mind Brandon Saad is very much in the mix. Versatile player who can do a little bit of everything and can play on the big stage, I like him as a 13/14 forward. Don't see that Leddy has much of a shot to make the team this time around.
Hi Scott - do you the Oilers are slowly turning the corner? I know they are far off from playoff talk but 2 impressive (albeit against weak competition) wins in a row is a start, right?
Scott Burnside (12:34 PM)
Mark; Yes, a long, long hill to climb to get back in the playoff discussion but interesting that as soon as the Oilers signed Ilya Bryzgalov Devan Dubnyk started to play the way he did last year. Like the Flyers it will be crucial for them to collect points against elite competition to maintain the confidence that they have turned a corner and this isn't just a blip on the radar.
Who wins tonight in the tilt between AVS and COYOTES?
Scott Burnside (12:35 PM)
Randy; Love this game. Huge bounce-back for the Avs over Chicago the other night and the 'Yotes are incredible at home. Will go Phoenix 3-2 in shootout.
Did your trip here shed any light on why the Hurricanes offence is so stagnant? With Skinner and now Semin out should Carolina try to trade for a sniper? (Yakupov maybe)
Scott Burnside (12:37 PM)
Greg; That was a weird game against Boston and blowing that long 5-on-3 highlighted the impact of the injuries as the 'Canes couldn't get anything going at a critical juncture in the game. Skinner will be back tonight I believe and he's got to get into a groove in a hurry. The good thing is that they have become a team that seems comfortable playing (and winning more often than not) tight games. Hope for fans' sake in Raleigh the 'Canes can get it going after missing the playoffs since 2009.
Hi Scott! Where do The Bruins rank in the eastern conference? Are they the favorites? or a close 2nd to Pitt? Thanks!
Scott Burnside (12:38 PM)
Chris; I would put the Bruins and Penguins in a class by themselves in the east. Not just point totals although they're both leading their divisions but based on history and the depth of their respective line-ups. And who doesn't want to see a rematch of last year's weirdo Eastern Conference final?
Confused on your Tuukka answer. Did you mean Tuukka is the favorite to start?
Scott Burnside (12:39 PM)
Eric; Sorry to have muddied the waters. Yes, with Rinne out I believe he is the favorite. If Rinne comes back before the end of the calendar year and plays well that makes the decision more difficult for Kurri.
Do the black hawks a legit chance to win the cup again?
Scott Burnside (12:41 PM)
aidan; Yes. No question they're among a handful of elite teams (most of which are in the west) who have as good a shot at winning as anyone. That said being in the west means the road to the final is in theory tougher. And I believe in history and history tells us that it's nearly impossible to go back to back the way the league is constructed. I think the Blackhawks will find that out at some point next spring.
Craig (St. Paul, MN)
Any chance Dany Heatley has turned a corner or at least is playing well enough to be dealt? Extended production from him would sure be helpful.
Scott Burnside (12:43 PM)
Craig; Dany Heatley remains a puzzler. Like Havlat, the issue will be finding a trade partner. He's in the last year of a deal that has a $7.5 million cap hit (although only pays $5 million real dollars). He also has a no move clause. As for turning a corner let's have this discussion in a week or two to see if he can consistently deliver points.
Pittsburgh fan living in Philly here... *ugh* Scott can you give me a % on Brooks Orpik playing for team USA? He's such a stud defensively I think, one of my favorite defenders to watch. #shutdownD
Scott Burnside (12:44 PM)
Ryan; Assuming Orpik is healthy (no reason to think he won't be) I would say he's a 98% lock to make the team.
Drew (Fort Worth)
Do you think Benn and Seguin in Dallas can become the equivalent of Kane and Toews in Chicago?
Scott Burnside (12:46 PM)
Drew; What a great run for both those players. I thought it interesting to see Seguin on the ice in the waning minutes of a one-goal game last week. Real boost to his confidence. And Benn has been terrific and has gone from forgotten to a strong contender to make the Canadian Olympic team. Still pretty early to be giving the two Kane/Toews status but a very promising start especially from Seguin after the Bruins didn't think he had the goods to be an elite center.
Why won't Geno shoot the darn puck and try to score a goal? I can't do this all by myself all year.....
Scott Burnside (12:46 PM)
Sidney; Great question. Saving the goals for Sochi?
Look's like the Preds got back to their defence first style the last couple of games and its really helped out their young goalie Manzanec. Do you think this will be a big benefit to Rinne when he returns? Seems as if they relied a little too much on Rinne to bail them out when the defence took some risks.
Scott Burnside (12:48 PM)
Jay; No question the Preds' way is to try and score three goals and figure that's enough to win most games. Except that's not how much of the first quarter went. When (if?) Rinne comes back the Preds' chances of getting back into the playoff hunt will rest almost solely on whether the team can continue to play this kind of defense-first hockey evident in wins over Detroit and Chicago.
Ross (Las Vegas)
Craig: Everyone is tallking about Hertl and Jones for the Calder, but Toffoli has been on fire 8 points 8 games. What will it take for him to be in the discussion?
Scott Burnside (12:49 PM)
Ross; About 20 more games like that. Good player and worthy of all the praise. Still a pretty small sample yet to be talking Calder.
Garrett (Long Island)
Hi Scott! What do you think about the trade rumors surrounding Del Zotto? There defense is shutting down everyone and can afford to part ways with him, but what do you think the Rangers can actually get back in return? Obviousley their need is offense, but how good of a player can they get?
Scott Burnside (12:52 PM)
Garrett; Dilemma for the Rangers who clearly haven't been happy with Del Zotto's play. If you trade him how do you plug the hole he leaves knowing how good he's been offensively in the past? Lots of teams would be interested I am sure (Ottawa anyone? Philadelphia? Detroit?) but figure the Rangers' asking price would have to be a top prospect and likely an NHL roster player. I think it's more likely Alain Vigneault hopes Del Zotto responds to the public lashing he's just received and produces what he's shown in the past.
at the end of the year, ryan miller is wearing what team's sweater?
Scott Burnside (12:52 PM)
kurt; Oh boy that's tough. Could be a Sabres jersey but I'll go this way; Pittsburgh Penguins.
How many teams have less talent than the Flames? We have been snuffed for a long time...
Scott Burnside (12:53 PM)
Hal; Fair question. Not many. Maybe none. But I will say this there aren't many nights Bob Hartley's team doesn't work from puck drop to buzzer. That counts for something even if the talent cupboard seems cruelly bare.
Scott, how good is Jaromir Jagr? As a Devil fan I'm more impressed with his influence on the younger guys and the example he sets. That being said, his stats so far have been waaaay beyond my expectations.
Scott Burnside (12:54 PM)
JD: He is an absolute machine. I hope he never retires even if he ends up playing for a different team every season until he's 60. They loved him in Philadelphia and in Dallas and in Boston and now in New Jersey. No coincidence. He is great for the kids and his preparation and sheer joy at playing have to be infectious. Good for him and for the Devils for giving him a home.
Alec Kourtjian (Michigan)
What do you think the chances are that Zach Bogosian makes the U.S. Olympic Team?
Scott Burnside (12:55 PM)
Alec; It's not going to happen this time around for Bogosian.
Ken K (MI)
Scott, Miller to Pittsburgh? On the heels of Fleury's shutout. Are you sure your an expert?
Scott Burnside (12:56 PM)
Ken; Maybe you didn't happen to watch any of the Pens' playoff games from 2012 or 2013 in which Fleury played.
Scott, what in the world in going on in Detroit? How do they turn things around?
Scott Burnside (12:58 PM)
Ryne; Tough times there. Injuries, weird inability to win in overtime or shootout. The Stephen Weiss experiment early on hasn't turned out particularly well. Jimmy Howard has been up and down. Still, learned long ago not to count the Wings out or pronounce the playoff run dead. Still, this is a team that is waiting for that inevitable 'next generation' of stars to emerge and help shoulder the load as Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Kronwall did when they came into the organization.
Do you see Price as a lock to start for Canada or can Mike Smith make a case for starter if he continues his hot streak given his play in high-pressure situations in the past?
Scott Burnside (12:59 PM)
Kevin; My guess is that Price ends up the starter but wouldn't be surprised to see Smith get a look early in the tournament assuming he keeps playing well for a good Coyotes team.
Besides a back-up goal tender, what do you think the Blackhawks are missing?
Scott Burnside (1:01 PM)
Darryl; Not sure there are any obvious weaknesses outside having someone back up Corey Crawford especially having added Kris Versteeg. GM Stan Bowman has built this roster so there are opportunities for young defensemen and forwards and that's not a bad thing even if there is an occasional bump in the road on the way to the playoffs.
Scott Burnside (1:02 PM)
Okay folks, thanks for dropping by. If we don't end up chatting again before next Thursday have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Until next time.