Chat with Barry Melrose
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, 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 Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Should I expect more production from guys like Pacioretty, Gallagher, Galchenyuk moving forward or is their current pace more realistic?
Barry Melrose (3:03 PM)
I would say their pace is very good. Montreal is one of the hottest teams in the NHL. Gallagher and Galchenyuk have given them depth up front. Defensively they've been very strong. I'm not sure how much better a team can get than 10-1-1.
Mark (St. Louis)
Do the blues need to move Elliot or Halak for another goalie before the deadline, or for more talent up front?
Barry Melrose (3:04 PM)
I think the Blues like what's going on right now. Their scoring is very good. They're good is defensively. I think the next little while will tell them if they're deep enough in net. I don't think they're in a hurry to do anything. They're evaluating the team right now. Sometimes the best deal is the one you don't make.
Jimmy Howard (Detroit)
I understand I've been struggling so far this year, but no way Babcock makes me split time with him the rest of the year no?
Barry Melrose (3:05 PM)
Well, Jimmy, you're the answer to that question. Mike Babcock is doing this to light a fire under you. If you get the message and become the old Jimmy Howard, you'll play the majority of the games the rest of the season. But Detroit can't afford to put an average Jimmy in the net night after night.
I've heard upwards of 15-20 games for Thornton's hit on Orpik... would you agree that Shawn should take that and run given the similarities of his hit to the one years ago by Todd Bertuzzi. Outcomes somewhat different but the action taken has similarites....
Barry Melrose (3:06 PM)
I don't think so. Thornton is not a repeat offender. I would think it would be closer to 5-10 games.
Trey Fevaa (VB)
How long if at all until Erat gets traded from the Capitals?
Barry Melrose (3:07 PM)
You need a trading partner to move somebody. Until he starts playing better, at his salary and the number of years left, no one is going to want him. Somehow they'll have to figure out a way to get him playing better.
what prototype player is missing in philly's offensive game. A big hulking winger that can score or a speedy playmaker that can score
Barry Melrose (3:08 PM)
I think skill. Lacavalier hasn't played as many games as anyone else and he's the leader in goals. I think they would love to have a really skilled defenseman and a goal scorer up front.
Is Danny Boyle totally healthy after the max lapierre cheap shot. Fun (read not so fun fact) the sharks PP was operating at 26.7% before Boyle's injury and at 14.7 percent after Boyle has returned. This has to raise questions about whether the Sharks resign him right?
Barry Melrose (3:09 PM)
He might not be 100%. After you've played 30 games, everyone is beat up from here on. He's getting older and might take longer to heal. This is still a very good team. I think they're pretty strong. I'm not worried about them or Danny Boyle.
Alec (St. Louis)
Barry, I know you're a West coast guy. Given the fewer number of teams in the West with the new realignment, what's your expectation/timetable for the league to add a couple new teams for the big guns to beat up on? Seems bound to happen at some point...
Barry Melrose (3:10 PM)
I think you'll see expansion in the next couple of years. The NHL has fixed a couple of teams' ownership problems. They just signed two new TV contracts in the U.S. and Canada. I think we'll see some expansion teams in a few years.
Barry, I'm a Hawks fan heading up with friends to Toronto to check out the hall and Hawks/Leafs. Any recommendations?
Barry Melrose (3:11 PM)
The Hall of Fame is awesome. I think you have to go to Gretzky's restaurant. Just enjoy the city. It's winter time. Go to the old Maple Leafs Garden. Enjoy the city. It's a great city. In the winter time, it will be beautiful.
Have you seen the Perry's goal from the last night?
Barry Melrose (3:12 PM)
It was great. Perry scores some beautiful goals. He has great hands. He never quits on a play. Last night was one of his better ones. He scores some highlight goals.
Will the flyers pull a trade off and will they part with perhaps Brayden Schenn who has cooled off
Barry Melrose (3:13 PM)
They gave up a lot to get him, so they're not going to give him away for nothing. He's still a good young player. There would be some teams who want him. Can you recoop what you spent for him? I wouldn't give up too soon on him.
Will (St. louis)
Too much talk of taking fighting out of the game... last I checked.. this is game for men not boys. If you take fighting out of the game you mind as well get rid of the game all together and watch soccer or tennis ay?
Barry Melrose (3:14 PM)
There is a big argument afoot. There are two different thoughts that fighting is part of the tradition of hockey. It's there for a reason, a tool to be used. There is another thought that hate fighting, don't think it should be there. It might be something as crazy as insurance deciding whether fighting is kept or not. There are two different camps. I like fighting, I think it's there for a reason.
Marty (Lebec, CA)
Barry....Kings or Habs tonight and why?
Barry Melrose (3:15 PM)
Two good teams. Two teams playing well. Good test for Montreal to play one of the big boys from out West. LA is a bigger team. It will be interesting to see how those small forwards go against those big guys in the Kings. I always enjoy when the best teams from each conference play. You get a good gauge of where each conference is.
Jim H (miami, FL)
The Panthers look like they'll ride Tim Thomas until the wheels come off (and Sunday's performance by backup Clemmensen shows why). Can he hold up for the rest of the season?
Barry Melrose (3:16 PM)
I think you'll see him traded at the deadline. The perfect plan is he plays great, and they deal him at the deadline and get a first round pick for him. If he continues to play well, that's what they're hoping for.
what do you make of Henrik's extension? seems a little premature given his play so far this season. worth it?
Barry Melrose (3:17 PM)
It was going to get done. He's the face of the organization. He's been there for several years. His body of work is awesome. It's New York. Things are bigger in NYC. I think it had to be done. Everyone knew he was going to be the highest paid goaltender in the NHL. Now he'll be a Ranger for the rest of his life.
Hey Barry! So the Coyotes have morphed seemingly overnight from a defense first team to run and gun. Is this a philosophy change by Tippett, or is it the players not following the system? (Oh, and for Adam in Chicago, stop by the Distillery District, and Baldwin Street for off the main strip great eats - hope you enjoy your visit!)
Barry Melrose (3:18 PM)
I don't think they're a run and gun team, they're a much more offensive team than before. But they're still a defensive team. They did add some young players that are skilled. Their skill level has gotten a lot better and they're able to score more goals. Tippett is still a defense first coach.
Mike (Long Island)
Are the Isles a lost cause??
Barry Melrose (3:19 PM)
No, it's still plenty of time. It's bad right now. They lost last night. They'll probably lose a couple more on the road before returning home. But in their division, it's weak. However, they have to get something done. They can't keep going like this. Is it too late to make the playoffs? No. In that division, no.
The Wild have spent some money, seem to have some decent offensive weapons. What needs to happen in order for them to score more?
Barry Melrose (3:21 PM)
They have to get balanced scoring from everybody. Parise's been good. Koivu has been good. They have many guys who need to put the puck in the net. This is a good team. To make the playoffs in the West, you need to be a great team. They're right there. They made the playoffs last year. Some of those players that have struggled early this year have to pick it up
Do you feel that Shanahan is doing a good job? Are the players getting the message?
Barry Melrose (3:22 PM)
I think he's doing a good job. It's a terrible job, it's a thankless job, but he's doing a good job. But no, the players aren't getting the message. It seems like every couple of weeks, there is a big suspension. The players don't seem to be getting the message of what's acceptable and not in today's NHL.
To me there are lots of goalie surprises this year, more than normal?Howard, Andersson, Lundqvist, Quick and so on bad. Harding, Reimer, ducks, scrivens and so on good.What about Sweden in olympics? Gold?
Barry Melrose (3:23 PM)
We've had some young goaltenders come in. There has been great jobs done by backup goaltenders. Anderson, no one's even heard of him, but he comes in and shows he can play in the NHL. Bishop has been playing well. It just shows the depth of great goaltending in the NHL.
With talk of expansion coming and going, why doesnt Kansas City get a look? they have an arena ready to go.
Barry Melrose (3:24 PM)
I think KC is there. I think the two cities I hear about all the time now are Seattle and Quebec. They're being mentioned moreso than anyone else. KC is there because they have a building and they have a hockey history. But Seattle and Quebec seem to be the leaders.
Ben Bishop (Tampa)
St. Louis should have kept me there. I'm the biggest goalie in history and just needed someone to give me that shot for more than a couple games wouldn't you agree?
Barry Melrose (3:25 PM)
It seems like all goalies are big now. 6-3, 6-4 seems to be the norm for goaltenders now. St. Louis liked him, but they couldn't keep him because of the salary cap. Montreal had Halak. Toronto had Rask. Every organization has a goaltender they wish they would have kept. When you're against the cap, you have to make some tough decisions.
Barry can you clear things up for many of us. Was Orpik's hit on Erickson legal by NHL rules?
Barry Melrose (3:26 PM)
Yeah, I thought it was a good hit. Orpik is a good hitter. He's probably one of the top 5-6 hitters in the NHL and the vast majority of them are clean. The problem is Erickson came back from a concussion a couple of weeks ago and the Bruins are worried about that.
Marc (Malden, MA)
When will the league wake up and realize there's too many teams in bad hockey markets. I know they want to go to 32 teams, but how about relocating some teams.
Barry Melrose (3:27 PM)
I think they don't want to. They want to use the two next teams for expansion. That will make more money for the NHL. They hope that the Florida and Phoenix ownership are worked out. They want that expansion money, because it's hundreds of millions of dollars.
Mark (Pasadena, CA)
Coach Q said today that Crawford is expected to be out 2-3 weeks. Looking at the schedule, that means he will miss 10 games if it's 3 weeks. I think the Hawks can manage that with Raanta. But if it were a longer term injury (say, 2 months), who could the Hawks trade for to split time with Raanta? Even when healthy, the Bulin Wall crumbled like the Berlin Wall, and the guy they just called up to back up Raanta (Kent Simpson) is probably not a guy that could play a lot of games if Raanta got hurt.
Barry Melrose (3:29 PM)
I think Raanta will be the deciding factor. We'll see how he plays. How good Chicago is, it will be no problem is he has to play for a while. But if he can't and it looks like Crawford's out longer than we think, then you have to go out and get a veteran. But I don't think they're that worried about it. The hockey teams fare on the side of caution. If they say 3-4 weeks, it's usually 2-3 weeks.
Barry Melrose (3:29 PM)
It's hockey weather. It's snowing on the East Coast. It's bad weather everywhere. This is when you really start to enjoy the hockey season.