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 1 p.m. ET!
Scott Burnside (1:05 PM)
Hello all, sorry for the slight delay. Just finishing up Hockey Today the podcast. Now, where were we?
Ben (San Jose)
I am worrying about the Sharks. Do they continue this slide or right the ship tonight vs. Minny? They really need to maintain the right intensity for a full 60 minutes and keep a lead when they have it, especially in the third period!
Scott Burnside (1:06 PM)
Ben; Just back from San Jose where I watched with great dismay their early domination of the New York Islanders only to cough up a 2-0 lead and lose in a shootout. But I think these are just the stretches all good teams go through, a slight loss of focus, a little difficulty in closing the deal. But this is still an elite team and you know head coach Todd McLellan isn't going to let them forget this stretch and how they've let a few points get away from them.
Hey Scott- I've always been a big Wings fan but its been kinda hard to watch lately- What's wrong besides recent injuries to Dats and Zetterberg?
Scott Burnside (1:09 PM)
Dan; I think it's a combination of things; different conference and hence different teams, some unexpected mediocrity from Jimmy Howard and for me the failure of the Stephen Weiss experiment which leaves a hole down the middle when guys like Zetterberg and Datsyuk have been banged up. One thing I've learned though is that never count the Wings out. Mike Babcock always seems to find away to get the ship pointed the right direction just when he needs to. Don't expect it to be any different this season.
Do you agree with Lundqvist that things can only get better for the Rangers?
Scott Burnside (1:11 PM)
Alex; No. Not sure that's true at all. Yes, I would expect Lundqvist to start playing better especially now that his contract situation has been resolved (and presumably to his liking) but the injuries to Marc Staal and the difficulty this team has had in transitioning to Alain Vigneault suggests this may simply be what the Rangers are like all season.
Chris (Orange County)
What do you think about the Ducks as of now, and how good they can really be once getting players like Silfverberg, Beauchemin, Souray Back. I'm really liking their chances...
Scott Burnside (1:16 PM)
Chris; We talked about the Ducks nipping at Chicago's heels - perhaps surprisingly so - at the top of the Western Conference standings on the podcast. And yes, impressive first third of the season for Bruce Boudreau's group. It starts with the play of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry both of whom are close to being locks for the Canadian Olympic team. But guys like Nick Bonino, Kyle Palmieri, how about Dustin Penner after being a healthy scratch early in the season? No one gets out of the west without rolling three/four competitive forward units and six dependable defensemen and the Ducks are trending that way. Your point about getting a guy like Sheldon Souray back in the New Year is also a good one.
Scott, with the recent injury to Crawford and him being out up to 3 weeks, if this injury lingers longer than they believe, any chance the Hawks call up Buffalo and see if Miller is available to come here?
Scott Burnside (1:19 PM)
Eric; I think that's a possibility. Regardless of how well Antti Raanta is during this stretch you know GM Stan Bowman will want the same kind of safety net he had last year with Ray Emery even though Crawford ran the table in the playoffs. The question becomes what does whomever takes that call in Buffalo assuming Pat Lafontaine hires a new GM before the trade deadline wants in return for Miller. Bowman has done a terrific job in stockpiling young assets in Rockford of the AHL so it wouldn't be surprising if that happened. The appealing thing if you're Stan Bowman and could acquire Miller is that he doesn't end up somewhere else and possibly facing you in a playoff series.
Alex (Washington, DC)
Scott do the Capitals have what it takes to compete against the Penguins come playoff time?
Scott Burnside (1:22 PM)
Alex; I have been waiting for another Pens/Caps playoff tilt since 2009 and that seven-game beauty. For me such a series would come down to goaltending. Braden Holtby has seen his ups and downs this season and we all know the recent post-season history of Marc-Andre Fleury and it's not pretty. Fleury's been very good thus far and you'd have to give him the edge over Holtby. And if the Pens are healthy on the back end (ie. Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik are good to go) I think that edge goes to the Penguins too. But would love to find out the answer to your question for real next spring.
Heard some chatter recently about the NHL and expansion. Also heard on NHL on Sirius|XM suggestions that Toronto with its growth could support another team a la NYC. I'm all for more Canadian teams, especially with the terrific story of hockey returning to Winnipeg. I'd say Toronto, Quebec and maybe, what, Seattle as the top three choices?
Scott Burnside (1:24 PM)
Tim; No question Commissioner Gary Bettman created some buzz at the end of the Board of Governors meetings this week by talking more openly about expansion. With the cap expected to continue to rise pretty dramatically there will be pressure to expand because owners love the idea of expansion money which doesn't get shared with the players. And I'd say Seattle is a virtual lock to be the first city to get a brand new team with Quebec City and Toronto the next two pending plans to build a second NHL-ready rink somewhere in the Greater Toronto Area.
Eddie (Huntington Beach)
Big Kings fan and hockey fan in general here.How is it that Tyler Toffoli is going unnoticed for Calder with 15 pts in 18 games, 4 gwg's and plus 11 on a fairly low scoring team like the Kings. Exclude the past 2 games. Eddie
Scott Burnside (1:26 PM)
Eddie; Good point. I think he suffers a little from what Torey Krug suffers from in Boston, the tendency to forget they are rookies given strong playoff performances last spring. But Toffoli will play himself onto the radar in a hurry assuming he stays with the big club and continues to play as impressively as he has thus far.
What are your thoughts on the Blackhawks outscoring opponents 19-6 in three games over just four days after their three game skid?
Scott Burnside (1:28 PM)
Chris; I think they are machine-like. How about Patrick Kane taking a run at Sidney Crosby atop the scoring race? He has points in 19 of 20 games. Wow.
Follow-up to Tim's question: Is there any chance of a team coming to Houston in the next decade or two? Or should I just give up on that pipe-dream right now?
Scott Burnside (1:29 PM)
Joe; Never say never, but, well, don't see it happening.
ok, name three players who will be wearing different sweaters before the trade deadline.
Scott Burnside (1:31 PM)
al; Okay, Ryan Miller, Mike Cammalleri, David Legwand.
Scotty, say expansion does happend and the 2 teams end up being Seattle and Tororonto or Quebec. This doesn't really help much for the conference balancing. Do we see a team like the Blue Jackets get bounced back to the West?
Scott Burnside (1:32 PM)
Jon; Agreed and it's something I'm sure the NHL is cognizant of, not wanting teams bouncing back and forth. Thus, I'm sure they'd be loath to bump Columbus back. What about making a second Toronto team play in the west? They were a Western Conference team for many years until Ken Dryden worked a move east as President. Think Jets/Giants in the NFL and White Sox/Cubs in MLB.
Thank you for effectively crushing my hopes and dreams. I'll just return to the dull humdrum of my daily life now, safe in the knowledge that I'll never see live NHL hockey in my home city. Sigh...
Scott Burnside (1:33 PM)
Joe; Take a trip to Dallas. Sorry about that.
Quick goes down injured and the Kings are getting even better goaltending from Scrivens and now Jones who has had, literally, the best first 4 games in the history of the NHL of any goalkeeper. Is this a sign of the system being that good and dare I say that Quick might be a tad bit overrated? Or is he really that awesome when on top of his game?
Scott Burnside (1:35 PM)
Bill; Pretty impressive season for Bill Ranford goaltending coach to the stars, no? Sure, defensive scheme under Darryl Sutter helps these kinds of transitions brought on by injury to be more seamless. But let's not forget how well Quick played in the '12 post-season and again last spring. Yes, regular season numbers a bit iffy last year and again this season before he suffered his current groin injury. But when the money's on the table he's shown he's as good as there is over the last couple of seasons.
Lonny (Blaine, Mn)
Wouldn't relocation, not expansion make the NHL stronger. I understand the initial money but putting teams in hockey areas and not having so many players that will dilute the leagues talent. Wouldn't the league be more popular and profitable?
Scott Burnside (1:37 PM)
Lonny; Fair question and a year ago now I'd have completely agreed but with ownership situations stabilized in Phoenix, Florida and New Jersey I think expansion is the next logical step on a number of levels. As for dilution of talent I don't think it's that big a concern given how many good, young players there are in the game right now.
Its obvious the wild need second and third line scoring. Do you see them adding that this off season or will they spend their money elsewhere and wait for the young guys to continue to develop?
Scott Burnside (1:40 PM)
Tyler; Real dilemma for Chuck Fletcher who is getting dynamite goaltending from Josh Harding and yet needs for his team to generate more offense to have a shot at being anything other than a one-and-done playoff team. The fact Dany Heatley has become a marginal player in spite of his salary is problematic in the short term but I still think that group of young players that includes Granlund, Niederreiter, Coyle, will be okay big picture.
Give me a realistic percentage the Blues go after Miller if play from Halak/Elliot isn't as hoped for. Seeing Miller play behind a strong Blues D may be scary sight for opposing teams.
Scott Burnside (1:43 PM)
Jon; That is another interesting potential destination for Ryan Miller especially if the Blues could find a taker for Brian Elliott. For the same reason Stan Bowman might be happy to keep Miller out of St. Louis Doug Armstrong might like that insurance policy as much to keep the Blackhawks from having said policy. Interesting potential dynamic. Of course Pittsburgh may also be in the market for Miller pending the outcome of Tomas Vokoun's recovery from blood clotting issues. If you're the Sabres that's exactly the perfect storm you hope will present itself at the deadline.
I know everyone's talking about Kane playing very well lately, scoring in 19 of the past 20, but what about Sharp? He's been on a tear as well, with 8 points in the past 3 games and has catapulted himself into the top 10 in both goals and points.
Scott Burnside (1:45 PM)
Chris; Patrick Sharp has long existed in the shadows of P. Kane and J. Toews and even to a lesser degree Marian Hossa. But he has been a real catalyst to both Cup wins in '10 and last June. For me the interesting part will be whether Sharp finds his way onto the Canadian Olympic team. He's earned significant consideration but you wonder if he'll get overlooked just as he is sometimes overlooked in Chicago.
Rob (San Antonio)
Do you see a problem with the system when a player is not yet disciplined a week after the occurrence? It sure seems like Thornton should have met with the league long before now.
Scott Burnside (1:48 PM)
Rob; I think this indicates how serious Brendan Shanahan believes this incident to be and is also a function of his own scheduling. He was with the San Jose Sharks yesterday in San Jose as part of a tour to discuss player safety. The fact Thornton was suspended pending the hearing I think removes the urgency to get the hearing done. My guess is Thornton goes for an even dozen games.
Jay (New York)
So what do you see happening with the Islanders first round pick that is suppose to go to the Sabres? Do they give it to them this year or next. Next year being Connor McDavid draft year?
Scott Burnside (1:50 PM)
Jay; That's a real dilemma for GM Garth Snow, no? I don't think you'll see any GM whose team even has a slight chance of missing the playoffs in advance of the 2015 draft will be trading a first-round pick given the potential impact McDavid will have on a team. Of course that means the Sabres could be looking at a top three draft pick given the Isles' poor play this season. Neither option is particularly appealing.
steve levy (bristol)
pretty sure that in espn's preseason predictions, steve levy picked Patrick kane for the hart trophy...smart guy he is eh?
Scott Burnside (1:51 PM)
steve; They simply don't come any smarter even if I still think this is Sidney Crosby's trophy to win.
What's up with the flyers? What do they need to do to get back on a nice winning streak?
Scott Burnside (1:52 PM)
Brad; Not sure there's an easy answer as I don't know that the 'turning of a corner' that everyone thought had happened in the last month has really happened. They're still banged up and they seem to be a team that is easily thrown off its track as was the case last night when they were shellacked by Chicago 7-2. Steve Mason has covered up a litany of mistakes with his fine play but not sure that's sustainable over the long haul.
Steve (Mexico City)
Who do you think captains Team USA? I lean towards Brown or Backes...maybe a slight edge to Brownie who has lifted the Cup.
Scott Burnside (1:54 PM)
Steve; I would go with Dustin Brown for the very reason you identified. David Backes, Zach Parise, Ryan Callahan and Ryan Suter will all join Brown as the team's leadership group or core but I think Brown wears the 'C'. Good choice if that's the way it goes.
Garrett (Long Island)
What moves can you see the Rangers making to shake things up? How do you see their season ending up?
Scott Burnside (1:57 PM)
Garrett; We talked about this on the podcast today as well and I think the problems facing the Rangers are more troublesome than say issues facing the Vancouver Canucks two teams whose fates are inexorably linked given the off-season coaching swap. Lundqvist has to be better. Marc Staal has to stay healthy, so does Rick Nash, they need their young guys to continue to step forward. Those things haven't happened and may not happen or not happen to the degree needed to get the team in the post-season. Those are core issues that can't be necessarily addressed by a couple of deadline deals.
Could you really pick any other team to beat a healthy Hawks team in a 7 game series?
Scott Burnside (1:58 PM)
Drew; Not sure who would win but I'd pay to watch a Blackhawks/Blues series, Blackhawks/Sharks, Blackhawks/Kings...well you get my point. Yes, they're a terrific team but the west is filled with them. Can't wait for April already.
Scott Burnside (1:59 PM)
Okay folks, thanks as always for stopping by. Let's do it again next week. Be well.