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!
Buzzmaster (2:00 PM)
We've got Barry!
Ed (Queens Village)
Four head coaches have been fired this season. Why a lack of patience?
Barry Melrose (2:01 PM)
Because it's easier to fire the coach than make changes in your lineup. That's always the reason to fire coaches early. Teams hope for a bump in the standings. The old saying is you can fire a coach easier than five guys.
Any chance the Kings move a goaltender by the deadline?
Barry Melrose (2:01 PM)
I think it's very possible that the Kings are going to be aggressive at the deadline. They do have a lot of extra goalies. Where does Ryan Miller go? There will be a lot of goaltenders available. They've always been aggressive.
mike p (greater kc metro) [via mobile]
Why is the NHL finding it necessary to do more than one winter classic. Seems like this one will be very hard to live up to the game in Ann arbor.
Barry Melrose (2:02 PM)
Money. They're tremendous revenue producers for the teams. That's the reason everyone wants them. It's all about cash. It will make the NHL, players association and the teams a lot of money.
Do you see Letang as a top 10 NHL dman?
Barry Melrose (2:03 PM)
Offensively, yeah. I think he's one of the best offensive defensemen in the NHL. Is he one of the best overall defensemen? No, I think he's lower than that. There are so many great overall defensemen. You've got Chara, Keith, etc.
Do you see Tampa winning the Atlantic with Steven Stamkos when he gets back ?
Barry Melrose (2:04 PM)
They're going to be right there in the end. They're there right now, and that's a surprise. This team will fight with Boston the rest of the year.
Jon Cooper for the Jack Adams award? What he has done with a bunch of rookies, a couple of good vets, and raw young goaltenders without one of the top three players in the world. How could he not be the favorite at this point.
Barry Melrose (2:04 PM)
Definitely. The three I have right now are Roy, Cooper and Berube.
Mike H (Baltimore, MD)
These Caps/Pens games are usually pretty physical. We all know Ovi wants to lay the lumber tonight. After a tough game last night, coming up short against a really good San Jose team will they be able to keep their energy up for 60 minutes against a Pens team that has had four days off and is play at home? As a player how did you get your body ready for back to back battles like that? As a coach, is there anything you could say to a player to get them ready?
Barry Melrose (2:05 PM)
Oh yeah. The adrenaline will take over. Washington needs the points. They're just hanging on to a playoff spot right now. Any time Ovechkin plays Crosby, it's a big game in the NHL. I expect a big game tonight.
Does Winnipeg move any big parts?
Barry Melrose (2:06 PM)
You know what, I don't think so. I think if they would have made a trade, they would have done it. It's a very talented team. I think they can be turned around quickly. I don't see them being big sellers at the deadline.
Do you see Stamkos playing in Sochi, if so how do you see him competing after coming back so fast from a devastating injury?
Barry Melrose (2:07 PM)
He's skating now and skating hard. The plan is for him to play a couple of games before the Olympics. They aren't going to let him play unless he's 100 percent.
Barry,How big are the Ducks games with the Blackhawk and Blues this week end?
Barry Melrose (2:08 PM)
Obviously, the points are important, but it's time to send messages. I think those are two teams the Ducks will have to beat out west. You want to put seeds of doubt in right now. It will be big for all three teams.
Brandy (Lancaster, PA)
Hey Barry, while looking at the Flyers over the past month or so, they have put up an impressive record. As a fan, I of course want to say they have turned the corner, however find myself torn on the fact that they have had a pretty lenient schedule in terms of playing under .500 teams. Your thoughts?
Barry Melrose (2:09 PM)
I think it's been a pretty good schedule for them. They haven't played the Western teams much. That will be a test. Have they turned the corner? They're playing better, but if they miss the playoffs, it doesn't matter. They have to continue playing like this the rest of the year, not just these 15-20 games.
Garrett (Long Island)
Hey Barry!!! Bishop totally won that game for the Lightning last night. The Rangers had an abundance of quality scoring chances. What are your overall thoughts on the Rangers and where do you think they will be once the season ends?
Barry Melrose (2:10 PM)
They'll make the playoffs. They'll be a top three team in their division. Once you get into the playoffs, you have a chance. But I don't see them beating Boston or Pittsburgh. Their goal is to get into the playoffs and play well.
With the Devils hanging around for those last two wild card spots, what do you think they do with Jagr? Trade him for a better chance at a cup or hang on to him since his offense is the only way they get in the playoffs?
Barry Melrose (2:11 PM)
I think if they're out of it, obviously, everybody is up for trade. You would think there would be teams out there that would like Jagr. He's had a very good year so far this year. If they're in the heat of it, they won't be trading anybody. They'll probably be trying to add a player here or there.
Jason (Long Island)
Now that NHL players are part of the Olympics, what is the proper etiquette? Do you root for your country or the country on which players from your favorite team are playing?
Barry Melrose (2:12 PM)
I would think most people root for their country. I think when it comes down to the end of the day, an American will cheer for the Americans, the Canadians cheer for Canadians, the Russians for the Russians. I think hockey fans love their country.
Do you see Vanek resigning?
Barry Melrose (2:13 PM)
No. I don't. It hasn't been a great experience for him. He hasn't had a great year. I think he'd like to go back to Minny. His wife is from Minny. He played college there.
Is Patrick Roy the runaway leader right now for coach of the year and what do they need to do to avoid making the playoffs and losing in the first round? This is way mor efun then the last few years.
Barry Melrose (2:14 PM)
Making the playoffs is their goal this year. This is a team that finished last the year before and got the first pick overall. Their goal is just to make the playoffs. If they do that, then Patrick Roy is my clear pick for coach of the year. Then once you make the playoffs, your next goal is to win a round.
Any chance Evander Kane gets traded from the Jets? What would it take do you think? Personally I think he would be an absolute monster on a line with Crosby
Barry Melrose (2:15 PM)
I don't think they would move him. His upside is so high. I think it would have to be a mega deal. He's signed too, so that makes him more attractive. I think they want to keep that team together and get Kane to play like people think he can.
Jason (Ithaca, NY)
Since getting passed over for the Olympics, it seems like Kyle Okposo has been playing with a chip on his shoulder (which has been great for the Islanders). Are there any other players that were not selected that having been playing like they something to prove?
Barry Melrose (2:16 PM)
I think players play like that. They want to prove people wrong and show that they should be on the team. Bobby Ryan came out and said he should have been picked. Rick Nash has played with a chip on his shoulder. I think those teams and coaches are very happy they're playing like that.
Who do you think the most egregious Olympic omission was? I think it has to be Giroux. Can't believe he didn't make it
Barry Melrose (2:17 PM)
I think Marty St. Louis. He won the scoring race last year. He's got 20 goals this year. He's a proven NHL star for a number of years. He's the biggest snub that I've seen.
Do you see the pens acquiring a winger to play with Sid and who?
Barry Melrose (2:18 PM)
I think the Penguins will be aggressive at the deadline. They always are. They have a lot of young players that could be trade bait. How do they feel about their goaltending? They will be aggressive at the deadline.
Surprised by the Sens turnaround?
Barry Melrose (2:19 PM)
Don't forget they made the playoffs last year and a lot of people picked them to be one of the best in the East this year. And they added Bobby Ryan. This team definitely should be a playoff team, especially in the Eastern Conference.
Gene Mullett (Columbus, OH)
Are there any under-the-radar players that you really enjoy watching play? LeBrun likes Chris Tanev, for example? Anyone you appreciate like that or think is really overlooked?
Barry Melrose (2:20 PM)
I like watching Dallas play. I like Seguin and his linemates play. I love watching Cam play for the Ducks. I love watching the young players for the Avs play. I love watching guys that can skate.
Do you think Hiller leaves the Ducks after this season?
Barry Melrose (2:20 PM)
That's a tough call. He's playing so well. I know the Ducks have a lot of young goaltenders in the wings. Boy, it's hard to let go of a goaltender like Hiller who's playing so well.
do you think james neal should have been selected for team canada? He has put up pretty big numbers this year since coming back from injury and is one of the top snipers in the league.
Barry Melrose (2:21 PM)
There are so many players who were left off of Team Canada. Seabrook, Giroux, St. Louis. You can make a case for all of these guys. He's on the list of guys you could make a case for.
Swandad (New York)
Oilers trading Dubnyk to Predators. Is that a message that Rinne won't be back anytime soon?
Barry Melrose (2:22 PM)
I think it's a case of a goaltender needing a switch. Dubnyk was a high draft pick, but he wasn't a great fit in Edmonton. If that happens, the price might not be that high. I think Rinne has already been out a long time. If they're already out of the playoffs, why force him back this year, if at all?
Sean (Orange County)
Barry, It's 84 degrees with the Santa Ana winds blowing today in so cal. How are they going to keep that ice frozen for the Ducks/Kings game next week?
Barry Melrose (2:23 PM)
Don't forget the game's at night. That will make a difference. The guys that make the ice say that the two biggest weapons against the ice are the sun and humidity. They wouldn't be doing it unless they felt they could make the ice in any LA temperature.
do you think the metropolitan is the worst in the league this year?
Barry Melrose (2:24 PM)
The good news is it's even. All of the teams are bad. So it will make for a good finish. But, yeah, if you compare it to the other divisions, it's by far the weakest.
Will the Isles trade some pieces if they are out of the playoff picture soon?
Barry Melrose (2:25 PM)
They have won a lot of games recently and climbed back into contention. If they don't get back into the playoffs, they'll be sellers. But it's hard to do that when you still have a chance to make the playoffs.
What do the bolts have to do to make a run deep in the playoffs?
Barry Melrose (2:26 PM)
Make sure Ben Bishop doesn't get hurt. He's one of the best in the NHL so far this season. They'll get Stamkos back to an already good club. You have to think they're one of the four best in the East.
Jason (New York)
Ovechkin continues to be one of the league's elite players. Does he need to win a Cup to be included in the conversation of all time greats?
Barry Melrose (2:27 PM)
You never want to be called the best player to never win a Stanley Cup. You saw Borque go to Colorado to win a Cup. He's excited about the Olympics this year.
Barry Melrose (2:27 PM)
We have two great games tonight. It's going to be a late night of great hockey.
Buzzmaster (2:27 PM)
Thanks for chatting Barry!