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 Burnsde (12:01 PM)
Hello all. Sitting in the press room at the Honda Center in Anaheim. Ducks visit tonight and then of course the rematch Saturday at Dodger Stadium. Should be, if you'll pardon the expression, cool. Now, where were we?
Scott - Always been a big fan but I have to disagree with your article on the Van/Cal line brawl. What was Torts supposed to do in that situation? The Scott/Kessel incident only proves that coaches cannot respond with skilled players when the other team sends out its goons. Westgarth taking the faceoff shows that Calgary was looking for one. If you're John Tortorella do you want Daniel Sedin lined up against Brian McGratten when Westgarth is in the opening draw? Yes, attempting to go into their locker room was stupid and deserves a few games but Calgary definitely instigated this. I think the best part was the Calgary coach pretending he started that line cause they've been 'playing well'.
Scott Burnsde (12:04 PM)
Steve; Actually I agreed with you. Don't believe Coach Tortorella had any choice but to go with the lineup he did. Am sure the GMs will be kicking around the idea of trying to weed out these kinds of things at their spring meetings in Florida as they did a few years back in trying to weed out staged fights (although the players' association through the competition committee shut that down). Tortorella's problem was in not containing his anger after the first period and I think everyone is pretty much agreed on that fact.
Erik Bruckner (Pittsburgh)
Who will the Pens target?
Scott Burnsde (12:06 PM)
Erik; You have been busy this morning. I think assuming the lineup stays the way it is now in terms of health with Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin back and healthy GM Ray Shero will be looking to fill Pascal Dupuis' spot on Sidney Crosby's line. I think Mike Cammalleri would be a nice fit although his health and the fact he will be in high demand (Vancouver, Detroit, Los Angeles, and keep going down the list) may keep that from happening. As we've seen, though, Mr. Shero rarely rests come trade deadline time.
Scott, if you had to pick, which Caps player has been the biggest disappointment this year? I know the Caps have a ton of problems right now, but for me, it has to be either Mike Green or Marty Erat. Thoughts?
Scott Burnsde (12:08 PM)
Joe; Such a strange team. Only four players in double digits in goals and I thought Troy Brouwer (nine goals in 50 games) would be a bigger contributor. But Martin Erat, holy smokes, zero goals in 42 games. That's a big anchor to be carrying around for a team that is crying for depth scoring.
Neal (Menlo Park)
Can the Sharks unload Havlat and if so who is buying? The Sens?
Scott Burnsde (12:12 PM)
Neal; That's a tough one. One year left with a salary of $6 million ($5 million cap hit) and a no move clause will make dislodging Havlat difficult. Is he a candidate for a buyout? That's not really the Sharks way but it may be the only way when all is said and done. For the record Havlat has three goals in 22 games this season.
What'd you think of the Del Zotto trade? I thought Sather could've gotten a lot more even though mdz has had an off year.
Scott Burnsde (12:15 PM)
Connor; I think the Rangers just ran out of patience with Del Zotto and they were desperate to get a right-handed defender to be able to move John Moore back to his normal spot on the left. Kevin Klein, serviceable, will be that right-handed guy. In terms of up-side the Predators definitely got the 'better' player but he was a player that wasn't performing for the Rangers and was upsetting the defensive pattern. Will be interesting to see if Del Zotto rediscovers his confidence in Nashville which has a pretty impressive array of young defensive talent now with Roman Josi, Seth Jones, Del Zotto and of course Shea Weber.
Suburban Rhythm (Pittsburgh)
Scott, I'd argue that, once everyone is healthy, another top 6 player is the least of Pittsburgh's problems. But they do need a 3rd liner who is a big body AND hard to play against. Tanner Glass just ain't cutting it. Any chance they can convince Gary Roberts to come out of retirement? Or at least transplant his heart into Taylor Pyatt?
Scott Burnsde (12:16 PM)
Sub; A couple of folks calling into question the bigger need for the Pens and I would think had Dupuis stayed healthy a Matt Cooke type player would have been a target for Ray Shero.
If you're Vanek you have to seriously consider staying on Long Island right? That line has been the best in hockey for almost 2 months. If the Isles figure out their situation in net do you think they can make a playoff run?
Scott Burnsde (12:18 PM)
Sean; The Isles and the work of that line is certainly making life interesting for GM Garth Snow and the rest of the East, no? Tough, tough choice for Snow if they're say six or seven points out of the wild card/3rd spot in the Metro as the deadline approaches. He cannot afford to have Vanek walk in July after giving up the assets he did to get him from Buffalo. But how crazy would it be to break up one of the most productive forward units in the league when you still have a shot? These decisions were easier when they were going winless in 11.
Is it too early to predict the winner in the Tyler Seguin deal??
Scott Burnsde (12:19 PM)
Scott; I think it's still a little early especially with the bad injury luck Loui Eriksson has had this season. That said good on Jim Nill for taking a chance on Tyler Seguin and being instantly rewarded. Don't really blame the Bruins but kudos to Seguin for facing the criticism and perception of him as immature and taking positive strides to change that perception. Talk about growing up he's done a ton of it.
Chances Moulson gets moved at the deadline? What's the cost and who would be buyers?
Scott Burnsde (12:22 PM)
Keith; Unless Moulson expresses a strong desire to new GM Tim Murray to stay in Buffalo my guess is that the chances are very high Moulson goes. And I would think a first-round pick isn't out of the question especially if Vanek doesn't go on the market and with Cammalleri's health (out with a concussion, not sure I mentioned that earlier) the market for scoring wingers will be pretty thin at the deadline. Ottawa is a team that has expressed a desire to be 'all in' for the playoffs and Moulson would be a nice fit there.
Colby (LA) [via mobile]
The Flyers D-men were labeled a deficiency prior to the start of the season. Is this still the case? Or has play of Mezaros, Streit & Timonen been surprisingly positive?
Scott Burnsde (12:24 PM)
Colby; A couple of weeks ago I think the answer would have been much more positive vis a vis the play of the Flyer defense as a whole and those players you mentioned. And Meszaros has sure been on a surprising tear offensively of late. But the Flyers have also taken a step back defensively. Yes, Steve Mason's numbers are down from earlier in the season, but they have been poor for the most part the last couple of weeks and have just two wins in their last seven games.
kyle (orange county)
Hi Scott, why isn't Getzlaf getting more MVP talk. He plays at both ends of the rink. He kills penalties. He can take over a game. Wether its scrabble or hockey, Getzlaf is more valuable than Crosby
Scott Burnsde (12:26 PM)
kyle; I think Getzlaf is actually getting quite a bit of MVP love. Right now with the Ducks playing as well as they are and the Caps slumping I would think that Getzlaf is a strong second to Crosby in the Hart race. As for more valuable than Crosby that's hard to say given Crosby's production and the Pens' play in spite of crippling injuries/suspensions through the first half.
Will Boston try and replace Seidenberg? Who would they target?
Scott Burnsde (12:29 PM)
Mike; I would guess that would be a top priority for GM Peter Chiarelli. Problem is that guys like Seidenberg, big minutes, decent offensive up-side, terrific guy in the room, are hard to come by. If you're talking straight rental it will be interesting to see what the Dallas Stars are going to do with Stephane Robidas. Lost a step but pure heart and soul guy. Nick Schultz in Edmonton although likely a guy that would play down the Bruins line-up as opposed to top four minutes like Seidenberg.
What the heck is going on with Mike Smith? Seems like he is giving up 3-4 goals a game. Ugh!
Scott Burnsde (12:31 PM)
Cody; Yes, not a banner season all in all for Mike Smith. Thought maybe the Olympic announcement would even him out a bit and watching that game against Calgary last night he's not getting a lot of help, that's for sure. But he needs to be better if this Coyotes team is going to be back in the playoffs. They have dug themselves a bit of a hole in a very tough division/conference.
The prudent course for the Leafs would to stay the course, recognizing they're not a legit Cup contender this year, no? Players like Kadri, Franson and Gardiner are no doubt frustratingly inconsistent, but I think they've got enough upside you don't want to cut bait too soon.
Scott Burnsde (12:32 PM)
Andrew; Agreed. And my sense is Dave Nonis is going to be patient. I'd be shocked, for instance, if he traded James Reimer even though Jonathan Bernier is clearly the goalie of the moment. Would be surprised if there was a major trade deadline move on the Leafs' horizon. And the way they're playing now perhaps they don't need to make one other than a depth add.
Scott Burnsde (12:33 PM)
Andrew; And as an add to that story with the Tim Gleason addition that might be the pre-emptive move that so many teams would love to make.
Hey Scott, now that they have finally rid themselves of DZ what is next for the Rangers? Will they try and move Cally or Girardi or add players at the deadline and go for it?
Scott Burnsde (12:35 PM)
Louie; I would think the Rangers will try their best to ink both those guys although as we were discussing earlier vis a vis Vanek Glen Sather can hardly sit by and watch two pivotal pieces walk away in July if they aren't interested in re-upping with the Rangers. Both should net first-round pick/top prospect returns but the Rangers will be looking to add given their post-season hopes so could be a busy time for Sather if he feels he has to move one or both of those guys.
Scott, the Red Wings have generally been quiet at the trade deadline the last few years, besides maybe a move or two. Do you see them doing anything this year given that they haven't had a complete team for most of the last two months making it hard to tell what the expectations are for the team?
Scott Burnsde (12:37 PM)
Tom; Tough situation for Ken Holland who really needs his young assets to take on bigger roles as the Wings try and keep their amazing playoff streak alive. Goes without saying hard to assess the team given their injuries but my guess is Holland will not be selling off anyone that is remotely close to being an NHL player just to try and sneak into the last playoff spot.
Hello Scott! Where are the most likely destinations for Steve Ott at the trade deadline? He's exactly the kind of sandpaper guy you'd figure teams with Cup asperations would love to slide on to their third line. He does a lot of little things well, not least tick the other team's players off.
Scott Burnsde (12:39 PM)
Jim; Another guy Tim Murray has to decide on and frankly he could do worse than trade him and then re-sign him in the off-season a la Doug Weight, Keith Tkachuk in the past. Pittsburgh would be an obvious fit given the Matt Cooke void there. But he'd be a prototypical playoff guy that would be a fit just about anywhere. How about Tampa? And what are the Montreal Canadiens going to do as they continue to be a pretty passive team (notwithstanding the near goalie battle last night with Pittsburgh).
donny (st louis )
will the blues pull the plug on haalak? and get ryan miller?/
Scott Burnsde (12:41 PM)
Donny; Another ongoing situation, no? For most of the season you look at Halak/Elliott and you think, okay, might be good enough to get to a conference final. Maybe a final. Maybe. But if you don't believe they can carry the water to a Cup then you have to try and upgrade. But the Blues have cap issues and they would need to find a taker for one of their guys - the Islanders perhaps, Pittsburgh which will need to determine a Plan B for M.A. Fleury. Love the idea of Ryan Miller in St. Louis although not sure Chicago, Colorado, L.A., et al would like it much.
Do you see Perry in the Hart race as well?
Scott Burnsde (12:42 PM)
Alex; Yes but further down the list. I think Getzlaf's contributions outweigh Perry's (degrees of stellarness) and the two act in the same kind of way Kane/Toews make talking Hart for either of those two difficult.
Tampa Red (Statesboro GA)
Are the Lightning just fool's gold, or do you think they will make it out of the first round? I mean it was like a lost season once Stamkos was hurt, but now I have my hopes up again.
Scott Burnsde (12:44 PM)
Tampa; Oh, I think the Bolts are for real. The question is whether Ben Bishop can deliver the goods in the playoffs. Untested but he's been terrific obviously when the team has needed him most. Jon Cooper is a terrific coach and they play with such cohesion I can see them beating a Montreal in the first round (most likely scenario) or if they end up first in the Atlantic one of the wild card teams.
Ted (Columbus, Ohio)
How about them Blue Jackets? Do you think the blue jackets keep the streak going?
Scott Burnsde (12:46 PM)
Ted; Had a chance to talk to Todd Richards this week and I think he has the right attitude; think playoffs but don't think you've got anything sown up. He was talking about how streaks like this make you a target and I think he's right. Still, great stretch coming up with lots of home games against eastern competition. Time to make hay and there's nothing to suggest they won't keep piling up points.
How about two separate Rookie of the Year awards, one for first year pro players (teenagers who jumped straight in) and one for first year players? As an admittedly biased Avs fan, it's irritating when people act like Kreider (49 games in the season and a half before this year) should win the Calder over other, younger players (like mackinnon).
Scott Burnsde (12:48 PM)
Will; I think the voters take all of that into account. I think that's why a guy like J. Huberdeau, playing on a poor team but playing big minutes, maturing quickly, earned the award. Right now I would have to have MacKinnon at the top of the heap. The stretch after the Olympic break will be key, though, as that's sometimes when young guys hit the wall.
Mike (Mission Viejo, CA)
What is your take on the Kings v. Ducks game at Dodger Stadium this weekend? People out here are really excited for it but what is the perception across the NHL?
Scott Burnsde (12:50 PM)
Mike; Had a chance to skate on the ice there last night. Very cool setup. I think if there is cynicism about the plethora of outdoor games there's always the caveat; oh, but that Dodger Stadium game will be great. The league needs it to go off without a hitch (ie. a giant puddle forming just before puck-drop) but I don't think there are going to be any issues. In fact I think it might turn out to be one of the great outdoor games given conditions and backdrop etc.
Do you think most GM's will wait till after the Olympic break to make a move, or try and get a deal done early and not have to rush at the deadline?
Scott Burnsde (12:51 PM)
James; Tough to say because so many factors. Lots of teams against the cap so taking on salary and then having it sit for two-plus weeks when the league shuts down is a problem for some GMs. Plus, pretty early for teams to be deciding on whether they're sellers (Predators, Stars, Islanders etc.). My guess is more action after the break.
Most intriguing potential first round matchup in the east?
Scott Burnsde (12:52 PM)
Pat; That was easy. Boston/Toronto.
Scott Burnsde (12:53 PM)
Pat; Of course not a stretch to see Pittsburgh/Detroit. Or Pittsburgh/Washington. Or Montreal/Toronto. But I digress.
Speaking of ROY how on earth did Olli Maatta fall to 22 in his draft? Kid is incredible for 19.
Scott Burnsde (12:54 PM)
Ryan; So hard for defensemen to win rookie of the year or even get the recognition they deserve (as Jonas Brodin can attest). But Ollit Maatta has been pretty darned good. Saw him last week in person and he's got it all going on.
On Pat's question - how about most intriguing potential playoff matchup in the West?
Scott Burnsde (12:55 PM)
Ben; Easier to say what matchup wouldn't be compelling? But how about Blues/Avs with the coaches sniping at each other? Sharks/Kings Part Deux. Chicago/Vancouver. Oh my.
Speaking of the Wings, did you watch the Wings/Blackhawks last night? Fun, fun game to watch. Even though they are in different conferences now, I think they will always be rivals who bring out the best in each other.
Scott Burnsde (12:56 PM)
Matt; That was a grand tilt. Even the shootout, which so many people hate, was grand.
Mark (Denver, CO)
Scott, I really loved your article on the selection process for the US Olympic Hockey team. Was there a concern in the room that some of the players were or were not chosen due to personal bias more than they were for their on ice play?
Scott Burnsde (12:58 PM)
Mark; Thanks for the kind words. And I never got the sense there was anything personal in the selection process at any level. Really just about finding the right fit for the 25 guys, the right mix that would give head coach Dan Bylsma the most/best tools to get the job done the way he feels it needs to get done to win a gold.
Scott Burnsde (12:58 PM)
Okay folks. Thanks as always for dropping by. Time to check out the Ducks and their morning skate. Until next time.