Chat with Pierre LeBrun
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN.com NHL writer Pierre LeBrun will stop by to chat about the latest news from around the NHL.
Based in Toronto, LeBrun joined ESPN in September 2008 after spending 13 years with The Canadian Press as its national hockey columnist. LeBrun was also a contributor to Rogers Sportsnet and a regular contributor to TSN in Canada.
Send your questions now and join LeBrun Friday at noon ET!
Pierre LeBrun (11:59 AM)
Hello gang ! Greetings from the corporate center of the hockey universe, my home base of Toronto.OK let's go
Your vote for the guy traded at the deadline who turns out to be the best value. Mine is Briere. He always ramps it up in the playoffs and I think he could be an inexpensive acquisition. What say you?
Pierre LeBrun (12:01 PM)
His playoff resume definitely speaks for itself. And when I saw him score on a breakaway last night versus the Bruins, I was thinking to myself, maybe the Habs should keep this guy for just that reason: his playoff prowess
What kind of statement did the Pens make last night in LA?
Pierre LeBrun (12:01 PM)
Real impressive. The Kings and Blues are the best two defensive teams in the NHL but the Penguins skated through L.A.'s defense like it was butter
Du you see the bruins making any moves to better their team,especially their D with the loss of Seidenberg?
Pierre LeBrun (12:03 PM)
John, I chatted with Bruins GM Peter Chiarellli this week and certainly there was no guarantee he would do anything, in part because of the lowered salary cap tying his hands to some degree, but also because his group of D have played really well despite the absence of Seidenberg, including for example Bartkowksi.Having said that, obviously if there's a fit before March 5 that isn't too costly he will take a look.This is just me saying this because Chiarelli refused to discuss possible names, but a guy like Mark Stuart in Winnipeg to me could be a depth addition, a guy that can play as a 5/6. That type of guy anyway
Matt (Buried in Michigan)
It's pretty obvious the Wings need a D-man. Do you think they make a move? and who's their best option?
Pierre LeBrun (12:04 PM)
I will tell you this: Ken Holland knows he can't trade away high draft picks, the Wings need to keep re-stocking their system. Grand Rapids has some very solid prospects and he wants to keep adding to that.
Letang for Callahan? Yes it's intradivisional but both teams benefit. One gains a winger for Crosby and a strong leader a la when the Pens added Ron Francis back when. They also gain the room to sign Callahan after the season with the removal of Letang and his big bump next summer. Also creates room on the blue line for Simon Despres or Brian Dumoulin and could allow for Pens to re-sign, say, Matt Niskanen. For the Rangers, they get a right-handed shot on defense and an offensive catalyst they haven't had in a long time. Also means they get something for pending UFA Callahan and cushions the blow of possibly losing Dan Girardi. Makes too much sense?
Pierre LeBrun (12:05 PM)
No question Callahan would be a nice fit in Pitt. But I mean he'd be a nice fit on any contender. As for Letang, not sure the Penguisn will ever move him but if they do, I'd surmise they'd wait until June
What do you expect the Habs to do at the deadline? Stand pat? Make some minor moves or make a major move to get some size/scoring? Is there a market for Danel Briere?
Pierre LeBrun (12:06 PM)
Bergevin's moto is patience, patience, patience. The organization needs to continue to re-stock itself. I know that's a boring answer but it's the truth.Obviously he may make a move or two that won't cost too much but I don't view any drastic short-term decisions coming
What are your plans for Super Bowl? Going to or hosting a party or watching at home with family? Even watching at all?
Pierre LeBrun (12:07 PM)
Hosting other couples and their kids at our place... we love hosting. Am I watching? Of course, I love the NFL !
bob nj [via mobile]
hi pierre do the rangers trade callahan and what do they get back in return?
Pierre LeBrun (12:08 PM)
I will have more on Callahan in my Friday blog within the next 2 hours so check for that on the site. But what I can tell you now is that every indication I get from sources on other teams around the league is that Glen Sather is telling them he will trade callahan is he can't re-sign him by March 5....
With Kuznetsov apparently coming over after KHL playoffs, and the Capitals currently 13th in the East, do you see the Caps Buying or Selling? Who do you think has value in a trade scenario?
Pierre LeBrun (12:09 PM)
Honestly can't get a read on GM GM right now. I know from talking to other teams that he's been busier of late on the phones... but not sure where he's going with it
Andre (Los Angeles, CA)
Hi Pierre,Do you think Vanek resigns with Islanders? Also a lot of rumors about Islanders and Miller. Do you see that happening? Eventhough Islanders wont probably make the playoffs this year, they could make a Chicago type jump next year if those 2 players were on the team. What do you think?
Pierre LeBrun (12:12 PM)
I know for a fact that Vanek has really enjoyed playing with the Isles, feels Garth Snow has treated him really well and loves playing with JT, etc... .But at the end of the day, I find it hard to believe he'd pass up a chance to be UFA for the first and possibly only time in his career. Would you?
How is Jonathan Bernier not considered for Team Canada? Also, what do you make of the Leafs recent success? Sustainable or false hope? Bolland and Trevor Smith due back perhaps before the Olympics. Also, as a Laughs fan (father played for Rangers in the 70s), nothing is more frusterating than seeing Colton Orr and Fraser McLaren dressing to provide "toughness" in the 3 minutes of TOI. Being surrounded by the Hawks and toughness along with timely scoring from their fourth line, I can't help but think the Leafs should consider removing the fighters for more offensively skilled players. Thoughts?
Pierre LeBrun (12:15 PM)
well, it's too late now right? haha. The team was announced Jan. 7No question Bernier is having a breakthrough year as a No. 1 netminder. Those who read my column back in June when the leafs traded for him may remember that I predicted he would have a huge year with the Leafs. Having said that, Team Canada put a lot of emphasis on body of work and not just what they did in 3 months this season
Do you think the Pens will be swept in the playoffs again this year?
Pierre LeBrun (12:17 PM)
They may not go all the way but I predict they will not be swept
Doug (Long Island)
Happy Chinese New Year!Being that it's the year of the horse, if you had to pick one, who would be your dark "horse" to come out of the east, and make the finals?
Pierre LeBrun (12:19 PM)
You mean any team not named Boston or Pittsburgh? I tell you what, anyone notice that the Habs have beaten the Bruins five straight times now dating back to last year? Just saying....Tampa could be dangerous with a healthy Stamkos and a red-hot Bishop.... I think Ottawa has potential, too
Hi Pierre,Can you explain to me some of the unevenness in the games scheduled this season? Looking at teams like STL who have played 52 games and then you have other teams that have already played 56/57 games...what gives?
Pierre LeBrun (12:19 PM)
Sarah, it's all about building availabilities and arena conflicts, etc.... the league isn't trying to make it that way but has to fit the puzzle around 30 rinks that host NBA games, concerts, etc...
Hey Pierre,The Eastern conference's Metro division is a rat race, do you see the Blue Jackets as a legitimate playoff team? They see like a team no one would want to play and how good is Johansen, he looks like a star to me.
Pierre LeBrun (12:23 PM)
I've been saying it for 3 weeks. The Jackets are playoff-bound in my opinion
Pierre LeBrun (12:24 PM)
Hold on someone at my front door...
Nate Hansen (Evansville )
Whats up with the pacers
Pierre LeBrun (12:27 PM)
No idea, haven't watched an NBA game since the 1990s
Henry (US but so close to Canada)
Pierre! Thanks for chatting. Considering that contenders have different trade deadline desires, so to speak, which of those teams most "needs" to make a move at the deadline, as in we'll all be questioning team X's failure to land Y part on the day after?
Pierre LeBrun (12:30 PM)
I think if Colorado wants to be considered a true contender with the big boys in the West (Chi, StL, 3 Calif teams) it MUST improve its blue-line
P.K. Subban ranks 5th or 6th on this team among defenseman for time on ice while shorthanded, and Erik Karlsson's in a similar boat for the Sens. While they are both exceptional talents who bring lots to game with their skating and offensive abilities, I question how they can be serious Norris contenders if their coaches don't even want them on the ice for the most important defensive aspect of the game. This type of debate has gone on for a long time (Paul Coffey!), but isn't it time the NHL consider adding a second trophy for the top scoring defenseman (the Robert Gordon Orr trophy has a nice ring to it!) and leaving the Norris for simply the best all-around defenseman.
Pierre LeBrun (12:33 PM)
The game is more than ever about puck-moving, speed and transition so Karlsson and Subban and guys like Doughty, etc., are super important, mroe so than perhaps 10 years ago in terms of how the game is played.Having said that, I have an official vote on the Norris Trophy ballot and last year my first-place vote when to Ryan Suter and the year before to Shea Weber, because in both cases I felt they had more all-around impactful seasons in terms of their work at both ends of the ice
Great idea for the playoffs: the team that make it stay the exact same, but the top seeds get to pick their opponent within each conference, so right now the Bruins would play the Habs, they could say actually we are going to play Tampa Bay, if Tampa was available in the B's spot. Thoughts?
Pierre LeBrun (12:34 PM)
From time to time over the years that's been debated... problem is, are you giving Tampa all the incentive in the world if the Bruins pick you instead of playing the team they were supposed to?
Erik Bruckner (Pittsburgh)
Pierre, would Simon Despres for Emerson Etem be a good move for both teams given their needs?
Pierre LeBrun (12:36 PM)
interesting... not far-fetched .... certainly Anaheim would like to add a right-handed D-man altough Despres is a left-handed shot
An off topic question but I have always wondered how much scouting of amateur players do NHL GM's actually do? Do you they just go off of the advice of their scouts come evaluation and draft days or do hey actually go to arenas or watch tapes of potential players to draft?
Pierre LeBrun (12:37 PM)
Mostly go off their scouts, GMs just don't have that much time to do that although some GMs are old school and make more time, guys like Dean Lombardi and Dale Tallon, for example
Trina Crosby (Cole Harbour, NS)
Pierre, the Penguins are on their first ever "Mother's Trip" for the road games in LA and Phoenix. Everyone knows the story about me and the dryer. Matt Niskanen's mom used to strap on old couch cushions and take shots in the basement, until young Matty started shooting too hard and she had to give it up for fear of injury. What is your favorite Mother Lebrun hockey mom story from the younger days in Hearst?
Pierre LeBrun (12:40 PM)
I miss my mom, she left us for heaven in June 1998 at the tender age of 54. Mom was awesome, she loved her Maple Leafs dearly and my dad is a Habs fan so our house was a lot of fun, hahahaShe came to every game I ever played in minor hockey right up through high school hockey. Best hockey mom ever. Miss you mom
What do you think is the Pens greatest need as the trade deadline nears? Lot of rumors about them adding a scoring winger or a pest-type player, but I think they really need someone tougher - maybe a Steve Ott or someone of that ilk. Aside from just laying an egg against the Bruins in the playoffs last year, they were (and still are) physically outmatched against Boston.....who right now appear to be their biggest obstacle in the east.
Pierre LeBrun (12:40 PM)
Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)
Pierre, I was at the NYR-NYI Stadium Series game and even by Canadian standards it was f-COLD. I was also at the 2010 Winter Classic in Fenway so this was my second outdoor game experience. I talked to a lot of fans and the consensus before the game was that most people (especially the Islanders fans) were happy to be a part of the event despite the high prices, weeknight game, and frigid temps. But talking to the same people AFTER the game, as we had lost feeling in our hands and feet, the consensus seemed to be "I am NEVER doing that again." Do you think this is something the NHL has to think about as they start recycling markets for outdoor games down the line? Whenever a new market is introduced, most fans want to go once to "say they were there." But next time a lot of them might just say "eh, I went to this first one, this time I'll watch from home." That is exactly what has happened to Mets-Yankees over the years.
Pierre LeBrun (12:41 PM)
no question about it, that's something the league is sensitive to I believe
Chuck Fletcher (St. Paul, MN)
Pierre - How great a job have I done??? I convinced Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to take their talents to South Saint Paul, I drafted Mikael Granlund, Jason Zucker, Darcy Kuemper, Matt Dumba, and Erik Haula. I stole Charlie Coyle from San Jose in the Brent Burns trade and flipped Setoguchi for a 2nd round pick. I got what I wanted for Marek Zidlicky, with no leverage. I fleeced New York in the Clutterbuck-Neiderreiter swap. Sure, I overpaid for Jason Pominville, but that wasn't so bad after he signed his extension. My top-9 forwards and top-4 defenseman, as well as my crease are set for next season. And my reward for it all? $21 million in cap space to sign former Gopher Thomas Vanek and Virginia, MN-native Matt Niskanen! I could do nothing at all this off-season and still run out a team with playoff aspirations!
Pierre LeBrun (12:41 PM)
Good stuff Chuck !
Suburban Rhythm (Pittsburgh)
Great piece on Matty Ice yesterday. With the roster as currently constructed, he's pricing himself out of Pittsburgh. How much is he realistically looking at, coming off a career year + the cap rising? $5 per?
Pierre LeBrun (12:42 PM)
Thanks, I enjoyed my interview with Matt, he's a cool dude.Yeah I'd say $5 M plus if he gets on open market but he does seem want to stay in Pitt and I think he'd take less to do so
Marc (Malden, MA)
If anyone thinks Shawn Thornton is just an enforcer, checkout his goal from Tuesday night.
Pierre LeBrun (12:43 PM)
true true, Thornotn is a good lad
Pierre LeBrun (12:43 PM)
Hey gang I have to end his a bit early, I've got a conference call with ESPN bosses regarding Sochi. Chat next time !