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 Burnside (12:02 PM)
Here we go folks, final chat before the Olympic break. Flight booked Saturday night to Sochi, can't wait. So, where were we?
Who is the only team who's NO. 1 Goalie, Defenseman, and Center are not going to the Olympics... that's right the Bolts... rest and relaxation and rehabilitation here in lovely Florida means a dangerous team after the break.
Scott Burnside (12:04 PM)
John; Haven't done a poll of the league but you're right in that in theory the Lightning will be well-rested and ready to rock when the Olympic break ends. Interesting to see what if anything Steve Yzerman does to shore up the Lightning attack come trade deadline time or if he feels his young squad can make some noise as constituted.
Giroux deserved it over St Louis, seems like Yzerman just couldn't say no twice to his captain. BLAH!!! With that said GO PARISE, KANE, KESSEL, QUICK... TEAM USA!!!
Scott Burnside (12:05 PM)
Bill; Tough, tough call. Both guys have been lighting it up and there is something to be said for having a guy like St. Louis in the locker room given how young the group is. Guys like Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger pivotal in Vancouver. St. Louis is that kind of guy. Now, the question is whether he actually gets to play.
Looking at the East v West debate it seems clear to me only three teams have a chance against the west. Boston, Pittsburgh, and the Lightning (their stats against the west are great). Of those three teams it seems the Pens are the best team. Can they beat the west?
Scott Burnside (12:07 PM)
Cam; Not sure I'd leave out the New York Rangers given how they're playing right now although the Ryan Callahan/Dan Girardi contract issues suggest the team may look different come March 5 and the trade deadline. Bruins are still a team that looks built to play against the best in the west given their depth and size. Still, wouldn't it be fun to see Chicago and Pittsburgh go mano a mano with all the skill those two teams would ice?
joe (cubicle hell)
Scott.. i know i am early but i have a meeting during your chat. What about an Olympian goalie trade: Howard for Miller. Miller has ties to Michigan and the Wings have a pretty good goalie in Grand Rapids that would be a great successor in 2 years for Miller. Assuming the Wings would re-sign him.
Scott Burnside (12:11 PM)
joe; Hope that meeting goes well. Interesting idea. With Jimmy Howard under contract through 2018-19 that would be a hard contract to move especially if his stock continues to drop. The other side of the Detroit goaltending coin is that Howard has been very good in the post-season. Now way they beat Anaheim without him playing the way he did in the first round. While the idea of Ryan Miller in Red Wing red is interesting hard to imagine it playing out that way.
Scotty! I have heard a lot of interest in Steve Ott, and I couldn't agree more. He leads, wins face offs, kills penalties, scores a few goals, hits, and agitates. What can the Sabres expect as a return if they move him? And where might he land?
Scott Burnside (12:13 PM)
kurt; Interesting dilemma for GM Tim Murray; Ott's the kind of glue guy you want to have as you rebuild your team. But he's likely going to fetch a good return; first-round pick, good prospect, something along those lines, and if you don't think he wants to sign on long-term in Buffalo you have to move him. Pittsburgh is an obvious fit as a kind of Matt Cooke type. But there are likely half a dozen teams that could say the same thing.
Hi Scott, was at the Caps game game on Tuesday and boy they were lousy. Ovie leads the league in goals but is off the ice in defensive situations, lack of blue line depth, the Erat trade (John Scott has more goals!), etc. I think Oates deserves a chance to turn it around, but it looks more like roster issues. Shouldn't McPhee be the one feeling heat?
Scott Burnside (12:15 PM)
Matt; I remain mystified by the Caps and their inability to string together quality starts. Some nights it's team defense, some nights lack of depth scoring, some nights average goaltending. I agree, believe strongly that Adam Oates is a good, smart coach. And likewise agree that if the Caps do miss the playoffs owner Ted Leonsis will not look kindly on the situation. Caps should have beat Rangers in first round last year and if they miss entirely this year I would think the heat will be more on the GMs' spot than the coaching position.
Do you see the Rangers moving Callahan prior to the deadline? How much does the team's current play factor in to keeping him?
Scott Burnside (12:17 PM)
Kev; Fascinating how this is playing out with the Rangers essentially saying, hey, we love you but we won't let you walk for free and that means trying to move you sooner than later. My gut tells me that at some point the two sides get together on dollar and term and Callahan stays. The fact the Rangers are playing as well as they have all season suggests to me that both sides understand the nice fit Callahan as a Ranger represents.
Craig (St. Paul, MN)
Looking forward to seeing your 'accommodations' in Sochi?
Scott Burnside (12:18 PM)
Craig; Just keep reminding myself; Don't drink the yellow water.
Scott Burnside (12:21 PM)
Kale; Sens are another team like the Caps that are hard to get a handle on. Definitely a sense of entitlement from a squad that had such a nice run last year in spite of all those injuries. I think sometimes we over-value young prospects or top picks and I think GM Bryan Murray sees a team that could make a splash in the post-season if they add some depth scoring (and a bunch of other elements come together obviously) and would be willing to make a move to make that happen. Speaks to the team's belief in their scouting and development staff that even if they peel off a couple of young assets they don't set the team's evolution back.
Scott, report came out that the Islanders are trying to move Vanek before the 3pm deadline, what are likely destinations?
Scott Burnside (12:23 PM)
Brendan; Well, a handful of teams looking to upgrade offense but is there a team that needs a shot in the arm more than the Los Angeles Kings? GM Dean Lombardi brought home a big prize in '12 with Jeff Carter and got a Cup. He needs to add something else this time around or his team won't even get an invitation to the playoff dance. Vanek would be a nice fit there and the Kings have lots of talented young forwards that could be offered as trade bait.
Scott - you never want to punt on a season, especially if your team has a punchers chance (as the Rangers do this year). But if they can get a massive return for a DG or RC or both - they have to seriously consider it if it sets them up going forward right?
Scott Burnside (12:27 PM)
Anthony; There's the dilemma, no? But I think what Glen Sather is saying, we're not going to follow the same path Nashville did with Ryan Suter or New Jersey did with Zach Parise and roll the dice on a long run or even a possible Cup win. Odds are always stacked against that happening and the hole that watching guys like Girardi and Callahan creates can take years to fill. And both those players would generate a premium package of picks/prospects.
GBK (Lincoln Park)
Scott, will we see the return of "the torpedo" that Sweden used in the last Olympics they played on the big ice? I always think the most interesting part of teams playing on the big ice is seeing what offensive philosophies they take with more space out there.
Scott Burnside (12:30 PM)
GBK; Ah yes, The Torpedo. Recall it fondly from Italy. True the Olympics are a completely different animal especially on the big ice when it comes to strategy. Talked to Dan Bylsma a few weeks ago and he was talking about teams that might employ the 1-4. Remember when everyone savaged the Lightning for doing that a couple of years back? If you're not prepared for something like that in Sochi, though, you're not prepared for this tournament. Not sure what the Swedes will come up with this time although it sure worked in '06 as they took home a gold.
Lost (Long Island)
Are the Islanders EVER going to get it together, or are they NHL's version of the Cleveland Browns for eternity?
Scott Burnside (12:33 PM)
Lost; Tough times to be sure. The fact is this team isn't all that far away. But at some point Garth Snow - or someone who might take over as GM - has to solve the question of who will play goal and they have to shore up the blue line. A team with John Tavares and an emerging Kyle Okposo shouldn't be this bad. Will it be like this for eternity? Moving into a new building sometimes forces dramatic changes which is something Isles' fans should embrace.
Scotty, who starts for team USA in goal?
Scott Burnside (12:35 PM)
kurt; Tough call especially given that U.S. starts with a real challenge in Slovakia and then gets Russia before closing prelim round with Slovenia. Gut says Dan Bylsma goes with Ryan Miller.
Scott, who do you think will be at the top podium in the Olympics? Canada has the best talent, Russia is home, and I'm pulling for the USA, but for some reason I am feeling Sweden. They always play so well as a team and they have depth everywhere. Stay safe and enjoy your time in Sochi!
Scott Burnside (12:37 PM)
Matt; I mapped out my own Sochi grid and selfishly because I'd love to see a rematch of the '10 gold medal game I have U.S. over Canada in the gold and Russia over Sweden in the bronze. Swedes are the favorite of many of my colleagues but I think their injury situation; no Franzen, Zetterberg, Steen and H. Sedin all dealing with injury issues; will keep them from the gold.
Is Vanek to Minnesota a foregone conclusion? You'd figure that playing on the same line with Okposo & Tavares would be a player's dream. Has the appeal of playing on Long Island (even with a top-paying contract) dwindled that much?
Scott Burnside (12:39 PM)
Kev; Lots of folks believe he'll end up there in July although lots of money tied up in Z. Parise and R. Suter so it would depend on how much the cap will go up as to whether he'll be a fit there. And you're right, hard to imagine playing with Tavares/Okposo wouldn't be it's own incentive.
ted (cape cod)
Do you plan on pranking any of your colleagues with the yellow water?
Scott Burnside (12:40 PM)
What's the downside of hosting an annual World Cup type tournament every July? The Stanley Cup and NBA Finals end in June. The NFL preseason starts in August. July is essentially a baseball only month. Wouldn't an international tournament be a good showcase for the league? I remember how intense the World Cup games on 1996 with lax rules on hitting and fighting, as compared to the Olympics.
Scott Burnside (12:42 PM)
John; You will soon see the return of the World Cup of Hockey, likely in the fall of 2015 but it'll never become an annual thing. Depending on the NHL's continued Olympic involvement look for a WC to be a bridge to Olympic tournaments. Best on best tournaments are terrific but they're time consuming and they put NHL players at risk injury-wise which makes owners nervous.
can you give an example of what you think a callahan or girardi trade might look like? people keep saying a nice package of prospects and picks, but i'm not sure what they mean. would the nyr get a package similar to what vanek fetched?
Scott Burnside (12:43 PM)
Jeremy; Doubt if Rangers will get an NHL player back like Buffalo did in Matt Moulson. But for instance if I'm Garth Snow I'm asking for Linden Vey or better yet Tyler Toffoli from the Kings along with a first-round pick for Vanek. Something like that.
would you give Babcock coach of the year?
Scott Burnside (12:44 PM)
Troy; If Babcock and the Canadians win a gold he might be in line for 'Man of the Year' north of the border (or south for you in Detroit). But he's not really in contention for a Jack Adams. Jon Cooper, Bruce Boudreau, Patrick Roy, Dan Bylsma, Joel Quenneville would be ahead of him for that honor.
So Landeskog has been lights out lately...are we seeing a superstar emerge, or do you think it's just a hot streak for a young player? Got to admit, I love watching him play.
Scott Burnside (12:47 PM)
Andrew; I find that whole team so interesting. Really very little letdown from the start of the season (okay, notwithstanding laying an egg on Broadway against the Rangers the other night). But Landeskog is an interesting figure since being made captain at such an early age. Look at guys like S. Crosby or J. Toews and there's always a bit of a learning curve with young captains. Big test will be first at the Olympics and then during the playoffs this spring.
When will people come to terms that the 2 best teams are in the central. Whoever wins the Central wins the Cup.
Scott Burnside (12:48 PM)
Adam; Do you mean St. Louis and Colorado?
Scott Burnside (12:49 PM)
Adam; Okay, just kidding. But the Avs have made the Central a very interesting place given that it's no longer a two-team race which means that finishing on top and drawing one of the two wild card teams in the first round is even more important. Big win for 'Hawks last night in Anaheim and the Blues we know are a force. Fun times ahead in the Central.
Lots of worry in Boston about Rask's ability to last deep into the season, you think he will wear down at all down the stretch especially after playing in the Olympics?
Scott Burnside (12:51 PM)
Brendan; I wouldn't be surprised to see more of Chad Johnson after the Olympics. First, Johnson's been terrific, and I think it's fair to want to make sure Rask is as fresh as possible come playoff time. That said, he's a workhorse who thrives on playing and he's not that old (he'll turn 27 in March) so really in his prime so I'm not sure it's that big a concern.
Suburban Rhythm (Pittsburgh)
What's your call on MA Fleury? Been really good this year...but was last year too. My heart says he's the still the guy who can get it done; my head says I'll believe it when I see it.
Scott Burnside (12:53 PM)
Sub; Talk about a dilemma for Ray Shero. Agreed Fleury has been terrific. But as you note, he was last year too. I remember writing at the start of the Islander series last spring this was Fleury's chance to exorcise playoff demons, blah, blah, blah. He lasted four games. With Tomas Vokoun's health issues still not resolved hard to imagine Shero won't look to add a veteran goaltender of some kind. But does that impact Fleury's confidence? Double-edged sword to be sure.
Do you see the Minnesota Wild making any moves at the deadline? Who/what kind of player do you think they would target?
Scott Burnside (12:55 PM)
John; I think Chuck Fletcher has to resolve the Josh Harding issue. If Harding can get his medical condition squared away then maybe it's about adding some depth up front. But if Harding's situation remains in flux then he must look to shore up the goaltending given how poorly Niklas Backstrom has played and how little experience Darcy Kuemper - who has been terrific in recent days - has vis a vis playoffs.
With 10 players in the Olympics and the long playoff run last season, how much of a disadvantage are the Hawks in for making another title run?
Scott Burnside (12:58 PM)
Gary; Fair question but I don't know if you can draw a line from one to the other. I know Detroit felt in '06 they ran out of gas with a lot of guys playing in Italy at the Olympics. But Chicago won a Cup after sending a bunch to Vancouver (and yes, I know, Italy is further away in general than Vancouver). Key for Chicago will be finishing atop the Central (and the west) in order to give itself the best chance at not being overly taxed in the first round. At least that would be the theory.
Why are guys like Bylsma/Quenneville in contention for the Jack Adams? When Babcock had loaded teams in Detroit he had no shot because the expectations were high. Shouldn't those two get the same treatment?
Scott Burnside (12:59 PM)
Tom; I would consider Quenneville for getting his Cup champs back to the top of the heap (or close to it) and Bylsma's had a lineup depleted all season of key personnel especially along the blue line.
Scott Burnside (12:59 PM)
Okay folks that's it. Next time we chat (at least in some form) I'll be in Sochi and will raise a yellow water thinking of you. Be well.