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 Thursday at noon ET!
Scott Burnside (12:02 PM)
Hello all, well a week plus since the trade deadline and by this weekend we'll be less than a month from the start of the playoffs. Things starting to get interesting that's for sure. Now, where were we?
can the penner trade be an even bigger problem for the ducks that first thought? they cant score as of late and although penner isn't a super star scorer they just haven't seemed the same since the deadline
Scott Burnside (12:04 PM)
Jason; Yes, last night's effort against Calgary (a 7-2 shellacking) won't do much to calm fears among Ducks fans that the team has already peaked. But I spoke to Bruce Boudreau yesterday and I think this isn't necessarily a bad thing, having some pressure on them from the Sharks. Ultimately I'm not sure it's the absence of Penner or just a flat spot in their sked. Lots of forwards that should be able to fill the Penner gap and I think the debut of Stephane Robidas likely against Washington next week will be a welcome tonic.
Blackhawks record against Colorado and St. Louis. Concerning or is everyone forgetting the playoffs are a best of seven series?
Scott Burnside (12:05 PM)
Ryan; I almost never pay any attention to regular season records come playoff time even if it's lopsided. Can't imagine a team like the 'Hawks will let regular season outcomes get into their heads. What is interesting is how important it might be for the Avs or Blues to have home ice advantage in a first-round matchup against Chicago that would be seem to me to be more important than the games themselves.
Alac (Sparta )
Hey Scott im a huge Blue Jacket fan do u think the Jackets have a legitimate shot at the Stanley Cup ?
Scott Burnside (12:10 PM)
Alac; I like the Blue Jackets' chances of making the playoffs and I can see them in the third spot in the Metropolitan Division and playing the Rangers in the first round. Getting out of the first round I think will depend largely on the injury situation; they're been pretty beat up on the back end of late; and how this mostly untested group responds to the pressure of the post-season. I think they match up quite nicely against a team like the Rangers so I don't think advancing to the second round is beyond the realm of possibility. A Cup? That might be asking a bit much of this group.
The playoffs this year are divisional, but what if both wild card teams come from the same division? Could we see a Central division wild card team win the Pacific division championship? (as an example)
Scott Burnside (12:11 PM)
Greg; Yes, that could indeed happen. Minnesota, for instance, could end up winning the Pacific Division or Detroit could win the Metro etc. etc. Weird but true.
If Ryan O'Reilly somehow continues his unlikely streak of of not receiving a single penalty this season, can he be considered for the Lady Byng trophy? My understanding of how it is awarded is unclear, but considering he is top 3 in the league in takeaways makes 0 PIMS really impressive!
Scott Burnside (12:14 PM)
David; The Lady Byng is kind of the Little Orphan Annie of NHL awards and usually combines good offensive production with managing to stay out of the box. Remember when Brian Campbell won it two years ago? Martin St. Louis and Pavel Datsyuk have had a death grip on the trophy, though, for most of the last decade. But your point is well-taken.
Paul (Albany, OR)
I understand that every team and every year is different, so let me ask it this way. Are the Kings built to win on the road in the playoffs if necessary or will they need home ice at some point with the grueling schedule it appears headed for? Thank you
Scott Burnside (12:16 PM)
Paul; I think the Kings are the prototypical playoff team and you know teams like Anaheim and San Jose are scrambling to avoid them in the first round of the playoffs. As well they should. I think they play the kind of game that is almost perfectly suited to playing on the road; hard-hitting, tight-checking. Think back to 2012 when they opened on the road in four straight series and managed somehow to go 8-0 in the two road games that opened each series.
John (Lancaster, PA)
Scott, do you think Niemi has enough in the tank to get San Jose to the cup? He has been steady, but not spectacular this year (based on his save %.) They see to have all of the other parts to make a run, but Niemi worries me.
Scott Burnside (12:20 PM)
John; The goaltending situation in San Jose has been really interesting with Alex Stalock going 10-4-1 with a .932 save percentage as Niemi's back-up. Not saying he's poised to displace Niemi if he falters but you're right there hasn't been the same kind of consistency from Niemi as there was a year ago when he was a Vezina Trophy nominee.
John (Marshall, Mn)
Scott, do you think the Avs can do some damage in the playoffs or will wilt once the 2nd season begins?
Scott Burnside (12:22 PM)
John; I think the Avs are in a position similar to that of the Blue Jackets. How will a mostly untested group respond to playing, let's say, the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round? Do they have the mental toughness to keep pace? And maybe the bigger issue what is their health? They beat Chicago last night without Paul Stastny and P.A. Parenteau two important pieces (plus Alex Tanguay is gone for the season). Getting Parenteau and Stastny back will be key. But I like this team and the way Patrick Roy hasn't let them take big steps backward. In short not sure if they could beat St. Louis or Chicago but boy it'll be fun watching.
Scott....are you finally ready to rank the Bruins higher than the Pens and into the Top 3?
Scott Burnside (12:24 PM)
Rich; I am actually doing the power rankings this week and that'll be a tough one to sort through. Great battle for the top spot in the east, though, and I must admit I find myself thinking ahead to a possible rematch of last year's east final. As to your question, have to wait until Monday morning to find out. I will say this, I think it's generally accepted that the Bruins are the most playoff-ready of the east teams including the Penguins.
Are Pitt and Boston in another class compared to the rest of the Eastern conference?
Scott Burnside (12:26 PM)
Mike; This is a good follow-up question to the previous one about the Bruins/Pens. I think the Rangers have closed the gap significantly on the Pens and Bruins. Of course a look at the standings shows the Blue Jackets just a point in arrears of the Rangers so maybe that's just optics. Still, with Lundqvist and a lineup that is still trying to integrate Martin St. Louis into the mix and with Marc Staal trying yet again to get his legs under him I think the Rangers are probably best poised to knock off one of the top two teams.
Is Ryan Callahan a guy that a young team (like the Sabres) should try to build around?
Scott Burnside (12:29 PM)
Ryan; I think Callahan is the kind of 'glue' guy that every team needs. With the Sabres dealing Steve Ott (although he could of course resign with the Sabres in the off-season) I think there's lots to like about a Callahan signing if you're a Sabres fan. Assuming Ted Nolan sticks around I think Callahan is a Nolan type of player, hard-working, blue-collar kind of guy. He's not necessarily a 'franchise' player like a Steven Stamkos or Sidney Crosby but he is the kind of guy that is vitally important in instilling a winning attitude and promoting the kind of work ethic that winning requires.
What in the heck is wrong w the Caps? Can we get some defense men who are rugged and can get the puck out of thier own end and move oppposition players out from our goalie face and crease area? geeeezzz
Scott Burnside (12:30 PM)
Reggie; The Caps remain one of the wackiest teams in the league. Getting swept by the Pens this week was a kick in the shins that's for sure. Did like how Jaroslav Halak played but this is a team that looks adrift right now and it's not just defensively. Playoffs not out sight but getting further every minute.
Judeman5000, CPA (Thornton, CO)
I'm sorry, but I believe you just compared the Avalanche and the Blue Jackets. I also keep hearing how Jon Cooper is the favorite for the Jack Adams because he turned the team around and oh yeah, Patrick is similar. Am I missing something? Those two are third or the wild card. We just became 2nd in the Central and 5th in THE LEAGUE! We have a shot at #1 overall. Call me crazy, but we're vastly different and superior.
Scott Burnside (12:32 PM)
Judeman; Just compared the situations vis a vis the playoffs. And I think Cooper has for a long time been a Jack Adams candidate given the injuries the Lightning have endured. Their play of late has likely lessened the likelihood of Cooper winning the award and I have always had Patrick Roy on my short list for the Jack Adams (even though we don't vote on it). I still think a guy like Dan Bylsma whose Pens have been ravaged by injury should be in the mix, too.
Are you finally willing to change your now-outrageous prediction of the Coyotes winning the cup? You have a mulligan, who you picking?
Scott Burnside (12:34 PM)
Manny; It would be extremely bad form for me to pull the pin on the pick, outrageous or not, before the end of the regular season. And the 'Yotes have played much better of late and Mike Smith is finding that groove we saw him in through most of the 2012 playoffs. So, won't take my mulligan just yet.
Cam (Seattle )
How will the situation in Vancouver pan out? Do you think Gillis or Torts will go? Will they unload they're players (other than the Sedins) and begin a rebuild? I cant seem to comprehend how it got to this point.
Scott Burnside (12:36 PM)
Cam; Wow are things ugly in Vancouver. Even when they win, which they did last night in a shootout over Winnipeg, the Canucks lose as Ryan Kesler was injured in the game. Hard to imagine that if (assuming?) the Canucks miss the playoffs that there isn't a clean sweep by ownership (whose hand in the team's dramatic decline cannot be overstated). Talk about the window on a championship caliber team slamming shut. Wow.
What do the Wild need to do in order to run things around? And do you see them getting into the playoffs?
Scott Burnside (12:38 PM)
Michael; I must admit I love the current playoff setup although bet the Wild and their fans aren't too crazy about it. Less than a month ago you'd have bet the farm the Wild were a lock to end up in the top wild card spot but with Dallas and Phoenix both playing well and the Wild tracking sideways that is in jeopardy. Like last year they are the masters of their own destiny but they need Darcy Kuemper to get back on track - and that's the problem with throwing so much responsibility on a rookie - or hoping that Ilya Bryzgalov finds some of his long-lost mojo. I think they end up in the top eight but it might not be without some anxious moments over the next month.
Will Shero try and get Kesler at the draft?
Scott Burnside (12:39 PM)
Matt; Depends on how the playoffs go for them but I would guess Ray Shero will take another run at the Vancouver center assuming his current injury isn't too serious. By draft time, though, there may be a lot more suitors which could change the dynamic in terms of getting a deal done.
What are the chances of the pens winning the cup this year?
Scott Burnside (12:41 PM)
Matt; I would say they are about the same as Chicago, Los Angeles, Anaheim, St. Louis, San Jose and Boston winning the Cup. First order of business will be where is Marc-Andre Fleury's head space? Second, can they get healthy enough to play the kind of heavy hockey needed to beat the Rangers, Bruins and then whoever comes out of the west. Tall order.
Nill looks pretty smart in picking up Tim Thomas before the deadline right now, doesn't he?
Scott Burnside (12:44 PM)
Brian; I would say so. I must admit was a bit perplexed by the acquisition. Figured Dale Tallon would be in a hurry to move Thomas after getting Luongo but the Stars seemed an odd destination. Not anymore. Sounds like Kari Lehtonen might be out awhile and Thomas showed the other night against St. Louis that Nill was more than a little prescient in bringing him in. Great story for a Dallas team that has had lots of ups and downs in recent days. As an aside, here's wishing the absolute best for Rich Peverley, a terrific guy, in his recovery from a heart condition.
Hemsky's been ridiculous since the Sens picked him up. He obviously can't maintain this pace, but do you see the Spezza/Hemsky chemistry continuing? And will it be enough to get the Sens into the playoffs?
Scott Burnside (12:47 PM)
Andrew; Sizzling doesn't quite cover it for Hemsky who has eight points in four games and back-to-back three-point efforts. The problem is that the Sens seem to have forgotten how to play in their own zone. They are five points out of the second wild card spot with four teams to jump over. Hemsky or no Hemsky I don't see it happening.
David (San Jose)
Will the Sharks overtake the Ducks for the Pacific Division title and St. Louis for 1st in the Western Conference? The Sharks hold the tie-breaker over the Blues
Scott Burnside (12:50 PM)
David; Terrific battle shaping up as all three teams have roughly the same number of road games left and all three are terrific at home (Sharks actually have best home record of the three). Certainly the Sharks have the momentum and the pressure is squarely on the Ducks to stop the bleeding. My gut says Blues end up with the Presidents' Trophy and I think the Ducks will hold off the Sharks to stay on top of the Pacific.
Is Marc Staal marginally better than Dan Girardi or is there a huge difference in their abilities? I have a hard time comprehending their relative worth and I'm a Ranger fan.
Scott Burnside (12:52 PM)
Chris; I think Marc Staal's health issues have made making such a comparison almost impossible. With both at their peak they are both cornerstone defenders although they play different types of game hence their cumulative importance to the Rangers (and hence the priority Girardi was in recent negotiations compared to Ryan Callahan). Interesting off-season coming up for Staal, though, as he can become a UFA a year from July and there is already speculation he'll want to join his brothers in Carolina.
Ann (Ottawa )
wouldnt it be great to see a habs/ leafs playoff series? the current standings right now would have them facing off! in your opinion who would take that series? i would predict it would go to game 7.
Scott Burnside (12:54 PM)
Ann; I know some of my reporter colleagues in Canada are salivating at the prospect. If you recall the emotion that went into last spring's Ottawa/Montreal tilt well I think you can multiply that by a factor of 50 or so if Leafs/Habs do clash for the first time since 1979. Who would win? Depends on Carey Price's health but I would go with the Leafs and I think you're right, pencil in seven games to get it done.
What are your thoughts on the job Tim Murray is doing so far as the sabres GM?
Scott Burnside (12:57 PM)
nick; I think Tim Murray has done a nice job in moving guys like Ryan Miller, Steve Ott, Jaroslav Halak, Matt Moulson for young assets/picks. Now the next challenge will be in the off-season deciding on potential buyouts (Ville Leino come on down) and repopulating the lineup with guys who can help turn the ship around (ie. Ryan Callahan as earlier discussed). Impressive first steps but a long way to go for this team.
Shouldn't they just change the name of the Jack Adam's award to "Coach of the team with the biggest turn around"? How someone like Mike Babcock has never won the award is amazing to me.
Scott Burnside (12:59 PM)
Matt; Good point. It's why in my third-quarter awards column noted Bylsma and Bruce Boudreau because it seems it is an award that goes to a coach who does more with less. What about Joel Quenneville this year? Or Todd McLellan? The problem is always lots of good choices because the definition of what makes the coach of the year is so broadly interpreted.
Eric (Los Angeles)
Can you continue to not talk about the Kings (being the best team, right now) and pick them to lose in every series... Just like 2012?
Scott Burnside (1:00 PM)
Eric; Sure. Actually have been giving the Kings some love even though I still don't get the Marian Gaborik acquisition. Hard to believe someone could actually go 0-for-4 in picking playoff series involving the eventual Cup champ. Oh well, there's always this year.
Scott Burnside (1:01 PM)
Okay folks. Time to move along. Thanks as always for dropping by. Let's do it again next week. Until then.