Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Pierre LeBrunHappy Thanksgiving to my American friends ! let's talk puck !
Todd (Atlanta)Hi Pierre, Can Minnesota get any more odd injuries ? Do you think they need to add a goaltender, cant seem to keep both guys healthy at the same time. Thanks
Pierre LeBrunSo true, Todd. They have the worst luck with goalie injuries.I don't think they'll add anybody, because when Backstrom and harding are both healthy, what do you do with the third guy?
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)What NHL Teams are Playing their Final Home Games at their Current Arenas this season?
Pierre LeBrunNo team unless the Islanders can get out of their lease early to get to Brooklyn
Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)Pierre, the Penguins and Bruins appear to be the frontrunners in the East, and right now the Bruins are better. In trying to break down the sweep in last years ECF and the loss this past Mon, various theories have been proposed: Julien schools Bylsma on the matchups, Crosby cannot produce through the checking of Chara/Bergeron, the B's bottom six is far superior, the Pens lack grit, etc. While all those things are true, the scientific principle Occam's razor says that the simplest solution is usually correct. And in this case the simplest solution is that Tuukka Rask is a REALLY good goalie...and he plays REALLY good against the Pens. Even Jack Edwards (the biggest B's homer alive) admitted the Pens dominated the game on Mon...and they still lost. Against a pedestrian goalie that game would have been 3-0 Pens in the first 10 minutes, instead it was 2-0 B's after one. Same thing in Game 1 last spring...against an average goalie the Pens would have won that game 5-3. Instead they lost 3-0. Rask was the difference, and that does not appear to have changed this year.
Pierre LeBrunMy theories:1. Rask better than any Pens goalie2. Julien top-5 coach in the world. Byslma is a really good coach but he's not top 5
NHL Viewers (United States)Pierre, since you and our TSN brethren are on the front lines of those affected by the new Canadian TV deal...can you please summarize the ramifications for those of us here in the US. It is my understanding that TSN will have no national games but will still have regional games for some teams like the Jets. And HNIC will still be on CBC on Saturdays but Rogers now controls all content (i.e., they can fire Don Cherry if they want). Does that HNIC agreement extend for the full length of the deal...or is it only for the first few years and then HNIC as we know it may disappear entirely? And even if TSN can't have national games, will they still have the same access to cover things like the trade deadline, draft, all-star game, free agency, etc? And how does the NHL Network fit into all of this? I know for all of us in the US, when the NHL Network started airing the full HNIC feed on Saturday nights with all the pre-game and intermissions....that was a life changing event for us fans...so hopefully it does not change. Although where did Peter Puck go?
Pierre LeBrunYes TSN will still have some regional games. But things like draft and drat lottery will go to Rogers starting next season. The HNIC component with Rogers is for 4 years, not the entire 12 year deal. TSN will still produce the top-notch hockey news programming we always have, Insider Trading, That's Hockey, Sportscenter and more, etc...
Ryan (Clinton, MA)Thoughts on Loui Eriksson this year? He seems to be smooth and very good to excellent in almost every facet of the game. Not to mention the Bruins are 14-3-2 with him in the lineup.
Pierre LeBrunI guess a lot of Bruins fans didn't know much about him before this year because he played in Dallas but he's always been a terrific, 200-foot players, high IQ, soft hands. He's a perfect fit with Bergeron
Mike (SJ)Sorry to hear about TSN. If anyone knows how you feel, it's John Buccigross. What's your contract status with TSN? Might we start seeing you on the NHL Network or NBC?
Pierre LeBrunMike, thanks. TSN is far from beaten, we've got lots of platforms to kick ass with our hockey coverage. This is the last question I answer on this, would rather focus on hockey. My deals with TSN and ESPN.com both expire next summer but I'm big-time happy where I am. We shall see how it all works out.Cheers and thanks to everyone who on Twitter also reached out yesterday. We're fine !
Mike (Michigan)Is Cam Ward an elite goalie?
Harry (Miami)Two Sens questions: Has the trade for Ryan been a win for Ottawa or Anaheim and, is Ottawa's slow start related to Alfredsson's departure? Thanks
Pierre LeBrunNo on Alfredsson, don't think the slow start has anything to do with it.On first question: Anaheim in exchange for moving Ryan got Jakob Silfverberg, Stefan Noesen and Ottawa's 1st round choice in 2014 Entry Draft _ so, clearly too early to tell yet until Noesen develops more and we see what kind of player the first-round pick turns intoBut I'd say ANaheim did very well here
Trey Fevaa (VB)What do you make of Marty Erat wanting a trade from the Caps? Do you see any value in return if the Capitals can trade him? His cap hit and lack of production have me worried about market value as a Caps fan
Pierre LeBrunHim and Oates don't see eye to eye, Erat never felt he like ``fit'' there.Despite 0 goals on the season, a number of teams have actually called the Caps. I don't think they'll have an issue moving him
Alex (Anaheim)Do you expect an extension for Lundqvist before the offseason?
Joe (FoCo)Hi Pierre, what do you think about the Avs vs Blues tonight and who do you have winning?
Pierre LeBrunGreat tilt for sure. Colorado showed me a lot last week beating Chicago 5-1. But the Blues are humming like nobody's business right now.Blues 3, Avs 2, OT
Paul Martin (Pittsbrugh, PA)Pierre, Pens just announced I have a fractured tibia and I am out 4-6 weeks. Here we go again in an Olympic year. How long before the inevitable infection sets in.....
Pierre LeBrunLucky for you the Olympic roster deadline was pushed back to Jan. 7 today !
Albert (Jeff City)Hey Pierre,My Blues are playing great, but is it sustainable for a full season to have so many guys playing so far above their career norms? I saw a post that at the start of the week the the Blues top 6 scorers -- the only guys in double digit point totals -- are on pace for career years where they blow past their career highs in points -- Steen hi of 51 on pace for 101, Backes 62 op 82, Oshie 35 op 75, AP 39 op 67, BMeester 46 op 63, Shattenkirk 43 op 60. That's at least over 25% points higher for all of them. They're neck and neck with the Hawks, but when I look at their numbers, those guys are just playing at career norms...so should I be worried that we have the pedal to the metal and they just seem to be cruising along in second and we can't pull away?
Pierre LeBrunTo me with the Blues it's about only one thing when I question whether or not they can win the Cup: goaltending.Halak has been wonderful this season, but will it for sure last all year? We know Brian Elliott as solid as he is as a 1b or 2a, he's not going to win you a Cup. Jake Allen not quite ready yet... So Halak has to deliver, and stay healthy
Mike (SJ)On the lawsuit, one argument I have not heard: All of these players also played professional hockey in leagues other than the NHL - some only had a cup of coffee in the NHL - they were career minor leaguers. I'm no lawyer, but I do know that you only sue people with money. Suing the AHL or a defunct minor league isn't worth their time. But how can any of the plaintiffs prove their long term injuries are a result of the NHL and not other professional hockey? Have you heard any discussion about this?
Pierre LeBrunThat's an interesting point, Mike.What I will say is that other players will join this group for sure, this is far from over... but the NHL has been prepping for this day for a long long time. they're ready for this.I feel bad for the players that are feeling these post-careers injuries, no question about it. But whether not the NHL knew anything it was keeping away from the players in that era, who knows
Chatz (Toronto)Despite poor posession numbers and being consistently outshot, in 24 games this season AND 48 games last season, the Leafs have been playing at a 100-point pace. 72 games. This is not a small sample size. Notwithstanding an ugly loss to Columbus, when are the "experts" and advanced stats geeks going to accept that Randy Carlyle employs a system that works?
Pierre LeBrunYou can't argue with wins, indeed. I guess what gives everyone pause for thought is that it's Carlyle himself who has hammered his own team for the way in which they play and his desire for them to learn how to grind out more games.