Hockey Chat with Darren Dreger

With the Bruins and Hurricanes squaring off in Game 3 of their second round series, TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger was online answering your questions on the NHL playoffs.

Dreger breaks news, files stories that take viewers inside the game, and is part of panel discussions and debates on TSN. He appears on the NHL on TSN, SportsCentre and Molson That's Hockey, and contributes regularly to TSN.ca.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

From Evan Poitras: You might get a lot of these tonight, but what are the odds Jim Balsillie is able to buy the Coyotes and bring them to Canada?

Darren Dreger: Slim. For starters, according to a memo sent to all 30 teams from Gary Bettman earlier today, Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes surrendered control of this team months ago, so he doesn’t have the authority to place Phoenix in to chapter 11 bankruptcy. If the bankruptcy court overrules the NHL's objections and grants acceptance of the offer, the sale still requires three-quarters majority for approval before an additional vote takes place on relocation to southern Ontario. This fight could take months and IF southern Ontario is a truly viable and attractive market, the NHL will likely hold it for expansion down the road and sell the rights at that point for $400 or $500 million.

Paul Dunnill from Newmarket, ON: In your opinion, how much of a difference has Claude Julien (and his coaching staff) made to the success of the Boston Bruins this year?

Darren Dreger: Claude Julien is an excellent coach who is very demanding, but rewarding of hard work. He brought structure to a team that lacked consistency and Julien has a knack for identifying and bringing out the best in his players. An example of this…Michael Ryder, who Julien has history with that dates back to junior hockey.

Joshua Sturtevant: Do you think the early whistle in last nights game will cost the Wings the series vs the Ducks? Why couldn't the play be reviewed as it directly affected the outcome of the game?

Darren Dreger: Joshua, as you know it’s a non-reviewable play. You may not like the outcome and there is an easy argument for why it should or could be reviewable based on the leagues mandate to always make sure the call is right, but the problem with video review is, where do you stop? Brad Watson lost sight of the puck, so he did what he’s supposed to do, he called the play dead. If you introduce video review on plays like this...where do you stop? Do you rewind the tape back to where the play started? What if there was an uncalled penalty on the play, does that nullify the goal because play should have been stopped? It’s an endless discussion point. Thanks Joshua.

Rick Ghuman from Abbotsford, BC: What teams other than Buffalo and Toronto do you believe would be against a move of the Coyotes to Southern Ontario? How many members of the Board of Governors do you need to get this move approved?

Darren Dreger: Rick, sale approval requires three-quarters, or 23 of the 30 votes. Following that vote, a simple majority of 16 is required to grant the re-location to southern Ontario. I’m hesitant to respond to your first question because I haven’t talked to all of the teams, although I get the sense that at least a few of the teams in the Coyotes division, the Pacific division, wouldn’t like it because of the re-alignment potential, additional travel costs, etc...

Terry Robson: Darren, in your opinion, who is the biggest surprise in these 2009 NHL playoffs, and how far, given their play so far, do you think they can go?

Darren Dreger: Terry, I’ve been surprised - maybe impressed is a better word, by the play of the Chicago Blackhawks. Even with the injuries the Calgary Flames suffered, I still believed they had enough experience and depth in key positions to beat the relatively inexperienced Blackhawks. However, Chicago deserves full credit and we shouldn’t be surprised if the Hawks regroup, earn a split at home and push the Vancouver Canucks to the limit. I still think the Canucks win in 7.

Mitch Labonte: Which team will make the biggest shake-up this off season?

Darren Dreger: Mitch, Tough call when you look at teams like Montreal and Anaheim and the number of Unrestricted Free Agents they have to deal with. In terms of the ''biggest'' shake-up, I still believe the Tampa Bay Lightning will re-visit the notion of trading Vincent Lecavalier before his no-trade clause and contract extension kicks in on July1. Los Angeles may be a player in this deal. Stay tuned...

Kyle Derbyshire: What do you think the chances are of Burke landing Tavares and what would it take?

Darren Dreger: This is a very complex question because of the dominoes that may have to fall in order for Burke and the Toronto Maple Leafs to position for Tavares. Burke may have to peddle Kaberle, Kubina - or both, acquire the assets that would have to be included in such a deal that would also include draft picks, Toronto's 7th pick overall and perhaps others gathered in other trades involving the Leafs' two veteran defencemen. I don't believe Luke Schenn is an ''untouchable,'' so I wouldn't exclude him from this process, although Burke will make every attempt to build trade scenarios that don't include the promising young blueliner. Truthfully, I might be merely scratching the surface here and any deal involving Tavares landing in Toronto is likely to be incredibly difficult to pull off.

Devin Truscott: What does Pavel Datsyuk need to do to get going and help his team overcome the Ducks in the second round?

Darren Dreger: Devin, I think we need to give the Ducks some credit. Anaheim's game plan going into this series was to be as physical on the fore-check as they could possibly be. Through three games, the Ducks have been successful in that regard and they've also done a decent job of neutralizing the Red Wings size and strength up front. Datsyuk will come alive in this series, he's far too good and he's surrounded by too much talent to sit silent for much longer.

Preston Dufault: Hey Darren, do the Flyers need to go out this off-season and sign a true Number One goaltender, and could Ray Emery be a Number One guy?

Darren Dreger: Preston, I know goaltending is a priority for the Flyers. I also know the Flyers and Atlanta Thrashers engaged in trade discussions with Thrashers goalie Kari Lehtonen in Philly's sights mid-season. The Flyers also wanted gritty forward Colby Armstrong and were considering sending prospect James van Riemsdyk to Atlanta as part of the return. So, yes goaltending is high on the Flyers list. Ray Emery could be a number one guy again, but he has to prove that, and while the Flyers remain interested and have been for a number of weeks, they look at Emery as a risk worth taking as long as they have a quality starter signed to shoulder most of the load.

Tod from Edmonton: Are there any other major candidates for the Oilers head coaching job besides the oft-mentioned trio of Renney, Crawford, and Quinn?

Darren Dreger: Tod, Manitoba Moose coach Scott Arniel has been rumoured as a candidate and the thinking entering this process was that the Oilers would lean towards experience, but would give up and coming coaches like Arniel a look. We know Crawford and Quinn have already interviewed and the expectation is Tom Renney will do the same in the very near future. All three are quality candidates, but some believe Renney may have the inside track.

Chris Chevrier from Calgary: Hey Darren, with the rumors of Jagr and Emery possibly returning to the NHL, are there any other possible players returning, like Morozov? Or do you think will we see more NHLers leaving to go to the KHL?

Darren Dreger: Chris, at least one NHL team has expressed interest in Alexei Yashin's return. I do see other NHL players considering the KHL as a viable option. With the salary cap expected to go down before next season and then potentially nose dive in 2010-2011, teams will have to be very careful signing players. NHL stars will always get their money, which means the third and fourth liners will be left to fight for the scraps. Good players may be left without an NHL home and I'm certain the KHL will be thrilled to take them on board. Of course, that's assuming the KHL still exists in two years.

Greg O'Neill from Morrisburg, ON: Do you think that the playoff performances of Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau have hurt their chances for the Olympics and, conversely, have Ryan Getzlaf and Eric Staal helped their chances considerably?

Darren Dreger: Greg, yes to both questions. Eric Staal had a very good second half and played himself back in to a group of players considered likely for 2010. For me, Getzlaf's participation was less of a question and based on what we've seen so far in the playoffs, I can't imagine he doesn't get an automatic invite. Marleau was certainly tracking towards a spot on Canada's team, but his playoff absence can't be overlooked. I'm sure discussions among Canada's management group have drifted back to Marleau and Thornton many times since the Sharks were eliminated in round one. I expect both will be included in the summer evaluation camp, but I'm not prepared to say either will be on the Canadian Olympic team.

Darren Dreger: Sorry folks, I'm needed for an Insider report during the second intermission of tonight's Bruins-Hurricanes game and must run. Thank you to everyone who took the time to send in e-mails and I look forward to doing this again.

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