This is globesports.com editor Darren Yourk. The first week of the NHL playoffs has had a little bit of everything, from superb goaltending and clutch goals to bad blood and vicious cheap shots. Globe hockey writer James Mirtle will be here live at noon ET on Wednesday to take your questions on the postseason so far. Is there any hope for the Canucks or Penguins? Can the Senators find a way to beat the Rangers without captain Daniel Alfredsson? Has the NHL done enough on the disciplinary front? Please join us here for a lively discussion.
James Mirtle joins me here live in about 10 minutes. Feel free to start sending your questions in now. Should be a lively one today.
Just about ready to go here... wonder what we'll talk about?
@Sandrino I predict he gets five or more games, and I lean toward the "or more" side of things. His recent history has several suspensions, fines and warnings, mostly in the last 12 months, and that will catch up to him here.
A number? I'd say probably six or seven games.
@Northwind98 Everything went wrong for Pittsburgh and LA. I'm not that surprised with the Penguins, because the Flyers are one of the five or six best teams in the NHL and had played well coming into the playoffs. Did anyone see it as a potential sweep? Well, no. But it was a coin flip in terms of picking a winner.
The Kings I didn't see, even though a lot of the number crunchers on the web insisted it would be a very close series. Vancouver looks (a) tired and (b) really out of sorts without Daniel Sedin. I don't know if we've ever had a Presidents' Trophy winning team play this poorly in Round 1 before.
@Disgruntled Blackhawks Fan The No. 1 thing the league will do as a response to poor officiating is take those officials out of games. Last night's refs in Chicago were Stephen Walkom and Ian Walsh, and after blowing the Torres call, they may not see games past this round.
@Disgruntled Blackhawks Fan
That doesn't get you your money back, but it hurts the officials for sure. None of them want to have a game like that.
@Eagle I'm going to stick with my pick of the Rangers, but it's been a really good series to watch. Full credit to Ottawa for coming to play as the underdog. Coach Paul MacLean and his staff continue to impress me.
@andrew Staal's a UFA in 2014. So is Sidney Crosby. Malkin comes due in 2015.
Pittsburgh has some really hard choices to make salary wise in the next season or two, and Staal is rumoured to be the candidate to be moved for younger, cheaper talent. He'd due bigger money on his next contract and they'd probably rather move him before he becomes a UFA to get a good return.
Could he go to the Leafs? Only if the package is right. A ton of teams will be interested if and when Staal goes on the market. But I do think there's a decent chance he'll be available.
@andrew The Pens have already spend $60-million on payroll for next season and that's with only 18 players signed. Something has to give - especially if the cap comes down.
As a fan, I'd like to see the Pens kept together. We've had so few opportunities to see them play as a complete, healthy unit.
@Darren Yourk The question is how do you create the best team? And can you keep all three centres given they should all be making such big money? Probably not.
@AaronNoronha92 I'm actually not that high on the Rangers. I like Boston and Philly better, if those are the two teams that advance.
The thing is New York could get an easy matchup in Round 2 if it's the Devils advancing out of that 3v6 series. But if Florida can win that series, that leaves the Rangers potentially facing the Flyers in Round 2 and I'd go with Philadelphia there. (Aside from the goaltending mismatch.)
@Lockstock93 I don't think we can expect players to call out their own teammates. It's just not going to happen.
I look at Toews and others criticizing the NHL's lax standard of discipline in series they're not even taking part in as a good step forward though.
LockStock: This is, in my opinion, one of the great problems. If a guy on your team does it, he plays on the edge, if it happens to one of your guys, it was a dirty play. Another one of my favourites: "I didn't see the play" even though everyone knows you did and every team has a guy on staff who handles video as a full-time job.
@Darren Yourk The league needs some disciplinary guidelines that aren't based on what's happened with their own teams. You're just not going to be able to get someone like Toews to be objective enough to tear a strip off his own teammates.
@Blumpy I'll give people a minute to vote first...
@James Mirtle Agreed. But I think it's getting to the point where the players have to be honest enough about the dirty plays, even if that means you have to swallow hard and admit the guy in your room was in the wrong.
@Matt Pretty much. If only the NHL staff could be shown videos of players that couldn't be identified - then you wouldn't have star players getting far smaller suspensions.
A lot of what's happening now with NHL discipline is based on players' reputations. Those aren't always fairly deserved
I'd send every player in the league a DVD of Pavel Datsyuk. It is possible to battle hard for every puck at this time of year without killing your opponent.
@Blumpy All right - which goalie do the Canucks keep? Well they're still playing, so if one goalie or the other leads them out of this 3-0 hole, that helps with the decision.
But let's say they lose tonight. If I'm the Canucks, I do everything I can to keep Scheider over Luongo. It's what the fan base wants, and it makes a lot of sense from a hockey perspective. Schneider is cheaper, and he's clearly going to be a No. 1 in this league for a long time.
Now this situation isn't entirely up to the Canucks. Luongo has a no-trade clause. He's signed until 2022. And if he doesn't want to go to the team that wants him, well, he doesn't have to.
That said, I can see a scenario where Luongo wants to go to somewhere like Tampa. His wife is from the Florida area and the Lightning are a team with a lot of elite talent that desperately needs a goalie.
News: Paul Martin, who was hit by Brayden Schenn in Game 3 right before Asham lost his marbles, is out for the Pens tonight. Apparently he was injured on the play.
Just don't expect the Canucks to get much in return for Luongo. It might be a deal where they have to take back an underperforming player. That contract is just so ridiculously long.
That chart gives us some idea of where teams are heading. Being young and good is really important because for the most part, being young means you're going to have some cheap talent on entry level deals.
@Tutankhamun I think you're right about St. Louis. I've thought Detroit was on the slide a few times, but they seem to find a way to stay competitive. I don't know what happens to the Devils if Parise goes. The Rangers are in a nice spot to continue to improve.
That said, Detroit has always been old. I'm not convinced they're not going to stay competitive under Ken Holland, even with Lidstrom moving on. They do need some more elite young talent though.
The Rangers are a good example of a team with plenty of young talent that still has some room to improve. Likewise for Nashville and Buffalo and teams along those lines.
Then you've got teams like New Jersey and Florida that are built around older veterans they're going to have to replace. And there's little in free agency to do it with.
Our poll's not very close... 75% of you think the Canucks should keep Cory Schneider. No surprise really.