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Chat: Timo Seppa (Hockey)

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday February 24, 2010 1:00 PM ET chat session with Timo Seppa (Hockey).

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For all your engaging puck patter, you'll want to ask your hockey questions of Timo Seppa.

Timo Seppa (Hockey): Hello, folks. I bet you're all bummed about not having any hockey for two weeks. Wait...there's an Olympic tournament? Yes, there is, and I'll be glued to my set today.

robmcangus (Dallas): Timo - what do you think the chances are for Team USA? What do you see as their biggest weakness that might keep them from winning gold? thanks! Rob

Timo Seppa (Hockey): On the surface, it seems like the preliminary round doesn't count for much, but the first overall seed was definitely worth playing for. Without a big stumble in the quarterfinals--a big, big stumble--the first seed basically skips right ahead into the semifinals, giving them a great chance of at least medaling. As that first seed, I'd favor the US to get to the gold medal game, where they'll meet a team that's better than them on paper: Canada, Russia or Sweden. Taking all of that into account, you'd give Team USA as good chances as anyone of winning the gold right now. Their biggest weakness all along has been their defensive corps - losing Paul Martin to injury before the tournament hurt a bit and there are no Brian Leetches left out there (although Brian Rafalski's doing his best impression). I questioned some of the forward choices, but it's all worked out well so far. Legit chance of winning the gold. At this second, I'd mark them down for silver.

Corey Pronman (Parkland, FL): In a one and done format after the preliminaries, do you find the mainstream overrates raw Olympic results on a game to game basis?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): Sure, and I assume that you're thinking of the USA win over Canada here. There have been plenty of teams starting the tournament with a real clunker as going on to good things--think of Canada losing badly to Sweden in 2002 before eventually taking gold--and it's worked the other way around, too. That's said, there is some room for concern with Canada--except when playing the tournament's scrubs--and the United States has been legitimized by the win to whoever didn't see them as a real contender before. As I said above, the number one seed could make all the difference for the US, and the quarterfinal matchup of Canada-Russia is going to knock out a co-favorite without a medal. So a little yes, and a little no.

Matt (Rochester, NY): Timo, I know you were rooting hard for Finland....how did their performance meet up to your expectations?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): Finland looked like the most cohesive team out there in easily handling Belarus and Germany, something Sweden couldn't say. But--and this hurts to say--Finland's gutless effort against Sweden wiped a lot of that hope away. That said, every sports team, no matter how great, can have a stinker. I do like them better than the Czechs, who were intimidated by Russia and who struggled against Latvia yesterday.

Dsquared1985 (Leeee Roooy): Timo,, I am up late dealing with u13girls soccer...What can I expect from the Americans in the medal round? Have they peaked against the Northern Enemy Canada? Or can they get it together and conquer the world?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): A question from my old home town in Western NY! If the United States faced Canada in a best-of-seven series, I would see Canada winning 4-3 or 4-2; think of it like Stars-Sabres in 1998-9. It would be a great game, and a well-hyped game. Then again, so would USA-Russia.

Puck Patter (Are you not engaged??): Here comes the Russia-Canada showdown we've been waiting for. Timo, who ya got?!?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): I'll take Ovechkin in the 8th round with a TKO. Seriously, that's a hard question. How about: I see Chris Pronger or Scott Niedermayer making a key error that loses a close game for Canada. Is that going out on a limb or not? Lots of wailing and gnashing of teeth ensue.

Mike Pelham (The nosebleed seats): Now that we've gone through the prelims, are you standing by your pick of the Triple Crowns to win it all?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): What's fun about this tournament is that every team seems to have a question mark. I mean, who do you feel really confident about? Who hasn't stumbled, except the US? Watching the Swedes in their first two lackluster games, they still seemed to play a confident and intelligent team game. You could see them medaling; they also could very easily lose today to a dangerous Slovakian team that already beat Russia in the prelims. An intriguing matchup with New York Rangers' teammates Marian Gaborik and Henrik Lundqvist facing each other; can you see Gaborik scoring the game winner in an upset?

Allen (Washington, DC): How about some love for our boys, Timo--Callahan and Drury. Many people knocked those selections coming into the games, but they've both been excellent. Drury in particular. Credit to Burke here?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): What can I say? Credit to Burke. Both checking forwards have played hard and with energy, which is what you were looking for from them. Don't forget, though, that the likes of Scott Gomez, Bill Guerin, Keith Tkachuk, T.J. Oshie, etc. were left off the roster. Some of those guys could perform just as well as Drury in the checking role while providing more scoring. And yes, I realize that Drury had a key goal in the Canada game.

Jon Coutlangus (Cincinnati, OH): You wrote in a short preview of the Czech-Latvia rematch: "Donít expect it to be as close as 5-2 again." Umm...The 3-2 Czech win in OT last night was even closer. What did Latvia do right, and how vulnerable is that Czech team?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): I sure didn't expect it to be that close again, and that does not bode well for a Czech team that wilted against Russia. Frankly, Latvia could have easily won on some of the nip-and-tuck chances that they had. Especially worrisome is that Jaromir Jagr missed the second half of that game - the Czechs really rely on Jagr and Tomas Plekanec. It's the best draw Finland could have hoped for at this point.

Corey (Boston): Do you know of anywhere I could get my hands on line charts for the olympic teams, and how about time on ice stats, I noticed the olympic page does not include this on their official box scores.

Timo Seppa (Hockey): Puck Prospectus contributor Gabe Desjardins' has some good advanced stats over at www.behindthenethockey.com including some line info. BBC's also got better stats than most sites; check out winterolympics.external.bbc.co.uk/hockey/statistics

Allen (Washington, DC): Thoughts on the women's tournament? Kinda ridiculous that the USA and Canada are THAT much better than the field. I'm not advocating dropping the women's tournament altogether, but it seems like a rather pointless exercise as currently constructed.

Timo Seppa (Hockey): This is nothing new. It's been USA and Canada well ahead of the field for the last several Olympics. Sweden and Finland have been the next tier, fighting for the bronze. From a personal perspective: I'm a father of three girls, and I took my oldest to see a USA-Finland exhibition in Hartford before the 2006 Olympics. The top teams play a good team game that's very watchable. As a father, it's nice to have a quality women's product to show your girls. When the top four teams play, that is.

Allen (Washington, DC): Timo, how much of an impact will the Olympics have on guys like Ryan Miller, Henrik Lundqvist and Roberto Luogno--and their respective clubs? Those are guys that start a ton of games as it is, do you foresee any problems with them being rested down the stretch run? In the case of Henrik Lundqvist, at least, the Rangers lack an established backup to help shoulder the burden.

Timo Seppa (Hockey): You could say the same thing about the Sabres and Canucks as you are with the Rangers: there's a huge step down to the backup from Miller and Luongo. The Rangers will be fighting for a playoff berth, while perhaps more significantly, Buffalo and Vancouver will be playing for seeding. With the compressed schedule for the rest of the regular season, the difference in a better quality backup versus a lower level backup could definitely be a few critical points, unless teams are willing to run those starters into the ground (Not smart). There are a handful of quality goaltenders out there to be had: Martin Biron, Dwayne Roloson, Marty Turco, and perhaps Dan Ellis and Carey Price. It would also make sense for Tim Thomas to be available, and he'd be the biggest difference maker of the bunch.

Phil Unwin (Rochester, NY): With the Bruins getting improved play from Tuukka Rask and riding him to a 4 game win streak before the Olympic break, and presumably getting healthy over the break, what are the chances that they're more than just a first round out?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): Boston's no sure thing to make the playoffs. As a matter of fact, they probably won't. As I just mentioned, they need to try to deal Thomas--their biggest chip--now that Rask has proven himself to be the goaltender of the future. The worst offense in the NHL--hard to believe, as they were among the best just last season--needs immediate reinforcements. In a recent ESPN Insider column, I suggested Thomas to Philadelphia for the struggling but talented Simon Gagne (which roughly matches on salaries).

Matt (Rochester, NY): Look at what Ryan Miller can do with some good players on the blue line, imagine anyone going to Buffalo at the deadline to beef up their D?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): ROY candidate Tyler Myers, Swedish Olympian Henrik Tallinder and Finnish Olympian Toni Lydman are part of the solution, while captain Craig Rivet (mediocre, with too many penalties) and sophomore Chris Butler (scores, but really hurts on defense) are part of the problem. You can give or take new addition Steve Montador (decent enough, but has made mistakes of recent); Nathan Paetsch should not be a healthy scratch. Butler--considered a promising prospect not too long ago--will probably net the best forward (there's need for upgrade there too) or defenseman in return.

Phil (London, Ontario): Hi Timo, Will Puck Prospectus be putting out a book (not just a pdf, but a hard copy) this fall?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): As far as I know, there's no firm decision on it yet, but I'm working on the assumption that I'll have a major writing assignment come July. As far as a hard copy, that's not the way the last few Basketball Prospectus products have gone out. I'm old school and like the hard copy books myself, for what it's worth...like my new BP 2010, though I haven't gotten much of a chance to delve into it yet.

Muffinful O'Nails (Salo): Should the Buffalo Sabres front office be concerned that Ryan Miller will run out of gas on them in the playoffs? You mentioned this in Puck Prospectus, but why couldn't Tim Thomas have been in net when the U.S. cruised past Norway?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): Lots of teams are making the same decision, and I think it's a poor one. For instance, if Babcock's decided that Luongo is their new number one, why not give Marc-Andre Fleury the start in the pummeling of Germany, saving Luongo from playing Russia in back-to-back nights? Devil's advocate here points to the Czechs and says they might have lost to Latvia if Peter Budaj was in net - but shouldn't you be looking at the tournament long term?

And yeah, to get back to it, the Sabres front office sure as heck should be ticked off at Ron Wilson and co. How's that, for a coach in the same division making decisions impacting a key player on a rival?

David (Winston Salem): So what can the Canes realistically hope to get for Ray Whitney? Is he worth a first rounder and a prospect?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): Ray Whitney would certainly be worth a decent prospect or pick to begin with, as the team getting him will receive a veterean top six forward with a reasonable, expiring contract. But with the large number of teams gunning for Whitney as a fit, the Hurricanes should do make out even better because of the significant market for him.

bmcgehee (Music City, USA): Has Barry Trotz gotten all he can out of what he has or is there something left in the tank for a 2nd half playoff run here in Nashville?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): By team GVT, Nashville's a roughly average offensive and defensive team, that's had--surprise--below average goaltending...though much of that was in their horrible start to the season. Right on the doorstep of the playoffs, the temptation is to stay the course or even be buyers, but the Predators would be best served by being sellers. With the second best farm system--according to Hockey's Future--and useful building blocks in Shea Weber, Patric Hornqvist and Pekka Rinne, selling off many of the other veterans--Erat, Legwand, Hamhuis, Ellis--could put Nashville in a very good position to contend in as early as 2010-11. Right now? As The Forechecker points out, Trotz has got to find a way to improve lower echelon PP and PK squads; that would improve them in the short run.

John Tortorella (NY): Chris Drury's excellent play in the Olympics is seriously undermining my abilities as a coach. What am I doing wrong with this guy?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): The big problem is the ridiculous contract. Sather's got more fixing to do to try to get rid of Redden, Rozsival and Drury at the money they're making - a large percentage of the Rangers' overall cap space.

Torts is the problem with Drury? Seriously? For all the Drury lovers from yesteryear out there, welcome to the present: The Rangers captain was invisible in the playoffs last season, and he's been postively underwhelming for the Blue Shirts this year.

robmcangus (Dallas): fantasy hockey question....is there someone you might recommend for the final stretch run that might be owned in a very low % that could seriously contribute to a team offensively? thanks! Rob

Timo Seppa (Hockey): Benoit Pouliot of Montreal once he's healthy; Dustin Penner, if he's been dropped; several of the young forwards for Colorado like Yip and Galiardi. Grab some of the better players on Florida quick before they're shipped to contenders as well.

The Diceman (Headlining at the Tick Tock Inn): Do you think NHL players will play in the next Olympics? How about further down the road? The TV numbers have been good (in the case of the Canada-USA game, outstanding) - I can't imagine Bettman would sacrifice the good publicity his players are getting via the Olympics.

Timo Seppa (Hockey): Bettman's clearly against it. It seemed silly for him to be arguing against it on the eve of the US victory over Canada; you'd think an attorney would know better. Part of the issue is with the next Olympics being in Sochi, Russia - an issue both for viewing and as far as travel for the players. Yes, I'm 100% for NHL players; they make the tournament an echo of the great Original Six days of the NHL, before rosters were watered down. Take a lesson from all the different tournaments that the top soccer players compete in - they're all followed very intently and are meaningful to the players as well. Bite the bullet in Sochi re. whatever the negatives are; the Olympics are great for the sport.

Matt (Rochester, NY): Germany had some pretty good NHLers on their team, they had Hecht, Goc, Strum and one of the best defensemen around in Ehrhoff...so why were they so terrible?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): Yes, Germany has significantly more NHL talent than Switzerland, Belarus (even when healthier), Norway and Latvia. You've got to assume that the rest of the squad is that much worse and/or the coaching is an issue.

Mike Pelham (The nosebleed seats): What are your biggest surprises and disappointments so far from this Olympic tournament?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): If you're talking teams and not games or players, Canada would be the biggest disappointment - poor game against the Swiss, decently played loss, but a loss nonetheless against the US. I suppose the US is the biggest surprise, although it's not that big a surprise with lots of NHL talent and the games being held here in North America.

rawagman (Toronto): Timo - do you think any players from the less-heralded nations (think those eliminated yesterday) increased their chances for getting a real NHL look-see? I'm particularly thinking of Pal Grotnes and Tore Vikingstad of Norway, although Belarus, Latvia and Switzerland seem to be full of guys who could complete for roles at the highest level? What do you think?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): I don't know how to assess Grotnes, being on a team as (relatively) poor as Norway; Vikingstad will certainly get a look from GM's and scouts. I personally have liked the play of D Martin Strbak of Slovakia - big body; he's gotten lots of TOI in all sorts of situations and has looked solid throughout. Jaroslav Halak's a great netminder, but some of the "no-names" on defense are playing well in front of him.

Rob (Dallas, TX): Hey Timo! do you see any young players currently in the league that could give Ovechkin a run for his money? I know Crosby is out there but even he doesn't seem like he is at the same level. Thanks!

Timo Seppa (Hockey): Is there another Ovechkin out there right now? No, not in the NHL. It's certainly not John Tavares, Mr. Garbage Goal, I'll tell you that. Ovechkin's 22 year old teammate, Nicklas Backstrom is in that next tier of talent, though. Buffalo's Tyler Myers could be the next Nick Lidstrom.

Mike K (Athens, GA): Playoff hockey is fantastic, regardless of whether my team is playing or not. Ditto what I've seen of Olympic hockey--the intensity is absolutely gripping. But I rarely watch regular season hockey anymore. If you had a magic wand, would you change the rules/schedule/other to improve the regular season?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): It won't make the games more exciting for you, but the NHL should adopt the Olympics' point system (3 points for a regulation win, 2 points for an overtime win, 1 point for an overtime loss), which is something all of us at Puck Prospectus have been advocating. Maybe you should get into a fantasy hockey league - fantasy sports keep my interest in the regular seasons of a lot of sports. Incidentally, the post-Lockout changes of multiple officials, less clutching and grabbing, and the shootout have already made for a far better product than what it was. Actually, one step better regarding skating and offense would be adapting the wider European/international ice. Trust me, it's a huge difference.

Allen (Washington, DC): Thoughts on the Canadian netminding situation? I think Luongo should have been the clear-cut No. 1 since the beginning. Now the situation just looks messy.

Timo Seppa (Hockey): Luongo led Brodeur 15.7 GVT to 10.1 GVT at the Olympic break and .921 to .915 save percentage. Both fine choices, but I would have gone with Luongo as 1A over Brodeur in a time share over the first three or four games, giving him the USA game for sure. It's his home rink too, you know?

Jason (Madison, WI): What do you think of the overall quality of goaltending in this tournament? And which contender seems to be in the best shape in net going into the round of 8?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): Flat out outstanding. GVT rankings among NHL goaltenders: Nabokov (1), Miller (2), Vokoun (3), Bryzgalov (5), Kiprusoff (7), Lundqvist (8), Luongo (9), Halak (10), Hiller (11), Brodeur (12), Niittymaki (13) - noting less minutes for Halak and Niittymaki. Every single netminder in the quarterfinals is world class. Incidentally, Craig Anderson is 4th in GVT and certainly should have made the US team; Jonathan Quick is vastly overrated.

Phil Unwin (Rochester, NY): David Krejci has been excellent in these Olympics. Is he back to the player he was in 2008-9 for the Bruins?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): I've heard the announcers say as much, but Krejci's play hasn't popped out to me. No.

Muffinful O'Nails (Serves 1-2): Martin Brodeur: did he simply play a couple of mediocre games on an over-scrutinized international stage or are we starting to see signs of real decline?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): Brodeur is still a top goaltender and even the best give up four goals against top competition once in a while. Brodeur was overused--even by his standards--leading up to his severe injury last season. Now that he's got all the records, can the Devils finally get Marty to cool his jets a bit in the latter years of his career, to help avoid another injury?

R.J. (Washington): Not just tenders, but what about teams with multiple players in the Olympic tourney? Chicago has six players playing today... Will fatigue hurt the 'Hawks chances down the stretch?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): Most of the better teams are in the same boat. Are you saying it's worse for Chicago than San Jose? The single biggest impact out there is on Ryan Miller and the Sabres.

Tim (Tampa): Timo, there's been a lot of talk of whether or not the Canadians should mess with their lines (taking apart the Sharks line, for one), but considering last night's blasting of the Deutsch, is there any reason to do so now?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): There's zero takeaway from a virtual exhibition against the Germans. I didn't like Canada's choices in the first place, with players like Mike Green, Brad Richards, Jeff Carter and Martin St. Louis deserving spots over some of their choices. The biggest change I'd make is to limit Niedermayer's and possibly Pronger's minutes, and to increase Seabrook's minutes. Blind squirrel Niedermayer found an acorn yesterday, I know... What was his plus/minus leading into the game?

Ryan (Markham): Timo - are games like tonight's enough to get Americans more interested in the beautiful game? If not, what do you think is needed? Thanks for chatting

Timo Seppa (Hockey): USA-Canada or USA-Swiss? not 100% sure what you're referring to. Lots of folks got excited over USA-Canada, lots of folks will be excited over a gold medal game...but I think it'll take a gold medal win to make a lasting memory and impact. No, that wouldn't be another Miracle On Ice as far as impact, but Americans will get into it more than they're given credit for. It's a long process...

Nooch (Long Island): The United States is now the reigning champion of the WJC, Boys U18, Boys U17, World Junior A, Sledge, Women's Worlds and Women's U18. Canada has the Boys 18 World Cup and the Women's Olympic titles. Is the United States now the dominant hockey power, across all levels of international play?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): The big thing I look at is the NHL Entry Draft. If you haven't taken a peek at the breakdown of how many players come from how many countries, you might be shocked at how few Russians there are, for instance. Canada and Russia are the co-favorites in 2010, but by 2018, it's likely that the United States will have supplanted Russia (with Sweden still in the mix of the top three).

mattymatty2000 (Philly): If the Caps' GM, what would you do come the trade deadline? Thanks for the chat!

Timo Seppa (Hockey): For a team this incredibly good on offense, it's criminal that they rely on Jose Theodore and Bebe Neuwirth in goal. Simeon Varlamov was a phenom for them in the 2008-9 postseason, but a) you might remember his Game 7 meltdown against the Pens b) he's still coming off an extended stint on the IR. Additional help on the blueline wouldn't hurt either. The Caps are the definition of a win now team; see last year's Bruins for how quickly that can come apart. Win. Now.

Devils fan (NJ): Dear Ilya Kovalchuk: Feel free to start scoring lots of goals at any time after the Olympic break. Lou didn't acquire you for 1 goal vs. Nashville. Sincerely, Every Devil Fan.

Timo Seppa (Hockey): To me, Kovalchuk was a big surprise to end up in New Jersey, but as another win now team, I understand Lamoriello's move for a bunch of decent trade chips. Still--as I wrote in ESPN Insider--the Devils' biggest need is for an offensive defenseman. Other than Andy Greene, no Jersey blueliner has more than 11 points! A team this good has a crying need for a defenseman of the ilk of Joe Corvo or Tomas Kaberle, who should be on the market. Just don't settle for a Dan Hamhuis or Sheldon Souray. It's amazing what the lack of a puck moving defenseman can do to a team - see Ottawa's "surprise" collapse last season. Add that player, and maybe you start improving Kovalchuk's production as well.

robmcangus (Dallas, TX): hey Timo - what do you think Turco's future looks like? Does he finish the season w/ Dallas?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): If he does, it was a serious miscalculation by the Stars to have three NHL goaltenders on the roster (See: New York Islanders). Our Philip Myrland--the Contrarian Goaltender--certainly got me to see some of Lehtonen's upside, but it still seems like a prayer of a move to me, for a good young prospect. Turco's been rumored to go to Philly, but I think they have less expensive options. So the good news for Dallas fans is that Turco will be gone by next season, if not within the next week.

michael (nyc): is there a site where I can review the statistic "hits" for the Olympic Games? Regardless of the outcome SUnday do you agree that it was as rivetting 2.5 hours of entertainment as anywhere expecially with the best play by play man in ANY SPORT?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): a) No clue. b) Yeah, it was a great game played at a breakneck speed with fantastic intensity but c) Are you saying that Mike Emrick's call made the game? You're a Devils' fan, right? This may be heresy, but Emrick's quirky choice of vocabulary goes from interesting to mundane after a few listens. Sure, he's a solid professional, but Eddie Olczyk's the one that's caught my attention on the broadcasts - excellent info and energy. Give Roenick some props too, for his work during the intermissions.

The Diceman ("I'm still a headline guy"): Can Jonas Hiller completely stand on his head one more time, or is this one going to be over by the middle of the 2nd period?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): USA is cruising with a 2-3 goal lead by the beginning of the third.

Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay, FL): Timo, how about me? I've shown major growth in my 2nd season. Am I entering the elite tier of players?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): Stamkos already is a great scorer, and I was remiss not to mention him as one of the worst snubs for Team Canada. Not Crosby or Ovechkin, but an impact player and multiple All-Star.

Hammer (Pumps & A Bump): Who do you like in the Women's gold medal game? Who are the key players to watch for each side?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): Canada? Is it a cop out to say Jenny Potter and Meghan Agosta?

mattymatty2000 (Philly): Can you answer the question NBC has been arguing about seemingly forever: Who ya got, Ovechkin or Crosby?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): Both. Look at the way Ovechkin changed the Russia-Czech game with his physicality. On the other hand, Crosby played three great playoff rounds in their Cup run last season...and then went to school over the summer to become an elite faceoff and shootout man. Both great scorers, and much more.

jm (NJ): Enjoying Olympic Hockey, but as a Caps fan I already have one eye on the playoffs. Should Washington be looking to add both a Goalie and a Blue Liner for a run to the Cup? And would it be worth parting with one of the young goalie (Neuvirth or Varlamov) to get a top flight player in return? I realize there may be Salary Cap issues that come into play.

Timo Seppa (Hockey): Surpringly for a top contender, Washington has significant cap space. Therefore, they'd be nuts not to make the moves to bring in a number one goalie and a top two pairing defenseman. Hitch your wagon to Varlamov for the future and ditch Neuvirth. Win. now.

Steve (Clearwater): How do you assess Tampa Bay's chances to nail down one of the last couple of East playoff spots? And is Steven Stamkos emerging as someone who could improve to Ovechkin/Crosby levels or just a cut below; in other words, based on his upside, who would he be most most comparable to?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): I'll admit I'm shocked that Tampa's in the mix; a month ago, they looked ready to fade. Niittymaki's play in goal has been key. But what's the goal here, a first round exit against Washington? Tampa Bay should be trying like crazy to move their veterans. As the second worst team last year, their farm system isn't as good as you'd want it to be (only 16th, per Hockey's Future). Stamkos is a cut below, currently 22nd in GVT, 13th among skaters. Pretty damn good for having just turned 20 this month.

robmcangus (Dallas, TX): follow up to Mike Pelham - how about biggest surprise/disappointments for individual players in the Olympics?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): Not best/worst, but surprise/disappointment - USA: Drury/Stastny; Canada: Staal/Perry; Russia: Federov/Gonchar and Semin; Czech Republic: Jagr/Polak; Slovakia: Strbak/Palffy; Sweden: None/Forsberg followed closely by Zetterberg, Hornqvist, Lidstrom (and they may still win gold); Finland: T. Ruutu/Selanne.

The Diceman (Now doing children's birthday parties): Good call on Roenick, he's been a revelation. And get this: he admits when he's wrong! What a concept for a sportscaster! Anyway...how about this guy Hiller? He can play a little bit.

Timo Seppa (Hockey): Do you like ducks or Swiss cheese? Puck Prospectus has been in Hiller's corner going back to our VUKOTA projections. The Ducks did right to move Giguere and to sign Hiller long term.

Last couple of questions...

mattymatty2000 (Philly): What do you think of NBC's hockey coverage?

Timo Seppa (Hockey): There were a lot of indignant hockey tweeters out there regarding bumping hockey for ice dancing on NBC, but I'd rather see the whole game uninterrupted by non-hockey items on MSNBC, CNBC or USA. The announcers and in-studio folks are good. But please, no Al Michaels.

Ryan (Markham): Timo - I was actually referring to Canada-Russia. aka - Crosby-Ovechkin/Malkin

Timo Seppa (Hockey): Hockey fans--in Canada, Russia, and the United States--are psyched. The typical American, of course not. You'll get a portion to care about a gold medal game involving Team USA. Even with Russia's star power, it'll be tough to top the intensity and drama of the USA-Canada game...other than the elimination factor, I suppose! Really looking forward to it, and Finland-Czech and Sweden-Slovakia aren't exactly chopped liver for solid games, either!

Timo Seppa (Hockey): Great questions, everyone. Thanks, and hopefully we'll do this again around NHL playoff time!


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