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Posted On Monday, 10.10.2011 / 12:10 AM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Dynamic Duos: Who's better than Datsyuk-Zetterberg?

Former NHL head coach and player Barry Melrose starts a new gig this season: He will be blogging for NHL.com throughout the 2011-2012 season. Plus, Melrose will be appearing as an analyst for NHL Network during every League-wide NHL event, starting with today's 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic announcement at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

To start off each week, look for "Melrose Monday" on NHL.com. Melrose will look ahead at the biggest days on the NHL calendar that week. "Melrose Monday" starts today with Barry's unique take on the Winter Classic between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers Jan. 2


Let's take a look at the best five forward pairs in the League for this Monday's blog entry. We'll count down my picks:

5. Steve Stamkos and Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning

Marty St. Louis and Steven Stamkos combined for 76 goals and 190 points for the Lightning in the 2010-11 season. (Photo: Getty Images)
Their games are perfect for the new rules in the NHL. Both of them can fly. One is a right-handed shot and other is a left-handed shot. That doesn't happen too often.

Both Stamkos and St. Louis have great vision on the ice — which is even more difficult to defend when they move at such great speed. I think St. Louis might be the most underrated player in the entire League.

It's tough for young players to come into the League and play at a high level early. Some elite players are great at 19, but it took Steven a little while to get going. It was about a half-year of adjustment for him. I will tell you this: Playing with and learning from St. Louis is the best thing that has happened to Stamkos.

St. Louis is such a warrior. Things have never come easy for him. He was placed on waivers by Calgary and cleared. He has made himself into a great player. He is what hockey is all about. People have told him he is not good enough for the NHL and he has proved them wrong.
 
4. Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings

I know what you are thinking: If these two are No. 4, let's see who is 3-2-1. Probably the only reason Zetterberg and Datsyuk rank only No. 4 is their age. They both are getting hurt a little bit more.

But this is an unbelievable pair when they are healthy and on the ice. They are best defensive pair of the top 5, with Datsyuk winning multiple Selke awards as the League's best defensive forward. They are amazing stickhandlers and they have won Cups. They are ultimate professionals.

Datsyuk has the best hands in the NHL and both Datsyuk and Zetterberg play a physical style of play.
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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 9:56 AM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Top five 2011 offseason moves

NHL Network's Barry Melrose breaks down his top five offseason moves.

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Posted On Monday, 10.03.2011 / 9:21 AM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Under Pressure: 5 Players Feeling the Heat

5. Roberto Luongo, G, Vancouver Canucks: Luongo was outplayed by Tim Thomas in the Final. He was pulled from games [and passed up for starts] earlier in the playoffs. So is the year that Luongo shows he is as great as we thought he could be or does he show he is one of most overrated goalies?

I think he has lost the invicibility tag. He has a lot of flaws in his game. We can see that now.

Goaltenders feel the most pressure of any position. If a forward makes a mistake, the defensemen can pick him up. If a D-man makes a mistake, the goalie can make up for it. If the goalie makes a mistake, the puck is in the net. Plus, the goalie plays the entire 60 minutes. Luongo will be feeling the pressure in goal this season.

4. Dany Heatley, LW, Minnesota Wild: Heatley had a terrible regular season and playoffs last year. Now he’s going to Minnesota. The Wild gave up their best player to get Heatley.

Heatley is going to a hockey place, where everybody knows you. I think that will be good for Dany. He has to respond to the pressure and I think he will. Minnesota need goals. Look where Heatley played his best–in Ottawa, another hockey place where everybody knows you. Some guys need the fear of pressure of performing. Heatley is one of those guys.
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Posted On Monday, 09.26.2011 / 3:20 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Winter Classic commentary

Former NHL head coach and player Barry Melrose starts a new gig this season: He will be blogging for NHL.com throughout the 2011-2012 season. Plus, Melrose will be appearing as an analyst for NHL Network during every League-wide NHL event, starting with today's 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic announcement at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

To start off each week, look for "Melrose Monday" on NHL.com. Melrose will look ahead at the biggest days on the NHL calendar that week. "Melrose Monday" starts today with Barry's unique take on the Winter Classic between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers Jan. 2.

Barry's take on the Winter Classic:


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Posted On Monday, 09.26.2011 / 3:15 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Why NHL fans should tune in to HBO's '24/7"



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Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic