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Round 2
Round 3
Stanley Cup Final
POSTED ON Tuesday, 01.24.2012 / 11:10 AM

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

Melrose votes Karlsson as Fantasy Draft top pick

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POSTED ON Friday, 01.20.2012 / 11:06 AM

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

Melrose Match Up: Rangers at Bruins

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POSTED ON Friday, 01.20.2012 / 10:59 AM

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

Barry Melrose joins CISCO NHL Live via Telepresence

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POSTED ON Friday, 01.20.2012 / 9:30 AM

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

Barry's Mullet of the Week: Evgeni Malkin

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POSTED ON Monday, 01.16.2012 / 3:00 AM

NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Barry Melrose discusses his dream matchups for this postseason

Football fans across the U.S. and Canada have gone wild watching the NFL playoffs this weekend, but it's the NHL that's home to the greatest postseason tournament in sports. The Stanley Cup playoffs never fail to deliver each spring, and this weekend's NFL action has me wondering what matchups I'm hoping for this spring.

Here are the five matchups I'd most love to see this postseason.

1. Pittsburgh vs. Chicago

More than any other matchup, I'd love to see this just because of the talent level -- assuming Pittsburgh is healthy when the season ends, what a showdown this would be! You've got Crosby, Malkin, Letang and Neal against Kane, Toews, Sharp, Hossa, Keith … the list goes on. There are so many great players on both teams, and with two major markets and two great teams, I just think it would be a real home run for the NHL. It would put the League's best foot forward -- a win-win situation.

Even more amazing is that not only have both of these teams won a Stanley Cup in the last five years, they're both so young. If Crosby gets healthy -- and keep in mind that most of these guys are signed long-term, so there isn't going to be a lot of changeover of talent -- you could see these teams play each other in the Final multiple times over the next seven or eight years.

2. Vancouver vs. Boston

I would love to see these two teams play again. That game they played a couple of weeks ago -- you could see that these two teams genuinely don't like each other. There are a lot of stories and sidebars in this series, a lot of agitators on both sides, and you've got both organizations throwing barbs at each other. It would be a tough, nasty series. I loved the one last year, and I think it would be an even better seven-game series this year.

This time around, Vancouver would have to be tougher and I think we might even see Cory Schneider play. That's another interesting thing: Who plays goal for Vancouver? Schneider played that game in Boston recently and played very well. In addition, both teams are going to be active at the deadline. I think that Vancouver knows it would have to get tougher -- and don't forget, Shawn Thornton didn't play last year and Tyler Seguin was just an extra guy. Boston's a lot better than last year, too.

3. Detroit vs. Toronto

This might just be because I'm a traditional guy, but I'd love to see this matchup. Toronto looks like a playoff team at least, and then you look at the history of the two organizations and their proximity. Toronto is an up-and-coming team, while Detroit is trying to milk a few more great years out of the players it has. You can talk about so many stories here, like how many more kicks does Nicklas Lidstrom have left at the can. I just think it would be a “can't miss” for hockey fans who love the tradition of the League.

It would also be nice to see Toronto play a meaningful game in June. Toronto has never played in June. When the Leafs won the Cup in 1967 it was just two rounds, meaning the Final was over in early May. Toronto is fun to watch, too. Phil Kessel is fun, Joffrey Lupul is fun, they're quick to score goals -- and Detroit is playing great right now, they're as good as any team in the West. Jimmy Howard's really solidified their goaltending situation. At the start of the year I would never have said Detroit was a team that could win the West, but after watching them play Chicago and Vancouver, they're just as good as both of those teams. It's not a stretch now to think Detroit could come out of the West, and it would be exciting to see them face a historic rival in the Final.

4. Philadelphia vs. San Jose

I think this would be a great matchup. It would be a ton of goals from a great group of forwards on both teams. Jaromir Jagr back in the final back would be great to see. I'd love to see Joe Thornton in the Final, finally, and I'd love to see San Jose finally get the underachiever tag off its back. It'd be a gritty series, and I just think it would be a fun series to watch with the firepower the Flyers have up front and the firepower of San Jose up front. This would be a very high-scoring Final series -- just great fun to watch from start to finish.

5. Los Angeles vs. New York Rangers

I would love to see the two biggest markets in the U.S. The Rangers haven't been there since 1994, the Kings haven't been there since 1993, and both are very good teams. The Rangers right now are better than the Kings, but Darryl Sutter's got these guys playing a lot better. Talent-wise I would give the edge, strictly on talent, to the Kings -- they have a very talented lineup. Goaltending, you have to give the edge to the Rangers with Henrik Lundqvist -- but even then Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier are as good a tandem as there is in the NHL and they're playing better now than they have all season. Most of all, though, I would just love to see the top two markets in the United States get fired up about hockey.

John Tortorella would be fun for the media and Sutter's a good quote -- he tells it like it is. It would be great to see these two teams face off on the ice, but the best part might be the star power of the two cities. Can you imagine the people you'd see at the games in L.A. and the people you'd see at the games in New York? You'd get the stars of New York against the stars of L.A. all series long. And beyond the cities they play in, let's not forget that they're both good teams. The Rangers are, I think, next to Boston the best team in the East, and the Kings are a team that's going to get a lot better in the last 40 games. It would be a great show.
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POSTED ON Friday, 01.13.2012 / 4:51 PM

NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Barry meets the GEICO Gecko

Barry and the GEICO Gecko

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POSTED ON Thursday, 01.12.2012 / 12:39 PM

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

Barry Melrose's midseason awards

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POSTED ON Monday, 01.09.2012 / 3:00 AM

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

My All-Stars at the season's midway point

With last week's Winter Classic and the regular season's official midway point coming at the conclusion of games Monday night, it's time for the focus to shift to the NHL's next big event, when the best in the game will take the ice together at the 2012 NHL All-Star Game at Scotiabank Place.

The pieces are already falling into place as the big event approaches, with the fans picking their first six All-Stars last week and Rangers coach John Tortorella sealing up a spot as one of the bench bosses for the game on Jan. 29. Soon we'll find out the rest of the All-Stars being selected and the captains before the fun of All-Star Weekend gets underway.

Because of the NHL All-Star Fantasy Player Draft the teams won't be divided between the Eastern and Western Conferences, but with no real way to split the pool up without knowing who is going to Ottawa, I'm going to stick with the old format and give you my East and West All-Stars so far in 2011-12.

Eastern Conference

Forwards


Steven Stamkos
Center - TBL
GOALS: 28 | ASST: 17 | PTS: 45
SOG: 139 | +/-: 6
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning -- This one is a no-brainer. The No. 1 overall pick in 2008 has blossomed into one of the League's elite scorers down in Tampa Bay, leading the League with 28 goals and dishing out 17 assists to go with it. And has anyone been hotter than Stamkos lately? He has 8 goals in his last six games.

Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs -- Kessel started off as the hottest player in the NHL and he hasn't cooled off since. He's trying to lead the Leafs back to the playoffs for the first time in a long time and if they finally break the drought, it will be in large part due to his 24 goals and 24 assists. His 48 points are tied for second in the NHL, and he's scored in each of his last four games.

Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers -- Philly got quite a scare when Giroux was diagnosed with a concussion earlier this season and it's a pretty safe bet there was some easy breathing when he wound up missing less than two weeks. Giroux has broken out in a big way this season with 18 goals and 30 assists. Playing with an all-time great like Jaromir Jagr certainly hasn't hurt, but Giroux is looking like a star for years to come.

Defensemen

Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins
-- You could talk about how Chara is a major physical presence on the Bruins' blue line, how he's the captain of the defending champions or how he's on pace to break his career high in points. But to really know why he might be the best D-man in the game, look no further than his plus-minus, which, at plus-27, is the second-best in the NHL.

Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators -- Sometimes you see a player voted in by the fans because he's a hometown favorite and not because he's earned it, but Karlsson has definitely earned it. He's played solid defense all season for Ottawa and the only person with more assists than him in the entire League is Henrik Sedin. Giroux, Pavel Datsyuk, Daniel Sedin, Evgeni Malkin -- those guys are all looking up at Karlsson.

Goalie

Tim Thomas
Goalie - BOS
RECORD: 17-7-0
GAA: 1.99 | SVP: 0.938
Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins -- There are 21 goalies in the League who have played in more games this season than Thomas, who has been splitting time with Tuukka Rask to keep his 37-year-old body fresh for a playoff run. But despite only playing in 26 games, Thomas has 17 wins. His .938 save percentage, 1.99 goals-against average and 4 shutouts are all in the top five in the League.

Western Conference

Forwards

Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks -- Another year, another big season for each of the Sedins. Daniel isn't on pace to break his career high of 104 points from last season when he won the Art Ross Trophy, but 47 points in 41 games isn't bad either, and it's certainly deserving of a place on my Western Conference All-Star team.

Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks -- The Sedins had to play apart for the first time in last season's All-Star Game and with the player draft it could happen again, but I won't be the person splitting them up. Henrik and Daniel might be in a personal fight to see who gets the Art Ross Trophy each season and this year Henrik has the upper hand. His 49 points are the most in the League.

Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks -- Toews is one of the bright young stars of our game and each season, he just gets better. This year he's on pace for his best season yet, and he's among the top goal scorers in the League. He's a great scorer, but what really sets him apart from other forwards is how good he is both ways. He might be the best two-way center in the League.

Defensemen

Shea Weber
Defense - NSH
GOALS: 9 | ASST: 21 | PTS: 30
SOG: 114 | +/-: 12
Shea Weber, Nashville Predators -- After being a Norris Trophy finalist last year, Weber is probably going to be in the discussion again this summer. He's shown himself to be a leader in Music City, and his 21 assists are tied for third most among defensemen despite him missing a few games due to a concussion recently.

Kevin Bieksa, Vancouver Canucks
-- To win in the NHL, you need a solid man on the blue line and Bieksa has been as solid as they come this season. Bieksa has helped out offensively with 25 points, but he's provided a physical presence while shutting down the opposition's top players each night.

Goalie

Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings -- Detroit's having a great year and you can look between the pipes for one of the big reasons why. No one in the NHL has more wins than Howard's 24, and the only team in the League with a better goal differential than the Wings won the Stanley Cup last spring.

Those are the guys I would put out there if I was looking for the top six players in each conference. I know it isn't the same as the first six players voted on by the fans last week, but that's fine. The All-Star Game is a time for the fans to have fun watching the players they love. Anything that makes the game better for the fans I'm all for.

Here's hoping we'll be in for another great show later this month.
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POSTED ON Thursday, 12.29.2011 / 3:13 PM

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

Shopping with Barry: Accessories

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POSTED ON Thursday, 12.29.2011 / 3:12 PM

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

Shopping with Barry: Shirts

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It's hard to walk into that locker room and look those guys in the eye when they've played -- clearly, that was our best game we've played in the series -- and I thought we deserved a better fate tonight.

— Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper on his team's 3-2 loss to the Canadiens in Game 3 on Sunday