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Posted On Wednesday, 11.23.2011 / 12:40 PM

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

Barry gives his thanks

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Posted On Monday, 11.21.2011 / 3:00 AM

NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose: All-Star honorees at the quarter pole

With most teams in the National Hockey League at or nearing 20 games played this season, I've made my All-Star picks, as well as my coach and rookie of the year at the season's quarter pole. Here is who I think has been the best of the best at each position in the League this season.

Right wing: Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs

Phil Kessel
Right Wing - TOR
GOALS: 16 | ASST: 13 | PTS: 29
SOG: 73 | +/-: 6
His numbers (League-leading 16 goals, 29 points) speak for themselves. I think he's been the best player in the NHL so far this season. Toronto's off to a good start and obviously he's a gigantic part of what they've done, so Kessel is my first forward for my All-Star team.

Center: Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers

I think this guy is just emerging into a superstar. He's just a great two-way center. He can score points, he can also kill penalties, he's good defensively. He's just an excellent hockey player. He can do anything. People are seeing why the Philadelphia Flyers felt they were able to trade Mike Richards.

Left wing: Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks

Chicago's off to a great start, he's off to a great start, and he's a high plus, which means he's playing five-on-five very well. He's putting the puck in the net and he's just playing like we envision Marian Hossa when he's healthy. He's been awesome. I've watched Chicago a number of times and he's dangerous, he's skating well, he's attacking the net well and, as I said, he's a plus-11 right now. That's excellent. He always gets points on the power play, but being that high of a plus means that five-on-five he's getting his points also.

Defenseman: Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins

Boston's won eight in a row, Chara's a plus-12, and he always plays against other teams' best players. I really take that as a consideration. You want a defenseman with good numbers, and Chara gets his points, but he's so much more than that. Being that high a plus and playing against every team's best three forwards every night is pretty impressive. I think Chara and the Boston Bruins have found their game. There's no better team in the NHL right now than Boston, and Chara is a big part of that.

Defenseman: Shea Weber, Nashville Predators

Shea Weber
Defense - NSH
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 11 | PTS: 14
SOG: 61 | +/-: 19
I'm taking Shea Weber for the exact same reasons. He's plus-19, he and Chara both have 14 points, and he too plays against the other teams' best forwards every night. He's got the highest plus in the NHL and that's a pretty impressive number for a defenseman. We saw what he did last year in the playoffs and he just does everything. He's got the big shot, he's a great passer of the puck, he can play a very physical style if he needs to, and every night he sees everybody's best player. He never gets a shift off, where he's out there against the fourth line.

Goaltender: Kari Lehtonen, Dallas Stars

He's still 11-4, he's still leading the NHL in wins. Dallas as a team has struggled, but I think when you look at all the other goaltenders in the NHL, his numbers are still great. He's among the League leaders in everything and 11 wins -- that's the most important number for goaltenders.

Best rookie: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers

He had five points in his last game, he's got 19 points overall. Edmonton is surprising a lot of people right now and he's certainly been a big part of that. He's just a guy that sees the ice very well and sees his teammates very well. You just watch him and he does everything well. To have that many points is great for a rookie. He's under the microscope, too. No one expects it out of the other guys, but this guy has had a target on his back from day one and he's been great from day one. He hasn't had any slumps, and to do it with the pressure he's been under is just amazing.

Best coach: Dave Tippett, Phoenix Coyotes

This team, what they're going through with ownership and Bryzgalov leaving in the summer, they're one of the best teams in the Western Conference. They just had a great streak where they went on the road and beat some very good teams, so the record speaks for itself. With all the other stuff that's happening it's easy for that team to get sidetracked and start talking about the wrong things. He's done a great job of keeping them focused on what's important, and that's winning. The only thing they can control is winning, and they've done a great job of that so far.
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Posted On Friday, 11.18.2011 / 12:35 PM

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

Barry's Best: Top players of the week

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Posted On Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 4:42 PM

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

Barry's sixth 'Mullet of the Week' winner is ...

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Posted On Sunday, 11.13.2011 / 3:49 PM

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

Melrose Minute: Best skaters in NHL history

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.

I've got another list this week, and it is the five greatest skaters ever to play in the NHL. Here we go:

No. 5 Pavel Bure

When he was in Vancouver, he was so scary against. If he got a step on you, it was going to be a breakaway. The saying everyone used to use with Bure was, "if he's even, he's leaving" because if someone was side-by-side with him, no in the NHL had a chance of catching Pavel Bure. For about a five-year period there, I don't think anyone had as many breakaways in the NHL as Bure did.

Former Canucks forward Pavel Bure could beat everybody wide. (Getty Images)
He was just so fast, so slippery, so quick. He could beat everybody wide, so if you got aggressive and tried to cheat out wide, he'd jump to the middle and beat you. If you tried to stand up on him, he'd throw it through your legs and go around you. He was just a great, great offensive player and speed was his major weapon. He could make some great moves, but he beat everybody with his speed.

Bure had a tremendous second gear. You'd be going with him and think you had them, and then … bam. He was a lot like the roadrunner in that cartoon. It seemed like the coyote had him a bunch of times and the roadrunner would just kick it into another gear and the coyote would be left in the dust. Well, a lot of defensemen were left in the dust with Pavel.
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Posted On Thursday, 11.10.2011 / 3:50 PM

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

Barry's fifth 'Mullet of the Week' winner is ...

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Posted On Thursday, 11.10.2011 / 2:50 PM

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

Melrose Place: The evolution of goaltending

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Posted On Thursday, 11.10.2011 / 1:50 PM

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

Barry's Best: Favorite Movember mustaches

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Posted On Thursday, 11.10.2011 / 10:03 AM

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

Barry's Best: Top players of the week

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Posted On Sunday, 11.06.2011 / 11:00 PM

NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose Minute: Best NHL arenas

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.

I've got two lists for everyone this week. The first is the five greatest hockey buildings in the history of the NHL.

No. 5 -- St. Louis Arena, or the Checkerdome

Most people do not think this would be on a list of the best buildings, but it was a unique building. It sat close to 20,000 people and when I was there it was full. I saw great crowds, loud crowds. They were right on top of you. It was really an unbelievable building.

I loved playing there. If you couldn't get jazzed about playing in St. Louis, oh boy, you had problems. Purina owned it at the time, so it looked like a checkerboard on the roof of the building. It was a real unique building.

No. 4 -- Madison Square Garden

Any building that has the rink on the fifth floor has to be fantastic. New York is the greatest city in the world. MSG is as mentioned as the greatest sports building in the world. I don't have it as the best in the NHL, but that first time you play at MSG and you walk up that ramp when you get to the building and you start to think of all the great things that have happened in this building. All the great fights, all the great hockey games, all the great basketball games, the college basketball, the track and field events – it is pretty phenomenal. 
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