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Posted On Thursday, 01.26.2012 / 5:00 PM

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

Cisco NHL Live: Melrose talks All-Star Game

Posted On Thursday, 01.26.2012 / 3:51 PM

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

Melrose: Who I'd take in the Player Fantasy Draft

Of all the events of All-Star Weekend, one of the best is happening tonight when Daniel Alfredsson and Zdeno Chara take their turns picking teams for this weekend at the 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft. Anything can happen and I know it'll be great to watch when the show comes on tonight at 8 ET (NBC Sports Network, TSN), but before we see what Alfie and Big Z do, I've got my own take on what will happen.

Here is what I would do with my first five picks if I were Alfredsson or Chara tonight.

Round 1
I'm going to assume that Alfredsson wins the coin toss because he's the local boy with the game being at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa. Now, I'm a big picture guy and I would want to do what's best for the NHL. If I'm Alfredsson and I'm the NHL, I want to work it so Alfredsson gets all the Senators on one team. I want the Sens fans to get to root for their guys together, so if I'm Alfredsson, I'm taking Erik Karlsson. I want that defenseman that can skate.

If I'm Chara, I could do what Eric Staal did last year and take my goalie with the first pick since Tim Thomas is out there; me, I don't care about goalies. They mean nothing in an All-Star Game. They all play only one period and they're just trying to get through it without being embarrassed. To me they're a second thought. A team has to pick its three goalies by the 10th round, so for me, I'm picking my starting five first. Let the other team waste high picks on goalies. I'm going after skaters. If I'm Chara, I'm taking Steven Stamkos, because few can score and skate like him.

Round 2
If I'm Alfredsson, in the second round I've got to stick with my guys and I'm taking my teammate Jason Spezza. Now I've got two forwards and a defenseman as well as a goalie in my assistant captain Henrik Lundqvist. I'm on my way.

If I'm Chara, to go with Stamkos and my assistant captain Joffrey Lupul up front, I'm taking Phil Kessel. I want another flying forward and don't forget, Phil is still motivated about the All-Star Game after being embarrassed by being the last pick last year. I think he'll be fired up, and it's in Ottawa, which I think matters to a Toronto player.

Round 3
My next pick as Alfredsson is Milan Michalek. Now I've got three forwards, a great skating defenseman and all of my Ottawa players on one team. Everyone in the stands can cheer for one team this way.

Now if I'm Chara and I can put another forward up top, I'm going with Henrik Sedin, a guy I can't imagine dropping any further than this. He's simply too good a playmaker to stay unpicked for long.

Round 4
If I were Alfredsson, the next guy I would take is Dustin Byfuglien because I love a guy who plays with his size and does what he does, but with Big Buff injured I'll have to get a different physical defenseman. To fill that role I'm going to go with a big tough guy who can hit, and I'm taking Dion Phaneuf. Now I've got Alfredsson, Spezza and Michalek up front and Karlsson and Phaneuf at the back -- an all-Ontario team for a game in Ottawa.

If I'm Chara, I come back with Brian Campbell, so now I've got that skating defenseman alongside Chara. Chara's an offensive threat when he wants to be, but he doesn't lead the rush all the time. I want to give him that offensive defenseman that can do that, and that's Brian Campbell.

Round 5
Fortunately, if I'm Alfredsson I've already got my buddy in the back with fellow Swede Lundqvist in net, a player who just happens to have been the best goalie in the League this year. With that, it's time to get the second line going, and I'm going to anchor it with one of the best centers you can find, and take Claude Giroux, a boy who grew up in Ontario, with my last pick.

As for Chara, with my last choice I'm going to fill out my team at the back and take my goalie, Tim Thomas.

That's the way the teams should work out. An event like this is all about the fans, it's about making everybody happy and I think this is what would make the most people happy. Tonight we'll get the chance to see how it all works out.
Posted On Wednesday, 01.25.2012 / 11:17 AM

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

Melrose Place - Second Half Guarantee

Posted On Wednesday, 01.25.2012 / 11:14 AM

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

Melrose: Best Save, Goal, Coach before All-Star break

Posted On Tuesday, 01.24.2012 / 5:49 PM

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

Melrose: Who I like in the All-Star Skills Competition

With All-Star Weekend coming up in Ottawa there are so many great events we'll get to watch. One of the best is the annual NHL All-Star Skills Competition, which will happen Saturday night at Scotiabank Place. Because the captains haven't drafted their teams yet, it's hard to predict who will win each event, but for the more individual competitions, I know who I like.

Here are the people I expect to shine Saturday night:

Hardest shot: There are a lot of people who can slap the puck pretty hard, but to me there are just two guys that matter in this competition: Shea Weber and Zdeno Chara. It came down to those two last year and it was Chara that took it all, breaking his own record for the win at 105.9 miles per hour. This time around though, I like Weber to win the rematch, and I'll take him in the hardest shot competition.

Fastest skater: There are plenty of guys to watch out for here, but I know who I like and it's the local boy, Erik Karlsson from the Senators. This kid can fly, and kid might be the key word there. With these events, a lot of older guys don't want to do it, so I'm leaning toward the younger guys. If Marian Gaborik was in it, I would think he'd be one of the guys that would be right there, as would someone like Marian Hossa or Brian Campbell. But I think the younger guys are the ones who will get the spotlight -- after all, last year's final round was between Michael Grabner and Taylor Hall. I could see someone like Tyler Seguin getting in the mix, too, but I think it's Karlsson in this one.

Shooting Accuracy: I really like this event. I think it's more of a hockey contest than just some made-up drill, because you have to catch the pass, shoot the puck, and your timing is definitely involved, too. For this one I'm going to go out on a little bit of a limb and say Jason Pominville. I don't think anyone is talking about Buffalo unless we're talking about negative stuff, but Pominville is definitely one of the bright lights for the Sabres. If you watch his goals, they all go at an area. They're upstairs and they're rockets over the goalie's shoulder. Guys who can shoot like that are the ones who do well here -- guys like Jarome Iginla or Claude Giroux. I like Pominville this time around.

The Breakaway Challenge and Elimination Shootout are hard events to predict, but if I was going to pick a forward to watch in those I think my first guy would be Patrick Kane. He's just awesome. I know he's not scoring goals like he normally does this season, but if you saw that move he made on Minnesota's Niklas Backstrom in the shootout recently, you know he's still got it. That was tremendous. He might be the most dangerous guy on a breakaway in the League. I like the moves Tyler Seguin has, too, and of course Pavel Datsyuk has to be in the mix, but if I really wanted to pick one guy to look out for it would be Patrick Kane.

As for the Challenge Relay, without knowing who is on Team Alfredsson and who is on Team Chara, it's impossible to know who can win, but the guys I would look for in those events are the quick, smaller guys. Bigger players like Chara are mobile, but sometimes their mass is just too large and they can't turn quick enough to make a difference. The smaller, shorter guys who have a low center of gravity and not as big an area to turn are the ones to look out for, and I really think Phil Kessel is a guy who would be great in this kind of event. Datsyuk and Kane are also players to look out for in an event like this, but for a guy his size with those skills and the way he's playing this season, I think Kessel will be a huge factor.
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

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

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

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

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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Quote of the Day

In respect to the organization and my teammates, it was the best move. When I look back at my career and all the different things I had to overcome, I have no regrets. It was great.

— Devils captain Bryce Salvador on retiring from the National Hockey League Wednesday
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