1) After seeing Crosby, Malkin, Fleury and Staal in person, what is your take? How good can they be? You played with Gretzky. Not to say he is there, but is Crosby the closest you’ve seen in a young player to Gretzky?
No, I played with Mario his rookie year. That being said, Crosby does so many things well, actually very well. I’m not sure how good Fleury will be. A lot of times, it takes goaltenders a little longer to prove that they are the guy. I love the fact that Pittsburgh challenges teams offensively. They love to score and attack for 60 minutes and are fun to watch. Pittsburgh is one of the most exciting teams in the league.
2) For those who don’t follow the NHL besides the Sharks, who are the players that are making the Sabres so good in the east?
Their goaltending is very good and they are a very deep team. They’ve got stars in Briere, Vanek, Afinogenov and Drury. Their defense is very deep and very talented. They love to score and will bury teams when they can. They get production from a lot of different people in their lineup.
3) Is Nashville really good or just the beneficiary of playing in a weaker division?
They are very good. They had the ability to build this type of team (a smaller, offensive-type) while the old rules were in place. I believe they saw the rule changes coming. They signed some players like Paul Kariya who have worked very well in the current rule system.
4) Marian Hossa is among the league leaders in goals and points. Do you think he can lead Atlanta to a division title and how far can they go in the playoffs?
Marian Hossa is a very good player. I watched Atlanta last year and marveled at their offensive abilities, but defensively they really struggled. If they collectively, as a team, commit themselves defensively through the playoffs, they will be dangerous. They can score with anybody. Their team commitment (unselfish play – defense) will dictate how far they go. I believe that nobody in the east will, or should, take them lightly come the playoffs.
5) Who are the top five fighters in the league today?
I’m not going to put numbers on guys from a ranking standpoint as I see some teams more than others. Some guys have injuries. Some players, their teams don’t want a lot of fighting. But, the question has been posed and I will provide a few of the league’s tougher guys.
I'm Marty McSorley for Seagate Technology's "In the Crease."