Buzzontheburgh: 1. With the impact of Malkin and Fleury developing into a solid #1: Do you see the Penguins contending for the playoffs and possibly the division crown?
Kara Yorio: In the end, I dont‘ think they can win the division over the Rangers or Devils, but I love seeing them on top of the standings now. It’s great to see a young team succeeding. It’s fun to watch. As for making the playoffs, the Pens should be in contention but it will take Fleury doing more than just developing into a No.1. He’ll have to dominate night after night. The Penguins obviously will score goals, but they need to keep the puck out of their own net. The goalie is only the last line of defense in that effort.
Buzzontheburgh: 2. Jordan Staal: Does he stay or does he go back to juniors ?
Kara Yorio: I say you keep him and play him. Obviously keeping him and not giving him the minutes doesn’t do him any good, but clearly he is beyond juniors. He is part of this young core and why not let it develop together?
Buzzontheburgh: 3. If you had the #1 pick in the draft and had to decide to between Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin: Who you do you pick?
Kara Yorio: It’s a tough call, but I think I’d pick Ovechkin based on his size and age and development already, which is to say, he is a man and often Crosby (particularly last season) looked like a boy among men. I like Ovechkin’s complete game, the physical aspect of his game. And he had played at a higher level before the draft.
Buzzontheburgh: 4. Who are ‘few’ teams in the Eastern Conference that can realistically compete with Buffalo on a nightly basis?
Karay Yorio: It’s early, but I think the Hurricanes and the Rangers should be able to keep up. And I’d love for the Thrashers to keep playing well.
Buzzontheburgh: 5. Flyers and Coyotes are a mess. Do you expect a fire sale from both in the coming months?
Kara Yorio: I don’t know about a “fire sale” but I think we’re sure to see moves, particularly from the Coyotes. The Flyers will try to right the ship. That is not a team that is ready to sell off its talent and give in to not making the playoffs.
To read Kara’s articles on the NHL log onto www.thesportingnews.com