Chat with Jesse Rogers
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Today Jesse Rogers checks in to talk Blackhawks and preview Friday's season opener in Helsinki.
Send your questions now and join Jesse today at Noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
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ESPNChicago.com (12:57 PM)
Hey everybody. Jesse will be here momentarily. Feel free to start firing off some questions.
jesse rogers (1:03 PM)
Hey everyone. Just sat down for our first Hawks chat. Hope everyone is ready for the season--most of all the Hawks. I have a slew of questions to get to so lets get at it!
How badly will overseas losses hurt the Hawks back at home?
Jesse Rogers (1:06 PM)
This is a great question to start. I have to be honest. Im worried. All 4 teams that went overseas last year fired thier coaches mid-season even though the Pens went on to win it all they all struggled. I think without Hossa and really very little camp with the full squad there will be a hangover. I dont know how much but be prepared for it. The good news: Det. and Stl. open over there as well.
Brad (Toronto )
If Huet doesn't work out, Do the Hawks have a back up plan besides Niemi and Crawford?
Jesse Rogers (1:08 PM)
I don't think so Brad. He's signed for 3 more years and there's no veteran waiting in the wings. Though young goaltenders can have success, I dont think they would hand it over to Niemi or Crawford. IF goaltending is a MAJOR weakness come trade deadline time, they could make a move but its very doubtful.
Hey Jesse, I would like to hear your thoughts on a couple things. First, I have heard Kane put on about 25 pounds and with the one preseason game I watched, Kaner was playing the boards a lot more than in the past. Do you feel that's exactly what needs to be done for him to break out to become a "Datsyuk" type player? Second, I am worried about signing the big three. I'm hearing Campbell and Sharp may be on the move, when or will this happen? We need Kane, Toews and Keith to continue winning. Your thoughts?
Jesse Rogers (1:10 PM)
Kane has put on some weight..not sure about 25 pounds but he does look a bit stronger and even quicker. He did his job in the summer. (no pun intended!) It can take his game to another level if he's that much stronger on the puck like a Dasyuk. He's also talking about being more responsible in the defensive zone which is good. One more thing, with that extar strength, he might be able to cut down on some offensive zone penalties.
Jesse Rogers (1:13 PM)
Part 2 of erich's question: I'm not sure Campbell can be moved with that contract but someone or a couple proably will have to go AFTER this season to sign the big 3. I think Versteeg and Barker are candidates along with Bolland and Sharp. It's a matter of numbers and needs..but a couple of those guys being moved would open up enough room I believe. Its unfortunate but thats the reality of the situation they put themselves in.
ross (west fulton)
does Cam Barker play defense??? i know he has a cannon from the point and is a great QB for the pp but dont you think he needs to develop on the back end to justify where he was drafted? is this his year?
Jesse Rogers (1:14 PM)
Yes, he needs to get better and that's why he's a number 5 or 6 defenseman right now. He and Sopel should not be out there against the other team's best.
Joe Schwenn (Chicago)
Are you concerned with the amount of rebounds that Huet leaves out?
Jesse Rogers (1:15 PM)
A little bit, Joe. Last preseason, he was giving up too many 5 holes..now it's the rebounds like with one of the goals yesterday. He just needs to be decent..not fabulous. I think he can do that.
How do the lines look when Hossa comes back?
Jesse Rogers (1:20 PM)
Obviously, there are several ways this could go. I think if Toews, Kane, and Sharp are hitting on all cylinders you leave them alone. Like you guys, I'm sure, I hate when lines are messed up even when they struggle just a bit. That means it has to go Bolland, Hossa, Versteeg..then Madden, LAdd,and Buff..and so on...but again, a lot could and will change between now and then
Jesse Rogers (1:22 PM)
I'm getting several questions about Hossa. Every indication is he will be avilable either right before or after the Thanksgiving trip and he'll be as good as new but I'm not a doctor and cant say for sure how he's feeling..just what's he's told us..so cross your fingers but I think he'll be ok.
Besides the big 3 and now Hossa, who do you really think is the core of this team?
Jesse Rogers (1:24 PM)
Sicne you mentioned 4 guys, it's kind of tough to find more than them for the core but Adam Burish is in there along with Buff in my opinion. Also Seabs. Im taking into consideration locker room demeanor. All those guys have it. Buff is the one guy that can hang with anyone on the club.
Jesse,Assuming a healthy Marian Hossa, what would your ideal line setup be? What about defensive pairings?
Jesse Rogers (1:26 PM)
I already talked about Hossa. The obvious pairings and I do like them is Seabrook/Keith..Campbell/Hjarmallson (sp?)..and Sopel/Barker...Dont want to break up seabs/keith but if the other pairings struggle then you might have to. It's the one area they remain a bit short in. If there was ONE need, it would still be a top 4 defenseman but hey, you can't have everything I guess.
Jesse,The ESPN national hockey guys have made their picks for this season. 3 have the hawks in the Stanley Cup Finals, 1 of those 3 has the hawks winning the Cup.What is your prediction for the Hawks this year?
Jesse Rogers (1:28 PM)
Good question. If not for this european trip and Hossa's injury I'd have them in the finals and maybe in 2-3 months it wont matter. Again, I like that det and st.louis open over there. Its tough call who wins the division and you better believe Columbus is thinking bigger things this year as well...What the hell..they win the division..I just cant say Finals yet. It'll be close. They CAN do it..things have to break they're way..(injuries, etc.) Hope that's not a cop out
SteveFitz (Cicero, IL)
Tough loss yesterday. Does it really mean anything in terms of who they were playing and losing?
Jesse Rogers (1:31 PM)
Not really Steve. I like that they were challenged cause they certainly were not the night before. As I wrote in my blog yesterday, this has been a weird camp..starting with practicing at the tiny JOhnny's Ice House to the injuries to going overseas with the bigger ice and then back to the NHL size. Im not sure they are "ready"..may not matter this weekend but it will when they get back. I havent seen them work really detailed on pp and pk..I dont know, maybe Im just paranoid
Schmeeg (Lake Forest)
Looking at the first six weeks of the season, which games have you worried. It's always a little scary going into that long, Thanksgiving roadtrip!
Jesse Rogers (1:35 PM)
Ill just say this without being too specific..going to the NW division including what I use to call the Bermuda Triangle (van, cal., edm.) doesnt scare me anymore. The Hawks dominated the NW division and I think they will again. The west coast is anotehr story. They always have problems with the kings and sharks and ducks though not as much last year. I worry about post olympics...the hawks will have several playing and between europe and an olympic year, people might get a little fatigued
Now that Burish is down for the year, who do you like on the fourth line with Kopecky (either at center or a wing) and Eager? It seems like Skille, Fraser, and Brouwer would be likely candidates. I feel like Brouwer's skillset on the fourth line is just too hard to pass up.
Jesse Rogers (1:37 PM)
Im a Brouwer fan. Always have been. Fraser might be the odd man out if Kopecky is on that line. Hes been playing a lot of center. Skille has been impressive and Eager had that "breakout" year. I think some rotation of those 4 minus Fraser seems legit.With some guys moving around (brouwer, etc.) cause of injuries, etc.
Is the future of this team and its ability to add a piece here or there as limited as has been portrayed due to the whole GM mess during the offseason? Essentially, was their window of opportunity significantly narrowed due to everything that happened during the off-season?
Jesse Rogers (1:39 PM)
It's a good question, Eric. I wrote in my very first blog, the window with THIS collection of talent might close soon but lets face it, they have a great core and should have one for many years so the challenge will be to replace anyone that leaves with guys that can complement the core. So the window was narrowed with THIS team but not be a good team for many years
Do you think Coach Q will put Sharp on the PK with Madden? It seems like those two would be effective together and could see plenty of shorthanded opportunities.
Jesse Rogers (1:40 PM)
Tough call. If the situation is right, than yes. That situation might be a tie game or a one goal deficit or maybe a 0-0 game early. They're not going to throw Kane out there protecting a one goal lead late in the 3rd. Maybe if he's good early in the season on the pk, he gets more time and we go from there.
Hi Jesse, during the off season, there were some rumors about Patrick Sharp possibly being moved to free up cap space to try to sign the big three (Kane, Toews, Keith). Anything is possible but have you heard any recent news on this front? Do you think freeing Sharp's contract will give the Hawks a much better shot at signing the three free agents (I know Toews is staying regardless). Finally, depending on who the backup goalie is what would happen to the the one who is cut. Would they just go back to Rockford or be released? Thanks!
Jesse Rogers (1:44 PM)
I kinf of answered this already but I just want to say, I really hope they can sign the big 3 without moving sharp. Hes a SMART player and a very good sniper. They dont grow on trees. He's learned how to finish. I like his shoot first mentality. Reminds of Shanahan or Brett Hull. I asked Eddie O who he reminds him of and he said Selanne. Not bad.Back to rockford for the other goalie
Brad (Toronto )
J, Do you think when Havlat returns for his first game at the UC on eof the boys will go Kronwall on him ?
Jesse Rogers (1:45 PM)
Nah, he was pretty well liked in the locker room (at least that last year..not sure before then) so I dont think so
Chuck Graziano (Barrington)
What is the goalie situation this year? Who is getting the most playing time.
Jesse Rogers (1:45 PM)
Despite what some may want, I think we know the answer. It's Huet or bust!
Make a wish -- what longshot situation do you dream about to bring the Hawks the Cup?
Jesse Rogers (1:48 PM)
Not sure what you mean exactly but beating Crosby and the Pens would be a longshot situation so first taking care of Detroit and then the Pens would make my day!
dave (crystal lake)
will eager start on the fourth line? the man is a beast and we need that in the lineup
Jesse Rogers (1:49 PM)
I think so. He's in the mix with those other guys I mentioned. He had a great year..still has to show he can do it again. In other words, he's no sure thing but he's got some skills.
If the Hawks can only sign 2 of the big 3, who do you think would/should be left out?
Jesse Rogers (1:51 PM)
Save the last for the toughest. My initial reaction was keep Toews and Keith but now, I don't know. Obviously Toews. Kane has looked great in preseason, I mean, great. That includes practice. But 60 (over 2 years) defenseman don't grow on trees...tough call. And you're a little short on D. I'll still go with Kane and Toews but too close to call.
Cmon Jesse, you gotta play your stars on the PK! I think their main problem against Detroit last year was the ice time toews and kane got. If you don't pk, your ice time gets cut. They really need to be about 20 minutes a game - and that won't happen without pk time.
Jesse Rogers (1:52 PM)
Ok, one more cause JT called me out!. lol. They do play their stars..almost all of them. Toews, Sharp, Steeg, etc. all play it. Buff and Kane will, just not in all situations. You want Kane out there with 5 min left killing a penalty with a one goal lead? Not me.
Jesse Rogers (1:55 PM)
Thanks folks. Apologize about my typing. Trying to get it out fast. Can't wait for Friday. I think there will be some struggles early but as Nov/Dec comes around I think it comes together. Just a gut feeling. We'll do these chats once every 10 days or so. Follow me on twitter @espnchihawks. or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org back at espnchicago.com soon....should have final roster news. Hope to meet all of you sometime soon. Enjoy the season!