Chat with Scott Powers
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! On Friday, Chicago Blackhawks beat reporter Scott Powers stops by to chat.
Powers, who joined ESPNChicago.com in 2009, covers the Blackhawks for both ESPN Radio 1000 and ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning reporter who has been reporting on sports of all levels, from preps to pros throughout the Midwest since 1997.
Send your questions now and join Powers Friday at 1:30 p.m. CT/2:30 p.m. ET!
Scott Powers (2:28 PM)
Hello all, hope everyone is having a good Friday. It'll be nice when we have more than one game to discuss. I'll be here for about an hour. Look forward to your questions.
I noticed that the Hawks pk was very passive. Was that by the design or was that because they wanted to stay on OV?
Scott Powers (2:30 PM)
Adam, yeah, the penalty kill was less aggressive than what we got accustomed to seeing last season. Part of that was due to the Capitals; they're really good on the power play. But Quenneville also said they respected the Capitals too much and needed to be more aggressive. I expect you'll see Kruger and Nordstrom attacking the point men more on Saturday.
Dan (Sunny/Rainy/Snowy Colorado)
Scotty,When are Pirri and Morin going to get a serious look at the NHL level? Is there a money/timing issue with their contracts that the Hawks are looking at?Thanks
Scott Powers (2:32 PM)
Dan, Pirri and Morin will both get a shot in the NHL this season. It probably won't come until someone gets hurt or someone really struggles. I could see Pirri filling in for Handzus at some point this season. Smith, Hayes and Nordstrom have to continue to prove they're worthy of those jobs, too. There are a number of guys knocking on the door for those spots.
Jeremy P (Camp Pendleton, CA)
I was really looking forward to seeing Brandon Pirri play on wednesday. when do you think he'll make that transition to that 2nd line permanantly? I understand he got hurt in camp, but have not seen any updates on his condition. Thanks Scott and go Hawks!
Scott Powers (2:34 PM)
Jeremy, I believe Pirri is fine now and will be in the IceHogs' lineup in their season opener on Saturday. A hot start to the AHL season would certainly help Pirri get called back up sooner than later.
Can we expect to see Peckham and Winchester called up for any St. Louis games? Our team seems to lake some of the grit for the dirty games. Bollig can only do so much.
Scott Powers (2:36 PM)
Michael, I doubt Peckham and Winchester get many chances in the NHL this season. The Blackhawks are already eight deep with defensemen, and guys like Pirri and Morin will likely get called up before Winchester. Bollig will be your grit this season.
John (Jefferson Park)
How do you think the lines look when Handzus gets a days rest or eventually gets hurt? Do they try Saad at the 2nd line center again or do they maybe slide Sharp over there?
Scott Powers (2:37 PM)
John, it looks like when Handzus is out that Kruger will be bumped to the second-line center and Nordstrom will move over to center the fourth line. Nordstrom has some experience at center and wing.
James N (Bourbonnais, IL)
If there are some blue line injuries this season, who would be more likely to get a call-up to the Hawks: Clendening or Olsen?
Scott Powers (2:39 PM)
James, I think you could include Peckham in there, too. Not sure who would get called up first, but Clendening, Olsen and Peckham are pretty close. But with eight defensemen, the Blackhawks likely won't turn to the AHL much this season if only one defenseman is injured.
Terry Mark (Elkhart, IN)
It's a very small sample size, but scoring seems to be up in the NHL. Do you think it's an aberration or largely due to smaller goalie equipment?
Scott Powers (2:41 PM)
Terry, I think it's hard to say definitively now, but I expect scoring to be up with the smaller pads and more room behind the net. The rules were designed to increase scoring. I think the goal average will be up over time.
Logan (Land of beer and Maple Syrup)
Hey Scott,What exactly is the injury that keeps nagging Handzus?
Scott Powers (2:43 PM)
Logan, I think it's a few things bothering him. He had two surgeries in the offseason (knee and wrist)and is still recovering. He'll be taking the occasional day off this season to rest.
Jay (Chicago) [via mobile]
Heard on the broadcast Nordstrom is 6'1" and 160lbs. Is that accurate? That seems impossibly thin for a pro. He didn't seem to play like he's that undersized.
Scott Powers (2:45 PM)
Jay, Nordstrom is quite skinny. I noticed it yesterday in practice where he and Hossa were battling in a drill and Hossa was easily knocking him off the puck. The Blackhawks like Nordstrom's length, quickness and instincts, but they would like him to put on some strength. That'll be a focus in the offseason.
What's the deal with Teravainen? Why didn't they keep him, surely he would have been an upgrade at center. Is he expected to play on the big club next year?
Scott Powers (2:47 PM)
Dave, it sounded like the plan all along was Teravainen to spend one more year in Finland. I was told by his agent part of it is that it's difficult to get him out of his European contract. But also, I think the Blackhawks feel they have enough without him and like the fact his restricted free agency would slide a season if he plays less than 10 regular-season games this season.
John (Buffalo Grove)
Scott,I might be one of the few that support Cory Crawford, but why would the Hawks give him a 6 year deal, when they really like Anti Ranatta who is on a one year deal and they probably will extend him after this year?
Scott Powers (2:49 PM)
John, I was surprised Crawford got a big contract before the season. I thought they would want him to show that consistency through an 82-game schedule and also see what they have in Raanta. Bowman obviously felt differently. I'm curious to see how well Raanta plays this season and whether other teams are interested him after it.
andy riley/ mt. vernon il [via mobile]
Whats the latest on marion hossa injury? Didnt look himself tuesday?
Scott Powers (2:51 PM)
Andy, Hossa said today he's felt great the past few days. The back has apparently responded well after the game and two practices. Quenneville also thought Hossa looked better today than before. Hossa admitted his timing was off Tuesday.
Brian (Chicago, IL)
Scott,Why don't the Hawks shut down Handzus and Hossa until the are completely 100%? It makes no sense to run them out there until they are 100%. We can get by without them in Oct and Nov.
Scott Powers (2:54 PM)
Brian, Quenneville thinks Hossa and Handzus are healthy enough now to play. Handzus is obviously dealing with stuff, but I think Quenneville sees that as the norm and just gives him rest when he needs it. Hossa has seemed better the last few days. I think if Hossa's injury acts back up that the Hawks will sit him for awhile.
Matt (North Center)
Scott, who do you guess is the first to lose his spot and get sent back down to Rockford? (It's gonna happen.) My guess is Nordstrom -- still needs to add weight, as you mentioned, and he didn't look so great on Tuesday.
Scott Powers (2:56 PM)
Matt, I could see that with Nordstrom. It just depends on whether he earns that spot on the penalty kill. If he can prove himself with Kruger on the PK, Quenneville will keep him in the lineup. It'll be interesting with Smith and Hayes too and whether both players get consistent playing time. It looks like Smith will play on Saturday and Hayes will sit.
Hi Scott, given the long season and some of the players propensities for injury (Handzus, Hossa, etc), how long until we see some call-ups? When this happens, who is most likely to get the call?
Scott Powers (2:57 PM)
Dan, I think it depends on who gets injured. If it's a center, Pirri is the likely call-up. If it's a wing, Morin is probably the guy. The Blackhawks might have to lose two defensemen for there to be a call-up because they're holding eight.
Brian (Chicago, IL)
Scott,If you had to name one break out player for the Hawks this year, who would it be?
Scott Powers (2:58 PM)
Brian, I was impressed by Hayes' offensive game during camp. The question with him is whether he can be consistent. He goes missing at times.
How much should we worry about Kane not extending his contract with the Blackhawks??
Scott Powers (2:59 PM)
Kuzyn, I think it's really early to be worrying about that. His contract doesn't actually end until after the 2014-15 season.
Anna (Lake Forest)
Do you think Teravainen will play in Chicago next year or do they plan on playing him in the AHL?
Scott Powers (3:00 PM)
Anna, I think Teravainen will play in Chicago from the start.
Saw your response re Nordstrom above, but whatever potential he has he looked not even close to ready for prime pk minutes on Tues - how many more games do you think he gets before they send him to Rockford or back to Sweden to bulk up? Could get ugly with Stamkos and Tavares coming up.
Scott Powers (3:02 PM)
Ed, Nordstrom got this opportunity because he played well there in the preseason. I know the regular season is a different animal, but Quenneville saw something in him. I think Nordstrom gets at least a few games to prove himself there. Quenneville isn't one afraid to pull the plug if he needs to either.
Logan (Land of beer and Maple Syrup)
Scott, are there many other teams with a 'faceoff specialist' like Chicago has with Yanic Perrault?
Scott Powers (3:03 PM)
Logan, not positive. Perrault's job is technically development with forwards. I think he helps out with the faceoffs in Chicago, but does a bit of everything with the forwards in Rockford.
Austin Anderson (Elgin, IL)
Will the Blackhawks be able to improve winning faceoffs in their own zone right of Crawford? Because all the centers are lefties?
Scott Powers (3:04 PM)
Austin, I noticed that the other game, too. The Blackhawks didn't seem to have a problem with that last season. They think their left-handed centers just need to do a better job at the dot in those situations.
Matt (North Center)
For the life of me I can't understand why Pirri is not on this roster. You mentioned sitting Handzus and putting Kruger at eh 2nd line center -- why not just bring Pirri up and slot him there? That way Kruger has more consistency on the 4th line, or we could even move Shaw to wing, where he probably belongs. Does Q not like Pirri?
Scott Powers (3:06 PM)
Matt, I get your point. I think the Blackhawks want Pirri to play consistently wherever he's at. There's no point in just playing him every few games in Chicago. I'm not positive on what Quenneville actually thinks of Pirri, but he obviously was set on Saad being that guy even when Bowman was touting Pirri.
Blackhawk- Arizona Chapter (Arizona)
You have any answers why the blackhawks went with the passive stand still box penalty kill? When they had one of the best Penalty Kills with their aggressive Penalty Kill. Where they force the puck to the side of the umbrella and the top PK player blocks pass back to the top of Umbrella. Is it the new PK Unit?
Scott Powers (3:07 PM)
I expect you'll see a change in the aggressiveness of the PK on Saturday. Quenneville thought it was too passive against Washington.
zach schneider (omaha ne horizon high school)
Do you think the chicag blackhawks will win back to back stanly cup? and if yes? how come?.... #blackhawkfan88
Scott Powers (3:08 PM)
Zach, I think the Blackhawks have a real chance. The key was returning nearly everyone from last year's team. They didn't have that luxury in 2010.
Why not sign Vinny Prospal to a one year deal? He would give the Hawks another year to develop their prospects like Teuvo while adding a reliable veteran to help keep Zus healthy and on the 4th line.
Scott Powers (3:09 PM)
Joe, I don't foresee the Blackhawks adding anyone this season. They feel like they have young players who can step into those roles and do the job. Pirri will likely get that chance at some point this seaosn. There's also that chance Teravainen joins the team in April and steps into the lineup.
Tyson (Hawkeytown, USA) [via mobile]
Saad had a monster game on Tuesday. Any chance he moves to one of the top two lines, or is he a third-liner for the rest of the season?
Scott Powers (3:12 PM)
Tyson, it's going to be difficult for Saad to crack that top six. The only possibility would be if Bickell is really struggling with his consistency and Saad is killing it on that third line. With the money they're giving Bickell, it's hard to move him outside a top-6 role, though. I thought Saad and Kane were by the far the Blackhawks' offensive stars on Tuesday.
Terry Mark (Elkhart, IN)
An observation to other commenters calling for Pirri or Teravainen: Handzus has been pretty strong at faceoffs; Shaw and Kruger have not. Faceoffs are critical to a puck possession team. You can't have it both ways.
Scott Powers (3:14 PM)
Terry, I agree. Kruger had a better night at the dot on Tuesday, but hasn't been great in the past. Shaw is still having some struggles. When on the ice, Handzus provides stability in a lot of ways and is able to get the puck to Sharp and Hossa. If Kruger, Shaw or Pirri were more suited for that role, Quenneville would go with them. Quenneville is comfortable with Handzus there.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
How do you think that the Blackhawks will do in the 2013-2014 NHL Season?
Scott Powers (3:15 PM)
Chris, I think the Blackhawks have a real shot at repeating. A lot of things have to go your way for that to happen, but they have the ingredients on paper.
Terry Mark (Elkhart, IN)
What are the chances the third line has a very good season offensively? I think pretty good -- the players have the right amounts of skill and grit, plus they'll likely won't play against other team's top defensive pairings.
Scott Powers (3:17 PM)
Terry, it'll be interesting to see how the third line does this season compared to the one from last season. Bickell-Shaw-Stalberg was a pretty good line. I think Saad and Shaw will produce. It'll be up to that other winger, Smith or Hayes, to come through, too.
Hawks did not look good on faceoffs in opener... Any observations/
Scott Powers (3:19 PM)
Jim, the numbers weren't actually that bad. They won 31 faceoffs and lost 29. I think Handzus being out of the lineup for half of the second period affected them, too. Toews and Handzus will be fine there. It'll be up to Kruger and Shaw to carry their weight. The Blackhawks had Yanic Perreault in this week to work with them on faceoffs.Quenneville is making it a focal points.
Justin (Fort Myers, FL) [via mobile]
Bollig looked great in preseason, and started us off for the regular season. Is this something he has been working on more then usual? Or just some good luck as of late?
Scott Powers (3:22 PM)
Justin, I think a little bit of both. He's aware he can't just be an enforcer and expect to stay on the ice. He's worked to improve his shot, skating, etc. At the same time, he's capitalized on chances in front of the net. Those take some luck and skill. I think he's playing with some confidence now, too.
One thing I noticed on the power play, the hawks box was very low aganst Washington and I believe it led to all 3 PP goals against..... The last power play, the be box went higher where the fowards were above the circles. Did you notice the Hawks tightend it up on purpose to crowd the net resulting in 2 deflections on the PP
Scott Powers (3:25 PM)
Jim, the Blackhawks felt they were respecting those shooters a little too much early and giving them too much time and room. I think that's when they decided to move the box higher. I expect those forwards to be up around the top of the circles more and try to disrupt the puck on Saturday.
Scott Powers (3:27 PM)
Thanks again for all the questions today. I'm hoping to do the weekly chats on Thursdays or Fridays throughout the season around this same time. As always, if I missed your question or you want to ask something else, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a good weekend