Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! On Thursday, Chicago Blackhawks reporter Scott Powers stops by to chat.
Powers covers the Blackhawks for both ESPN Radio 1000 and ESPNChicago.com.
Send your questions now and join the chat Thursday at 1 CT/2 p.m. ET!
Scott Powers (2:01 PM)
Hi all, hope everyone is having a good Thursday. I'll be here for an hour or so to take your questions. No big news from the morning skate. Hjalmarsson didn't skate, but Quenneville said he was fine. Kane skated this morning and will play tonight after not practicing yesterday. Hossa is back tonight. Crawford is starting.
Is there any possibility that we see Teravainen for a few games this season?
Scott Powers (2:02 PM)
Mike, I don't think that's in the plans this year. I know they recently sent McNeil and Danault to Rockford. I think there's a lot of guys -- Morin, Hayes, Pirri -- who will get some NHL time if the opportunity presents itself in the season's closing weeks.
Bowman, didnt make any stretch or crazy moves, do u see it as part of how we started off in the beginning and with players in rockford that are ready?
Scott Powers (2:04 PM)
Paul, I think the start had everything to do with Bowman staying put. When the team has been healthy, especially with Hossa and Sharp, it's been nearly unbeatable. Bowman certainly wanted a bigger center and someone capable of taking faceoffs, and he felt he got that in Handzus.
Josh (Logan Square)
I'm assuming that Handzus will be playing on the fourth line. Are they looking for him to be a consistent starter like John Madden in 09-10 or was he just a depth pick up? Thanks.
Scott Powers (2:07 PM)
Josh, Handzus was on the wing on the fourth line this morning. Quenneville said he liked Kruger as his center there, but he could see Handzus taking faceoffs. I also think Handzus could be shuffled on different lines late in games to take faceoffs, too. He and Toews are both near 60 percent in that area.
Do you know where Handzus is lining up?
Scott Powers (2:07 PM)
Matt, he skated on the wing with Kruger and Bollig this morning. I expect you'll see him at center, too.
Does Stan Bowman simply value his draft picks and young talent too much to get a trade done? It seems that the Hawks had enough assets and draft picks to have landed someone like Derek Roy or even Ryane Klowe.
Scott Powers (2:10 PM)
Brad, I'm sure that's part of it. His effort has been to build up the prospect system. From what he said also, he didn't think there was anything out there that would make them substantially better than what they already have. He was asked about Bolland recently, and he said he was fine with him as the No. 2 center.
Were the Hawks handcuffed from making a BIG move due to current and future salary cap limits?
Scott Powers (2:13 PM)
Rich, I think it has a lot to do with what's coming up in the system. Guys like Pirri, Hayes, Morin and some of the junior players like McNeil, Danualt and Teravainen aren't that far off. I think Bowman foresees some of those guys coming up and taking spots. You also have Kane, Toews, Sharp, Hossa, etc. signed for years to come, so there has to be a balance. I think they wanted nothing more than a rental player this season at the deadline.
I was excited a few years ago whn the Hawks drafted Kyle Beach. A somewhat mean streaked guy who could score. I thought of Al Secord. What has been holding him back?
Scott Powers (2:16 PM)
Kevin, I haven't seen him in person as of late, but it sounds like he's struggling with his consistency and other players are excelling now. If I recall correctly, he just recently broke out of a scoring slump, so maybe that will get him going. It does seem like, though, a handful of guys are ahead of him in line for call-ups.
Are you surprised that the Hawks only added Handzus?
Scott Powers (2:18 PM)
Ryan, no, not really. From the start, Bowman sounded like he wasn't pursuing anything too aggressively. With the team's start to the season, too, that gave him a lot of confidence as well. If there had been some better options at center of guys who were going to be free agents, I think Bowman may have tried harder to get an upgrade for Bolland.
Adam (Chicago, IL)
With Hossa back... what do the lines look like tonight?
Scott Powers (2:19 PM)
Adam, the lines today were Hossa-Toews-Saad, Kane-Bolland-Frolik, Stalberg-Shaw-Bickell, Handzus-Kruger-Bollig. I expect when Sharp comes back he'll go back to the second line, Frolik will go the fourth and Bollig will likely be headed back to Rockford.
Jane Hudson (Warrenville)
The salary cap will be going down next year, obviously the Hawks will be in the same boat as every other team but how do they look with the current players they have. Do you see Leddy and Stalberg coming back. I think Leddy will be but we never know
Scott Powers (2:22 PM)
Jane, I expect Leddy to sign. I guess it'll depend on what Stalberg's asking, but there are a lot of forwards waiting in the wings, so that could determine that, too.
Scott, I'll be traveling up to Minnesota this weekend and will be at the game on Tuesday. Can I expect to see Sharp in the lineup?
Scott Powers (2:23 PM)
Jeff, it'll be close. I think he thought he'd be back by now, but his shoulder hasn't improved as quickly as anticipated. I don't think he's far off.
Now that the trade deadline has passed, do you think the Hawks still have enough to the win the Cup? Pittsburgh sure got a lot better and the Hawks still havent figured out Anaheim yet.
Scott Powers (2:25 PM)
S.J., Pittsburgh has certainly been impressive with their play and their acquisitions. I'm curious to see what the Hawks look like with Hossa and Sharp again. It's been awhile since both guys have been in the lineup, and they were 20-0-3 when they've played together. They're two key pieces to this team.
Do you see Crawford getting the majority of starts down the stretch?
Scott Powers (2:26 PM)
Cody, Quenneville seems to prefer Crawford over Emery. He gave Emery that recent start against Anaheim to reward him for his play, but Quenneville still makes it sound like Crawford is his guy and Crawford is still getting the majority of starts.
So we had the lockout, and a few weeks ago there was an article in the paper about a fan that is still boycotting the Hawks. Do you think there are still a lot of fans that are boycotting the Hawks?
Scott Powers (2:27 PM)
Roger, I can't believe there are many. The UC is selling out every game. If there are, they're missing out this season, and their absence isn't affecting the team's sales.
Frolik-Kane both are smaller, quicker, forwards and Stalberg-Bickell are larger, slower forwards. What is the reasoning of combining them instead of having a big winger on each line to get in front of the goal while having 2 better stick handlers, snipers on each line?
Scott Powers (2:29 PM)
Brian, I think part of that is Quenneville likes to keep that third line together with Bickell-Shaw-Stalberg. Frolik has been kind of the utility guy this season and has bounced wherever he's needed. Sharp will be back with Kane and Bolland when he returns.
Hi Scott - I feel like Brandon Saad is a legitimate Calder candidate. He plays with confidence and hockey sense beyond his years, and he improves game after game. Do you think his profile is rising around the league?
Scott Powers (2:32 PM)
Lisa, certainly. Saad showed a lot of potential last year and early this season, but now that he's producing as well opponents are definitely aware of him. His upside is obviously high, and I think we're just starting to see it.
With Bolland having a subpar year, and with his injury history, why rush him back tonight? They seemed really cautious with Hossa and Sharp, why not get him 100%for a playoff push?
Scott Powers (2:33 PM)
Geoff, I haven't heard any concerns about Bolland's health recently. I know he took a puck off the foot the other day, but there doesn't appear to be anything else bothering him.
Bob (Lake Forest, IL)
ND guy here- real excited to see Stephen Johns in a Hawks sweater soon-- any insight on how ownership sees him fitting into the organization?
Scott Powers (2:34 PM)
Bob, I did a story on Johns around the time he was playing at Soldier Field, and the Blackhawks said they were happy with his development. I'm not sure they're immediate plans for him, but they definitely like his size and potential.
It seems Mayers is the odd man out lately with edgy guys like Bollig and Carcillo getting minutes. It also seems like he doesn't have that much left in the tank. Safe to say we won't see him any more now that Hanzus is wearing an indianhead?
Scott Powers (2:36 PM)
Michael, yes, I think it'll be harder and harder for him Mayers see the ice. I think that fourth line will consistently be Frolik-Kruger-Handzus.
Michael (LaSalle, IL)
Do you think they would ever sit Oduya? His play has seemed to have tailed off & I wouldn't mind seeing Rozsival
Scott Powers (2:38 PM)
Michael, I don't foresee that. He's still an upgrade over Brookbank, and Quenneville likes to give Rozsival some occasional time off. They've mixed up the D-pairings to hopefully give Oduya a spark.
With everyone healthy, what else is going to have to happen in order to bring down the ducks in the playoffs?
Scott Powers (2:40 PM)
Jim, it comes down to the third period. The Blackhawks have been right there and often times led the Ducks into the third period. They have to close out games better and not allow the Ducks so much zone time. I don't think there's much separation between the two teams. Maybe it's about putting them away in the second period, too. The Blackhawks have done that to some teams.
Kathy Kinney (Genoa)
do you like the signing of Handzus? <3 <3
Scott Powers (2:42 PM)
Kathy, I think it was a simple, but effective move. They added size, experience and someone who can win faceoffs. That should benefit them down the stretch. I don't think they needed much at the deadline.
Scott Powers (2:43 PM)
Paul, I didn't hear anything crazy. It sounded like the Islanders may have been interested in Saad. That wasn't going to happen.
Scott Powers (2:45 PM)
Todd, the smaller trades were about just adjusting the roster numbers. They need a couple spots to open up in the future for other prospects. Neither guy may stick in the system that long.
Scott, do you see at some point Handzus moving to third line as a center and Shaw going to the wing on 3rd or 4th line?
Scott Powers (2:46 PM)
Rob, I don't foresee that. Quenneville likes the chemistry of that third line. I think future lines could also be dictated by how the team plays when Hossa and Sharp are back. Quenneville isn't obviously afraid to tinker with things, but I think he'll try what worked for them early in the season first.
What line mates do you see Handzus teaming up with and on what line?
Scott Powers (2:47 PM)
Quinn, Handzus was with Kruger and Bollig today. I imagine in the future it will be Handzus, Kruger and Frolik.
Scott Powers (2:49 PM)
Grant, I think he's been mindful of minutes all season, especially with players like Duncan Keith, but that's a possibility. I'm sure they want to secure that top seed before making that decision.
Chris (Lake Zurich)
Anyword on Kane for tonight?
Scott Powers (2:50 PM)
Chris, Kane is playing.
Is this team going to keep gettin checked out of the building? They needed bigger bodies, right?
Scott Powers (2:51 PM)
Mikey, this team obviously isn't going to outhit anyone. But when healthy, they were outskating everyone. I think adding Hossa and Sharp will be give them a boost they've been lacking in the past few weeks.
Bill (Costa Rica)
Wait--how is Stalberg considered slow? That dude can fly.
Scott Powers (2:52 PM)
Bill, did I say that? I don't recall. Of course, Stalberg isn't slow. He and Saad are the team's two fastest guys.
Do you think Kane can make a run at MVP with Sid being out?
Scott Powers (2:53 PM)
Tim, I think he'll be in the discussion. He needs a strong finish obviously, too.
Charlie the Tuna (Westmont)
Why have Seabs and Keith been broken up as a defensive pair?
Scott Powers (2:54 PM)
Charlie, they were hoping to create some more consistency throughout the pairing. Oduya hasn't been as sharp lately.
Scott Powers (2:55 PM)
Everyone, thanks again for all the questions. As always, feel free to email me at email@example.com or tweet me at @espnchihawks or @espnchipowers. We should be back to having chats on Wednesdays next week.
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