Chat with Scott Powers
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! On Thursday, 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 Thursday at 1:30 p.m. CT/2:30 p.m. ET!
Scott Powers (2:29 PM)
Hello, hope everyone is having a good day. Quenneville gave the team off today, so it was sort of like a day off for me, too. I'll be here for an hour or so to chat.
Skigolf [via mobile]
Will Jeremy Morin stick with the club? He seems to have played better than Smith and Pirri (until last night). They seem to have a lot if young talent coming up through Rockford!
Scott Powers (2:31 PM)
Skigolf, it's hard to get an exact handle on what Quenneville is thinking about Morin right now. Quenneville said he played Brookbank last night, so he could get him and Rozsival more time, but I don't exactly believe that. You're not going to sit a forward and replace him with a defenseman and then also barely play that defenseman. I'm curious to talk to Morin tomorrow and see if he'll say anything.
Greg (Mo./ AR. STATE LINE)
Looks like Q is afraid to put #39 in & who can blame him ? He needs to be gone, so, what are their options with him
Scott Powers (2:33 PM)
Greg, I still think Khabibulin is going to get another start in the near future to prove himself. If that goes wrong, then the Blackhawks have to make a decision. Raanta has played well at times in Rockford, but he's struggled a bit lately as the entire IceHogs team has. They would prefer not to recall him this soon in the season, but their hand may be forced.
What do you think Marian Hossa's future with the Blackhawks will be? Will he retire a hawk, trade him or release him? His contract makes releasing him difficult right?
Scott Powers (2:36 PM)
John, I don't see Hossa going anywhere. He'll either retire with the Blackhawks when his contract expires or if his body doesn't hold up he may have to retire sooner. His back problems were noticeable earlier in the season, but he's looked good the last few weeks. You never know with back injuries, but the Blackhawks have to feel slightly more optimistic about his health right now.
Please tell me that we won't be seeing Brookbank playing wing anymore. He and Leddy seem to have great chemistry lately and Roszival has looked mediocre. Does Q have something against Morin and J. Hayes or is it a cap issue limiting the number of games those guys play in the NHL?
Scott Powers (2:39 PM)
Michael, there's nothing with the cap limiting the games. I just don't think Quenneville is exactly confident in Morin now. Quenneville has also gone through stages where he's lost confidence in Pirri. He knows they are offensively capable, but he's looking for more from them defensively. Brookbank on the wing isn't going to work going forward and Handzus and Mills are still far away from coming back, so he'll either have to play Morin or call someone else up.
jacques ( n.b. canada)
good afternoon scott,do you think the bickell signing was a good one ,he his hardly noticeable on the ice,i know they only played a dozen game.
Scott Powers (2:42 PM)
Jacques, I would say the signing doesn't look great so far. Bickell had a nice goals streak there, but he's been absent from the score sheet as of late and just hasn't been consistent this season. They're paying like a top-6 forward and he's not performing like one consistently so far this year.
I know a taboo thought but given the need for another top center (faceoffs, scoring, +/-), why not discuss a Kaner trade. Would Sharks consider (Couture/Pavelski), or maybe Taveras or Jaime Benn? Kane is team leader in scoring and the only player w/ minus rating (at 7), brutal. Unfortunately, Star for Star trades don?t happen.
Scott Powers (2:46 PM)
Ryan, I certainly don't think it's come to that. It's not like this team is struggling. They're 10-2-4 and seem to be finding a groove offensively as of late. Kane's plus/minus-rating is going to improve. He had a few rough games in that area, but he's still producing offensively and just had a plus-2 rating yesterday. I fully expect Teravainen to be the second-line center next season, so you have to take that into account as well.
Why was Ryan Stanton placed on waivers? It sickens me that he is contributing for Vancouver.
Scott Powers (2:49 PM)
Mustache, I think they thought they could get Stanton through waivers and probably not Kostka. It obviously looks like a bad decision now. It'll be interesting to see what the Blackhawks do with their defensemen in the future. Players like Dylan Olsen and Adam Clendening are playing well in Rockford, and someone like Notre Dame's Stephen Johns could be ready in the next few years, too.
Who is going to replace Mills? Assuming Q will not dress 7 defensemen again.
Scott Powers (2:50 PM)
Quinn, I think Morin returns to the lineup this weekend. If they place Mills on injured reserve, Jimmy Hayes could get called back up. Handzus is also back skating, so he may be ready to return in next week or two.
Tony [via mobile]
With mcneil's play, is it possible he could be called up?
Scott Powers (2:53 PM)
Tony, Mark McNeil is playing well in Rockford. He leads the IceHogs in goals. I think with a younger player like him it's probably best to keep in Rockford and get him consistent playing time. He's not going to see that right now in Chicago. I think the Blackhawks' lineup will change again when Handzus returns. Kruger may be bumped to the wing again and one of the younger players will become a scratch.
Scott Powers (2:55 PM)
Amy, I think Keith, Seabrook, Oduya, Hjalmarsson, Sharp and Crawford have shots to make it, too. Saad could get a look as well.
Scott Powers (2:57 PM)
Loags, Holtby obviously didn't want to participate in that fight. I think the official should have stepped in or he should have at least allowed one of the players to break it up. I think this will definitely be something the GMs talk about in their meetings next week.
Scott Powers (2:58 PM)
Skip, Handzus probably goes to the fourth line. Pirri still needs to do more defensively, but that line is obviously more capable offensively with him on it. Handzus probably goes to center the fourth line and Kruger to the wing.
Am I crazy or has this been a stellar start for the Hawks? No real cup hangover, and are slowly starting to round in to form. Is there another WC team that no one would like to face like the Hawks?
Scott Powers (3:02 PM)
Tim, I would say this a good start for the Blackhawks. They're 10-2-4 and one of those losses came when they had a breakdown in the final minutes against the Blues. Their PK is still a concern and there are still questions about Khabibulin, but the power play has been good, that top line has been great as of late, Kane is producing, the other lines have contributed and the defensemen have been pretty consistent.
Jacob (Columbia, MO)
Now that I'm attending the University of Missouri, I'm unfortunately in Blues Country. Watching the first two games the Hawks played against the Blues this season were difficult to watch. Do you see the Blues as the Hawks' chief rival now that the Red Wings are in the Eastern Conference?
Scott Powers (3:03 PM)
Jacob, I think that's the natural division rival because of proximity, they're both Cup contenders and the games often get a bit physical. It makes sense to me.
Scott, as of late Kane and Sharp have been playing more minutes early in the game - any chance these two keep it up or will Q slow down the ice time to save them? Does the longer season with more off days allow the coaches to play the hot hand when they want?
Scott Powers (3:05 PM)
TJ, I think at some point Quenneville will be more mindful of minutes, but not this early. I think you'll start to see more of that before and after the Olympics. He's also cut down on practices recently, so that should help. They took Monday and Tuesday off from practice and again today.
How much extra time has Kruger been putting into working on his face-offs? Seems like he's made some huge improvements there
Scott Powers (3:06 PM)
Rick, Kruger has definitely improved there. He's spent a lot of time with Yanic Perreault, and it appears to have paid off. The Blackhawks would like to see Shaw make those same strides.
There is still a lot of season to go, but things are tight in the Central Division. How do you see things shaking out at the end of the season? Do you think with the youth and inexperience of the Avs that they are for real?
Scott Powers (3:10 PM)
Mike, it'll be interesting to see how the Avalanche hold up as the season goes on, but they've been consistent so far. It could easily be those four teams battling it out down the stretch. The Blues and Wild were obviously expected to be there, and the Avs are the surprise. I'm looking forward to seeing that first Blackhawks-Avalanche game. That should be a fun one.
Scott Powers (3:12 PM)
Mike, Smith may become the guy who is healthy scratched a lot of nights due to numbers, but I think he still has a role on this team. He works hard and can make plays like last night where forces a turnover and creates a breakaway for Pirri. I think every team needs guys like him. He's normally reliable.
Will the Hawks go through the entire regular season as a .750 team, and ramp up the intensity in the playoffs? Or will they challenge the Avs & Sharks for the President's trophy?
Scott Powers (3:16 PM)
Lloyd, I haven't seen any indications for why the Blackhawks wouldn't be right there for the league's best record again. It's a long season, and we're not even through 20 games yet, so it's hard to gauge that race. The Blackhawks obviously need to get better on the PK and figure out their backup goaltender, but they are a well-rounded team again.
Joey BHawks (California)
What is the deal with the PK? How do we improve on it?
Scott Powers (3:18 PM)
Joey, I was impressed with Saad on the PK yesterday with Kruger. Maybe he'll be the answer there. He has the skill set, but it's also about communicating and being on the same page with the other forward. Frolik and Kruger had that.
Mike G. (villa park) [via mobile]
Do you see any trades by the deadline? Are they looking to free up cap space? Pirri is doing well, maybe a handzus or rozival? Get some draft picks, free cap, and bring up youngsters.
Scott Powers (3:22 PM)
Mike, I think it's too early to tell if the Blackhawks will want or need to make a trade. I don't think anyone would be interested in Handzus or Rozsival, especially to give up draft picks for them. The Blackhawks have a lot of prospects on the verge, and Teravainen could always play after his season in Finland, so the Blackhawks may keep the roster as is this season.
With the struggles of the hawks backup goalie and the overall struggles of the Flyers, any way the hawks try to get Emery back?
Scott Powers (3:23 PM)
Kordian, that's not going to happen. Even if that was possible, I don't see why the Blackhawks would want Emery back. He's struggled in Philly and wasn't exactly consistent prior to last season with the Blackhawks. There's no guarantee he would be good in Chicago again. I still think Raanta will be the first one who will get a chance in net if Khabibulin doesn't work out.
What's your take on the fans who tore off Adam Pardy's helmet and tossed beer on him last night? Drunken hijinks or a reason for concern?
Scott Powers (3:25 PM)
Jon, stupid drunks. There's no other explanation, and I don't think there's a concern going forward. It's not like players often end up in the front row like that.
Hi Scott, In regares to Teravinen, do you think he is on the playoff roster?
Scott Powers (3:28 PM)
Tim, I was told Teravainen could come back to Chicago in April, but it may depend on whether he's invited to the World Championships. Whether the Blackhawks could use him could be a factor as well. It will be a while before those decisions are made. Teravainen has been playing well, though.
Scott Powers (3:29 PM)
Thanks again to everyone for the questions. If I missed yours or you want to discuss anything else, please email me at email@example.com. We should be good for this time again next week. Have a good weekend.