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 (2:28 PM)
Hi all, hope everyone is having a good Thursday. I'll be here for an hour or so. It feels like we haven't done this in a few weeks.
I was surprised that Brandon Pirri was sent down. Any news on why
Scott Powers (2:30 PM)
Mike, it fell out of favor with Quenneville over the last few weeks. Partly it was because of Handzus coming back and being put in the second-line center role again. I don't think Quenneville has ever been high on Pirri's play, especially his defense, and he became expendable with him going to the third line. I don't know if Pirri will ever win him over.
so who is lining up at centre tonight scott? the captain, kruger, and...? i know pirri was the only player they could move to get two back (with kostka) but couldn't they have kept him and played ben smith or steeger at centre for the next couple nights? is he really in q's doghouse so badly?
Scott Powers (2:32 PM)
Pamela, it appears Saad and Versteeg will get a chance to center the second line and Nordstrom and Morin will play on the third line. Likely means more double shifts for Kane, too. Handzus could come back tomorrow. Shaw may be longer.
chicago illinois [via mobile]
is there a way i can i listen to blackhawks games wear 720 doesnt pick up?
Scott Powers (2:33 PM)
I believe you can get it on WGN's website.
Henry A (Deland FL)
Could Brain Campbell be brought back to Chicago?
Scott Powers (2:34 PM)
Henry, I don't see that happening. The Blackhawks already have eight defensemen when Kostka returns shortly. Plus, Clendening is on the verge. They also have six defensemen signed next season. I don't think there's much of a problem with the defensemen either.
Do you see any positions that the Hawks need to address? If so, I know it's really early, but who could be available?
Scott Powers (2:36 PM)
Ryan, I don't think the Blackhawks have figured out that second-line center exactly yet. Handzus may help there at times, but he's in and out of the lineup so much. Teravainen might be the answer in April. The Blackhawks are so close to the cap ceiling that I don't see them going out and making another trade.
Whats the news on Bickell?
Scott Powers (2:38 PM)
Doc, it sounds like he's still a few weeks away from getting on the ice. That's just getting on the ice, so it's probably still at least a good month until he's ready to play.
Hugo (Cape Town)
What Western Conference team scares you the most as challengers to the Hawks' effort to repeat? (To me, it's the Blues.)
Scott Powers (2:39 PM)
Hugo, I would say the Blues, too. They've been impressive this season. The Blues and Blackhawks would likely meet up in the division finals in the second round of the playoffs.
Are you surprised Coach Q did not pull Crawford on Tuesday? Love Crow but he just didnt have it.
Scott Powers (2:41 PM)
DC, no, not really. The goals weren't that soft. One was a bad line change. Another was a power-play goal. The fourth was a penalty shot. Crawford wasn't great, but he wasn't awful either. Raanta wasn't going to save that game. The Blackhawks needed a few more of those 50 shots in goal to go in.
How does the playoff format work? I got the impression it was divisional play the first two rounds, but how do wild cards work in?
Scott Powers (2:42 PM)
Brian, the first two rounds are divisional play and the top three teams from each division are automatically in. The final two spots are given to the next two teams with the most points. One division could have five playoff teams.
Any news on how much the cap is going to be next year? As Blackhawk fans, we're all interested for the sake of keeping The Captain and Kane!
Scott Powers (2:44 PM)
Eric, no news on the cap yet. From what I've seen, it should go up slightly next year and increase every year after. What next year's cap is doesn't really affect Kane and Toews since their contracts aren't up until after the 2014-15 season. The cap shouldn't be a factor when the Blackhawks try to resign them. Bowman has been planning everything around their salaries and the projected cap.
Scott, I just noticed that Shaw didn't even travel with the team. That clearly relates to my previous question about Bollig. Shaw should not be enforcing (even though he certainly can do so).
Scott Powers (2:46 PM)
Kevin, I don't think there's any stopping Shaw from being that player. That's who he is. I don't think the fight was what got him the other day either, but it was the late hit against the boards he took.
Tom (hickory hills) [via mobile]
What's Quenville's problem with Pirri and other young players?
Scott Powers (2:48 PM)
Tom, Quenneville likes players who can do a bit of everything, especially play defense. Morin and Pirri are offensive players, and unless they're producing points every game like Kane they're not going to be on Quenneville's good side. I don't know if there's a future for either one of them in the organization. The Blackhawks don't have many roster spots available going forward, and I think both will want to go elsewhere if they're going back and forth from Rockford to Chicago.
If/when Hanzus, Shaw and Bickell are all healthy, does Pirri become the odd man out with Versteeg on the team now? I know he was just sent down for Morin and Nordstrom, but I don't see either of them with a regular spot on the roster with the way Ben Smith has been playing.
Scott Powers (2:50 PM)
Michael, yeah, I don't know where Pirri or Morin fit with the Blackhawks if everyone is healthy. Plus, there's a chance Teravainen comes to the team in April. It is difficult to keep a team healthy, though, so there's a good chance Morin and Pirri will be up and down all season.
Hey Scott! How do you think Sochi will affect the Hawks season?
Scott Powers (2:52 PM)
Matt, I'm not exactly sure. On one hand, it could help to have those players still playing and keep that consistency. On the other hand, it could tire them out. Quenneville has mentioned a number of times about watching players' minutes going into the Olympics and after them.
What does Bowman do with Khabibulin when he is 100%?
Scott Powers (2:54 PM)
Michael, I think you will see Khabibulin in net again for the Blackhawks this season. I know that's not the answer most people want to hear, but I think Quenneville will give him another chance if he gets healthy.
Shaw and Zus not traveling puts us down 2 centers, plus Pirri was sent down. Who can we expect to be centering lines 2,3,4 tonight/tomorrow?
Scott Powers (2:55 PM)
Danimal, it sounds like Saad and Versteeg on the second line, Nordstrom on the third and Kruger on the fourth.
So are Pirri's chances of being our 2nd line C of the future pretty much gone?
Scott Powers (2:57 PM)
Dustin, I don't know if he was ever going to be the second-line center of the future. I think that role will go to Teravainen next year. You'll have a top line of Sharp-Toews-Hossa, second line of Saad-Teravainen-Kane, third line of Bickell-Shaw-Versteeg, fourth line of Kruger and two wings. Bollig is an unrestricted free agent and Smith is a restricted free agent after the season.
Robert (San Antonio)
I've like Raanta in his 3 games so far - is he getting tonight's game? Also for the earlier query - WGN has both an iPhone and Android app for free
Scott Powers (2:59 PM)
Robert, Crawford is starting tonight. Quenneville didn't say whether Raanta would start tomorrow in the back-to-back.
Scott Powers (3:01 PM)
Mark, they are pretty vague about the injuries. Quenneville said upper body. It sounds more day-to-day than week-to-week. I expect they will have a better idea tomorrow as Shaw stayed in Chicago to receive treatment.
Scott Powers (3:04 PM)
Moose, I'd be surprised by a trade. I think they're comfortable with Shaw centering the third line and Kruger on the fourth. I think Handzus' healthy determines the second. If he's healthy, Quenneville obviously prefers him there because of his defensive reliability. I also think Pirri will get a few more chances to prove himself before then, so he could be the guy. McNeil and Danault have been played fine in Rockford, but I don't think they're ready to come up.
Scott Powers (3:05 PM)
Doc, he's has a lot of offensive upside. He leads the IceHogs in points. I'm hoping to get to a Rockford game soon and see more of him and the other prospects. I believe he's in the Blackhawks' plan for the future.
Scott Powers (3:09 PM)
Bill, I don't think there's many people wanting Brookbank on the wing. Part of it has been a numbers game with the cap and injuries. Ideally, they'd like to have at least 13 forwards, so they don't have to be put in a situation with Brookbank playing. Quenneville also sent Morin a statement a few times where he played Brookbank over him. Morin and Pirri have to be more defensively reliable if they're going to ever consistently play for Quenneville.
Henry A (Deland FL)
I know I'm being nostalgic now but I also think Tuomo Ruutu is a scrappy player that could kill penalties and be a good center for us again. What do you think about that?
Scott Powers (3:11 PM)
That's not happening for a few reasons, but most importantly he makes $4.75 million and is signed for three more seasons.
Scott Powers (3:12 PM)
Everyone, thanks again for all your questions. Sorry if I missed any. Please email me at email@example.com if I can help answer anything else. I'll see you next week. Take care
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