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!
Which Blackhawk players are playing hurt? Crawford? Sharp?
Scott Powers (2:33 PM)
Sam, all speculation at this point. I don't have any definitive answers, but yes, Crawford and Sharp would be two guys who many think are playing with something.
Any chance that Brookbank replaces Rozsival in the lineup tonight? Who replaces Versteeg?
Scott Powers (2:35 PM)
Keith, I think Quenneville sticks with the same D-pairings. Not that they were great again, but he seemed to be fine with what the change gave him. If Versteeg does come out, I would imagine Regin is back in.
If the Kings are able to dethrone the Hawks tonight, is this season still considered a success?
Scott Powers (2:36 PM)
Jack, I would say it's not a success. Whether it's fair or not, the bar for this organization is now Stanley Cup or bust. Stan Bowman also did his best to keep last year's team together -- re-signing Handzus, Rozsival -- because he thought they could win another Cup. If they don't, then he has some questions to answers.
Wanting to think ahead to next year (I still plan on the Hawks winning the Cup this year) but would you expect Zus, Rosizval, and Versteeg to be replaced with TT, Clendining, and Morin?
Scott Powers (2:38 PM)
S.J., well, Rozsival and Versteeg are signed for next season, so I expect them to be in the mix again. Handzus is a free agent, so he'll be gone. I would think Teravainen steps in as that second-line center. Next season will still be hard for Clendening and Morin to crack this lineup. The Blackhawks have seven defensemen signed and Ben Smith is the only other forward of the regulars not signed for next season.
Is Jeremy Morin a horrible practice player? I don't understand how Bollig gets 6-8 minutes a game.
Scott Powers (2:40 PM)
Dave, it's hard to be a bad practice player. It's not that. Quenneville prefers Bollig on the fourth line with Kruger and Smith. If the fourth line is holding its own, Quenneville will stick with those three. He's comfortable with them. He also won't play Morin on the fourth line. The only chance Morin would have to play is on the third line, and I think he's more willing to use Regin now in that spot.
chris(las vegas) [via mobile]
Do you think the Hawks will be more ready to protect crawford from getting screened on shots like he was so much in game 4? Or are the Kings just that good at it?
Scott Powers (2:42 PM)
Chris, I think the Kings are good at it. The Blackhawks have had trouble around their own net throughout the series. It's been something they've talked about for the last few games, and it hasn't changed much. I would expect that becomes an issue again tonight.
Mark (Southern Illinois)
Will we see 2, 19, and 88 hanging from the rafters in the UC someday?
Scott Powers (2:43 PM)
Mark, yes, I would think so. The only chance that wouldn't happen is if Toews and Kane decided to go somewhere else after their current contracts, but I can't imagine that.
Do Kane and Toews get the lifetime contracts this offseason that Duncan Keith got a few years back?
Scott Powers (2:44 PM)
Stephen, no, there's a maximum number of years now. I believe seven, but I'll have to look. Kane and Toews will have two more contracts each.
Barry DanRose (Chicago, IL)
Scott - Will there be any 2nd line center targets available for the Hawks this summer?
Scott Powers (2:46 PM)
Barry, I can't see the Blackhawks pursuing a second-line center. They've been waiting for Teravainen, and next year he'll get that chance. I would think the lines next year would be sometihng like Sharp-Toews-Hossa, Saad-Teravainen-Kane, Bickell-Shaw-Versteeg, Bollig-Kruger-Smith.
Do you think Sutter will matchup Doughty with the 88,65,20 line tonight, or do they keep putting them against the Toews line?
Scott Powers (2:47 PM)
Alex, I think Sutter will keep Doughty and the Kopitar line with Toews' line. Aside from that, Sutter hasn't matched up too much when at home. He'll probably throw his other lines again against the Blackhwaks' other three lines. Quenneville prefers certain matchups more at home.
You really think management keeps Versteeg just because he is signed next year?? Same with Rozsival?
Scott Powers (2:49 PM)
Dorian, what do you expect the Blackhawks to do with them? I don't see any teams rushing to acquire either of those guys. Unless it's a package deal, I don't see either going anywhere. It's not as if you can drop them and not take the cap hit.
I'm confused why Bollig is still playing. He offers very little in exchange for stupid and crucial penalties. Shaw takes stupid penalties as well, but he brings a lot to the table. Can you please explain what Bollig brings? He should be scratched from the playoffs.
Scott Powers (2:53 PM)
Craig, Quenneville has been asked about this many times. He likes Bollig's physicality and defensieve play, especially when he's with Kruger and Smith. I know it's not what people want to hear, but Quenneville isn't likely to change. Plus, the Blackhawks signed Bollig for two more years, so Bowman obviously agrees as well.
David (South Loop)
Anything the Hawks can do to get better at the dot? They're getting killed on face-offs. If they won the face-off battle I think they'd blow the Kings out.
Scott Powers (2:54 PM)
David, I thought the Blackhawks did a better job in Game 5. They finally didn't let Jarret Stoll destroy them there. The Kings are a better faceoff team than the Blackhawks, so the goal has to be to keep it around 50 percent. The Blackhawks did that in Games 1 and 5.
Johnny (Lockport) [via mobile]
Coach Q said there are going to be some line changes. There's no way he's changing the Kane line right???
Scott Powers (2:55 PM)
Johnny, no, the only change I see is Versteeg coming out of the lineup. I think the lines will be Bickell-Toews-Hossa, Saad-Shaw-Kane, Sharp-Handzus-Regin, Bollig-Kruger-Smith.
Carl (Highland Park)
Is Seabrook a trade candidate if Hawks decide to make some major roster moves in off-season? have heard some rumblings about it, seems like the only large salary they could move and he's slowing down
Scott Powers (2:58 PM)
Carl, I don't see that. Seabrook is making $5.8 the next two seasons. I'm not sure who will take that on, and I still think the Blackhawks value him. I could see someone like Oduya at $3.375 with one year left being a trade candidate.
Scott Powers (2:59 PM)
Sorry, had a computer problem.
Dustin [via mobile]
Scott do you for see Oduya as a possible cap/trade casualty with Cleninding in the waiting?
Scott Powers (3:00 PM)
Dustin, maybe. I don't think Clendening or Stephen Johns are that far behind. But Bowman also seems like he wants Rundblad in the mix next season. He gave up a second-round pick for him, and he's signed for next season.
Scott - Coach Q has always been able to get the team to make the right adjustments but the team doesn't seem to be able to do so this series (even in the win the other night). What more can he do to wake these guys up?!
Scott Powers (3:03 PM)
Jim, I thought they were energized for much of the game. Part of the problem is the Kings are playing well. They're known for their defensive game, but they have some offensive skill. Adding Gaborik was big.
If a player retires with remaining years on a contract, do the remaining dollars go against the cap?
Scott Powers (3:03 PM)
Keith, yes, they will still take a cap hit.
Pearce [via mobile]
What is shaw's status for tonight? I know he came back from the OT injury but any sense as to whether we dodged a bullet or his leg is worse?
Scott Powers (3:04 PM)
Pearce, Quenneville said Shaw was fine. They didn't have a morning skate today, so I haven't seen him since Game 5.
Bill (Burr Ridge)
Dahlbeck is a Black Ace now; will he be 'the next man up' for the D?
Scott Powers (3:06 PM)
Bill, Dahlbeck, Clendening and Stephen Johns may all be close next season. It'll depend on if anyone is moved this offseason and injuries because they already have seven defensemen (Keith, Seabrook, Hjalmarsson, Oduya, Leddy, Rozsival, Rundblad) signed for next season.
Cary illinois [via mobile]
Is sharp tradeable?
Scott Powers (3:07 PM)
Cary, I don't see why they would want to do that. He's coming off arguably his best regular season of his career. Just because he's not producing now, doesn't mean he's bad. He's got three more years at $5.9 each. I see him riding out that contract at least.
Hi Scott,Do you think CC will have a good game tonight and keep the frustration in check? He was looking a little stressed game 5 which is not the calm and cool cucumber he normally is...
Scott Powers (3:09 PM)
Sarah, Crawford has often played well in these type of games over the last two seasons. There has to be some confidence for him after stopping the last 24 shots in Game 5.
Ray (Las Vegas)
I know Sharp May be hurt and Coach Q wants balance but why won't he go back to Sharp-Toews-Hossa which seemed to be the best line in the NHL during the regular season
Scott Powers (3:10 PM)
Ray, I agree. I thought Sharp-Toews-Hossa was the Blackhawks' best line throughout the regular season. I don't see it happening at this point. He likes what Bickell is giving him, and it appears he's lost some confidence in Sharp.
Is it realistic to expect the Hawks to overcome such a deficiency in face offs and special teams? What will it take to win the next two games with LA having a clear advantage in these areas?
Scott Powers (3:12 PM)
Jason, I think a team can overcome the faceoffs, but the special teams is more difficult. The Kings won the special teams areas in Games 2-4 and won those games. The Blackhawks were better in Games 1 and 5.
Ed (Hyde Park)
Any chance we get Doc, Pierre, and Edzo tonight, or at least for game 7 if it goes that far? Albert, Micheletti, and Engblom have been insufferable.
Scott Powers (3:12 PM)
Ed, I don't foresee them changing up broadcasters in the series. The only chance for that other group is going to the Stanley Cup final.
Scott Powers (3:13 PM)
Sure, have them over.
Hi Scott, what are your thoughts on Ranta for next season ? I thought he played outstanding when crawford was injured and I think crawford was rushed back a little to early looking back at his numbers and the teams losses ?
Scott Powers (3:15 PM)
Rich, I'm interested to see what the Blackhawks do with Raanta. On the one hand, he is a restricted free agent and could come cheap again, and he did play okay as a starter in Crawford's place. But on the other hand, he's been below average as a backup, and his overall numbers have been average all season. Do they trust he can be Crawford's backup next season or do they go out and get a veteran and allow Raanta to get more starts in Rockford? The plan got derailed this season to get Raanta a lot of time in Rockford because of Khabibulin's injury.
Scott Powers (3:17 PM)
Everyone, thanks again for the questions. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if I missed anything or you want to discuss something else. Enjoy the weekend.