Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

December 9, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Jesse Rogers

Jesse Rogers
  (1:03 PM)

Hey all. Hawks just got done with practice. Lets talk some hockey. Fire away with questions

Jim Neveau (Aroma Park, IL)

Jesse, there was an article in the Chicago Tribune recently about Adam Burish's progression from his knee injury. When he gets ready to hit the ice, where do you see him fitting in with this club?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:04 PM)

I see him fitting in very easily in the same role he had last year. The Hawks miss that 4th line energy. Q talked about that just today. He had a heart to heart with Kopecky and wants mroe from him. If back today, Burish would take his spot, Im sure or even Fraser but there's no doubt he's missed.

Michael (Chicago)

Do you feel there is a certain amount of pressure to win this season since cap implications might hamper the team in the future? Or do the deals for Toews, Kane, and Keith mean this team will be great for a long time?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:05 PM)

I do think there is some "pressure" but Im not sure who necessatily feels it. They will have a very good core for a long time but they have great talent up and down the lineup this year...may not have the same in coming years so from that perspective it makes sense this could be the year to do it.

Michael (Chicago)

Even though Crosby wasn't in the line up what did Saturday nights victory IN Pittsburgh mean to this club?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:08 PM)

It meant alot but not necessarily just because it was Pitt. The Hawks had beaten some good teams already this season so I dont know if beating the defending champs is THAT huge but the way they beat them is important. It was a slugfest early and the Hawks stood up to them I thought Kane's assist on the first goal was big time. He took a hit to make a play. I dont think he does that last year...it was a playoff style game, on the road no less, and the Hawks survived it. That's what Q liked.

Michael (Chicago)

Who has the better Hawks career when its all said and done, Kane, Keith or Toews?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:10 PM)

So hard to answer. Different players and different positions. I mean points, it'll probably be Kane but defense is huge and the Hawks arent that deep so Keith is so important, especially with Campbell not exactly what everyone thought he would be...But I will tell u this, if I was starting a team, I'd take Toews. Nothing beats talent AND leadership...ask any coach, when your best player or one of your best players is also a leader and hard worker, you're one step ahead of the game. On the surface, just a very hard question to answer

Michael (Chicago)

People might forget how young Toews and Kane are. How much better can they be and what areas do they need to improve on?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:14 PM)

They are already that much better than last year. Kane has improved his strength and quickness. Toews is so much stronger on the puck and in the dirty areas. I would say, just the little things. Im sure Kane wants to be counted on in all situations, not just offensive ones, so he could always get better in those departments. Toews could be maybe a better pure playmaking center..ya know a guy that finds Hossa all the time but if you're asking me to find faults, there arent many

Matt (Tucson)

Whats going on with the offense? We can't score 5 on 5? Defense is keeping us in games...We need to get things going with the tough stretch we got comming up...Boston, Detroit, Nashville, all in a row

Jesse Rogers
  (1:16 PM)

Good question. Have to play "tougher" at times. Pitt, they did, even thoguh they didnt score much. Nash, they did not. PLaying tougher gets u more power plays as well. Make no mistake, at the end of the day, its still about special teams. The Hawks are not drawing enough penalties..skating hard, working hard, going in the corners, being a step ahead gets u those chances..they dont always do it. Not a coincidence after an "easy" 7 goals against San Jose they mentally "relax". Maybe not on purpose. Bottom line, almost nothign comes easy, you have to make it happen.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:16 PM)

Good question. Have to play "tougher" at times. Pitt, they did, even thoguh they didnt score much. Nash, they did not. PLaying tougher gets u more power plays as well. Make no mistake, at the end of the day, its still about special teams. The Hawks are not drawing enough penalties..skating hard, working hard, going in the corners, being a step ahead gets u those chances..they dont always do it. Not a coincidence after an "easy" 7 goals against San Jose they mentally "relax". Maybe not on purpose. Bottom line, almost nothign comes easy, you have to make it happen.

Michael (Chicago)

Huet didn't perform great last year when he and Khabibulin were battling for starts. Should we expect the emergence of Niemi to do the same thing?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:19 PM)

No. Huet is the number 1. Thats the difference between this year and last. I know there is a lot of Niemi love and there should be but maybe hes been successful because of the way they've used him. Hes doing what a back up should do, ok, maybe a little more lately, but Huet is playing fine. The rotation is working for now, so why mess with it.

Michael (Chicago)

Shouldn't the Hawks top priority in the future be to lock up Seabrook and Hjalmarsson?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:20 PM)

U could make a case for a lot of priorities but certainly those 2 are important. Seabs has another year so less urgency..Hjalm is restricted so there's time. Hell, after seeing the 4th line perform so far, I'd throw Burish in there as well..but they just took care of the big 3 so lets see how things play out

Michael (Chicago)

Lets say hypothetically Sharp isn't on the team after this season. Who would you guess becomes the third alternate captain behind Captain Toews and other Alternate Captain Keith. Is Kane up for that kind of responsibility?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:22 PM)

Wow, you are really jumpin ahead. I mean Hossa would probably get it..or if Madden is back. Madden wore an A when Toews was out so that tell u something. I dont think Kane would get it. There's seabs as well but proabbly would not give it to two defensive partners..

Dan M. (St. Charles)

Now that the "big three" deals have been finalized, is there still a need to make a move before the offseason. To me, as much as I love the guy, it become more apparent each game that Byfuglien isn't going to be our Johan Franzen and only has 2 assists on a team of puck movement? He sticks out. Thoughts?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:22 PM)

No they dont need to make a move..they might WANT to when things pan out and they see a need for something. I cant disagree with u, Buff would probably be a candidate.

John (south side)

Hey jesse do you think that since niemi is playing so well that it will push huet to play better?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:24 PM)

I cant get inside Huet's head but I dont think so. U dont think there was enough pressure to play better before the emergence of Niemi? One good thing I like about huet is he doesnt seem to get rattled..on or off the ice..thats a pretty good quality when all hell is breaking loose..playing for a great team is motivation and pressure enough for him

Chris (Chicago)

Versteeg or Sharp. Who are you higher on?On one hand, Versteeg's natural ability is much higher than Sharp's.On the other, he's maddeningly inconsistent, and Sharp has the better "hockey IQ" -- which the Bowman's really like (see: Detroit roster).If one is forced to go, who would YOU send?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:26 PM)

Versteeg. I just think sniper type scorers dont grow on trees and when Sharp is going well, he gets a ton of chances and buries a lot of them. I like Versteeg but u asked which one...the Hawks have some good playmakers..thats what he is. For this team, hes a bit expendable IF you have to move someone..plus smaller, not as much a 2 way player as sharp...im sure i could make a case the other way if u asked

Chris (Chicago)

With the exception of a few weeks in Nov., Barker has been unnoticeable. That's probably good for a typical 3/4 dman, but Barker isn't your typical 3/4 dman...His high draft status and high salary dictate he should be getting more minutes. If Q doesn't think he's good enough (see: ice time), does it make sense to trade him while he still has value....say for a 2nd line UFA center....or Wiz ?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:28 PM)

I think you are right on the money with your points but remember if u see that, dont other teams do as well? Of course, every team is different and maybe they think with less pressure or more ice time he develops differently so IM not saying its impossible...also, the hawks are a little thin there and it would take away from the power play..i love his shot, so im not saying no, just has to be the right deal. Your thinking isnt wrong though.

Chris (Chicago)

Thoughts on Keith's hit on Cooke?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:31 PM)

Ya know I might be biased but I didnt think it was SO bad. He didnt hit him in the head did he? just up near the shoulder..but it was a cheap one and deserved a penalty..funny though, keith was not on the ice this morning and so we thought something was up..but Q said just a little rest..he is playing tonight.

Zo (SouthSide)

Are we going to start seeing more of a 1, 2 punch at goalie? Neimi has definately earned more Ice Time.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:33 PM)

I'll say it again becasue everyone is going nuts over Niemi. Hes played very well and maybe does deserve the extra game or two and might become a solid number 1 but right now this rotation is working. How do we know if he plays more, he plays as well? He obviously could but, we do know this..right now the tandem is good and huet is more than likely going ot be the guy so why mess with it?? There might not be a right answer to all this but that's how I feel. Now if Huet goes abck to his oct. play, he'll see less time.

Koharski'sDoughnot (Chicago, IL)

Jesse - Do you believe that Corey Crawford is still the Blackhawks goalie of the future?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:34 PM)

That would be a no. Niemi looks like he'd be the next guy

John (East Moline)

Do you think moving Brouwer to play with Sharp and Kane will shake him out of his little slump?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:35 PM)

I thought they should have moved Brouwer up a while ago...Im going to say yes to your question. I want to see him with more playmaking type guys..we'll see tonight.

David (W. Lafayette)

I've been trying to get tickets to a hawks game for a while and all I can get is standing room only. How is the view from the standing room only "seats" at the UC if you've ever been up there? Also, what do you think of Niemi? Do you think Q will start giving him some more playing time with how good hes been playing?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:37 PM)

To me, one of the biggest mis-conceptions in sports is wanting to be down low for a hockey game .I sit in the pressbox way up and I'd rather be there than way down. U see everyhting..so I would imagine standing room would not different. Much cheaper too! I answered the Niemi stuff...I dont think Q is going to go overboard trying to find him time.

Michael (Chicago)

Are we just getting a glimpse of how good Hossa can be? 6 pts in 6 games, how much better can he get?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:39 PM)

Yes, I think we are getting a glimpse..he so good u dont even notice things sometimes..I love his long stick. Hes like the scottie pippen of hockey. Long arms, long stick. He blocks shots with it, gets turnovers, is able to poke check from behind with it. HIs size allows him to do so much in the corners and in the middle of the ice with and without the puck..but watch how he uses his stick..love it.

Ben (Boulder)

Recently Coach Q has been changing up the lines a fair amount. Is this just to see where it is best to play Hossa? I know its still early and they are trying to figure out what works best, but do you think they should get set lines soon?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:41 PM)

I was just talking to one of the NY writers about Tortorella. He changes up after a shift or two. They all do. I do think you are right, specifically about Hossa. Got to get that right. We know he'll play w toews..now its about finding the other winger if its not going to be kane...everyone, including me, would like to see set lines but they never seem to last long cause a potential slump is always around the corner..we'll see

Joe (Chicago)

How would yu rate the play of Campbell this season? Is there a chance he would be moved in seasopn and if so how big of blow would that be?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:43 PM)

I thought he started out well and then dipped.Even with his faults which I like to sum up as "unwilling to engage enough", he does give you a guy to get that puck out of your zone and up the ice. its important. that transition is very important...that contract is too big and he has a no trade clause so i dont think hes going anywhere..its unfortunate he cant kill penalties..that would help

Tim (Chicago)

Do you have any sense from the coaches if they are happy with Andrew Ladd? His play seems to have gone down a notch without Havlat.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:44 PM)

Not sure. He has been kind of quiet. I think the fact that he really hasnt played much top 6 time tell uwhat they think. solid 3rd liner but not much more than that. he had a chance last game or two and wuickly they put him back on the 3rd line and moved brouwer up but i havent really talked about him with anyone on or off the record recently..i should..

Jesse Rogers
  (1:45 PM)

as usual,sorry for spelling and grammar...just typing fast

Jimmy (Chicago)

NHL ever going to fix the stupid schedule so everyone plays a home and home? I mean I love seeing Columbus 22 times a year but enough already.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:46 PM)

Ha. good one. well, its getting better..used to play columbus 42 times...by the way, this years example should be nashville..itll be 6 times before jan .1 christ. i dont think they will change again soon. 6 divisional and one agianst the east..

Dan (Bartlett)

We might have a lot of guys playing for their respected countries in the olympics. Do you think that will have an effect on the team down the stretch??

Jesse Rogers
  (1:48 PM)

Not unless they get hurt though if I didnt think that D.Keith was the energuzer bunny I might get worried..its only D men that I worry about the fatigue factor..it actually should be good for hossa..give him more games to keep him going and in shape...kane is 21 for gods sake. he and toews can handle it..

Michael (Chicago)

What top prospects in the Hawks system do you expect to see in the NHL over the next couple years?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:49 PM)

Off the top of my head...I think Beach and Bickell will be here next year. I really like bickell. i dont think they have much on the blue line at this moment...those are the couple names i like for the very near future

Michael (Chicago)

Who ya got tonight? Final score?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:51 PM)

Hmm..im a schedule guy. 3 days between games for the hawks who have lost only 3 in reggulation at home..gaborik only threat and keith/seabrook will take care of him..if they dont let avery get the game into a penalty fest..i say 3-1 hawks. lundquist can play a bit.

Sean (Chicago)

Hey Jesse there has been alot of talk of the recent success of Niemi and Huet, but we saw inconsistent play in the playoffs last year. Do you think this goaltender has is good enough to get us to the Cup?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:53 PM)

I dont know if either goaltender has it or doesnt..impossible to say. huet hasnt done much in the playoffs in the past but those were different situations..wash, for example, was young and just learning..u have to go thru it. i do like that neither guy shows a lot of panic..remember huet's last game in the playoffs wasnt bad

Eric (Evansville, IN)

Did you here Denis Savard is opening a restaurant in Munster, IN? He says he wants to go out and skate with the kids from the school there since they won state last year. I think it is a wise business decision to integrate into the community and my two nephews will get to skate with him which is an added bonus.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:54 PM)

I was with him in munster recently and he told me about that..i asked for a free meal and he said no. sure its a good decision, if people come to eat!

Bryan (Wheeling, IL)

You stated that if the hawks need to make a change Big Buff would be a candidate. Although he is my favorite guy on the team, he isn't being nearly as physical as he was in the past. Do they need to play Vancouver more to get him going. He needs to be an enforcer.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:57 PM)

I know Buff very well..and in some ways hes very simple and in other ways hes kind of a complicated player...i dont think he wants to be known as a fighter, or guy that stands in front of the net, or just a big lug..he wants to skate and be more of a shooter...its not that he will shy away from contact like some players but he doesnt look for it. what i think he needs to understand..to have a long, successful career, you need to do those things if you have the ability...which he does...maybe he needs the playoffs to get hi excited but right now he just seems to be playing and taking what comes to him...if that makes sense

Chris (Chicago)

Yes! Thank you Jesse! I've wanted to see Brouwer on the top line for a while now! I think a banger like him would fit great with Toews

Jesse Rogers
  (1:58 PM)

Im a big brouwer fan. always have been since he came up. i hope he takes this opportunity and runs with it, for now, hes on the 2nd line..

Justin (Rensselaer, IN)

I'm just wondering, are the Blackhawks the best draw for Chicago right now considering how bad the Bulls and Bears are?

Jesse Rogers
  (2:00 PM)

Not even close. i watched 5 seconds of the bulls last night and lost my will to live. bears? im losing my will right now thinking about them..dont tell my bosses but im in pitt watching the hawks and penguins go at it and they call this a job? it would be if it was the bulls and nets, but not being around this team.

Jimmy (Chicago)

Tell Dave to check out the ticket exchange, lots of good priced seats to be had.

Jesse Rogers
  (2:00 PM)

U just did

Chris (Chicago)

No Aliu? I thought he looked great in TC, and is a guy that could see top6 minutes next year if one of the rumored forwards is dealt...

Jesse Rogers
  (2:01 PM)

I thought he was ok in camp..Im not sure he cracks the top 6 next year....ill ask about his progress for next week.

Michael (Chicago)

Where does Toews rank with other Captains in the NHL?

Jesse Rogers
  (2:02 PM)

Hard to say because Im not around other captains every day like I am Toews but there cant be many that WILL be better..hes still growing into the role and he'll have a lot more challengesin the years to come than he does right now..but hes great

Jason (Chicago)

I don't know why everyone is praising Niemi so much, sure the guy has played good but like you said if he plays more how do we know it will stay consistant. Also why mess with Huet he has been outstanding as of late, sure maybe one or two bad goals, but most of them are from bad defense to begin with. the defense needs to pick it up and I think we will only see Huet get better as they do. I think we need to stop looking at how he did last season and look at now, looking at the shootouts especially he has given us the opportunity to win every game, but our guys can't seal the deal. until he slips tremendously Huet's the guy and I would've never thought that I'd be saying that, but he has proven himself as the guy to go with.

Jesse Rogers
  (2:03 PM)

I think u are right. U give the benefit of the doubt to the incumbent and right now there is no reason to change your strategy

Jason (Chicago)

How do you think the Hawk's are going to solve there cap problem, that is what moves do you see being made weather it be trades or not resigning some players for next year whose contract's are up this season?

Jesse Rogers
  (2:05 PM)

If I had to guess..versteeg and Barker will be traded..barker for sure. my educated opinion

Jesse Rogers
  (2:07 PM)

Thats going to do it for this week. U can email me at jrogers@espnchicago.com and follow me on twitter @espnchihawkssorry if i didnt get to your question, email me and I will answer and check out my blog daily...getting a preview up there in a while about facing that *****, Sean Avery. Next wed. for chat as usual. Thanks. Enjoy the game tonight