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December 16, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Jesse Rogers

Jesse Rogers
  (1:02 PM)

HI all. Welcome to our weekly wed. chat. Hope I can answer sone of your questions. Fire away.

Luis (Chicago)

Are the Blackhawks the best team in the NHL?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:05 PM)

At any given moment they are but its hard to say for certain. We know they are among the best but lets not get ahead of ourselves. I still believe Pitt is better despite the hawks beating them (without crosby of course) and until I see the Hawks go farther than det. in the playoffs than I'd always worry about them but this certainly looks like they should do that this year. Just remember, May hockey is diff. than pre-new year so keep thingsin perspective.

Jim Neveau (Aroma Park, Illinois)

Niklas Hjalmarsson is slotted to become a Restricted Free Agent at season's end. What kind of deal would you expect him to get from the Hawks if cap issues are a concern?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:08 PM)

Forgetting the cap for a moment...I think his next deal gets him between 2-3 per year. I could be on the low side and theres a lot of hockey to be played so a great or bad playoffs could change that number...I think the hawks will find a way to fit him in...he'll be part of the reason, other forwards will go. i dont see them letting him walk because they arent deep there...but its early for this talk so cant say for sure..

Jordan (Orland Park)

How likely is a Patrick Sharp trade?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:11 PM)

Get this out of the way now. I dont think its likely. Barker and Versteeg are more likely but this is a fluid situation...im talking about the off season...what if the hawks WANT to trade one guy but a team says no we love sharp and we'll give u this and it will help their cap better than any other deal...so, again, to talk about this off season now is just too tough. perfect world to help their cap: barker and versteeg are moved after the year or by the deadline for an expiring contract that can still help them this year

Danny (Chicago)

So why is Kane No. 2 on your list and Toews is No. 3?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:13 PM)

Im guessing this is coming from one of our producers at am 1000 who has a screw loose but kane gets a slight edge for winning ROY, plus (and its not toews fault, he plays tougher and a tougher position) hes been a little more durable, and he made a huge leap from last year to this..and i would say --with a nod to d.keith--is the mvp of this season so far. at first i had them tied but then i decided kane 2, toews 3. happy, danny?

Boomer (Lilse)

Do you think Neimi should get more starts in goal? I know Heut has been playing good but Neimi has 3 shut-outs in 9 starts, thats kind of hard to ignore.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:17 PM)

Isnt it 3 shutouts in 7 starts? I know the temptation is there for me to say yes. It would be the easy answer but I dont believe things happen in a vaccumm. My standard answer to this question is simply: How do we know he hasnt been this good because of the exact way they ave handled him? You dont htink his numbers would go down at least a little if he started every other night..and then what happens if he hits a wall? u go back to a mentally gone Huet? Im not saying he cant get some more starts but why mess with a rotation that is working...now if huet goes abck to oct. play, thats a different story....for all i know niemi is going to be a great one..but lets let it play out

Joe (Chicago)

Do you think Brian Campbell is worth 7.1 mil?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:19 PM)

No. And that's not being mean. If someone is making 7 mil, he has to play in all situations OR be so good at one thing he deserves the money. No pk, no end of game for BC means hes not earning what they are paying him. And hes been ok, offensively, he helps , no doubt but his offensive numebrs arent through the roof and of course we know about his D

C. (Chicago, IL)

Will Keith play tonight? Heard a rumor he's fighting off a bad cold.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:20 PM)

He did have a cold but he will play tonight

Kevin (Chicago)

I've been rather disappointed in Kopecky, and he was scratched against Pittsburgh. If/when Bolland comes back...is he the first to ride the pine? Would Hossa be able to overcome the loss of his buddy if we were able to ship him out?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:21 PM)

Hossa would be fine. These guys arent as sensitive to that stuff as u think. And yes, right now he's first to the bench when healthy bodies return..

Jesse Rogers
  (1:22 PM)

I mean Kopecky has one more year on his deal..u think hes going to be here for the 12 that marian is? and MH will go in the tank for the next decade when kopecky leaves. god i hope not

Jim (Arizona)

Why has Kopecky been such a bust?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:23 PM)

ou know its a good question. Unfortunately the answer might be he's just not that good. I mean we are talking about a 4th liner..he prob hasnt maxed this year as well. needs to use his size more and work a little harder out there

Jesse Rogers
  (1:24 PM)

Man, my typing is bad. Sorry

Ryne Nicklin (Streator,IL)

With Nashville rolling is this rough stretch of games a concern? STL, BOS, DET, SJ, and DET

Jesse Rogers
  (1:25 PM)

A little but, what 4 of those are at home? Hey ,you have to play them sometime. Nash has bee namazing. Trotz is as good as they come

Chris (Chicago)

Any news on Bolly's back? I know those types of injuries can be fickle, but when do the Hawks expect him (if they do) to be back?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:26 PM)

I talked to him on monday. Check out my blog for a Q and A with him but hes doing better. He thinks light skating in the next couple weeks and playing by feb. Thats what he said not the doctors or anything so we'll see...i thought he wasdone for the year so its great news

Joe (Chicago)

Do you think our offense gets too fancy at times?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:28 PM)

I dont know about fancy but they dont always work as hard as they need to..especially on the power play. skill has to be accompanied by hard work or you'll never retrieve the puck to show off that skill. you have to get after it no matter how many spin o ramas you can do. thats why i kind of like the look with these lines. complete balance so a little bit of everything on each line

Misty (Iowa)

What can the Hawks do now to legitimately be a Stanley Cup contender at the end of the season?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:29 PM)

Well, the D pairing look set. I would say find 3 lines that work and stick with it. Bolland and Burish will throw a wrench into it when they come back but in a good way. You want 3 if not 4 lines rolling as u go to the playoffs. No team has 6 d that can stop that.

Chris (Chicago)

Jesse -- I assume that Brian Campbell is another guy that may get shopped, possibly this season but especially in the off-season? I've heard he has a NTC, but I'm not sure of the logistics (can you help here?)...Does he have a list of teams he'd accept?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:31 PM)

Honestly I dont know how specific it is. Until I hear more I think its a full no trade. You have to understand, Dale gave these players what they wanted almost, well not almost, definitely, to a fault so I think he's here to stay.

Jay (Chicago)

Can NHL contracts be renegociated? I know in MLB, players restructure their contacts to help with cap issues and free agancy. Could the Hawks restucture with Cambell or Huet?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:32 PM)

That would be a NO

Chris (Chicago)

BTW, that Bolland question was a lay-up, Jesse. I saw your blog about him expected back in a few weeks...Just wanted to see my name on the scoresheet. SUPERSTAR!

Jesse Rogers
  (1:32 PM)

Good I just wanted to mention my blog. Did I mention my blog? Blog.

Michael (Chicago)

Is there a center the Blackhawks might look to trade for?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:33 PM)

Until I talked to Bolland I thought yes but if hes back by Feb and I know thats a big IF but if he is then no need for a trade.

Michael (Chicago)

Just cause he is over-payed doesn't mean he's a bad player, doesn't Campbell fit in well with this team and play well?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:34 PM)

Very good point. He fits in, in terms of a high speed and skill team and he does get that puck up the ice..important things...but he needs to "engage" a bit more. you are a defenseman afterall...but you are right overpaid doesnt mean entirely bad player

Joe (Chicago)

Do you think Sopel will be traded?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:35 PM)

I simply dont know, but I never thought someone would want that contract, but i will tell u the conditions in which it would happen. only if they get a D man back who's deal is up AND can at least replace sopel killing penalties...they would do that if another team would

Michael (Chicago)

Do you think Keith will win the Norris?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:37 PM)

No I dont but it is too early to say for sure. His +/- isnt out of this world so far though it will look very good at the end of the year...hes in the running..moving up the ranks and getting more pub. it would still surprise me. there are some good D men out there but you never know

Chris (Chicago)

Dale Tallon can scout talent. The depth of the Hawks system certainly provess that. But he clearly graduated (with honors) from the Jim Hendry School of handing Out Bloated Contracts (not accredited).

Jesse Rogers
  (1:37 PM)

Yeah, I would day that is correct. Its why the players still love him!

Joe (Chicago)

Is Adam Burish returning this season from his ACL injury?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:38 PM)

Several Burish questions. He certianly intends to. Says he's on pace for March

Michael (Chicago)

Where does Toews rank among Centers and Captains in the league? Is he one of the best or still a few years away?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:39 PM)

He gets better everyday..a lot of is little things but soon he'll be right there. He may not make the Olympic team..thats how many good centers are out there and thats just the Canadian ones..he's on pace to be one of the best and is getting closer. I love his game and his leadership and his work ethic

John (Dyer)

Any chance Huet gets moved in the off season and make Niemi a #1 next year. Would be nice to clear up some cap room considering there really isnt a chance Campbell gets moved.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:41 PM)

Yes, there is a chance. Im sure they would listen to offers. I think Niemie is certainly pointing to being a numebr 1 sooner rather than later. Man, he kicks those rebounds out. Love that. Im having lunch with his agent on friday (also burish and john madden's) and will have a q and a up that day or the next but should learn more.

Hack (Chicago)

Jesse,Thus far, we've seen good things from Hossa. A couple pretty impressive goals, and a few 'right place right time' goals. One thing I haven't seen thus far is a nice top shelf (water bottle) wrister, like Kane's against Tampa Bay or Toews two goals against edmonton. Hossa has a nice quick wrister, like the ones he beat nabakov and mason on, but is the top shelfer in his repetoire?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:42 PM)

You dont score in this league too much unless you go top shelf..sure he can. just have to find the right spot and he'll fire away.

Jay (Chicago)

What is your opinion of the Hawks PP? Seems like for awhile it will be terrible and a few days later they are ranked 7 in the league. Seems to me that they get lazy and only have a 10 second PP before commiting a penalty of their own.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:45 PM)

And how bout those 5 on 3's. Bad. Yeah, taking penalties during pp points to lazy play. They need to move their bodies more. And work harder. There are no secrets but sometimes you just fall into that "normal" pattern. Well, anyteam with any talent can move the puck around. I think they are learning how to max out on the pp. Its still decent enough at times

Chris (Chicago)

Agree/Disagree...In February, there will likely be teams looking to gain value for impending UFAs who will not sign with them. The Hawks might be able to get someone to take on Campbell in a deal, provided they sweetened the pot with other low-cost futures: draft picks and/or prospects.Granted, the Hawks would need to take on either a high cost impending UFA or a couple of impending UFAs. This could conceivably happen in a two way deal, but even more likely in a three way deal.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:46 PM)

Of ocurse thats possible..but they wouldnt be trading for a player owed a few million over 2 years. This is like 45 mil more, plus hes not that great. why would a team do that?

Michael (Chicago)

As great as some of the forwards are they run a bit streaky in the goal scoring department. Is a consistent scorer like Hossa just what this team needs?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:48 PM)

There are diff ways to look at. The Hawks scoring is spread out but isnt that a good thing? Rememebr, Q doesnt shorten his bench like other teams have to when they need a goal so I just think the amount of talent they have is spreading things around more as opposed to one line getting all the numbers...less about strekiness than about opportunities..my opinion

Charlie (Chicago)

When Bolland AND Burish come back, whos the odd man out in that situation?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:50 PM)

If they came back today. Kopecky and proabbly fraser would sit. burish would play center with eager and take your pick..one day buff, one day ladd, one day brouwer, hell one day steeg. who knows. bolland takes his spot back and they move around accordingly..the chances of everyone being healthy are slim so itll work one way or another

Michael (Chicago)

Is Hossa starting to hit his normal 40 goals a year production or does he still have some recovery time left?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:51 PM)

Hes getting there. Seems to be fighting the puck less. I mentioned last week..the olympics will be great for him..

Misty (Iowa)

Who do you see making team usa/team canada teams?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:54 PM)

Good question. Everyone is guessing. a month ago i dint think seabrook had a chance but now im buying into taking pairs so they dont need the practice time..considering there is none. So keith and seabrook making and playing together has a real chance. no sharp. i can imagin going to battle without toews in any competition so im sure im wrong but ill say he makes it cause if the olympic isnt about pride, etc. nothing is. and hes all about that. kane obviously...buff seems like a no but that US team is nothing special and they are on a smaller ice so maybe

Jesse Rogers
  (1:55 PM)

I cant imagine is what I meant to say about toews

Michael (Chicago)

You say Hossa will benefit from playing in the olympics. Are there any other players who would or would not benefit from playing in them?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:56 PM)

Just want to be careful with those d men on the hawks. if something happens to keith/seabs or they get fatigues at the end of the year, kiss the cup goodbye. kane will be fine playing, same with toews. my worry is with the d men

Michael (Chicago)

Defense wins championships. What does it mean to have the lowest GAA in the league?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:58 PM)

Amazing considering Huet's start but i think anyone tha knows hockey knows this is a team thing not just a goaltending or defense thing. the hawks are in the other teams zone so much that over time this was bound to happen. they dont give up much because the puck isnt in there much. now in any one game or one period that may not be the case but over time it is. once huet starightned himself out, the GAA was bund to go down and it has. great stat moving forward and for the playoffs.

Hack (Chicago)

Fun question......Rank the four hawks announcers based on your enjoyment of their work. Foley, Eddie O, Wiedeman, Murray

Jesse Rogers
  (2:00 PM)

I cant answer that. Im friends with all of them! Seriously, arent they all pretty darn good at their jobs? I really like eddie and troy. they know what they are talking about. dont tell them i said that. big heads.

Chuck (Naperville)

I really like what I have seen of Shawn LaLonde. Is there any chance he is NHL ready next season?

Jesse Rogers
  (2:01 PM)

Yes there is. He and Beach could be around. Bickell as well. They'll need some cheaper first contract guys once the bloodletting is done

Kevin (Chicago)

Speaking of Madden - how impressive is he? Really hoping we can find a way to bring him back next year. With him and Bolland centering the 2nd/3rd lines...this team could have a shooter tutor in net and still win games.

Jesse Rogers
  (2:03 PM)

Great signing. Who doesnt love this guy? Cant see a reason not to bring him back. (I'll find out from his aget what it will take on friday!)

Josh (Arlington Heights)

How likely is it that the recent offensive struggles can be linked to all of the line tinkering? With all the talent on the ice why not let these guys work through early game struggles?

Jesse Rogers
  (2:05 PM)

Its the chicken and the egg. The line changing is due to the struggles, arent they? Im with most, I think coaches change it up too much. But in this case..I did think breaking up the HTK line was the right thing to do. There are a lot of possible combos..Q is going through them all and findinf the right one. ISnt that what training cmap is for? But of course there was bolland and no hossa at that time, etc. etc. so juts get it right by march..please

Jesse Rogers
  (2:06 PM)

few more than will call it a day and get ready for da Blues

Mike (Chi-town)

What would Marion Hossa do if he lost to Pittsburgh again in the SCF?

Jesse Rogers
  (2:06 PM)

Go play for the Islanders

Joe (Chicago)

Why has Sharp gone through so many scoring droughts already? Seems like he scores 1 goal then goes goal less for awhile?

Jesse Rogers
  (2:07 PM)

He needed to score more when he was getting a ton of chances like a month ago. He needs to play wing to score and needs the right center man and needs the stars aligned. I dont know. It happens but like I said when he gets the chances he needs to bury them. It will come again

Charlie (Chicago)

Also, do the guys REALLY get along as well as it seems reading about them and watching them play?

Jesse Rogers
  (2:09 PM)

Think so. There is always a moment here and there..i saw buff almost take steeg's head off at a practice a few weeks ago but all in all they're cool. im sure there are disagreements, etc but no major clicks that i can tell

Jimmy (Chicago)

Kind of weird being one of the best teams, just grind out the regular season and get ready for the playoffs, actually not weird, awesome!

Jesse Rogers
  (2:11 PM)

Weird in the sense it hasnt happened in a long time, yes. Weird they are this good, no. Not there yet. I want to see a lethal power play before its all said and done. and get some more chances. they are near the bottom in PP chances. playoffs can still and usualy is about special teams

Jesse Rogers
  (2:12 PM)

Thanks everyone. email me at jrogers@espnchicago.com if i didnt get to your question and follow me on twitter @espnchihawksI dont tweet what im eating just hawks stuff! Next week, same time. enjoy the game tonight. love talking hawks with ya!