Hey, everybody. Welcome to our weekly chat...we've hit the break and the hawks remain in good shape..hope you'e enjoying the olympics...fire away...
What top line would you rather see in the playoffs; Kane-Toews-Brouwer or Kane-Toews-Sharp? I'm a big fan of the KTB line but also love Sharp's production since Q changed them up. Thanks.
I love sharp there as well but im going to say for the betterment of the team...brouwer with those guys. I think you max out brouwer with thosse guys more than anywhere else...still think bolland/hossa/sharp would make a great line...thats my opinion
Is there any truth to these Huet/Crawford trade rumors that have been circulating as of late? Obviously unloading Huet would be the best case scenario to get the Hawks under the cap for next year and beyond while keeping the team in tact, but is someone really going to take him off our hands?
Yeah, my buddy Harry Tinowitz mentioned this on his talkshow...we arent reporting this as news since hes not telling me it that way...heres what I know..the hawks are looking at some goalies in the east..im pretty sure one is vokoun. . he has a no trade clause so who knows how it affects it. you'd think he'd waive it but he might want an extension...hes signed for next year so it does make sense huet would have to go back and i think one more like versteeg...i was under the impression huet would be tough to move like you but if you add another player maybe they take.im not sure about the crawford thing. hadnt heard that. i do know this : vokoun is available. and hes about the only one id consider that is on the market...i dont believe huet was held back for this reason, though. thats my opinion. Q would not committ to splitting his goaltedners starting at the beginnig of the week...so to say he benched him for this impending trade sounds good but i dont buy it
Jesse, I know how you feel about trade rumors but i read this one recently and was curious if you would pull the trigger if it were legit. By the way, were granting you GM priveleged just for this question. Huet-Crawford-Versteeg to St. Louis. In return Hawks get Tkachuk-Kariya-Conklin. Combined with the Barker trade it clears enough cap space for next season.
I would not...u are really changing the look of the team with that move...maybe for one of those forwards but not for both.and i'd take tkachuk before Kariya..dont see it happening
In your opinion had Cam Barker regressed as a player this year or has he just never achieved his potential? I think he's a guy that needed to play top 4 minutes and he wasn't going to get that shot here - particularly with the Hammer passing him on the depth chart. I hope he gets his chance to play in Minny and we don't one day at an all-star game look back and say "you know, he used to be a Blackhawk"
Doesnt matter. It was a great trade for the here and now. he was slower to develop than Hammer..it took keith/seabrook time too but they were on bad teams...no time for barker now. good trade for hawks and could be for the wild in the future
Hey Jesse...have you heard of any of the non-Olympians from the Hawks taking a trip together during the break? I'm sure some of the guys would welcome a couple weeks in the sun during the grind of the regular season.
Yes. a bunch went to Jamaica...others went on their own
Going three games in a row to a shootouts against bad teams doesnt impress me. I know we got the win but do you see it as a step back or cause for concern?
Not really concern. The Pens blew a 4-1 lead on wash recently and lost. the devils looked bad in carloina just like the hawks. it happens. style point dont matter, just points! you do want them rounding into shape down the stretch. would like to see them get back to tight, no turnover defense.
Jesse, thank you for all the great coverage of our Hawks, your hard work is much appreciated! It's clear the Blackhawks going forward the next few years will have to depend heavily on their prospects. I know there has been a ton of buzz generated about young men such as Kyle Beach, Akim Aliu, along with some familiar faces (Skille, Dowell, etc...). In your opinion, who do you feel has the best chance of donning the Indian Head next season and how confident are you in then Blackhawks' farm depth?
Beach for sure. I know its juniors but the guy has like 40 goal in 50 games. plus 9 fights and 160 penalty minutes...i think he makes the jump. should have a story about prosepcts in my blog before the break is over
Leddy versus Barker? Obviously Leddy is some time away from contributing. Johnsson, who is clearly valuable in his own right, is an expiring contract, so the deal appears to be more about the other two defencemen. From the Hawks perspective, would you say the trade was more a salary dump, confidence in Leddy's abilities, or Barker not living up to expectations almost 6 years into his professional career?
How bout none of the above if you're asking what was it "more" about. Make no mistake, they know they have a shot this year and the most important thing IS this year. Johnsson is the big piece. huge minutes if/when needed. reliable on special teams. difference is there he was number 1/2..here just need to be solid not the best D-man on team...
Is the friendly rivalry between Toews and Kane mostly a media fabrication or are they really that competitive with each other?
Im not sure what you mean. They are teamates and as teamatesgo they have some friendly comeptition but never that I can tell at the expense of the team. Their not the only ones...its just how ateam works and keeps them interested..for example, when they get the boxscore they all look at blocked shots first and have fun with that stat, etc. so there is no huge rivalry or anything
Who are your picks for the Olympics? Do you think Team Canada can stop Team Russia? Does Team USA podium?
I like Slovakia to throw a wrench into it. I dont know why, I just do. No, on team USA
Are you more like a proud dad watching the hawks in the olympics or more like a worried mom hoping they dont get hurt??
Def. worried Mom
Jesse, what are the non-Olympic Hawks doing these days? Practicing? Conditioning? TV commercials!?!? What does Q have lined up?
No contact with the team until next thurs. feb. 25 when they start practice again. if there is a beach, they're on it. excpet for burish. hes working out
If Niemi continues to play well, what are the chance of him commanding big money this offseason? Will the Hawks be able to resign him?
Very good question. If they dont move Huet, they may have to move him. Theres a chance for sure. Whats interesting, because of his age, hes just one year away from Unrestricted free-agency so that throws a wrench into it as well. Just dont be shocked if hes traded...IF they cant move Huet
Cullimore back with the Hawks! Something smells fishy....your thoughts?
I just talked to a hawks spokesperson and they said it was a depth move, i guess in case they need him down the strecth but i do wonder about the timing. he must have been playing well enough in rockford to get signed bu i might wonder about sopel's health..Cullimore seems like the type to fill a sopel role...last time i saw sopel he was on crutches but no cast or anything and crutches dont mean that much inherently..ive seen players on crutches one day and on the ice the next but maybe sopel isnt ready out of the break...
Even though Tazer only got an assist, he seemed to be used in key moments last night PK, PP. Who do you think he should be playing with during the olympics?
I did not see the game. Had a couple days off...I believe hes third line center, right? thats perfect for him.
Couple of questions...will the Hawks go after Vokoun or someone else? And why did they spell your name Jesser?
Ha. I spelled it wrong not them. Bad typing. I think they are interested in Vokoun, yes.
I think everyone would agree that the Hawks looked less than inspired their last few games. Do you write that off to the dog days of the season with a break looming or have they lost some of the "shine" from Dec/Jan when seemingly everyone in the league was talking about them (media, other teams using them as a measuring stick, etc.)?
Simple question, do the Hawks win the Stanley Cup this year? Yes or No?
Killing me with this one. Who knows? But ill say no. Thats more of the chicago pessimist in me than anything but c'mon, the pens are still the pens..if NJ gets there, they have to beat Brodeur, and wash is washington. They get there though, I think. Just not sure of the winning it...but if they lose earlier it could come anywhere from the first round to the finals..no locks in this league. cant look past anyone
Excluding guys leaving via trade, which is hard to predict, who of the free agents currently on the roster do you see the hawks just letting walk in the offseason?
Ladd, Eager, and Madden?? not sure on madden. playoffs might make the diff for him and how much he wants as well.
Jesse, fantastic job with your work.Which Blackhawks player are you closest to off the ice, away from the rink?
I guess Buff. Did a radio show with him last year and we've stayed kind of close. but the older i get, the younger they get so not as much in common!! theres a few other guys ive known since i did the pre/post so a little closer to them...like sharp
Jesser, do you see Q playing with the defensive pairings? Who would you go with? I like Kim and hammer on the 2nd line. thanks
Good question..I think there are times when you see Johnsson and Hammer together..I think you're going to see Johnsson as a bit of a "rover" when needed...ya know after a few penalty kills or pp's in a row, maybe he steps in for a shift with a top four guy, etc...things liek that
Do you think the Blackhawks make another move with such a short period after the olympics?
$64,000 question. Nothing is in stone. I think they'd like to. If they had one mroe rugged sort of D man, I think they do it. If they get a goalie that is that much better than they have i think they do it. i wouldnt say they HAVE to do any of these moves now that they got Johnsson but if they could, they would
do you ever get to hang out and have dinner with the players on the road? what's that like!!
Not really. If we're in the same hotel, maybe a drink or what not. I might end up in a limo if I did!
Can you see Colin Fraser being what John Madden is, except at a MUCH cheaper price?
Hmm. thats an interesting one. Cant say for sure cause havent seen him in that role but if you think of his qualities i wouldnt rule it out...going up against crosby and thorton and guys like that would be a big jump so until i see it i couldnt tell you for sure...might have to ask a coach that one
Jesse, are their any other role players the Hawks are looking at via trade? I've heard they are still looking at the D-Man from NYI. I also know many other teams are going to be bidding on him, so then where would the Hawks look?
Andy Sutton is the name ive thrown out there for a while...maybe one of the carolina guys. ward perhaps...one thing we are learning about is stan bowman. first time through this and weve heard hes kind of an analytical guy..so not surprised hes kicked the tires (fav saying!)on a lot of players. thats why youve heard so many names...very few i think there was major interest in but you do your due dilligence..espeially when you can win it all...hey, i never heard johnsson's name once before it happened so maybe its the names you dont hear about...but a rugged guy is what i hear and makes sense
I hadn't heard anything on this Vokoun thing. In your opinion and insight, what are the odds of Huet being moved for him?
I dont think great EXCEPT if the hawks send someone or two with him that FLA REALLY wants..but i know hes available..listen who thought barker would get you that much in return?? one GM can look at a guy and say no good. another could like him. thats whats cool about the whole thing. so maybe randy sexton (fla gm) like huet's style for his team...its possible
Jesse, did you catch the latest episode of Blackhawks TV? How funny was the speed skating segment? I couldn't stop laughing...
Yeah, funny. this team is full of cool personaltities and really good guys...
Jesse, it's been great to see you out-working the other 'Hawks beat guys this season, really well done. Are there any players that are tougher than others to deal with, as a member of the media?
How did I answer that last question? You asked so I'll answer. Once in a while you can get some crabby players..it happens...sometimes Seabrook can be a little short (think he'd admit that), versteeg when things arent going well...no blanket statement there though
With Burish coming up on FA, where does he fit in with this team's future plans?
Im assuming hes wanted back depending on his demands and of course how he plays here...ironically, his stock as a fourth line guy may have gone up while he was out. even though they have a great record without him. they do miss the energy.
I am a big fan of the Blackhawks. So do you think they are going to do better, average, or worst after the Olympic break?
They'll be one more dip, in my opinion but better overall
Jesse, great stuff all year, love getting my Hawks info from ESPNChicago this season. If you could go fishing with any player on the team, who would it be and why? And don't say Buff again because ice fishing doesn't count!
Yeah, Buff loves to fish.guess kane or toews. probably kane. maybe sharp...fraswer and brouwer are great guys too. i dont know.
What kind of energy level do you expect one the olympic break is over?
I dont think there is any doubt they will be re-juvinated...so I epxect it to be high...
Speaking of Burish, have you heard how his "mini-camp" is going up in Wisconsin? Is he just chomping at the bit to get back on the ice?
Have not heard but is definitely chomping at the bit.
based on some of the sloppy plays the Hawks did this month, do you see them having a March slip up like last year?
No, every year is different. Who cares abotu march anyway as long as they maintain that second spot. april is what its all about as far as getting revved up.
How about that Brouwer fight after the hit on Kane? And then he ends the game with a clutch SO goal. Do you see Brouwer getting even better, and how long of a future does he have with the Hawks?
Love him. I go through diff fav players throughout the year and hes been mine like 3 times so far. hes a top 6 for sure next year with some of the bloodletting that will go on. i think he has a long one...he comes cheap right now.
What kind of effect will being around other young Stanley Cup winning captains, like Sidney Crosby, have on Toews as he comes back to the Hawks for the stretch run?
Knowing Toews, he might have a better effect on him then the other way around but it can only help him. hes so mature and sucks things up that he'll go down as a great hawk captain
Mentioned above Ladd, Eager and Madden being the possibe UFA's walking this summer, why not try and trade for something in return ie: picks, prospects????
Not sure what u mean. Not going to break up your team now..and what team would trade for a player in june..when they can sign him for nothing in july
General hockey question: Are crosby and Ovechkin really on a completely different playing level than any other players in the NHL right now? (IE is crosby that much better than toews or thorton and is ovechkin that much ahead of kovalchuk and kane)
Id probabaly say yes and throw Malkin in there as well.
Belfour-Chelios-Roenick in their prime vs. Niemi-Keith-Toews. Who wins?
right now the first trio. just for belfour alone. niemi just a rookie
lol. theres a lot of personal type questions this week. i guess with no games, why not.
Jesse, how do you get along with the other beat writers/media members? Do you hang out on the road together? Must be tough with the competition I guess...especially when you're kicking tail!!
Nah, we get along great. its only a job at the end of the day. a great job at that. we do go to dinner, etc. Thing is, on the road, the only people with the same "schedule" as you (meaning me) ae the other media memebers so you tend to hang out...after a game the players, etc are out there but we have to do our stories. same with practice.
meant to say the players,etc. are out of there..
Has there ever been a thought of playing hossa with toews and kane? If not is it because their games wouldnt mesh (find it hard to believe those three couldnt be one of the best lines in hockey) or because it would weaken the second line too much (they like keeping the playmakers spread out over a couple lines)?
When Hossa first returned they played together but i def think its more of the latter thing you said. weakening other lines
How great a game will Capitals vs Blackhawks be? Best game of the final quarter?
Very interesitng if seabs/keith can stop ovechkin
Double minor for instigating with a visor... what are your thoughts? Instigator penalties are tenuous at best, and a double minor can really disrupt a game.
Obviously, there are reasons behind it. doesnt get called very often..why not the knee on knee hit. looked pretty bad to me.
do u think the hawks are going to catch the sharks for the number 1 seed in the west. why or why not?
Going to say no. Just a guess, but think Q will reduce some minutes to get them ready for playoffs. seabs/keith in particular. just a gut they dont catch them
I'm not sure of this but im sure you will know the answer..Does voukon have any playoff experience? Because everyone talks about how important that is and everything, so if he doesn't, aren't the hawks possibly just trading for a goaltender with slightly better stats and the same amount of playoff expereince? seems risky
Look at his stats and you'll know. doesnt have a ton when he was with nash obviously or fla. last played in 2007 but hes having a great season. a great one. thats the reason u get him. cant have the full package sometimes so you do your best. there arent a lot of Cup winning goaltedners available!
Is getting Tkachuk a real possibility? Does he fit with the Hawks, or is he too old and maybe a little too slow? Or, does he rejuvenated going for the Cup like Guerin did last year?
They do miss a little size so i could see them kicking the tires but i dont think hes fast enough. i dont like it. forwards are set in my opinion. you are starting to change your style if you get him
Jesse, there has been talk that with the Johnsson acquisition, he will eat up some of the excess ice time that Keith and Seabrook log. This would obviously be a good thing come playoff time, but do you really think Q will pull the trigger and get the top pair's ice time down closer to or under 20 mins a game? It seems that Johnsson/Sopel can't really eat that many minutes, maybe Johnsson/Hendry?
Like I wrote earlier i dont think it comes down to a pair of D-men replacing min for seab/keith..i think its just johnsson that gets some more minutes whether thats just on special teams or 5 on 5...he'll be the one to eat them up
Don't you think the #1 seed is HUGE for the hawks because if all the top seeds win, they can let the sharks and canucks beat each other up and only have to beat one of them, as opposed to having to potentially face both of them in back to back series to get to the finals?
I dont think its huge. what looks good on paper rarely translates..personally i dont mind san jose. they arent quick enough for the hawks so bring them on
Do you think Hawks will get a goaltender before the deadline?
Easily could be wrong come march 1 but i'll say no
Jesse, come playoff time..Where do you rank the UC as one of the toughest venues to play? I know Washington is tough and so is Pittsburgh, but last year the UC's roof almost came off during the Vancouver series and im sure its going to get louder this upcoming spring
Just based on last year..as tough as any opponents building . i was in calgary and det but not vancouver. i imagine thats a tough place...
do you have a good rapport with the players? do they like you?
I would imagine some do and some dont, just like in life!
What d-men are still available?
Like Ive been talking about..think andy sutton, aaron ward, still maybe Nieds, you never know. last year od thier contract guys on non-contending teams is what you want to look at
Whats the deal with Duncan and warming up with seven sticks before the game? I know they need to see if they feel good and are tailored right but he used seven sticks before the CBJ game? Heard anything about that?
Dont know. wasnt there but these guys are all pretty superstitious and need to "feel" right about their equipment
Jesse, Johnnson's first game with the Hawks he scores a goal...pretty good first impression with the new team, wouldn't ya say?
Absolutely. Loved the give and go. I like the trade from top to bottom
In addition to Joe's question...have you noticed the increased marketing of Troy Brouwer by the Hawks? It used to be Kane and Toews everywhere, but they've begun promoting their other players of late. It sure seems like they're trying to make it seem like he'll be a mainstay.
Havent really noticed it per se. But they get thier players out a lot. Fraser is out there, etc.Brouwer and fraser do a lot together
Which of our fourth line and/or AHL forwards do you think could step into a full checking line role if Ladd and/or Madden isn't retained after the year? For example do you think enough of a guy like Bickell defensively to be able to shut down opposing top line forwards?
Maybe Burish can do it. Not sure on bickell or any AHL guy right now...someone else asked about fraser..not sure but has qualities I suppose.
Of all the highlight reel goals we've seen this season, which one has been your favorite?
Have to be honest..I kind of liekd Barker's end to end move..and Buff's overtime one. They come to mind..
They've already traded for one d-man but if the Blackhawks were to send some sort of package, maybe Versteeg/Buff/Pick, for Niedermayer how amazing would their already top ranked defense be?
Amazing but I would hope it would only take one off your roster...i mean its for a month and hes a free-agent so cant give up the farm
i constantly hear sharp trade rumors do you think the hawks would actually trade him or do u think its ridiculus like me ?
Pretty sure ridiculous. Lets put it this way,dont think they are out there trying to do it but in the off-season what if someone really wants him and they have to dump still? then you listen so Id say not likely but possible. nothing is written in stone in situations like this.
Hey jesse do you think keith is a top 3 finalist for the Norris trophy and does he have a good shot at winning it?
Finaist sound about right. He may have a had a dp in his play..we've all seen some tunrovers so it will be interesting. dan boyle playing well. mike green on offense of course but no one just having that monster year on both ends..except for maybe keith
In your opinion, do the Hawks have good enough goaltending to win the cup? Playoffs are all about the goaltending and I think that the hawks nedd to add one with some playoff experience.
I actually do because of the way they play the game when they are playing thier style. they dont hang their tenders out to dry (though they have much more since jan road trip) so they dont need their goalies to steal games..at least thats how i look at on paper...plus the bigger thing i dont see a lot out there much better besides vokoun
Thats going to do it for today. Thanks all. Great questions. stay current with my blog..Ill have a trade story and a prospects story up hopefully soon...plus sign up right now to follow me on twitter..no better way to stay current @espnchihawks or u can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org talk next week