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March 31, 5:00 PM ET
Chat with Jesse Rogers

Jesse Rogers
  (5:05 PM)

Hi all. Welcome to our weekly chat coming to you from Minny. Not a lot of time cause we have a game soon, so lets get to it. I know you're angry!

JG (Chicago)

Is coach Q and the team worried about this recent slump?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:07 PM)

Of course. The degree of that worry?? Im not sure, but at least as we hit April they need to get a run together or a confidence crisis and confusion will reign in the playoffs

Chris (Indy)

The Hawks showed a bit of heart against the Blues....Eager finally dropped the gloves and tried to get something going early on. How do they get back to being a physical and intimadating team???

Jesse Rogers
  (5:07 PM)

By running guys into the boards. espeically the 4th line.

Candice (Chicago,IL)

Why are some fan's so hard on Huet? From recent Blackhawk games I don't think it's all on the goalie's, it's a team thing.

Jesse Rogers
  (5:08 PM)

I have to tell you hes deserved most of it. Im sorry to say it but its true. He was good in the middle portion of the season but not lately. The Columbus game was just awful...hes given up some really awful goals this year...

Charlene (Bolingbrook)

I heard this question on the radio this morning and wanted to get your opinion: more rest for the guys to get them ready for the playoffs or try to get the highest seed? I say get the rest, b/c our guys are clearly tired. And do you know who is starting in goal tonight? Keep up the great work. Can't wait to hear more from you about the Hawks. GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jesse Rogers
  (5:10 PM)

Ive asked that of Q...he says seed first and rest second...for now...rememebr they dont need 2 weeks just a little time so as they get closer and maybe the seeds fall into place i think dunc will get some time and the rest...not a lot but a little...niemi tonight..exclusive to this chat...well i said it on the radio a few min ago but close enough

The Optimist (Chicago)

Jesse, the 2005 White Sox had big-time late-season struggles before righting the ship and rolling through the playoffs to a World Series title. Help stop the widely-spreading panic and reassure us that this Hawks team can get hot in these last two weeks and have a similar post-season outcome!

Jesse Rogers
  (5:11 PM)

Agreed..but it is weird to be this bad at this time of year. i think they need a mini run..just a little one...3-5 games...not even win them all but play like the "old" hawks. im holding out hope there is a major second wind coming

Nicole (Alabama)

Jesse,I saw my beloved Hawks bromance of Seabs/Duncs on the ice again vs. The Blues? Can we expect to see them on the same line again tonight? :)

Jesse Rogers
  (5:12 PM)

Yeah, 3rd period..reunited and it feels so nice...um, maybe. i just dont know. no practice today. they injuries to deal with...i think you'll see them back more often than not as we move along here

TKON (Edmonton)

Hey Jesse, Q in my opinion has lost this team going back to mid January. I have been in favor of a late coaching change, heck it has been done before. Many shun that idea but while improbable there is always a chance. Do you think this late bringing in someone like Nolan, Scotty Bowman or even Hitchcock is too late and would be to hard to adjust to a new or revised system for the Hawks?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:12 PM)

Probably. I know its happened..mainly in NJ where thier GM is such a force there that it worked...thats a rare occasion..i think we know that

Stacy (Chicago)

Hi Jesse, I'm not a fan of the new Kane, Buff, Steeg line. Was this a matter of numbers with the other lines matching up better and these were the 3 remaining players? I just don't see Steeg being a center which would mean he'd actually have to pass the puck. Your thoughts? Also, any chance Bickell will come up to add another big body, possibly a hungry spark in that he will want to stay up? I don't see the benefit of Eager out there lately. Thanks!

Jesse Rogers
  (5:14 PM)

I think it was just something out of the box Q was trying. Im not a fan of steeg there either...probably no on bickell, etc. they have extra guys...but i wont rule out anything right now..thier stars have to take over..not the role players

Wendy (Naperville)

Haven't seen anything about who's in goal for sure tonight. Any idea who it's going to be?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:14 PM)

Thats cause you're not looking in the right place...kidding, we just put it up..its niemi

Blake (Chicago)

Hi Jesse, Is it me or have the Hawks faced some great goal tending since the Olympic break? I know this is a sore excuse for their recent slide, but it seems other teams have been making some incredible saves as of late.

Jesse Rogers
  (5:16 PM)

I disagree...roloson wasnt that good early, they should have jumped hin in the first...bryzgalov wasnt good either until the shootout...mason was ok last night..better than niemi...

Joe P. (Las Vegas, NV)

Is not trading for a goalie going to come back and bite us in the behind thereby causing us to not do any real damage in the playoffs?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:17 PM)

Probably..maybe...

Sergio (Chicago)

If Niemi or Huet continue to struggle the last few games, would the Hawks have an alternative to those two for the playoffs?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:17 PM)

UNless you wanted to go real desperate and hand it to corey crawford but thats insane...the answer is no

Mrbearsguy54 (Tucson)

At this rate, will we be seeing Niemi in net for the first round of the playoffs?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:17 PM)

Looks like it

Jessica (PA)

Why does it seem like the 4th line is being less aggressive right now?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:18 PM)

Good question. I dont know but I will ask them what is up

Joe (Joliet, IL)

I don't think we have any reason to be angry. This kind of thing happens. That said, any thought of sitting Verbender(steeg) down for a game or two to wake him up? If not, he and Kane cannot play on the same line. 2 guys that need the puck too much and don't play much defense.

Jesse Rogers
  (5:18 PM)

dont like them together..dont think steeg should be benched though

Mike (Loves Park)

What's the status of Sopel and what does our D look like for tonights game and beyond?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:19 PM)

Took some stitches...and boynton was huritng some..but i do not know who is in and who is not...i know burish is a scratch

Brent Zartler (Tinley Park)

Is there any better defenseman in Rockford than sopel and boyton that we can call up?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:20 PM)

Dont think so

Andy (Old Town)

Do you know how Campbell is doing? Is he on schedule? I think we can win one round without him, but Im not so sure we can beat Detroit or Vancouver without him.

Jesse Rogers
  (5:20 PM)

Saw him last home game wearing a sling but he had it off for a while...yes on schedule as far as i know

Andy (Old Town)

Jesse, the sky is not falling. We are gonna be ok, right?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:21 PM)

As bad as its been..Ive said I will give it till april to really panic...thats basically now...though i didnt like the 2d columbus more than any...cant fig that one out..that one makes beleieve there are some major probs...but for me, starts over in april...

Al (Chicago)

I don't understand. I just don't. Things were going so well up until the Olympic break. Then we come back and just suck. Every day there is a new "excuse/reason". Goalie, defense, offense, power play, lack of energy, lack of focus, pace of the game... on and on and on. So really, break it down for us. What the heck happened!?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:24 PM)

Other than fatigue, i guess, I dont know..i just wrote a story going up now..kane is an honest guy and i like talking to him cause of that..he admitted he (or they) thought the final 20 games would go by fast and before you know playoffs would be here but, and maybe this is cause of the losing, he said its gone slow...so maybe their heads are thinking playoffs and ya know, i know its bad but maybe its true..problem is , you just cant turn it on...have to get in a rythym

Tim Mo (Air Force Academy, CO)

Will Coach Q and Bowman think about sending Huet to Rockford to get his confidence back?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:26 PM)

been asked and they have said no but that doesnt mean they havent thoguht about it. i have not gotten that impression.that season is almost over..then playoffs of course

George (Chicago)

I know you've mentioned the need for Toews' leadership in other posts. Which other players need to step up their game the most to lift us out of this slump?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:26 PM)

hmmm. hossa but he's been doing it...bolland..theres a couple

Andrew Ferrara (River North)

Jesse,First of all I want to say that I think you do an excellent job covering the Chicago Blackhawks. My question is a unique one. Do you think Q is holding certain things back from his players? I.e saving them for the playoffs. We see it all the time in college basketball, particularly with a Tom Izzo and Michigan State. The playoffs are so much more intense than the regular season, it would not surprise me if this was true. I would like to hear your perspective.

Jesse Rogers
  (5:27 PM)

Decent question. I cant say for sure. I dont think a coach would let things slide like this and then try to recover it BUT april is more importnat than march and so on so lets see...

Bill (Chicago)

Hi Jesse. In your opinion, what's the "real" feeling in the locker room? It seems most players have remained calm in their comments, but are the Hawks more nervous than they let on? How nervous are you?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:29 PM)

I think what I said about kane earlier might be true...a guy like toews probably is pissed to high heaven but i still think they think they are good and will get it back...i stated my beliefs..that 2nd Columbus game was a head scratcher but for me, now is the time...last year..under .500 in march....6-0-1 in april

Brady (Rolling Meadows)

What do you read into Q's uncertainty about the goalie tonight after last night's game? Could it be that he was going to go with Huet, but now they need a win so it's Niemi?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:31 PM)

If you mean his uncertianty with the press? that could have been for show. or maybe real. who knows. but it is possible he switched. i think huet prob needs a game somewhere but more important is showing confidence in niemi now

Tony (Mundelein)

What happened to the cycle offense the Hawks were running in the opponents zone? Seems all four lines ran it up to the break and now you only see it a shift or two per night.

Jesse Rogers
  (5:32 PM)

Im with ya buddy. Saw it early last night. Toews line was great..then not much...going thru some motions maybe?

Jack (Deerfield)

Is Buff a forward or a Defensemen? They need his size upfront, but they clearly need his speed on D since they lose so much of it with Sopel and Boynton. Aren't they better with him on D since they have extra forwards?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:33 PM)

I would tend to agree with you..he hasnt made glaring mistakes...maybe some up the middle passes and a few guys nearly getting around him...i would leave him back there for now

Adam (San Diego)

It's a conspiracy theory but I'm hoping Coach Q has been mixing these lines up knowing they'll have a tough time winning games... Let the guys know what losing is like so they're nice and hungry as the playoffs are starting... I'm crazy right?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:34 PM)

Probably. You are playing with fire if you're messing with things as a psych ploy...they need some wins..might lose the division if they keep this up so you are crazy!

Andrew (peotone IL)

i have been hopeing for a cup all year to make me less upset abut the state of the states sports. should i skip watching the play offs to avoid the heartbreak?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:34 PM)

No..but about 2 games in, we'll know if they;ve recoverd and gotten their mojo back...maybe they are just waiting...they DO know what playoffs is all about so hope for that

Stacy (Chicago)

Sharp has looked pretty good lately and has been getting some good looks at the net, BUT, more often than not, he shoots it right into the goalie's chest. Does he actually scout the goalie's he's playing against, especially considering he thought Conklin played last night?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:36 PM)

ha! funny. yeah, they do. sometimes easier said than done. your angle or your body position might dictate where it goes but i know what you're talking about. at least he doesnt miss the net..kane seems to do that a lot. i think sharp thinks hitting the net can only be a good thing..maybe it goes by him or you get a rebound. hitting the glass..not so good.

Tyler (Miami University)

Why is Q getting away from the lines that were winning him games earlier in the season?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:38 PM)

I dont know exact reasoning but i think you'll see a return to some normal lines as we move into april..thats my guess...Madden think hes just trying things out in case he needs to or maybe looking for one new, good combo...we'll see

Jay (Chicago)

I know we have been playing bad lately but once the playoffs come around a team has to beat us 4 of 7. Thats a big difference than coming in for one game, isn't it?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:39 PM)

Ive always made that point,especially when it comes to goaltednding...for a long while, the tenders were not having 4 out of 7 bad ones if you know what i mean...not as good lately but even niemi has 2 shutouts in the last 10 days so im with you...for the most part..cause the ship has sprung some holes!

Steve Grant (Northbrook)

Jesse...please tell me that Sopel will be a scratch for the rest of the season. He gets beat like a drum nearly every shift he's on the ice. Just because he blocks shots on the penalty kill is no reason to have him on the ice. I feel terrible for Keith since he's stuck playing with him now. What do you think of rolling with these pairings: Seabrook/Hammer, Keith/Buff, Hendry/Boynton? Lastly, when is Johnson coming back from his concusion?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:41 PM)

I like those combos...hammer and buff seemed to be fine as well..buff must have graded out low in a couple of games cause Q was raving about him then all of a sudden hes back on wing..but he has said he'll go back and forth...god only knows on johnsson and maybe not even him...my spider sense is tingling, something is up there...

Ryan (Naperville)

Jesse-Are we looking at a Willie Mitchell type injury here with Johnsson? If anyone should still be seeing stars, it should be Seabrook....

Jesse Rogers
  (5:41 PM)

Agrees. see above: spider sense

Jesse Rogers
  (5:41 PM)

agreed

Jesse Rogers
  (5:42 PM)

Few more than off to see CAM BARKER! yes!

Brady (Rolling Meadows)

This team seems to be a pretty close group of guys. Are they holding themselves accountable in the dressing room?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:43 PM)

They seem to be. theyve had some meetings. players have talked. hossa mentioned that he has said some things along with madden...its getting better. last night was not god awful though it might have felt like it...lets see what tongiht brings

FT (Chicago)

Jesse . . . have you looked at whether there is any correlation between Olympic participation and recent record. maybe it is just anecdotal but it seems like teams with a lot of Olympians have struggled . . . Hawks, Sharks, for example. Thoughts?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:44 PM)

Go to our site...should be up now or real soon. story i just did. we can never know for sure but there is evidence..look at wings of 2006...swedes win gold..126 pts for wings and gone in 1st round..5 swedes on wings.

Brady (Rolling Meadows)

To what extent would you agree with this statement: Niklas Hjalmarsson is the unsung hero of this team?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:44 PM)

MOstly agree

Tyler (Miami University)

Why haven't we heard more on Johnsson? They said concussion but are not giving the fans any idea of when he might be back or if he even will be.

Jesse Rogers
  (5:46 PM)

They may not know. When you have a concussion, you dont know when the symptoms will subside..i believe this is at least his 3rd of career..maybe more..they add up...there could be more going on but this is a possibility...when he feels better he plays..no doctor can predict that...or something else is going on!

Jesse Rogers
  (5:46 PM)

They may not know. When you have a concussion, you dont know when the symptoms will subside..i believe this is at least his 3rd of career..maybe more..they add up...there could be more going on but this is a possibility...when he feels better he plays..no doctor can predict that...or something else is going on!

Jesse Rogers
  (5:48 PM)

Thanks guys. sorry to cut it a little short this week. will go long next week. leaving for the game now. follow me on twitter..@espnchihawks or email me if you like jrogers@espnchicago.com and check out my blog. that olympic piece should be up and i have a HUGE niemi feature almost ready for the next day or two! talk to ya on twitter from the game and next week for our chat. thanks so much. love talking hawks with you..now for a win!