Hey all. Welcome to our live playoff edition chat! Lets get this series going already. IM at the united center..the hawks just finished up practice...brian campbell practiced...wont play this weekend..but was NOT ruled out for later in the series...stil might be doubtful but once they start practicing..they cant be too far off unless he has a set back. thats the news today..lets get to your questions
Im watching all these espn shows like OTL, Around the Horn, and PTI and they are all predicting the hawks to win the cup. Now there would be nothing better for the hawks to win it but how safe can we really be with our goaltending? Ever since we can back from the olympic break i just dont think we've been the same team as we once were. Do you think the hawks can win it with sometimes known as "CANT"i Niemi? And if he doesnt do so hot will Quenneville actually put Huet back in?
First of all, they were pretty good in april including niemi...hes no better or worse than any goaltender in the west right now...its kind of an inexperienced group and even the guys that have been there dont have that much success..seems like a wash to me...i dont believe he will be the sole reason if they dont go far
What will the lines be once soupy returns? And i know youve probably been asked this a lot but is johnsson alive?
Q said too early to tell about where campbell fits back in...might depend on how the pairs are going at the time...i think buff will stay on D even if he drops down to play with sopel or what not...unless they want him in front of the net cause they arent getting prescence there...so still to be determined...Q said no update on johnsson..i have not seen him...they "hope" to have him back but obviously hes pretty bad off
Jesse, can we get a prediction for the opening round? Lots of people thinking a long series. I say Hawks in no more than 5.
5 or 6...
Great news about Campbell. No chance he's rushing back with the playoffs starting, right? Let's make sure he's 100% if not pretty darn close...
yeah, he was good about it today. would not predict a 1st round return..leaving it up to the docs, etc. so i think they are showing the right caution
Hey Jess,My brother in law (from Chgo, lives in Colo) finally fell in love with hockey this year (thank you Olympic games, and Blackhawk revival)... the approriate jersey to get him for his b-day is Keith Magnuson (#3 retired with 'Hawks and Denver U. standout), yes or no?
absolutely. perfect for a colorado guy
Do you think Niemi will be able to win us a stanley cup? And if he performs poorly would Quenneville actually put...can't believe i'm saying this but....Huet in??
Of course he would go to huet if niemi is blowing up...u just dont sit there and do nothing..then maybe crawford after that...but i think niemi can do it...the 8 or 9 in a row or whatever he played since that columbus debacle proved to me he could handle a workload...not sure of 2 straight months but ive said all along if the hawks play their game niemi wont be the prob...if they rely on him night in and night out, then maybe there are some issues but i wont blame him if thats the case and they lose
What is the status of Bickell? Is he staying with the team for the playoffs? Will he actually get playing time, and if so what line is he most likely to start on?
Q raved about bickell today and the last couple times he's talked about him..hes definitely here for the playoffs...wont get a start on friday but after that, who knows? all depends on how the other guys are playing..hes insurance if there's a slack off...and if the last game showed anything, he might be ahead of burish
Jesse, At this point would it be best to forget about Kim Johsson playing a role on this team? It seems like the pairings are coming together nicely and he's almost be upsetting the situation more than helping it.
Yes, it would be better, but not because he cant contribute if healthy...its just that hes nowhere near being available
How's Burish looked in practice? I expect he's going to try to bring high energy to breakout onto the fourth line again, like last postseason.
He looked ok but hes doing drills with like bickeel and boynton..not on a reg shift...hes not playing friday, thats for sure
How do you feel the mix of playoff experience/inexperience will help the Hawks in this year's Cup run?
Im not sure you could find a more perfect fit...everyone has last year under their belt plus u have hossa (2 finals in a row) and madden (2 cups). pretty good mix
Thoughts on any upsets we might see in other first round series?
good question...an obvious choice would be L.A. over Vancouver...i give colorado a chance if anderson stands on his head....im assuming det will win but man phoenix never stops coming at you...ive said for about 2 months the playoffs are going to be wide open and im not changing that thought...ive always liked L.A despite some late season struggles...they have a good mix of talent so i'll go that route but i cant tell you for sure...
Forget the goalie situation, I think Niemi will be just fine. I am thinking the Hawks need to get Campbell back asap so we can have a defensive player be able to skate the puck into the zone. What else do you think we are really missing out on with Campbell injured?
I think thats it. he adds to the whole tranisiton game...i dont think they miss THAT much on pp..but in going from defense to offense he's one of the best
Who is your favorite player on the hawks? Mine personally is Patrick Kane.
mine rotates every so often...i do like kane...i was a hossa guy for a long time htis year. he just does everything better than most...im back with sharp now...bad answer i know.
Has Q mentioned who will be going on the 4th line? Will he leave it as is, with Eager Fraser and Kopecky, or will Bur get a chance to play there too?
as is. but that can change after one game...they dont have the security that the top line players do but for now, as is.
I'm optimistic and looking forward to a Hawks-Sharks match-up to get to the Stanley Cup championship. How do you see those teams matching up over a long series? Sometimes, Nabokov seems to stand in the net immobile like a frozen Otter Pop! His vision during the playoffs reminds me of the vision of a dead corpse! Yes, I'm very concerned, but that's who WE have, I guess. What is your take on the matchup? Oy vey and good luck!
Im not going to change what i thought from the seaosn series: hawks are quicker and the sharks dont have an answer for it...over 7 games, that quickness will make the difference...
Jesse, Now that Brouwer should be back on friday, will he be back on left wing with Bolland and Kane?
Does Barry Melrose and the NHL 10 simulation picking the 'Hawks make you nervous?
I think Chicago fans are more than fair with players. Unless your a jerk like Milton Bradley you get every chance in the world to play here. Do you think that's true and if so, do you think the fans gave Huet a fair shake this year?
for the most part i think he was given a fair shake.i know there were some that were down on him from the word go but he had every chance to win them over...and for a while he was good but it didnt work out...i dont think anyone got personal with him..he just didt get the job done..and hes admitted that
I know it's been asked a million time, but why aren't the Hawks saying what is going on with Johnsson? It seems like such a mystery to everyone.
They dont like to talk about concussions too much..its a touchy subject..maybe there is more but thats usually the case with head injuries
Jess- Rumor has it that Qstache said Bickell was up with the club for good. Does he mean the rest of the playoffs or is he speaking on long term? And what does that mean for our other "top pick" draft choices of the past, i.e. Skille?
i dont think he was saying for next year though he prob will be..was talking about now..these playoffs..skille is behind him, for sure..
For those of us who don't follow the Hawks super closely, could you run down their expected 4 lines for the playoffs. Thx.
sure. first guy listed is center:toews/hossa/sharpbolland/kane/brouwermadden/versteeg/laddfraser/kopecky/eager
Jesse who would you like to see play the Hawks should they make the Stanley cup finals from a personal level and match-up wise?
hmm..well, theyve beaten NJ twice and even though they were on the verge of losing that 2nd one i think thats a good matchup...personally, pitt still scares me...so does wash, obviously...
Hi Jesse....Do you think Keith and Seabs are still going to be split up during the first round?
Jesse - big fan. Do you think that Huet will get any playing time? In the EA prediction they have Huet winning the cup and I believe EA sports so I want to see Huet in net, what are your thoughts?
thats funny. no he wont see the net unless of injury or niemi #### the bed
From a match-up standpoint, where do you see major advantages and dis-advanatges against Nashville?
I could see the hawks having trouble scoring if their secondary guys dont come through..thats why its huge that the 4th line has been so good..they'll need that again, especially in nash where they can get the matchup edge...i dont like weber, hamuis, and suter against the hawks top line..this is prob the worst matchup for kane...having said that if the hawks top lines grinds it out they could wear down the defense and i think they will do just that...toews might be my MVP for the first round
Random question, but in your opinion, if Toews wasn't captain, who do you think would get the job? Sharp? Keith? Someone else?
With Bickell playing well every time he's called up do you think he gets stuck on the 4th line for playing time, or could he crack one the top 3? I just think he's a better player than 4th line minutes.
MOre than likely 4th line..cause they are not sitting a top 9 forward unless they really stink...but he wont dress for fri. after that, never know
Any chance we will see any of the Hawks drop the gloves in this series??
these are two of the least penalized teams in the league. i doubt there will be one fight unless some special circumstances apply
Burish has been known for his energy and positive attitude behind the scenes. Do you think him sitting and being UFA soon will hurt him throughout the play-offs?
I'm not sure of your question...he needs to play to get a good contract...i havent talked to him yet about it but he cant be happy. rehab for 5 months and then get benched? ouch
Jesse, I know that I beat a dead horse with this point/question, but which line to you anticipate is going to get the checking line assignment? I know that nashville's forwards don't require a top notch checking line, but another team will eventually.
its a rotation on this team. sometimes, its madden but when they need a go to shift it will be toews...
Hey Jesse, this morning I heard Terry Crisp, the announcer for the Preds on the radio and he mentioned that no team is going win the cup w/ the same goalie all playoffs, unless that goalie is Brodeur or Roy or someone of that caliber. But basically he was saying we'll need Huet to win some games in order to win the Cup. Personally, I don't agree with that, but wanted to get your thoughts. Can we ride Niemi the whole way if he's good or do we need Huet at some point to win it all, no matter how Niemi is playing?
Hmmm...i kind of understand where's hes coming from. it depends...if ever yseries goes 7 you might need a game from the other guy but i basically disagree as well...maybe hes saying you need the other guy to come in for a game after a poor start and u still think you can win it even if you're down 3-0 and he has to stop the bleeding..i can see that but not to start a bunch of games..
How can you say Niemi is as good as any goalie in the West?? Loungo is much more dependable....wouldn't you agree?
i said right now there isnt that much of a diff in any of their play...louongo has had a tough stretch and has not had stellar playoffs...niemi is playing well...that could change but april was huge for him..huge confidence builder and he needed it.
Jesse, My question is coming from the world of EA Sports. The scenario they had on ESPN was that the Hawks won the cup over the Pens in 7 I believe. But one of the stars of that game was Huet with 34 saves. Can you comment on what happened to Niemi? Poor play or injury?
this is how i will comment: who the heck cares about a video simulation outcome? i dont know and i dont care
So can we look at Burish sitting as a precursor to him not returning to the club next year, since he'll be a UFA and all? They seem to be indicating that the team can succeed without him.
that would be a yes
Hey Jesse....You posted my question, but not the answer. Question too tough? Do you think Keith and Seabs are still going to be split up during the first round?
I did post an answer.go back and look. YES they will be split up
Hi Jesse-How close do you think Bolland is to being back where he was last year? Seems to me like he is still struggling a bit to get back in the groove. He may be the key to Hawks success in the playoffs. Thanks.
i dont think hes the key but he could help...i'd say he's 75% of the player he was last year...need more out of him..he'll be on the point for the pp so huge responsibility. hopefulyl hes gets it going
So which of our players is frothing at the mouth the most to get things started right now? Who's most geared up for second season?
thats a good question. havent seen much frothing..i'll go with toews...he told me last year he didnt sleep from like before game 1 to game 3 against calgary
Jesse - Still a big fan, do you think Big Buff will play any offense in the playoffs? I was really happy last year when he was in front of the net yelling at the goalies distracting them. Will we see him do that again?
I def would not rule it out...if the pp is struggling and they want to switch it up..he will go there...when soupy is back i think he stays on D but might get some shifts on O...right now the have kopecky i nthe middle on one pp unit (toes on the other) so that could change
Who do you think the Hawks find in the second round? I'd personally rather see the Kings since the Canucks are so physical and the past experiences with the Ladd-Kesler bouts, but I don't think they've got a shot against Vancouver. Your thoughts?
Tough call...there are likes and dislikes for both teams...i guess L.A. would be better for hawks since they have less experience...
Anyone scare you the most in the West? My only fear is Vancouver.
i guess det. but scare is a strong word...im trying to think of teams that would frustrate the hawks...nashville actually is one of them..tough call
Is Fraser getting lucky or will he perform the same in the playoffs?
no doubt some is good fortune...little diff than pure luck...not sure about the scoring carrying over, that comes and goes but his confidence is sky high..so i think theat lines provied what it needs to
Because of their youth are the Hawks better able to survive long series (6-7 games) than say San Jose and Detroit and still have gas in the tank for the next round?
i think there is something to that but only as we get later in playoffs
With the way the 4th line has been playing recently do you think Eager and Fraser have earned themselves consideration for being resigned next year?
i perosnally think fraser could be the 3rd line center if he shows improvement...eager i doubt will be back
So here is a rather serious question I'm sure many have been wondering, but have been too afraid to ask: do you rep some Hawks gear at the games you cover, or would that hurt your journalistic integrity? Maybe a hat or a Hossa jersey? Do you own much Hawks-related clothing at all?
ha. ive said this before. other than a few giveaways my son has...i own one thing..a kyle calder jersey circa 2003
Last year some of the guys got sick during that first playoff series, something I'd rather not see repeated since it seemed to hit Toews and Kane hardest. Any signs of sniffles or other ailments in the locker room right now? Please say "no"...
well, let see, i had kane bend over and cough...kididng...no, nothing that i could see. everyone has been practicing...no sniffles.
Have you had the honors of seeing Kane's new hairstyle in real life?
yes, and im jealous. course i cant grow anything..he pointed that out to me. rude
What kind of leash do you think Niemi has in the playoffs? Do you agree that Niemi is kind of a "confidence" goaltender and if he's constantly looking over his shoulder thinking he will be pulled is he has a bad start that would affect him negatively? Do you think the coaches discussed that at all with him? As in, don't worry if you have a bad start you're our guy for now. Just to keep his confidence up?
good question. rick dudley called him that to me in an interview a few weeks ago. i think he does need that support...im not sure if theyve said it to him but their actions have shown they are behind him...(except for that anaheim game when they started crawford. still bothers me) theyve done pretty well handling him..its a fine line. u want to give him confidence but not the weight of the world..
Which secondary player do you think is most critical to the Hawks playoff success?
hmmm...always depends on who u consider secondary...il go in this order: buff, madden, steeg
So do you or any of the other media guys get in on the playoff beard action?
i actually have one now but intend on shaving it on friday..better luck for them that i dont let it grow...but no, no one else is doing it that i could tell
Jesse - getting to be a bigger fan by the minute. Since the Calgary Flames have been eliminated why haven't the Hawks reacquired Rene Bourque?
weird question. i guess cause he signed a long term deal a month or so ago..and u just cant grab anybody after the season is over...i think thats a start to my answer
I am sure all the players are aware of the intense pressure being put on them from the city of Chicago and all the fans to make it to the Cup. From experiencing the atmosphere of the team, do you think they are very much aware of the rest of the NHL media that is also putting that pressure on them as the Cup favorites this year?
Yeah, they've heard all that. most players let it roll of their back..that pressure manifests itself in games, etc. so we'll see. i know buff. he could care less. not a big deal they are being picked
Do you think it will benefit us at all to have this opening round take place in the same time zone as opposed to last year where we had the greater distance to travel?
kane was asked that last year. not sure if it will help but certianly cant hurt, without a doubt. i think it would lend itself to a better chance at an upset if nashville was the 7 seed located in Cal. or whatever...you want an even playing field as much as possible when youre the better team so the talent wins it and not some outside thing like bad travel
meant kane was asked that yesterday
I understand that Sopel is a huge asset to the PK, but why is Boynton after him when it comes to roster selection game in and game out????
PK, experience, etc. they like sopel's smarts and shot blocking
how are the olympians legs feeling this year? you think they are worn out at all?
IF they were this break will help..i see all getting their second winds..practice so far has been intense and high tempo..the break here helps the hawks..hurts the preds big time in my opinion
With it being reported that Campbell is back to full practice today, define full practice. Do they hit in practice or is it more drills and is he shooting with full range of motion?
there wasnt much contact today in general so he didnt see that...he was taking normal drills..when they went to game specific stuff for friday like pp, etc. he did not particiapte..he was shooting slapshots but not full throttle.
Kaner has a new 'do?? Can you elaborate?
hes doing some weird mullet thing. short in front and long in back..called it"business in front, party in the back."
Jesse: really appreciated your coverage all season long...great work. My question has to do with the pace of play we can expect from the hawks this postseason. Obviously teams play a much tighter and conservative game come playoff time, but I feel like that doesn't quite suit us. Do you see the hawks putting up shot total numbers like we saw throughout the regular season or should we expect a much more subdued attack?
i think you will see an adjustment to what is needed..they might drop a game cause they will try to play a style that isnt there but ive been impressed with thier ability to adapt...so they will try for a wide open skating game but tighten up when need be...
Jesse, any reason given for Campbell being ahead of schedule? In the beginning they were talking late playoffs maybe. Now he's skating and it seems like any game is a possibility going forward from Friday.
quick healer? you never know about timetables, etc.
Thanks for running down the forwards. Would you mind doing the same for the Left/Right pairings for the top 6 dmen right now with Campbell out.
if this wasnt the playoffs and u didnt ask nicely: buff/keith..hjarmalsson/seabrook...hendry or boynton/sopel
Are any of the other players going with the Mullet, or doing anything unusual for the the playoffs?
no one else is going with the mullet. thats for sure..after 2 days here havent heard anyone else doing anything goofy
Renne being 6-5" 210 LBS, what is the best way to beat him?
get him moving side to side...volumes of pucks at him..wear him out
What do you think of the rumor about Torch maybe becoming the head coach of the Thrashers? I really like his insights teamed with Qstache and Havi...
yeah, the dudley connection must be in play there, etc. its hard for me to evaluate asst. they are off limits to the media for the most part...i mean the team hada good season, the assts are part of that so i have to assume they did a good job. he works the pp and some people have been critical but last year in playoffs, it was really good so we'll see...i simply dont know what kind of a head coach he would make
Random question: Jesse, if you were a pro athlete was sport would you like to play? If it's a team sport what position?
I loved playing hockey..probably that..plus summer off...center.
Thats going to do it for today...i'll have a couple of new blogs up later today from practice and about campbell...follow me on twitter @espnchihawks sign up now. if you did, you would have known right away that campbell was back at practice today...we'll have some radio postgame shows on am 1000 after the playoff games so tune in to that as well and next week from nashville, we'll have another chat...thanks for the questions...email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you didnt get something answered. enjoy the playoffs!