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May 14, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Jesse Rogers

Buzzmaster
  (4:02 PM)

Jesse Rogers is on his way to the 'Nation to chat about the NHL Playoffs.

Jesse Rogers
  (4:03 PM)

Hello from San Jose. Let me paint a picture for you. Perfect day. sunny about 65..feels warmer..hawks are alactraz as we speak..sharks had a long practice...im staying at the tema hotel. all the room are ooked in this town for like a nerdy kid inventors convention. not sure how esle to put it! anyway, its time to get serious. halfway to the cup. lets get to your questions!

Jesse Rogers
  (4:04 PM)

spelling will improve, i promise

Christian S (Chicago)

How do you think the blackhawks will do against the sharks.

Jesse Rogers
  (4:04 PM)

win in 6..maybe even 5...ok maybe 7..but win

art (chgo)

Gotta come back in here a swallow my pride. I was doom and gllom on the hawks going into game 5/6. I was wrong about them. They looked awesome in game 6...the way they looked earlier before the olympic break.

Jesse Rogers
  (4:05 PM)

Yes, i thought game 6 was scary good. no decent team should lose a deciding game like that at home unless the opponent is really good..but i do think van had/has some issues...either way, they dismantled them..As Q says..every game is different so doesnt mean it will happen again sunday

Jeremy (Boston)

Definitely getting more LeBron questions than hockey questions today, enjoy.

Jesse Rogers
  (4:06 PM)

Lebron who? my god, enough alreay. is it june 30?

Josh Martin (Freeport, IL)

With how dominant the hawks were against the nucks in game 6 I can't imagine the lineup is going to change heading in to game 1. That being said the sharks aren't the same style team. They are slower then Vancouver but they are bigger. You certainly can't argue with how Ben Eager and Adam Burish are playing right now but I think the Sharks are a good matchup for a Brian Bickel type of player. What do you think the chances are that we see him at some point in this series?

Jesse Rogers
  (4:07 PM)

Oh, I dont know. Only if something isnt working. I dont think you fight fire with fire here. I think you get quicker not any bigger. They can handle thier own...each line has some size now so they're ok but you could always go to bickell for a diff. look if someone isnt carrying thier weight

Chris (San Antonio)

Jesse, I look forward to your chat every week. Can you please tell me is it just me or is Sopel a major liability out there? When he's out on the ice, I am seriously waiting for him to screw up one way or another and give the opposing team an easy goal. Is he really the best option we have or should Q give some of his ice time to another guy? Also, is Sopel in the Hawk's future plans

Jesse Rogers
  (4:09 PM)

Sopel is a little bit of all or nothing. 5 on 5, with the wrong matchup, you are right...but every team needs a guy that will sacrifice himself and hes done that. you dont want keith blocking shots the way sopel does. Q likes his smarts..I wish he got less 5 on 5 time because when he and hendry were out there, it was scary..for everything he brings, hes probably the best option but I say in limited minutes. He has one year left on his deal at 2.3 mil

Justin (Lake Bluff)

Hey Jesse, who's got the edge in net in this series?

Jesse Rogers
  (4:10 PM)

Niemi.Im riding him...he did me right by Luongo and I think Nabakov is more likely to give up a big number in any one game as he did in reg season...

Justin (Lake Bluff)

Who do you think sits to start this series- Brouwer, Kopecky, someone else?

Jesse Rogers
  (4:11 PM)

Proabbly Kopecky...maybe eager...one of those 2...so far practice looks like kopecky sits

Dan (Elk Grove Village)

Jesse:Hey, I know the Sharks have offensive talent (Heatley, Marleau, Thornton, Pavelski, Clowe) that rivals the Hawks, but in your eyes do they have either the blue line talent or the team speed to win four games in a best-of-seven series? Based on the four regular season meetings my answer would be 'No'. Your thoughts?

Jesse Rogers
  (4:11 PM)

I agree however based on reg season they werent going to beat det. but det doesnt have the speed the hawks have..especially on the back end...you'll see hawks D jumping up a lot I think

Andrew (Nashville)

Jesse, I have thoroughly enjoyed your coverage of this team all season long. Outside of the big three, (the two Patricks and JT,) who do you see stepping up and having an impact on this series? Thanks, and go Hawks!

Jesse Rogers
  (4:12 PM)

Tough call. I'll go with versteeg cause i thnk smaller and quicker is the way to beat them...

Fitz (My Cube)

Jesse, I have been waiting for Hossa to go off in the playoffs and saw signs he is on the verge but hasn't yet. I feel like he has played well but seems a little tentative on some shots and when taking it to the goal. What is your take on him and do you see him having a big series? Keep up the good work

Jesse Rogers
  (4:13 PM)

yeah, hard to figure or predcit him. I think he will play well but I cant tell you if he'll break out. My vote is for Kane to be big, then sharp, and of course toews but hossa is always good or at least good enough

Chicago (Atlanta)

Can you explain why the Blackhawks seem to have trouble getting a win at home?

Jesse Rogers
  (4:15 PM)

No, I cant. Nobody can. I do think there's something to playing a smart road game compared to "putting on a show" at home sometimes. Also, have to look at situations...hawks were up 3-1 last series...had won 3 in a row...hard to beat someone 4 times in a row..also they got the PP chances on the road..that made a big diff in games 3 or 4...it is what it is..home/road..i like it this way...ice size is the same. as long as they win the series, thats all that matters

Jay (Palatine)

Jesse, I read the Hakws were visiting Alcatraz today. I was wondering...were they so confident they were going to beat the Canucks in game 6 that they packed extra clothing and necessities to just stay on the West Coast? Or did they fly back to Chicago for a day?

Jesse Rogers
  (4:17 PM)

They stayed (as did I) and packed enough (as I ddi not!)..thats normal for NHL teams in their situations...Im getting a little tired of the whole jinx things. anything I say, or they do, or you do or say, has no affect on the outcome of the game unless you believe in voodoo but it wa sthe right thing to do

Jim (Barrington)

Jess--Have you talked to the boys about Alcatraz yet? Or is it too early to have?

Jesse Rogers
  (4:20 PM)

Talked to them before they left...hilarious madden quote..story will be up soon: he said of leaving patrick sharp at the jail: "hes the best looking guy on the team so should leave the boys something nice for them" meaning the inmates..will talk again after they come back

Stacy (Chicago)

Hi Jesse,Do you feel like the team finally realizes they must play each game going forward with the same energy, determination, and skill they did in Game 6 versus Vancouver? They cannot afford to not show up for any games going forward, or "we didn't expect them to come out that hard" mentality....

Jesse Rogers
  (4:21 PM)

It would be easy to say yes but I cant do that. They know it but it doesnt always work out that way...let's see how it goes

Andrew (NYC)

JR - Have the Hawks placed an emphasis in practice on faceoffs? Either by implementing new strategies or tactics?

Jesse Rogers
  (4:22 PM)

They have placed an emphasis on it but nore about new strategies except to stress that the wingers have to help out...did a great job in last 2 periods of game 6 against vancouver...Scott nichol of sharks is best in league so they will need to be better

Big C (Lisle)

Jess - hope you are feeling better. Who do you see matching up against the Thornton line? and then the Pavelski line? I know Browsie has had some good games in the past vs the fish, but that was when he was playing on the Kane/Toews line. That being said, any chance we see Kopecky or Fras in this series? I feel like they bring more to the table than Eager/Burish. Fighting isn't really a priority in the playoffs. Hossa is my pick to click in this series, who is yours?

Jesse Rogers
  (4:24 PM)

My guess right now is bolland on thorton and toews on pavelski...unelss they reverse it for some reason cause you can score on thorton line and that might be tailor made for toews line..burish has speed so i see him in there...i doubt fras right now..maybe kopecky but have to see how games go...my pick is kane

CD (Arlington Heights)

Jesse - Glad to have Soup back, he's been quietly effective ( 3), but is he a 100%? He still seems a little tentative when going into the corners and has only mustered 2pts in the postseason.

Jesse Rogers
  (4:25 PM)

Not 100% but good enough to compete...agree he doesnt take it all the way down th eic very often..maybe he will this series

Jeff (Deerfield)

How does the Hawks return to the Western Conference finals figure into their experience advantage over the Sharks?

Jesse Rogers
  (4:27 PM)

Hard to measure but they all say it does..prob in little ways as well as big..they are battle tested thats for sure

Jesse Rogers
  (4:29 PM)

connection prob, im back

Jesse Rogers
  (4:29 PM)

connection prob, im back

ESPNChicago.com
  (4:30 PM)

Jesse's having a little technical difficulty. Please stand by. Should be a couple of minutes.

Janice (Naperville)

I could be mistaken but did I hear you say sometime this week that Pavelski was once Burish's room mate? Any story w/ that?

Jesse Rogers
  (4:32 PM)

Yes, in college...played together and lived together..talked to bur about it yesterday and pavelski today...pavelski didnt give me much..kind of boring..said he was the same back then...but said he put on a show at pavelski's wedding...thats about it

Jesse Rogers
  (4:32 PM)

they talk about once a week in season but will not go to dinner or anything in this series..they are good friends still

Connor (Work)

Why is Kopecky sitting? He seemed to have turned a corner in the last month of the season and played well against Nashville.

Jesse Rogers
  (4:33 PM)

I've had a lot of questions about him...my answer is he's always eligible, despite some decent play..i think Q wanted to see more from that line 5 on 5 and Brouwer makes sense to get back in there..i ddint have a big prob with it..seems like others did..i mean he was alright

Tarun (San Francisco)

Jesse how do we keep Niemi, we have no cap room?

Jesse Rogers
  (4:35 PM)

This might a post-cup question but what the hell...might be hard..if he wins the cup or comes close going to have to do it...they will find a way..hes one yr awaw from UFA so that complicates things

Brent (Lombard)

Am I the only one that fears Pavelski's line much more than The 3 Canadians? For one Pavelski is racking up points and two, no Keith and no Seabrook out there. Talk me down

Jesse Rogers
  (4:36 PM)

Im with you...we might see keith/seabs some against them...i love pavelski..reminds of toews in that he wont be denied and puts himself in great positions..thorton is -6, pav +7, enough said

KD (Brussels)

Jesse, would you consider the Hawks as the odds-on favorite to win the cup, now? Also, if you had to pick between being at the UC or seeing Conan O'Brien at the Chicago Theater on Thursday night (as I now do thanks to the NHL), which would you choose?

Jesse Rogers
  (4:38 PM)

The sharks are favored in vegas in this series so officially the hawks are not the odds on fav but i would make them that. hard to dismiss what monteal has done..since i am not a conan fan, even easier question but even if i was, HAWK!

Craig Koster (Geneva, IL)

Is Kopi in Q's doghouse for some reason or is it just a matchup type of change that is resulting in him being scratched? He's one of my favorite players. Wicked wrist shot.

Jesse Rogers
  (4:40 PM)

Where the heck was all this Kopecky love during the season? He wa sthe whipping boy. He a couple good games..he also made a big mistake on the first goal of game 1 against vancouver but whats wrong with brouwer...maybe he gets in the for eager but lets slow down with the love

Brad (Tiny's compound)

Who you rooting for tonight? you got a preference on the schedule and or who comes out of the east. Mon/hawks for the cup, How cool is that!

Jesse Rogers
  (4:41 PM)

My interest is in the travel..can u blame me? Ive never been to boston so i guess im leaning that way...never been to montreal either so that would work!

Greg (Chicago)

I don't buy any of this talk of the Sharks exorcising their playoff demons by making it this far and think they are getting ready to stumble again... thoughts?

Jesse Rogers
  (4:42 PM)

I tend to agree but not cause of demons..i think the hawks are better...im sure im being clouded by the reg season series but u have to go off of something

Tiffanie (Chicago)

I've been hearing that Coach Q is going to throw the "checking" line of Ladd-Bolland-Versteeg at Heatley, Marleau and Thornton. Do you think this is the right match-up? And if not, who do you think would be a better fit against them?

Jesse Rogers
  (4:43 PM)

I certianly wouldnt be against it. Rememebr you can change after one shift..I do rememeber Madden playing Thorton really well so could always go that route...i wonder if he might throw toews at them and make thorton chase those three plus byfuglien can match the big lug in size

John (Chicago)

Will you get a chance to see Dirk Graham (one of my all-time favorite Blackhawks)? If so, how about doing an interview with him?

Jesse Rogers
  (4:45 PM)

ya know I;ve seen hi a bunch (he's a scout for san jose) and havent had the chance yet...will try..lots of connections...GM (wilson), asst coach (yawney), scott nichol as well plus graham

Tarun (San Francisco)

Jesse, we have seen Coach Quinville make changes between games in both the Nashville and Vancouver series. And he has really helped the kids come of age. Do you think Chicago is one of the best coached teams out there with Quinville deserving some awards?

Jesse Rogers
  (4:46 PM)

Well Ive been impressed with his patience and diligence and gut for that matter in making these changes..not always going to get it right but they seem sound..he'll get his due if they win it or at least get there...no award this year though

Norman (Home Depot)

The San Jose newspapers seem to be focused on Niemi's inexperience, but I don't really think that's what they should be worried about. Just getting through to Niemi is where they'll have their biggest problem. What do you think?

Jesse Rogers
  (4:46 PM)

Vancouver and Nashville were focused on it as well..I think we're past that. really do

Pete! (Europe)

I just listened to you on espn with the afternoon saloon,and you said Joe Thornton is great behind the net and the blackhawks need to watch out.Isn't Henrik Sedin great behind the net as well?It seems the Blackhawks didn't have a problem with Henrik

Jesse Rogers
  (4:47 PM)

yeah, good point. Thorton a little bigger and hard to move off the puck but you might be right. he certainly wasnt anything special during reg season series

RichB (Chicago)

Brouwer's goal was huge but he was out of sync for other parts of the game. Are the lines pretty fixed now or do guys like Kopecky have a shot at getting back into the mix? Why do you think Fras comes up short for the playoff lineup? He played great centering the fourth line when the team was really rolling earlier in the year.

Jesse Rogers
  (4:48 PM)

They ight be set for now but all it takes is one game and changes could come..thats how deep they are...fras started the playoffs and they were down 2-1 to nashville...since then they are 7-3..not syaing its fras but hey they are deep and someone has to sit

Pete! (Europe)

IS San Jose's D deeper than the Blackhawks?

Jesse Rogers
  (4:49 PM)

I dont think so...maybe even...hawks are faster and quicker

Dan (Champaign, IL)

Hey Jesse--love all you do to give us our Hawks fix! Given all the hype about both teams' arenas, my main question is how much of a factor is home ice will be in this series? Worth one game, even? Because I cringe when I think back to Toews hitting the crossbar with a 1:00 left in the regular season, a goal that would've given us home ice. Your thoughts?

Jesse Rogers
  (4:50 PM)

Tough to say, obviously. They won twice there already and have played great on the road..dont see it a factor...3 teams have lost game 7's at home THIS year..thats nuts

RichB (Chicago)

The Hawks' speed and depth should pose problems for the Sharks over a 7-game series. What's the biggest challenge the Sharks pose for the Hawks?

Jesse Rogers
  (4:51 PM)

Its a good question..thats why I think pavelski is a key...if two lines are going hard, the hawks might be on thier heels on defense..Q said today he has no probs with hammer and campbell but i thought hammer was just ok against van...so i guess its the thought that thier top 2 lines play great and MAYBE the hawks cant answer

Eric (Evansville, IN)

Out of the 3, Eager / Kopecky / Brouwer, who is going to be the odd man out to start the series?

Jesse Rogers
  (4:52 PM)

Looks like kopecky..accoridng to practice..Q isnt condifing in me but thats what it looks like. :)

Cristen (Chicago)

Hi Jesse, from what I've been reading it seems like alot of people consider the Blackhawks to be the underdogs in this series considering how the Sharks took out Detroit. In the Vancouver series it seemed like people thought the Blackhawks were the underdogs as well. Do you think having that underdog mentality, or at least knowing that people consider them the underdogs, is something that drives the Blackhawks and may help them win this series?

Jesse Rogers
  (4:53 PM)

I dont think they think they are underdogs...i think that card was played last year, if at all...

Pete! (Europe)

5 days rest does that mean the blackhawks will be rsuty too?

Jesse Rogers
  (4:55 PM)

I dont think so...even though they were off wed. it was a travel day and they were still recoveirng. I think of it as 3 full days, especailly with a noon start. i think san being off so long could be a stroy line we look back on. its way too long

Scott (Glenview)

Hi Jesse, I have friends out in the bay area, and it seems like they are pretty nervous about playing the Hawks (they would have rather had the Canucks) -- is that the same vibe you get out there?

Jesse Rogers
  (4:56 PM)

Little bit but they are pumped to be here..werent u surprised when i wrote about that sports illustrated poll...this place was ranked #1 toughest place to play on the road by NHL players...not det, chi,mon.,van, etc. San Jose..that has to be a surprise to casual fan..so they are ready..but maybe a little nervous

Hawks Win (Chicago)

Does Bolland get nervous when he does TV interviews? He comes across as a nice guy but it looks like he's terrified of giving interviews sometimes. On the flip side I think Burish wants his own late night talk show.

Jesse Rogers
  (4:57 PM)

yes and yes.

Charlene (Illinois)

Who do you think is one guy to watch for this series, that is completely underrated?

Jesse Rogers
  (4:58 PM)

underrated is tough cause eevryone rates people diff....underhyped is easier to answer..ill go with brouwer..if his confidence is back..watch out..

Jamie (Chicago)

Kind of not hockey related, but what's it like being on the road with the team? I have this vision it's very wild and crazy, but I am assuming its probably really more tame...

Jesse Rogers
  (5:00 PM)

depends on the day and where we are. nashville was nuts...vancouver after they won, was nuts...a little tamer here but with so much time its hard not to have some fun at night BUT they are working and so is the media...game days are long days and nights...anyway, thats a little something..once in a while i'll hang out with a player or run into a couple but its not the norm..they stick together and have thier schedule and media has thier own

Jesse Rogers
  (5:01 PM)

did see Q last night briefly, he was going to bed. i wasnt :)

ben (the office)

Wait, Patrick Sharp is engaged!? My wife will be crushed as will most of the women in the Chicagoland area. Say it ain't so Jesse...

Jesse Rogers
  (5:01 PM)

It so. Thanks for reading!

Vancouver Party (Chicago)

Did Madden, Kane, and Versteeg go out and celebrate after the Vancouver series like last time? I bet they had more fun this time around.

Jesse Rogers
  (5:02 PM)

dont know but it was versteeg's b-day yesterday and he sayd he did nothing but i believe that like lebron is re-signing with clev.

Avi (Providence)

I always thought San Jose had as much speed as Vancouver. Is that true? Are they slower?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:03 PM)

Slower..not by a ton but they are

Dan (Schaumburg )

Who do you think wins the coaching battle? Of course I'm going to pick Q and company, but McLellan and his guys are obviously doing a good job getting the Sharks past the 2nd round.

Jesse Rogers
  (5:04 PM)

Obviously, very tough call for me to say..ive seen all the hawks games up close and not san jose...either Q has been a genius or lucky with his changes..that sharp piece i wrote in my blog yesterday i think tells the story...he moved sharp back to center and bolland down a notch..that was big..

Niko (Chi)

What is going with Jordan Hendry? He looks scared out of his mind every single time he has the puck. Can Johannson come back this series, or is he out for the year?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:05 PM)

No Johnsson sighting here. Hendry can be a little scary but they like his speed and quickness...hey, every team's 5 and 6 can be scary

Rich B (Chicago)

Kopi played gritty when it seemed lacking in the playoffs. He and Hossa seem to have nice chemistry on the ice. He also rounded into form with the 4th line for a stretch when they helped prop up the team late in the season. (But he stunk early in the year.) Brouwer is great but is he "back"? The goal with great but he had some rough patches in Game 6 , too.

Jesse Rogers
  (5:06 PM)

Again, with the kopecky love? Nothing is in stone..5 minutes in he could bench brouwer and next game go back to kopecky..

Tim (Chicago)

How serious is the atmosphere during the playoffs compared to the regular season? Do the guys still play pranks and have fun or does Q crack down on that kind of stuff?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:07 PM)

Absolutely still have some fun but they are pretty serious near and around games...madden talked about it today...was very serious all the time in NJ but that was diff. veteran team. u dont want to change who u are..so they have fun but game day, etc. all business

Cris (Fort Wayne)

There were a few overtime battles during the regular season between the Hawks and the Sharks. Do you expect the games in this series to be tight and feature some overtime periods? The Hawks haven't experienced to much overtime in the playoffs but were very good in overtime during the regular season.

Jesse Rogers
  (5:08 PM)

Nobody can answer that. I would expect some to be tight but they really werent that tight against Van so who knows..i think the hawks offense will be very good so maybe wont be real close all the time...i like them in game 1..which is unusual

ryan (portland)

who has access to the team practices? who's video cameras are in there, ours or theirs? do opposing teams get to see the others practice?

Jesse Rogers
  (5:10 PM)

funny, i was thinking about that today...anybody and everybody can go to practice..unless its in the arena..but this week has been at thier public facility..cameras allowed. u dont really see the opponent watching except on game day, in the morning. not much to learn but was thinking maybe it would be good for niemi to watch sharks shooters but that will only mess with you..maybe there are spies and i just dont see them

Jesse Rogers
  (5:12 PM)

really sorry did not get to more questions but thats going to do it for today. thanks so much. this is a great time. enjoy it. email me at jrogers@espnchicago.com if u want and follow me on twitter @espnchihawks...check out my blog for all the info u need...thanks again. enjoy sunday and we'll do this next week!