Hi all! Welcome to our weekly Hawks chat. Our final off-season session. It all starts up again on Saturday. Seconds ago I got my early check in notification from United for the first pre-season game in Winnipeg next week so excited about seeing J. Toews hometown and getting it going...tons of storylines to follow so lets get to your questions!
Who is going to replace the "brawn" of the team like Byufglien, Sopel, and Eager? And will they have the same impact on imposing their will as those three had last year?
I wrote this week in my blog that John Scott really has a chance to be a fan favorite.Now he wont be as noticaebale putitng up points or skating with the puck like Buff--not many Buff's size or bigger are BUT he wont lose many if any fights. I predcit a true heavyweight here...He's lost like 1 in his short career...in terms of other brawn, obviously if Beach makes it he's one but no doubt they lost more than they can replace..
Which NHL Hockey team do you think needs a Brand New Arena very Badly?
Of the ones Ive been to, mostly in the west, and off the top of my head: DET and EDM. Cant believe Gretzky's Oilers sill play in that building..of course the team stinks so that's not going to get you a new one..and really cant believe a great franchise like det plays in theirs...but those would be my choices
The third and fourth lines are going to be quite new this year. How do you see those shaping out and who could be the keys to those having some success this year?
It would be easy to give you 6-7 players that would comprise those lines...Bolland, skille, Stalberg, Dowell, Psiani/Potulny, Bickell...but Im sure thats not how it will shake out...Kopecky could (and probably will) end up there...skille might flop or pisani isnt healthy or beach is nuts or stalberg is too good not to be in the top 6...so there are a lot of things that camp and the pre-seaosn games will tell us but i think if you had to start somewhere look at those players..kind of like their jobs to lose...which they could easily do
Rate the top 3 teams in the West as of right now? I just feel with what Vancouver did to get better on defense has the Hawks looking up right now.
Great question...Man, if L.A. got Kovy they would be right there...If Quick takes a positive step they might be anyway...leaving out the hawks I would say SJ, L.A., Det., and Van...Vancouver has to prove it to me before I believe...good start changing captains..their issues are between their ears not skates
Jesse, I keep hearing that Marty Turco is a great puck-handling goalie. How will this translate to the Hawks style of play this coming season?
At best..it could be REALLY cool to watch and provide for an even better transition game...simply put..D-men wont have to go back near their goaltender to get the puck...Turco up ice or along the boards to a d-man who gets up to a forward or skates it quickly the other way. Thats what it could look like..at worst, Turco has lost a step and it wont be as quick as that but it will still be better than anything we;ve seen from a hawk goaltender in quite a while
Bigger Season: Niemi in San Jose or Turco in the Indian Head?
You're killing me with that question..are we judging by stats, the eye test, everything? The Hawks have better blueliners but SJ plays as good of team defense as anyone...listen I like turco, always have..he used to kill the hawks but here's my way out..I think one is entering his prime and was NOT a fluke while the other is exiting it (if he hasnt already) so I'll just go with age but I absolutely think Turco is a good fit, especially for that price...see, I dont shy away from the tough ones...not too much at least
Any chance for a Hawk to add his name to the Calder Trophy?
Would be very difficult...wont be a d-man..no way...I suppose if they stick a rookie with Kane and Toews for 82 games, that could get someone the trophy...hell, it might get me the trophy..but I dont think there will be anough pp for a rookie or 5 on 5 for that matter but you never know..just doubtful..maybe beach has some monster year if he makes the team just doesnt seem likely
I know the season hasn't started but will we be looking at another hectic offseason in June or is this salary cap problem finally settled?
Will almost never be as hectic as this one...you have to keep in mind 3 STAR player contracts were up at once so to give them the raises they needed things had to happen...that kind of thing wont happen again I suppose until kane and toews are up again...however, every year there is going to be a crunch for a while cause kane, toews, hossa, campbell, and keith are locked up for big money ..can include hammer to an extent so there will be no easy decisions but there wont be another bloodletting
Pre-Season awards possibilites? I figure Keith could repeat as the Norris unless Doughty continues his amazing progression, but any chance for Kane(Ross/Richard) or Toews (Hart/Selke) to win?
Good question..Media outside of chicago think Doughty will go on a run for the Norris for several years but I definitely would not count Keith out..winning a scoring title with crosby and ovechkin in their primes will also be tough..plus, even though the hawks have less skill this year, they spread the wealth in terms of PP time and even kind of evening up the lines but I mean Kane is right there...he needs a little good fortune for it to happen but I def see a 100 pt season in his future so he cant be too far off...I was surprised Toews wasnt a finalst for selke last year...Im not going to doubt him for Hart either..he should be moving into that finalist spot there as well..maybe not winning it...tough with those other stars around
Biggest loss this offseason? Did we see the ceiling for Buff? (considering he wasn't a huge factor during the regular season)
I think if you've read my blog you know...Niemi...Maybe Im wrong but I think people forget he SAVED the hawks season..100% saved it and he's coming into his own as I wrote before. The untold story with Niemi is the mental aspect..Dont have time now but in the mental game he succeeded despite some tough conditions..now, there is no doubt D.wilson wants this to work and will put everything behind him confidence wise to make it happen..i digress...forgetting that for a second...you could make a case for several..,maaybe Buff just because we saw what he is capabale of and no one else that left can do the stuff he does
Which aquired forward will have the best chance to "breakout"?
Most would say Viktor Stalberg and I dont see any reason to go against that..Morin probably not ready..I mean they didnt acquire many that are reeady for that or they are veteran types like Pisani, etc. so Stalberg makes a lot of sense
Jesse, though John Scott may be a liability skating-wise, I don't think his enforcing presence can be ignored and it may be just what Hawks need with the departures of some the scrappier players like Buff, Eager, and Ladd. That said, who in your opinion is the favorite to win the final defensive roster spot?
I mentioned Scott earlier as a pretty good force to be reckoned with. On paper, it looks like the 7 guys with one-way contracts are it. The top 4 we know plus boynton, hendry, and scott...they wont keep 8...maybe boynton doesnt make it...and a rookie does..hendry and scott can play wing so add that to the equation...boynton is the one that can be beat out for sure..despite him beating out hendry in final 3 games of finals
What have you heard about the work Marian Hossa has put in this offseason and is he shaping up to have a better year than last year?
Not a lot but in talkin to his "camp" once this summer I know the shoulder will be that much healthier after a full off-season...lets start with that...im sure he's in good shape..consummate pro.
A couple players I am very interested in watching this camp are Kyle Beach and Igor Makarov. What do you think are their chances to make the team and in what roles do you ultimately see them in?
Either could be a top 6 or bottom 6 guy for that matter..Maybe not right away but the potential is there..Beach has that nasty side which they will miss...Burish, eager, ladd, buff..all had moments of nastiness so thats a lot out the door..money will play a part in beach..hey, maybe he does the jack skille thing where he is up and down on gamedays, etc. i could see that happening
Hey JesseConsidering Turco's age, how many games do you think he will start during the regular season to make sure he is fresh come playoff time?
He wants to play close to 60..dont think that will happen..I think if circumstances are normal, he gets 50..when i say normal i mean hes playing like a starter and crawford like a backup not vice versa...Toivenen might have a say before its over but will only get a chance if there is an injury
Who is your odds on favorite for Hawks MVP this season Jesse?
Well I think for 82 games as much as people wanted to say keith or even toews, I thought it was Kane last year...I'll go with Toews this time..or Jake dowell
I'm predicting a breakout year for Brent Seabrook on the offensive end of the ice. Do ever see him contending for the Norris trophy, not necessarily this coming season, but at any point further on down the road?
Hmm..Ya know he's been slow to develop on the power play..thats where a norris contender is going to get a lot of points..If assits numbers can jump up to near 50, that would be a start...but keith is the more complete player so would be hard to beat him out for Norris..Ill say no but that doesnt mean he's not very good
I've been hearing some good things about the new, more professional version of Hawk prospect Kyle Beach. Having never seen him in action, is there any current NHLer that you could compare him to in terms of size and style of play?
Hmm..tough one..havent seen him that much either..off the top, body like Bertuzzi..though Bertuzzi a little heavier I think...When you consider what Berrtuzzi did to Moore years ago and beach will fight anyone..they both could be considered to have a screw loose so there is a compariosn
Hi Jesse, nice work with the blog. Do you foresee any fatigue issues with the shortened offseason? Do you think Q might rest some guys a little bit more early on and maybe open up some ice time for the new guys?
I do see it. Not sure how Q will handle..he seems to be a guy (maybe like most coaches) to react to situations and deal accordingly..so IF someone or several need a blow early they get it...not the forwards so much but keith and seabrook...but thats ok...campbell and Hammer can pick up some time..they're getting paid for it. thats for sure! But i dont see Q planning ahead of time for it
What do you think the record/points total for the blackhawks will be at the end of the season?
They had 112 last year? The obvious and easy answe would be less for all the obvious reasons..closer to 100, maybe even a little under..
Is Toews one of the top five players in the league right now?
Id be him right at that fringe..but yes..crosby, ovechkin, h.sedin, etc..now has he passed someone like Datsuk..probaly but he's damn good..and then there is the d-men like keith and doughty..so its tough but he's right there
Hi Jesse. I recall you saying the Hawks would dominate the Sharks if they met in the playoffs. While the scores were close, a sweep is domination in my eyes. If I'm right, you're line of thought was that the Sharks could not skate with the Hawks, but looking back at the series, the huge difference was the goaltending of Niemi. My question is, with Niemi now in San Jose have they closed that gap on the Hawks or do you still see the Hawks as a team they will not be able to go up and down the ice with? Thanks.
They may have closed the gap in a playoff series because as we saw with Niemi he has the ability to dominate...didnt see that in Nabakov in critical moments...quick correction..some of it was speed but quickness was the bigger issue..I know its splitting hairs..that thornton line IS NOT quick..now maybe Pavelski, etc. has a better go a year older but as I said about the sharks form the first time they played each other last year..you're either quick or you're not so not sure how much they closed the gap but every year is different so we will so..hope that answers your question
we will see..that last line should read
Is Corey Crawford the Blackhawks starting goaltender next year?
With many variables in play, of course, I would say 70%, yes.
Who are the Blackhawks top three prospects?
Depends how dee pwe want to go and if you consider Stalberg one...Beach, Leddy, Morin come to mind..its so hard to know exactly how to rank anybody..Ive seen it wrong so many times..we just have to see some action at the nhl level
Everyone is predicting the Red Wings to reclaim the Central Division, do you see that happening?
I definitely think its possible and I could see why people are claiming that...A lot of questions with the hawks starting withe short offseason of partying...and I need to see a revival in Turco's career before I say they have that part figured out..tough call..def think it will be close
Are the Blackhawks top four d-men the best in the league?
They just might be..both L.A. and Nashville are top heavy, big time but not sure if you go 4 deep anyone is better...and remember..for arguements sake maybe we know what seabrook, keith , and campbell are about..Hammer is still getting better..
Do you see Kane having a 100 point season this year?
If I wasnt a little worried about his offseason I would say yes. I know he wants it. Hopefully there isnt a slow start from Cup hangover--thats literal and figurative with kane! I say 100 on the nose..or at least 95...or 88...
Couple more...next week will be more fun...afte seeing some scrimmages, etc. prob do the chat from winnipeg late in day before game starts
I have heard a lot of John Skille throughout the off season, is he going to put up decent numbers this year you think or just a solid role player?
I dont mean to be a player hater but he has to prove it to me first...Without having seen a ton of stalberg I would say his year turns out better UNLESS skille is just raring to go to prove his draft status and years in the minors have paid off...if you put me on the spot, I would say more role player but I hope Im wrong
WIll the Hawks teach John Scott to play better Defense and possible contribute more?
Ill end with this one..a bunch of john scott questions out there...They're going to try..tough to be a quick skater at that size so positioning is important..he'll drop those gloves thats for sure..if they want him on the ice but are worried about his D, he might get some time at wing...another guy that will tell us alot a swe see him in practice, scrimmages, and pre-season games
Wow, tons of questions today. Good stuff. If I didnt get to yours email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .Apologize, just too mant to get to in about an hour's time..If youre coming to the festival saturday say hello..follow me on twitter @espnchihawks. sign up now..will be tweeting from home and road all season and of course keep tabs on my blog. and spread the word about espnchicago.com Last season was incredible. Hoping for more of the same..talk to you friday for media day and then training camp begins! Enjoy the ride!