Hi all, welcome to our weekly hawks chat. Sorry a minute or two late...just got back from watching some hawks put themselves through some drills kind of on thier own since camp doesnt start for another 10 days or so. Terrbile news obviously about the plane crash..so many people connected to people on that plane...I talked with former Hawk Ryan Johnson who played with Demitra for 6 seasons...he was pretty down...awful..so we'll talk hawks and anything that comes up. Fire away.
Which off-season signing will have the most positive impact for the Blackhawks this season?
I get this every week and Ill have to say its an easy answer..Andrew Brunette...A 20+ goal scorer is going to make an impact for sure...Now more subtley, Montador on the PK could be big but Ill go with the guy who puts the puck in the net
Unless Hossa becomes the beast he once was, I just do not see enough firepower from the Hawks' front line compared to that of other teams. Change my mind please.
True, a healthy Hossa would be great but that just makes the hawks top two lines the best in the league possibly or as good as...At 70% Hossa still provides a lot..and they still have sharp, kane, and toews as a line if they want...thats nearly as good as it gets..so top line or top 2 they are AMONG the best
Any chance Campoli comes back with his tail between his legs and signs a reasonable deal with the Hawks (with the Hawks trading some of the newly-acquired D-men) or has that bridge been burned?
Never say never but no way. Be different if they had an opening...8 d-men now and yes they would have to make a trade...I mean when does that kind of stuff happen? basically never. now in a year who knows...but seems like that door is closed though I guess i dont have that on official notice
Do you think Corey Crawford will be able to repeat the great performance he did near the end of the season?
Yes and I think he will be better...And Im no goalie expert but he seems the type that would be difficult for shooters to figure even after seeing him a few times...he's so techinically sound that Im not sure they can find obvious weaknesess whereas him seeing shooters will be a big advantage this time around.
Hey Jesse, In your interview with Dennis Savard, I noticed he mentioned Mayers as a RW (Carcillo on the LW sometimes) and he "wasn't sure" who the Centre would be. Assuming he is close to the situation (and I know it's not his job anymore to put lines together) but does that change your mind a bit about the 4th line pivot? Thanks,Ty
I dont think so...I think its Mayers but it does highlight the fact they dont obviously have a center you just easily write down..i interviewed Ryan Johnson today and will write about him later...with him and Madden still out there I still dont get why one wasnt brought back...they're prob wondering too when they see that 4th line...
Last year you had a lot to say about the difficulty of the schedule, particularly at the beginning of the season. What are your thoughts on this year's schedule? Any predictions for the first 1-2 months of the season?
I like it better..not the best with that 9 game trip but that comes out of the all-star break so proper rest should be in order...especially in the first 2 months you dont see a lot of one game homestand or road trip type deals...i think thats what affected them a lot. I was there...Q gave them a ton of off days cause its hard to fly and practice every other day...it affected the team with the new roster...dec has more one and dones but I think the first two months shape up ok
Jesse-How is it that the Blackhawks opened their defense of the Cup with 13 games in the frist month and 11 this year in the first month and the Bruins open with only 10 in hte first month? Does Bettman have a clue?
Im guessing scheduling doesnt filter up to Bettman..There are a ton of factors including buildings schedule, etc. luck of the draw I would like to think
Hey Jesse,I'm not sure why a lot of people are so high on Ben Smith. Sure, he had a nice few games against the Canucks in the playoffs, but looking at what he did at the college level and at Rockford last year doesn't exactly pop out at you that he's a 1st/2nd line guy in the NHL like many fans are slotting him as. I think he starts the season in Rockford because of the depth the Hawks have this year. Thoughts?
First of all, it is possible he starts down there cause of the contracts and depth..I wont deny that..but what people like is what Q liked..A willingness to play the game the "right" way. Go to corners, in front of the net, bang and bounce a little plus add some speed and skill...hes stronger than he looks...thats the bottom line, he was never overwhelmed and more than held his own..I dont doubt he has something to prove still but there is something there...unless we are all crazy so we'll see
Assuming everyone is healthy as the season starts, do the Hawks carry 22 or 23 players? Since they stand at 24 (assuming Smith, Kruger and Leddy make the team) do you anticipate a trade during training camp?
I think because of cap room and for lack of a better word "specialists" on the roster..like O'Donnell isnt going to play every night neither will Scott or Carcillo..I think they keep 23..I dont anticipate a trade, I (and they) anticiapte an injury or more and that will help make the decisions...by chance of all 24 are healthy, then someone goes down (or somehwere) but it also prob means an injury is around the corner
Terrible news about the plane crash in Russia. I know former Hawks Alex Karpotsev and Igor Korolev were unfortunately on board. As a tribute, I wondered if you had any stories about them when they were here or heard anything from others that can tell us the type of people they were?
Yeah, well I know "Potsy" wasnt well liked as a player but like most hockey players he was nice of enough to be around. Cant think of anything too specific but I enjoyed interviewing him just for the accent, etc. And I will say this, the man would block a shot with the best of them...always confused me about him, sort of lazy player in general but would get in front of 100 mph, Al Macinnis slapper...
Can we expect a better finish then 8th like last year and contend with the wings?
Yes on both
Morin reminds me of a previous #27 the one & only JR. Am I seeing things, is it wishful thinking, like your opinion.
Ive said before, he's like starting over..had a bad concussion 2nd half last yr and so lets see what this version looks like...Hes feisty but I think JR was feistier and more talented obviously but hey, he was one of the darlings last year so lets see but thats another monkey wrench if he has a good camp..make no mistake these are good , tough decision to have and whoever goes down is hungary and pushes the guys that stay
Any chance that Kyle Beach gets significant playing time with the big club this year? What is his status if he doesn't make the team? Rockford? Trade bait?
No chance with Hawks early on..I cant tell you during season..the Hawks reward players who play well in Rockford but from all accounts the light still hasnt gone on...maybe a flicker here and there..I pretty sure I saw him on the ice today with others including many vets...hopefully someone is taking him under thier wing but Im not sure hes the type that fits under a wing easily..if that makes sense..so one of those, until you see it, its not there...again, if that makes sense! lol
Big loss to the hockey community with the plane crash in Russia. Lots of big names no longer with us. Jesse, what is your take on the impact to the NHL and its players?
I think the bigger impact is to flying in general..Over there they tend to go on the cheap or cheaper than here I guess..hearing this plane or others like it are pretty old..considering the money that people in the game have, you would think all of that would be 100 percent taken care of if it can ever be...i dont know details..there will be plenty of tributes all over the league...Bettman already put out a statement but Im sure opening night for all teams home and road will have some tributes/ceremonies as should be...
Is Columbus a legitimate threat?
Hmm, not quite...as we've seen with the Hawks, it takes a little time and chemistry to build something although once in a while you have that team just come together quick...Jackets SHOULD be better which means worse than hawks but just not as bad though for a while there they were neck and neck with them last year but I think they battle st. louis and even det behind hawks...maybe 3rd place?
Baseball is dead, the bears are looking to be pretty bad, and the bulls aren't playing. Fair to say the Blackhawks will be Chicago's team for the next 6-7 months?
My blog would like to think so.
How do you think our backend lines for both Offense and Defense will fair this season? Yes, they are gritty but we need SOME production, right?
I think it will be ok, especially if Montador can contribute some on offense as Stan Bowman believes he can...Seabrook is trending up on offense and Keith will have a better yr for sure..Leddy is the wild card but with pp time he should get some points...And I said to Hammer the other day at the UC, he can just show up for 82 games and get more than 10 points. Was that mean? Meant it as a compliment..he's a decent player that should be around the puck more than he was last year..I say jury out on overall effectiveness of defense though...the hawks love Montador, lets see it!
Seems like we have been getting a heavy dose of the Swede's on the teams recent promotional appearances. How do the hawks pick who goes to these things, do they get paid extra?
They just rotate it on who is avail and how big the event. I mean 88 doesnt show up at a random McDonalds..hes Wrigley material..not that he or other players really pick..Its who's in town, whos around, etc. They dont get paid extra, I dont think, unless its a signing or advertiser and not strictly a hawks event..
Who do you think is going to be backing up Crawford this year?
Im a simpleton...as you all know.. the guy with a one way contract and not the guy on a tryout...prob will be wrong but thats what I think.
Thoughts on the Panthers this year seeing as though they have half our team and have been building this off season? Maybe a sleeper team?
Maybe. Not quite there yet plus Im not in love, in love with those players...they have a good farm though so lets see what happens...still a work in progress...I think Dale has an eye for talent but takes a lot to put togther a winner from junk. Of course thats what the hawks were when he took over. :)
Lets play over or under with Dan Carcillo...Over or Under - 50 games playedOver or Under - 25 pointsOver or Under - 175 PIM
Over, Under sligtly..And over..just a guess
Jesse, ESPN recently posted an article questioning Toews production because of the lack of supporting cast and offensive depth. I find this odd considering the offense has much more depth than last year and Brunette strengthens the top 6. Can't you do something to inform your clueless counterparts?
I wish I could..makes me look smarter though...I dont know what went into that..I scimmed it..Toews is a monster and no one knows what he'll numbers look like other than saying more than 50 less than 100 probably..so its a guessing game
Doesn't it seem we keep committing more and more to the blue line. I know we got some cap room but if there is D-man to trade to pick up a good Center whom would it be
Well, the obvious choice would be Leddy or Hjalmarsson assuming its not Keith or Seabrook..everyone wants young D that can improve but you rob peter to pay paul if you do that...they will trade prospects at the deadline if they want that center...
Any update on Bickell's wrist surgery? Are the Hawks planning on starting him with Kane/Toews?
Have not heard anything one way or another about Bickell..havent really asked..assume he will be in camp..maybe there is a lingering injury--I guess Kane qualifies for now--which is why you have a few extras plus prospects going to camp...but I assume hes fine...maybe Ill look into before next weekend..and,uh, no hes not with kane and toews...might be lucky to make the roster..im kidding but hes 4th line right now, maybe 3rd
hey Jesse, how's it gion' my man? Since the Hawks addressed what they felt was an area of weakness over the offseason with the additions of grittier, stronger players, what would you say is there biggest area of concern now?
I mentioned earlier, still want to see how that D gells. Huge role for Leddy...Montador on PK has to be big...depth with 40 year old O'Donnell and where Lepisto fits in...all questions...and want to see hammer rebound so enough to wonder about
Any chance we may see Madden with the Hawks this year?
No. At least not now...you never know about in season trades but that ship has sailed..he'll sign anyday is my guess..still thinking philly or L.A....
Is Carcillo skilled enough to come up and play with the first line in situations in which Kane/Toews need to be protected? Will Q find ways to get 10 goals out of the Car Bomb?
I think so..maybe in the same way Eager came up and played once in a while with them...10 would be the max..its possible..it does depend on where and how much he plays...10 would be great
Um, Ben Smith was the Frozen 4 MVP and Captained his college Nat'l Championship Team, how does that NOT pop?
That's a decent point. :)
Jesse, who do you like in our conference this year??? I like LA to be VERY strong this season, along with an always solid Detriot. I see Nashville being solid again as well with that stud Rinne. top 4 finish for the Hawks with the Canucks taking a step back and the Sharks always blowing it come playoff time
Im with you on L.A. I was high on them last yr, they had some real ups and downs but I still like..unless Doughty situation has affects...hard to count out Nash..Van will take a step back for sure..for sure...i think. Det. little step back. SJ will be fine...CLB step up...cal. slide back some more, I do like edm to make some noise. they are coming along there...I dont have a feel about st. louis. I never do...and dont want to.
What's to make of Olesz? You never hear anything about the guy. Nothing about what the Hawks might be planning with him. Jesse, can you shed some light?
I dont think they know or arent saying but I just dont see it. Hed really have to wow them...question is what do they do with him? They say they dont know what they have...prob a bad thing considering all
Is there a good explanation for Duncan Keith's disappointing season last year and what will it will take for him to turn it around and return to 2009/2010 form?
Little bit of old news...its the obvious one, olympic gold, norris trophy, stanley cup....hard to REALLY care about anything after that..he showed up, gave it his all, Q played him to death, but it just wasnt there at Keith like level...new start so to speadk for him. Im sure embarassed a little and hungary again..thats my take
do you see hawks hoisting the cup at the end of the year? All the tough guy additions are we were missing last year so o think this will push us way forward
OOh. Tough call. I have really logical and hockey specific reasoning. I say this about a healthy Crosby as well: I dont think JT hoists the cup just once in his career, not with starting at such a young age...There is no other play I would trust more than him...he nearly did it by himself at crunch time last yr all the way to the shorty in game 7...will it happen this year? Man, so tough to know soming off last year and not being totally wowed by additions though they are decent enough..hmm. I say they get real close..conf finals for sure..after that I dont know
I dont want to be a homer but my gut says based on leadership of this team (not just JT), they have a monster reg season...all refreshed and hungry again...thats my gut
Hi Jesse Thanks For All You Do. Look Forward To This Every Wed Sorry Its A SAD SAD Day. Thanks Again I Should Go Now Time To Pray For Those Who Were Lost. GO HAWKS
Nothing more to say
Jesse, what do you make of Buffs recent boat trip? Most interesting part is how much weight he put on. Is that on purpose or is he satisfied having cashed in on a great season and does he take a step back because of it?
Who knows whats true about the weight..the guy has played big his whole career..lets see how he is on the ice...am I a terrbile person if i first laughed at it..in a car, no laughing but a boat? and no crash or anything? Cmon, Buff..course it didnt totally shock me though it would if he was in a car..hes smart enough to know..anyway, glad no one hurt and Im sure he learned his lesson..he asked me to go fishing once. Im driving
Jesse, my friends and I love fantasy hockey! Do you play and or want to get in on a league?
No thanks. Have enough numbers to look at every day. Good luck
Jesse, what are you smoking? Bickell is a fourth line guy after putting up 17 goals last year? Come on, he isn't going to be demoted from the third line to the fourth after a stellar post season and a promising first year.
Sorry, but its not ALL about goals and they could make the case he wont get that again without better work, playing bigger etc. That wrist shot wont surprise as much...if he was scoring from in front of the net, that would be one thing but from the wing on a surprised goalie? Loved it but wont happen as much...I said 4th but maybe 3rd...and like Ive written before I could line up next to Bolland nad have a good postseason..about 6 guys have over last 3 yrs...Hes got something to prove. No doubt about it though they certainly would take the 17 again, just no gaurantee
Thoughts on Stalberg this season?
Not a Q guy i dont think so odds against top 3 lines are big..started to play 4th line role ok so he might be the "skill" guy on that line..as a coach will say he will determine his playing time and i think mostly on how he plays in his own zone or backchecking, etc.
So no Bickell with Kane/Toews...that means you see Sharp there. Then you see Bolland between Hossa/Brunette I assume...and Kruger with Frolik/Bickell?
Close enough...to START the season..not necessarily to finish...maybe brunette on top but I dont like it..I like sharp there...and smith plays with kruger and frolik in my opinion..bickell with stalberg,mayer, etc. too many players!!
That will do it for this week. Great questions on a tough day for a hockey fan or anyone invloved in the game. As Ryan Johnson said to me between all the victims there is prob a connection of sorts to almost every team so lots of mourning around the league....talk to ya next week just days before camp opens!!! Follow me on twitter and tell others as well, espcially those Bulls fans..they'll be bored...@espnchihawks...check out my blog later...more on r.johnson...and Ill be hosting on espn 1000 thur night from 7-10 pm..get some hockey talk in there, etc. YOu can email me at email@example.com. enjoyed it.