Hi all, welcome to our final offseason Hawks chat! Training camp starts friday...I just talked with Eddie O and Rocky Wirtz here at our espn studios...did a video interview with Rocky which will be posted later today...Im ready for camp, hope you are too! Fire away with questions
Jesse, how much concern should there be for the future. The next couple years look extremely promising as long as we keep finding guys to compliment the core, but what about these contracts extending out far into the future? Please tell me I won't be worrying about dead weight and a situation like the Cubs have with Soriano or Zembrano.
Yeah, there is always that possiblity when you give out decade long deals...I cant assure you that Hossa is going to be very effective late in his contract or even Keith for that matter but thats such a long way off its hard to be concerned with that now...I actually envision Hossa as a 3rd line player in the waning years like Modano became...
Do you see Corey Crawford picking up where he left off last year in terms of performance? I thought he looked great in the playoffs.
Yes, I do. Im all in on Crawford. I think he'll be even better. I really like his demeanor..great kid. Good head on his shoulders...technically sound...One of my fav guys to be around
Is the west going to be as competitive as it was last year? And will the Hawks fair better in the third period when leading?
I would say the west will be top heavy in terms of the good teams being very competitive and I think Edm takes a little jump from the bottom teams but I dont see much light at the end of the tunnel for Col, Calgary, MInny, and a few other teams..Columbus should be better...so I think its a top heavy if that makes sense
Just from seeing the players start to pour back in for camp. Just off first look, who looks in great shape heading into camp?
Ive seen a few informal workouts and actually ran into toews in downtown the other night and he said he was in great shape and ready to go but its hard to tell from a few skates...I would imagine with such a long summer, very few core guys are behind the eight ball though Kane and now Sharp might be a step behind due to injuries...camp will tell more, for example, last year, Hossa stood out...
sorry for spaelling/grammar..moving quick
HelloDo you think any of the young prospects the Hawks drafted last year could make the jump to the NHL this season?
Could they? Of course one or two could be force fed to the NHL but this isnt Edm or somewhere where that has to happen...none will make it this year and thats a good thing
Is Chicago the best place to see a game, and where do the players like visiting?
I get asked this a lot..Chicago is right there among the best if not at the top..opposing players love the atmosphere...I think Hawks players like the canadian cities for the most part..most are from there and the passion for the sport is apparent when you step off the plane...San Jose is great as well...As for cities, thats diff, players (and media) like the warm weather spots!
Do you think Andrew Brunette really belongs on the fast/skillfull #1 line with Toews and Kane? If so why?
I actually dont like him there...When that line wants to move with the puck in a transition game Id rather see Sharp making a play opposite of Kane then brunette...I like him with Hossa..Marian will draw the attention while Brunette goes to the net...
Hey Jesse,Last year it seemed like the Hawks lost not only their physical toughness, but also a little bit of swagger; that kind of Untouchable attitude that Buff, Burish and to some extent Madden had. Besides Carcillo, do any of the new Hawks come with that kind of personality?
Mayers comes with it, for sure...I guess Montador does a little bit but I still want to see it all come together for myself..Im jaded like you guys..I loved the burish/eager thing when it was clicking so Im not sure they can repeat that with these older guys...those 2 could fly as fourth line players
Training camp just opens in the next few days, right? And so the Training camp festival is VERY EARLY in the training camp, right? That being said, the practices that I've seen the last few years at the festival have been pretty heated - - and why not, everyone wants to make the team, right? So my question is this: is there a WRITTEN rule from the coaches to not touch certain players? I mean, you think O'Donnell would line up Hossa if he had the chance to show he wants to be the 5th or 6th D man? I know there might be an UNWRITTEN rule about this... but curious if it's ever talked about. That being said, for me, in college, there really wasn't any unwritten rule - - EVERYONE had to have their heads up at training camp!!!
No written rule other than maybe "be careful out there guys" but def unwritten...anyone lining up Kane better be careful with the consequences but fighters will fight other fighters, etc.
When can we expect to see Brandon Saad in the AHL?He seems like a keeper.And did the blackhawks strike gold by drafting Danault?
I cant tell you for sure..part of it has to do with openings and opportunities...but after 1 year in the system I would say anyone who impresses in prospects camp has the team's eye, then gets as serious look in reg camp...Kruger kind of falls under thaqt category even though he wasnt in camp last year..
Jesse; of the big bodies the hawks traded last year (Brouwer and Kopecky), who do you see having the better individual year? And do you think either of them will score more goals than Brunette?
I mean if Brouwer plays with Ovechkin, who knows..but browuer is the type who could go either way...if hes confident and feeling positive vibes from his coaches he might have a huge year but if he gets off to a slow start and his confidence dips he could go the other way...brunette will score more is my guess
Do the Hawks have an official position on players on twitter? I had thought players were not allowed to have twitter accounts but a lot of new players and prospects seem to have accounts and now Stalberg joined the ranks yesterday, do you have any insight?
Hawks dont care..they have never had a position for or against...Im guessing anyone on it is told to be careful, etc. It is interesting many of the new players are on it..we'll see if that continues..sharp lasted like one day
Do you think Q will give Olesz a good chance to prove himself, and where do you see him, if he starts game 1?
I think he's behind the eight ball but if he makes it, I would guess in a 3rd line role to start..with sharp down he just might last a while but I think he's eventually the odd man out..someway, somehow
Jesse, of all the former Blackhawks currently playing in the NHL, who would you most like to see back on the team?
Cmon, you must not know me well. BUFF!
Is the younger Toews a legit prospect
He was a 3rd round pick so someone thought somethign of him...slow progress though so I would say jury is still out...maybe being with his bro with a change of scenery will do the trick
Do you think Sharp plays in the opener or misses the first couple games?
Tough call..I say he plays
Give me your prediction from Frolik's end of regular season stat line. I think he's the swing player that decides if we're elite (meaning dangerous 3rd line) or just a very good team.
I dont know..I kind of think Ben Smith and/or Kruger could be that swing or "X" factor player...Im not as high on Frolik as others cause I saw him no better than Jack Skille for a good portion of his time here until the playoffs...And thats not a big enough sample size but of course I would rather see him do in april than in feb. It is possible the light went on and he realized good defense leads to offense so Ill give him the benefit of the doubt...will be one to watch for sure
Local fans and reporters (no offense Jesse) tend to skew their expectations of their hometown teams. Since you probably talk to a lot of other hockey reporters across North America, what do they think of the Hawks this year? Do they see them as serious contenders or a middle of the pack, we'll wait and see, sort of team?
I understand where you are coming from and Im trying to temper my "homerism" but I do think the Hawks are set up to have a huge reg season..I like the early schedule and obviously the rest the core got and Im assuming with their kind of leadership they are hungry again...now, if kane and/or sharp are off their game due to injuries that changes things cause those guys have to be money in the bank..nationally, they feel the same way I do...A Toews led team isnt going to underachieve a 2nd yr in a row
Jesse,Do you think either Salak or Emery has an edge in the backup goalie battle or is it all going to come down to training camp? Salak is the much better goalie in my opinion, but with only 6 preseason games and 3 goales, this "competition" is more or less a crapshoot. I worry about the Hawks going with the safe choice over the smart choice considering they have the option of keeping both by sending Salak down.
The more I think about it the more Im changing my mind in that battle...I think they "want" emery to win it cause then they keep all 3 and have depth...they will have to pay salak $600,000 to play in the minors but thats not the biggest deal..so if you like salak to win it may not happen..however, if its obvious after watching some games I dont think they will force emery into the job
Any surprises as far who plays center for this team this season?
Good question...maybe...I hear rumblings from ben Smith to Frolik if needed but i think to start camp its toews, bolland, kruger, and mayers...but I agree there might be a surprise
Do you think Kyle Beach is ready to play some games with the blackhawks this season
weekly question. No
JR - asked this question last week, but it didn't get through...You've stated (repeatedly) that you think Brunette will have the biggest impact of the newcomers. What about the guys who are no longer here...who do you think the Hawks will miss most of the guys who left in the offseason (and why)?
Hmm, I have to go with a D-man...either campbell and/or campoli..obviously campbell brings more to the table so prob him...
Will Chelsea Dagger be the Hawks goal song again this year?
Yes, I just asked Rocky Wirtz that today
What's wrong with Sharp? Everyone knows Kane has the wrist injury.... what's wrong with Sharp?
Appedectomy on monday
Do you think we will see alot of Toews skating with Hossa during the preseason with Kaner & Sharpie missing time?
Maybe not a lot but a little..I think preseason is for finding out stuff...they know toews and hossa can play together...plus kane should be in there fairly soon..
Jesse; do you look at the Hawks inability to win close games late or hold onto a 3rd period lead last year was a fluke or something they should worry about this year?
I asked that of Q at the convention and he seemed to indicate it was a combination of things...It would make sense that the team was generally "fatigued" hence late game breakdowns..plus turco was involved in a lot of those early on...but mainly a return to form for 2 and 7 should make the differnece
Does Sharp's situation maybe open the door for someone like Jeremy Morin to make the team to start the season at least?
Tough call because hes back right around then so I think maybe they proceed as normal and just "hold" his spot...basically, I dont think it saves anyone's job for the season but prolongs their preseason perhaps
To me one thing that stood out the most offensively last season was the lack of production from the blue liners. They just did not seem very active at times jumping into the rush. How do you see this changing this season?
Just being refreshed and hungry again as Ive been saying...I think when your confidence goes the first thing you do is pull back on your offensive game and concentrate on D more...no doubt that happened with Hjalamrsson and maybe even Keith...seabrook steadily got better in that regard as the season went on..and I think you see a little more from Leddy on the offensive end this yr
It's never a good thing for one of you Star players like Sharp to be out, but could his absence force some young hawks to emerge/jump-start as role players in the pre season and/or first few games of the season? In other words, could there be a silver lining?
Yeah, but only if Sharp comes back, well, Sharp. If not its a step back but def in preseason it opens the door a little
Does anybody work with Bolland to practice faceoffs? Toews can't take every draw and Johnson isn't coming back for whatever reason. I'm glad the trainer has Bolland in great shape, but I'd like to see him win more draws than he loses.
Good question...yes, they work with him but some guys have it and some guys dont I guess...thats a mystery to me, who takes an important draw if toews just had a shift...maybe frolik? maybe kruger? unsure but certain to be asked in camp
Speaking of Kruger and Smith. Do they both stick with the big club this season?
Yes, in my opinon they do...sharp's abscence gives kruger a better chance of proving himself but I thought he would make it anyway
Will Duncan Keith win the Norris trophy again this year? or at least return to the player he was when he won it?
I think he returns to near elite form...there arent THAT many great defenders in the league so he could be in the mix but he doesnt have much margin for error as a smaller, sort of less physical player without a HUGE shot so he needs to do all those little things and have a great +/- again
Hi, Jesse: Do you think that the transition game will be diminished with Campbell and Campoli's departures? I understand that other players can make up for the the speed loss, but I am a little concerned that the extra responsibility may compromise their games in other areas. Thank you.
Between answerign yes or no I would say yes. I want to see it from hammer, leddy, montador, etc. before saying it will be the same..but sharp said it best at the convention, where they lose in one area they have gained in others like grit etc so we'll see if it offsets..in theory it should because that was the whole reason to get rid of Campbell..spread that money out and rememebr now they have some for in-season moves
Were you surprised that Mike Haviland didn't get offered a head coaching position? This fan is relieved he's returning. :)
I guess I'd say a little bit..Im not sure how other teams viewed or cared about his few days as the guy when Q went down but I thought that should/would put him over the top..very impressive and a seamless transition...so much goes into it..I mean I dont think you can just say "Chevy didnt liek Haviland" enough...there are so many factors that we arent privy to that go into it...
Is Marty Turco done as an NHL netminder at this point? I have a bet with a friend of mine that might as well still have his poster hanging above his bed
I talked to Turco about a week ago and he would like NOT to be done but as he said its not up to him..so right now he looks done unless an injury or major underperformance in someone's camp changes things.
whats with everyone on these chats thinking that bolland is only a 3rd line center? He was a monster offensively in juniors and showed very good signs before back surgery and then the same signs again before his concussion. I think he could eventually be top 3 or 4 in points on this team at soem point
Im with you..now, he has been slow to find the offense but its hard to be a def guru AND provide offense unless your name is Toews. He was coming on last yr before the concussion...Ive been adamant that even with sharp i believed Bolland would start the season as the #2 center...give him that chance to have that big offensive year and then you move him into the shutdown role for the playoffs where he and his line can still produce offense because he did it all year (in theory) and now hes going to make the joe thortons of the world play D which they cant....thats how this thing should go down if that makes sense
As a long time fan of the Hawks it has become more and more disheartening that I can no longer go to games because of the ridiculous price of tickets. Is Rocky or McDonough really trying to push away the life timers that went when they were awful? Or are they just trying maximize profits? Whats your prerogative?
Its the NHL..havent looked in a while but most major markets and the smaller ones are just as expensive..I dont disagree..one lousy reg season game shouldnt cost an arm and a leg but supply and demand is in favor of the team since theyve sold out everything including training camp! Not sure what to tell you but its reality
It sounds like Danault played center at the rookie tournament. I think he was originally drafted as a winger though. Are they going to keep him at center?
I really dont know they're long term plans...just off the bat I know Q in particular loves flexibility with his players so anyone that can play center and wing gets extra credit..
Thats going to do it for today...thanks for the great questions...next week we'll actually have on ice stuff to discuss! hope to see many of you at the UC this year. follow me on twitter @espnchihawks...will be tweeting from practice and games starting this weekend then tues in Saskatoon where the hawks open the preseason against the oilers...make sure you check out my blog today for 5 traning camp questions and a video interview with Rocky Wirtz...sorry if I didnt get to all, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org