Jesse just called and said he's having computer issues, but he PROMISED me he'll stay late and try to take all of your questions. Thanks for your patience.
Ok, Im here folks.Thanks for waiting
Im set up at Ditkas on Chestnut for our weekly chat (and a pork chop). Afternoon show on espn 1000 is here from 2-6 pm today. Stop on by! hawks on the way to Pitt. I just left the UC where the Haws finished up practices..Im watching this one on tv like you! Fire away
I've never realized it before, but WOW is training camp and preseason short!!! Why is that - is it in the collective bargaining agreement? Don't you think everyone would benefit if it were longer - even just a week to 10 days?
definitely CBA. The season is long enough...doesnt really need to be long camp..most teams and player get together before camp and skate together for a few weeks anyway...this is a decent length
I know it's still early but so far in your opinion who stands out & has a shot
Yeah, very early but Kane stood out in a scrimmage or two..really skated well...Ben Smith has really bulked up...doesnt seem like many will push him around..Saad and McNeill among the prospects...as for shots, hmm, nothing has jumped out at me...seabrook has that heavy shot going..they dont have a ton of bombers on the back end
The Hawks have a deep prospect systeam and are rated among the elite in the NHL. However, they do not have that #1 potential NHL All Star in their aresenal, do you see them trading their B/C rated prospects to aquire someone of A calibur?
I think its very diffcult to make that assesment right now..I guess they dont have crosby or kane waiting in the wings but any of these guys could end up being one ofthose players..now, its still a long shot cause there's like 1 or 2 at most per team that are perennial all-stars..anyway, just too early to know for sure but I guess youre right there is no sure fire guy and if another team has one they arent trading him
Have you ever answered a question in a chat forum only to find out later that an actual roster player was punking you? ;)
No, I highly, highly doubt any player has ever read one of my chats...the ONLY one, maybe, would be Sharp cause hes kind of savvy that way...I know hes read my blog cause Ive heard about it from him!! And a few others but not from a chat..maybe a 4th line type too, if he's bored...
Rostislav Olesz has had a very good camp so far--if he continues to impress (which I think would be exceeding expectations), how do you think he fits in and what effect will that have on the rest of the roster?
Its a great question..you are right, so far so good but still a ways to go...he could be a 2nd-4th line player I guess...prob not suited for 4th but yoiu never know...if everyone is healthy the hawks have a good problem..a "regular or two" has to sit but we have to assume Mayers and carcillo dont dress for every game and go from there...but Olesz is STARTING to fit in and show a little something
JRWith Coach Q mixing up the lines all the time. How is it Toews and Hossa rarely get paired together? They did in Game 5 & 6 in the Cup finals and that worked out pretty well. I don't understand why those to are not together more often. Do you have any insight?
Absoultely I have insight. One word: Kane...Kane and Hossa play the same position...only one can play with toews...last season, Hossa started out with toews and he went nuts on the scoresheet but Kane slumped so toews was put with him...bottom line is Kane needs toews more than hossa...nothing against kane but his size etc limits him so he needs a guy like toews whereas (in theory) hossa is bigger and can do damage without toews but both are not as productive without 19
Jesse, while I want to believe our defense will be fine, I am starting to get a bit concerned about our transition game. Any changes as to your thoughts on this concern?
I mentioned that at the end of a blog from yesterday..yes, its a concern...too many small question marks..can leddy handle it? what is montador all about? O'Donnell still have something? etc. Something to watch..not time to panic at all though
carmen, jurko, and harry say hello..you guys know they are big hawk fans..live from ditkas today from 2-6 pm on espn 1000
Jesse - what is the thinking behind sending McNeil and Danault to Juniors already, but keeping Saad up? Kid looks good so far, but I assume his fate is the same as 17 and 24.
Saad is from pitt so they are letting him play tonight there...be gone shortly im sure..maybe tomorrow
Who is surprising coaches the most through camp, whether it's positive or negative?
I dont think Q is using hyperbole but he loves this young talent...in my blog he called it "the best collection of shooters and skill" hes seen from top to bottom in an organization...hes mentioned Saad a bunch and McNeill...Hes been a little less head over heels with defense...made some "excuses" about rust and not working on d-zone coverage but thats the other team too so I think its a work in progress...he just mentioned hoe Leddy STARTED out with a good camp but I thought he took a dip in that game on tues but again it is early
When will Jeremy Morin get to participate in scrimmages and games?
Dont know. Doctors need to clear him for contact..I joked with Beach today about giving him a shot on the ice and he said "not yet."
With Marc Savard's concussion situation and the bruins gm saying he thinks he's never going to play again, what does that mean for his contract since he's signed through 2016. If that happened to Hossa or Keith who are signed through 2040 can they be forced to retire or would they continue to be paid for the length of their contract?
There are injury settlements, etc. Players are insured..not exactly sure how it all works but they dont get the full amount of their deal of course
if Rusty makes the team, who's spot does he take?
Rusty is Olesz for those that dont know...its a tough call...IF everyone is healthy and you kind of have to assume they wont be then maybe Ben Smith goes down for a few games or John Scott is cut or there is a trade but its something to that affect...I just think it will work out but a tough decision will have to be made if it doesnt
How has Ben Smith looked? I know it was the first day, but at The Training Camp Fest, there were other prospects that looked alot better. Could you see anyone else making the team, in terms of prospects?
Yeah, hes been just ok I guess. But I do like the kid a lot. Remember, its very early still. He fought the puck a little on Tues in Saskatoon but he still goes to the tough areas and hes as strong as a bull...no other prospects seem to have a chance
who wins the backup goalie gig.....salak or emery?
Looks like Emery's to lose
With Bolland likely skating between Bicks and Fro, and if Sharp is unable to start the season, who do you think lines up at C for the 2nd line to start the year? Thanks Jesse!!!
Good question though I think Sharp will be back...if hes not I still think it will be Bolland..and maybe its bolland even with sharp..you guys should know what I think by now...sharp with toews/kane...bolly with hossa...kruger on 3rd line...etc. at least at the start..can always go back to the other lines later but need to find out some things..can bolly have a monster two-way year and can kruger play a real role
Good chance Carcillo tries to get someone to go tonight?
I talked to him today. I'd say there is a good chance. Pitt drafted him and then sent him packing..that doesnt hurt either..he brought that up, not me
thoughts on frolik and leddy thus far?
Frolik looking good but tonight's game will show more...Im still looking for the leddy of last year a bit...jury still out
Everybody is excited about Crawford. Are there any worries to his game?
Not that I can tell.
Does Jeremy Morin have a shot at making the team this year. How is he doing with his post concussion recovery?
No chance...Not cleared for contact yet so behind the eight ball...hes skating but not scrimmaging so thats where he is at
Jesse, is any team in the west without a major flaw, as presently constructed? What is the Hawks main flaw and how big of an obstacle is it to getting one of the top 3 seeds?
I think San Jose is really strong again...trades with minny were pretty darn good...hawks flaw is not really a flaw yet but its what most think and what I wrote about, just getting that defense to gell with the new pieces and problems from a yr ago including the pk..might come together opening night or never but thats the question mark
I couldn't see the first exhibition game. How did Beach do?
He was ok...like Morin though (injury for him) others have passed him up...Q raved about this year's picks but not so much him...he needs to really wow people this year in rockford as in dominate if he can
Haven't heard much about Bickell's wrist. How has he been in practice? (looking forward to seeing him tonight.)
Hes been fine...going to do a piece on him soon..hes going to see the hawks mental doc or coach this year and try to upgrade his game..bring it more every night, etc. havent really noticed anything special in practice but its practice so yeah looking forward to him tonight too
You mentioned cutting Scott earlier in the chat as a possible solution to the crowded roster. Why would they cut him? Couldn't they just assign him to Rockford to start the season? Even if he had to clear waivers, I have to assume he would make it through. Or would that be stunting the growth of the kids?
yes, thats what I meant by cut..send down...if he clears etc
From a skills perspective...What does D. Toews have in his arsenal that will benefit the hawks most? (given he wins a spot on the roster)
Hes not going to win a roster spot...havent seen anything that stands out...hes got a good head on his shoulders and some skill but isnt "wowing" anyone, so far at least
NHL Network is showing that the game tonight will be on, but the Hawks website says it isn't being televised?
It will be on
Jesse, Stallberg looked good in the first preseason game. I know it's only exhibition but if he continues does he earn another chance with toews and kane on the top line?
Not off the bat..too much talent up there...think he still has to prove something to Q and coaches but yes hes been pretty good in camp..first a roster spot then go from there but hes pretty good insurance for the lineup throughout
Do you see the hammer turning it around this season? Or will we have a waste of money on our D
Id like to think he will but jury is out..there was a path he was on a couple yrs ago but maybe that long stanley cup yr took something out of him too so we'll see...tough call but I do think he'll be better...
OLD NEWS: BUT NOT TO JESSE... Do you think that fighting will start to get legislated out of the game now that concussions, CTE, and player's health is becoming a concern?
Not really..its been down anyway but most concussions dont come from fighting..thats the least of their worries in my opinion
Hey Jesse! Dan Rosen from nhl.com predicted the Blackhawks would win the western conference this season. What do you think of this prediction? Also, hows David Toews doing in preseason? Do you see him getting a roster spot this season?
I'd like to present a good arguement against but its hard...again SJ will be very good but there are flaws with the rest of the contenders including vancouver...I do predict Alain Vigneault will be gone by New Years!! Hows that!
How much will Sharpee not being at camp, hurt his game and the team when the regular season starts up?
His timing will be off for sure but hes a quick healer and Q said yesterday hes coming along so maybe he gets a few days to prepare himself..tough to say if he'll get off to the fast start like he did last year
If you had to guess...what does line4 look like on opening night?
with carcillo suspended its a bit easier...mayers, stalberg, bickell? I know that goes against bickell with frolik and bolland but someone has to play down there..I guess the other option is kruger between stalberg and mayers...could be that..I just dont know
JR,Being a first round pick, Olesz obviously has the physical tools to compete at a high level in this league. Talk about what you've seen from him on and off the ice so far? Does he have the confidence to be a factor? Where do you see him fitting in?
Hes feeling more conifdent every day cause hes been testing his surgically repaired knee and so far so good...nice kid off the ice..humble and all..he has some skill, you can tell..nice hands, around the puck...first few days of camp (again testing the knee) not as noticeable but lately, more so..hard to know this early where he fits..could be anywhere at this point
I expect Big Buff to get a thunderous ovation upon his return (overshadowing Ladder) but what are the odds that instead of the UC Ice Buff is sitting in jail?
None. he'll be fine. and at the game
In the past several chats and mailbags you've given voice to a number of people complaining about how the "common" man can no longer afford games which implies rich yuppies are ruining the UC and taking "their" seats. Please let me briefly disagree. First off the UC is still the most electric building in the NHL. Second, make choices with your money. I'm by no means rich and almost 100% of my disposable income is allocated to season tickets. If they mean that much you can find a way to make it happen. As someone who works incredibly hard to afford tickets and make the madhouse mad I find the blanket statements about "real" fans being priced out offensive and shortsighted.
I dont have a problem with what you say but the older you are the more you remember how affordable it used to be...that might be true for everything in life but pro sports costs have skyrocketed (it seems) faster than normal life prices if that makes sense
Did anyone show up for camp not in great shape? I would hope everyone was ready to go after their long summer.
Mot that I could tell..I mean hockey out of shape isnt exactly the same as football out of shape...meaning no one had huge beer guts or anything..it would be small indications and I havent seen any
Do you see the team gelling right off the bat, or do you think it will take the circus trip to do that?
Im going to say they gell quickly because they are committed to getting off to a fast start..I know every team says that but it just seems like they ( meaning toews) are hell bent on it
Jesse, why do you continue to want to put Bolland on the 2nd line with Hossa - and break up what was arguably the best line for the Hawks in the playoffs - Frolik/Bolland/Bickell? Seems like when you have a good 3rd line - you have a good team.
Several reasons..Cause they need to develop another center or two and you do that on a lower level unless they are just a complete stud...PLUS, Bolland could have a monster year one of these days if paired with someone like Hossa PLUS Hossa could have a monster year paired with someone like Bolland PLUS Sharp isnt as good at center PLUS love Kane/Toews/Sharp...here is the key: CAN ALWYAS GO TO THAT LINE IN THE PLAYOFFS OR SOONER but why not try what IM saying...and a bolland/Hossa/____line (maybe smith?) could be devastating on both ends of the ice...um, you asked. :)
Agree with TheTruth. When the Hawks won it they had Ladder/Steeger and Buff as a dominant checking line and the Ducks had Pahlsson/Moen/R. Niedermayer. Let the checking line face the top opponent offensive line and the top 2 hawks line focus on scoring!
Listen, whoever Bolland plays with has been great 3 years running so lets not get caught up in bickell and frolik being in the hall of fame of 3rd lines..it starts and ends with bolland...not to say I dont like that line, I do, but they can go to it at anytime
Who will be the Hawks biggest threat in the division this year? Detroit didn't add over the summer and Columbus added some big names.
Columbus still so-so on defense and maybe even goalie but should have a good offense..still have to see it with them...det will be there..some like st. louis...they are the "X" team to me...dont want to buy in but mught be forced to...
How does Kruger looked so far?
Need to see more..the thing about him is he wont always show up in the boxscore but that doesnt mean hes having a bad game..he does a lot of little things well...he could actually end up being a poor man's bolland...more defense than offense and VERY smart on the ice
missed you Jesse. I was at the training camp last sat and Klinkhammer looked real good, any chance he will make the team or will I see him at Rockford this year.
They are so loaded up front I dont see it so rockford bound but moves up the list to get call ups etc.
JR! Where do you predict the Hawks will end up in regards to seeding at the end of the Regular Season? What are the expectations regarding playoffs? I see Conf. Finals at least!
They will win the division and I agree with my buddy Pierre LeBrun from ESPN.Com..they are sharks in conf finals..after that, you know what I say..never bet against NIEMI! (excpet last year) lol. .that would be another great series
Can you explain this " HE NEEDS TO MATURE " stuff with Beach. Seems to me that after this many years in the minors he should be ready. To many stupid penalties, a slacker, what is / are the problem / problems ? Or, are they hanging on to him as trade bait ?
Didnt he just complete his first year in the minors? I think so..its that undefineable thing...needs to mature as a teammate, how to handle himself on and off the ice, how to play the game the way hes asked to ,especially on defense...
Jesse, I haven't seen anything on Chris Campoli signing anywhere and now camps have opened. How far apart were he and the Hawks on salary? Doesn't like like anyone else is going to sign him for what he wanted. How bad did this guy screw himself by walking away from a team that should be making deep playoff runs for the next many years to come?
Talked to his agent before everything went down and he said he did the same with Tomas Fleischmann the year or two before...took a one yr arb and then made some money...but maybe they didnt think the hawks would walk away? think the diff was a mil, give or take a few hundred thousand
Do you follow any of the players on twitter? I'm reluctant to admit it, but Carcillo is growing on me. (who visits Michael Jackson's house in Gary?) How many games do you think it will take for 'the collective' us to embrace Carbomb after he gets off his suspension?
Follow them all...have to in this day and age..was out one night and stalberg tweeted where he was, which was across the st from me so I went and said hello..he said he would never do that again. :) It wont take long to embrace car bomb UNLESS he takes some bad penalties early to lose a game or two but if he beats up a few guys, he'll be loved...way it works
Any chance you are going to do any remotes this year during one of the road games? I would love to see you in person........
Hmmm, Ill give you my inside number...kidding. joke. Um, Maybe. I would like to. IM prob going to miss about 5 road games so for one of those I would like to meet up with fans and watch a game...did that once last year and it worked out well so will let you know
I think if you go back to video when the Hawks won the cup....top three centers were Toews, SHARP, and Bolland. Not sure how much better the team will be than Sharp at center and winning the Cup. Anyway, how has Liepisto looked or Montador fit in so far?
Please dont use that as the reason...team was stacked..you could have played center..diff scenario now..and all im saying is try things in oct and nov to develop people..sharp at center means kruger is on the 4th line...dont like that
Lepisto ok, still want to see it from Montador..he is smaller than I thought..but PK will tell the story on him in my opinion
hey jesse, what are the odds crawford has a bad sophomore slump? could emery or salak come in if that happens and take the lead for a couple weeks mid season?
I dont think he will..his style and mental makeup doesnt point to predicting a slump but of course anything can happen...
how did Toews' little brother do? any chance he'll be half as good?
Lots of David Toews questions...right now, hes a mrginal prospect..I mean the diff between making it and not can be very small so its a tough call..still very early in his career but he has a ways to go
Jesse, does Nick Leddy have the tools to be a good two-way defenseman? I've heard him named as Campbell's replacement, but I haven't ever heard anything about whether Leddy actually has that skillset.
Campbell's replacement in the sense he might be their #4 but not really in terms of play...like I wrote before, jury still out..still VERY, VERY young..I really liked him last yr but there was a tail off...I dont know about true defensive, defensive stalwart but I see the tools they like for sure...just needs time but he might not have it..big spot for him this year
Jesse, do you know how Stan Mikita is doing healthwise? Hope to see him at the UC all season.
From what I hear, better. He'll be at games Im pretty sure
Jesse, seriously, why not Sharp as second line center??? Just kidding. Who do you see playing the two power play lines when the season begins?
TOp unit I see as : Keith (or seabs), Sharp, Kane, Toews, Brunette....2nd unit: Seabrook (or keith) Hossa, Smith, bolland and Leddy?? little hazy on those final two...bolland could be on point and throw frolik in there...
Hi Jesse, any chance local boy, Brian Fahey, sees time with the club?
Tough one..would not say no but off the bat doesnt look like it
Hey Jesse! Not too much talk about Keith so far this preseason (aside from Carcillo's comment on him breaking the VO2 bike) but do you see him having a better year then last year? Maybe back at 2010 Norris form?
For sure he'll have a better year...Top d-man are down in the league so he could be a finalist if its a very good year...doughty looks out of pic so its weber and him from the west seemingly right now..chara, etc from east...few more obviosuly but he could be right there...he'll rebound
Thats going to do it for today...hope I answered most of your questions..follow me on twitter @espnchihawks for updates,etc. also read my blog for news and stories...did a short Q and A with J. Toews today so that will be up at some point...usually we do these on wednesday so prob go back to that next week...enjoy the game tonight and you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need anything else. thanks again!!!