Hi all , welcome to our weekly chat. Im sititng at Mike Ditka's retaurant, home of the Ditka show on ESPN 1000 thur from 2-6 pm. Ask for Chef Kenny when you come in..there is none better! Hawks just finished off-ice practice and met the media..pretty good run they are on..7 in a row with a point but other than the PHX game havent another 60 minute complete game which is prob a good thing considering they are getting the points. Room for improvement. Fire away with questions!
Hey Jesse,Wondering what your thoughts are concerning the new D-Men. Do you see Lepisto getting regular time or are 6 and 5 going to be here for the long haul?Thanks!!!
Good question...Obviously he's behind those other guys and if they keep getting wins and points he'll stay there...coaches dont change things up--even if a particular player is struggling--until the wins dry up...think they'd rather let a player fix his issues while the team is winning..so lepisto will get in there but not until a change is NEEDED...they def like O'donnell and montador has played better since training camp ended
Jesse- Do you tink Patrick Kane can keep up this high level of play at Center without wearing down by the end of the year? I am told playing Center is definitely tougher on the body with more skating and coverage involved. So far it is impossible to complain about this move so far.
Another good question..I think under normal circumstances it might be a prob but the way he and the Hawks play it might not be...first off, they keep him away from the bigger lines and most importantly he and hossa kind of mix and match in terms of taking care of issues on defense so some shifts Hossa is skating more, others Kane is....and even Carcillo gets back to play there as well, so the fatigue factor might not be huge but its something to keep an eye on...
is it just me or has Duncan Keith looked better and better as the season has gone along...I thought he played well against the Ducks last night...Do you think he will be as good as the year they won the cup, or even the year before?
I think he's getting there...My guess is his start is stronger if he's paired with hammer or def seabrook but he drew the 20 year old so there are some inherent communication problems it looks like..Not sure what form he'll "return" to but lets start with it will be a better season than last and go from there
Who's the biggest trash talker on the ice? It looked like Bolland was saying something to the Anaheim bench last night after his SO attempt.
Bolland might be one, actually, after talking to Kane today, it sounds like Carcillo never shuts up so not a surprise if its him...
Hey Jesse,I know Stan Bowman took a lot of heat for the signing of Steve Montador. So far Montador has been playing well, and brings a good physical edge on defense, and I've also been impressed with his offensive game as well. What are your thoughts on Steve Montador thus far? Money well spent? Can he keep it up stay consistent?
He's been fine but money well spent is a relative question..should the #5 or maybe even 6 d-man be making that much while Leddy and O'Donnell make so much less? I dont like trading for a guy days before he becomes a UFA...backs you into a corner..no way--in my opinion after talking to people--no way MOntador gets what the hawks gave him (11 mil over 4) on the open market...so they bid against themselves but at least hes been good enough to stay in the lineup
Didn't get to see the whole game last night? How well did the defense bounce back from the sloppy game on Saturday against the Avs?
If you include PK--and you should--very well..seabrook was good and other than a miscue between kane and keith on a selanne steal, they were fine in thier own end...never going to be perfect but good enough to win for sure
What is the deal with & what is your opinion of the NHL'S ( upper-body / lower-body ) injury report " BS " ? I heard it's to protect the injured player from being targeted by players on the opposing team. Since they are injured
Well, Im biased casue Im in the media and I would like to inform PAYING fans what's wrong with a player so I hate it...And I really dont think there is as much "targeting" as the old days--at least from people that Ive talked to-so bottom line i think its a stupid rule--ESPECIALLY when half the world knows the problem alot of the time but they have to talk around it like they are guarding state secrets....hey, you asked. lol
Is Coach Q happy with the lines as the are set-up or is there a chance of some more tweaking?
I think hes pretty happy..he's tweaked some already but only in-game...hes gone back to the lines to start the next game.. there is no "genius" to this thing...if you are piling up wins and points, very little will change even if at momemts things can look bad...there is another team out there trying to beat you afteral...the result is what matters (for the most part)
Did you expect Carcillo to be playing this well right off the bat? Or even at all?
I wasnt sure but I didnt realize how motivated he was to put last year behind him...that chip has motivated him in all ways and it goes to show, players do make choices in how they play and mature..he chose to play hockey and not get crazy out there (not yet at least) and its paying off..there might be a time for crazy but not at 5-1-2
I have tough time seeing Nick Leddy on the PP. He has no shot whatsoever. Am I totally off with these units?1st Unit: 88/19/15, 7/102nd Unit: 81/67(25)/29, 2/36I feel that Bolly on the point on the left side with Duncs on the right side creates higher success rates of one-timers. Bickell's big body in front and Frolly has been all over the puck lately could create more chances for the soft 2nd PP unit. Thanks!
Its possible...I asked Q today if it was time to mix up the units to rid them of some staleness...he basically said yes...I still think they want to give leddy a chance to be the pilot more than the shooter, thats why seabrook was with him to start the year on that unit but right now they 2 shooters on the first unit and 2 skaters on the second so I think things will change
Kruger has been fairly invisible out there lately. Do you think he makes way for Smith when Ben's back to full health? Mayers can play center.
Tough call..they prob like Kruger in that role while smith can do more in a top 9 role...again, wont change until the team hits a rut plus kruger on the pk has been good...i think hes (slightly) entrenched for now..maybe if offense dries up they go to smith..hard to say
Hawks have been riding Crawford so far this year. with back-to-backs this weekend, do you see Emery getting a start? And if so, which game?
Yes I do..prob saturday
What's the deal with Lepisto and Rusty? Are they in the press box until someone else picks them up or is there a place for them on this team?
Its called depth...not about someone picking them up...injuries are around the corner..they always are...now, if someone called for Olesz and his 3.1 mil contract, the hawks will listen for sure...they have morin, smith, etc waiting in the wings...no way they trade a d-man right now, no reason...
Isn't it a double-standard that the slow, veteran Andrew Brunette continues to get top-line minutes while the younger, faster, more versatile Troy Brouwer was continually bounced from line to line, and eventually off the team?
When Brouwer has 11 straight seasons of 15 or more goals he will get the benefit of the doubt...they know brnuette is slow, everyone does...but there is more to it than that...defense, experience, etc. Im not saying you are right or wrong, just giving the other side and maybe brunette doesnt last there but again...7 in a row with a point
I wasn't a believer in O'Donnell during the first couple games. He seemed to disappear and get exposed chasing faster, younger forwards. After watching last nights game, he seems to have found (with the exception of the delay of game) a productive niche in the defense corps. What are your thoughts on O'Donnell this season?
I would prob agree with eveyrthing you just wrote..he did get caught up ice on the PP score by the ducks..but he knows what hes doing and hasnt really been exposed save a few moments..they like his steadying influence so far...no major issues with him
Hi Jesse, scouts are raving about Leddy - is he your most suprising player so far?
I would say he and Kruger...Kruger, because he had such a blah camp and then turned it on after getting sent down....I just like Leddy's confidence with the puck right now...but he and keith have had their moments...still, hes learning and to be that far along on pp and pk and 5 on 5, hes up there...
I'm beginning to believe your assessment last year about the importance of the penalty kill vs. having a good power play. I'd love for the hawks to have both, but it seems that a rejuvenated Keith is leading a group of D-men that are finally catching up with the forwards during the PK. That seems to be a big contributor to the 7 game point streak.
Cant even remember what I said last year but Ill take it! Its not just keith..in fact hes playing less on the PK..seabrook's been good...and the forwards have been MUCH better...I give credit to Mayers for his influence as well
Kaner was awesome last night, his assists led to 2 goals and his SO goal was the clincher...but good lord his defense was horrendous last night, one inparticular miscue led directly to a duck goal...is it time we just accept the fact he is bad defensively?
No, anyone can make a miscue..Selanne came off the bench for the steal so kind of snuck in there...his stick has been real good..he back checked and broke up a play last night right in front of the Hawks net...I disagree with your assesment..no saying he's ever going to be physical or take Joe Thornton down but hes good enough
Are you surprised at how quickly this year's free agents have found their roles with the team?
A little. They did nothing opening night and I was critical in my blog but that changed quickly..they're all veterans who were brought in for specific roles so maybe shouldnt be so surprised
Kane assist to Hossa was sportscenter's number 1 play...
As it should be
Hey Jesse, with the hawks having the luxury of having some cap space this year what do you think there biggest need is so far into the season?
They might lack a little of that power forward aspect but carcillo and bickell have played the part pretty well...how about a solid point shot on the power play?
#6 has been seeing about 16 minutes of ice time per game. Do you think he can keep up that pace all year? O'Donnell has been a rock so far.
Based on history I would say yes. Hard to predict for a 40 year old but look at his games played in last few years. Hes hardly missed one so Im not going to be the one to rain on his parade..I would say no more than 15-17 minutes though
Great to see Frolick score, now that he has that monkey off his back does he seem more relaxed? I am still concerned about Stalsburg, seems like he is snakebit, what are you seeing?
Yeah, would agree on Stalberg...not sure about Frolik, I wasnt the "hes going to put up 20" guy a lot of people were at the start of the season..for both players (especially stalberg) dont confuse activity with accomplishment meaning their wheels and moves seem pretty good but is there production at the end of the day? frolik has been good, Im not being critical, but finish the scoring play! or the assist....frolik is close though...
I mean 30 goals for frolik...alot of people were thinking 30...I liked more like 15-20 tops
After watching the game last night, it seems like the 'Hawks can control a game if they want to. If they can minimize turnovers in their own end and continue to minimize penalties, do you think they can control the Central from here on out?
They can control a game if their puck posession thing is happening....its more about that than anything...the division isnt looking too tough right now other than det but nash always comes on...
Jesse, my 2 guys that are so far exceeding my expectations with terrific play are Daniel Carcillo (playing smart and showing skill) and Michael Frolik (overall game seems strong, fast, and motivated). Agree or disagree?
Yes on Carcillo..I just answered on Frolik..I like him, just want to see more finishing touch..kane at center has exceeded everything for me
Bruno has been invisible 5 on 5. He is good around the net but thats it. Do you think Q will demote him?
I think its possible but not until the team struggles..he'll be fine on the pp and get his goals there..lets give that top line a little more time but I hear what youre saying
Did Emery out play Salak in preseason or did Hawks just want a veteran backup rather than putting pressure on rookie?
Wasnt so much the veteran thing as much as to keep both in the organization...emery would have left and they would have no depth at goalie..since it was close enough this way salak plays, I didnt have a prob with it
I am really upset that Lipesto has not played after how Monitdor is playing. What is going on with them? Also why is Kitchen coaching the PP, that needs a lot of work
Montador has been alright..not bad enough to take out of the lineup unless they start losing so I dont have an issue with it...Lepsito was avg in camp as well...Kitchen isnt the only one on the pp..I dont blame him..in this case I blame the players...theyve been around and have the freedom to be creative..I like the idea of switching up the personell and seeing what happens
IS it me or does Leddy seem to be messing up quite a bit? Your thoughts?
There have been some glaring moments but there has been a lot of good as well..he handles the puck great but he and Keith need to get on the same page more...20 years old. give it a little time...
What a game for me to go to my first live hockey game! Kaner's spin-o-rama was a thing of beauty! My question is, would the Hawks consider swapping O'Donnell out? He's just looking real slow out there, bumbling around and he messed up on that first goal. Would rather have more speed or grit out there.
Funny how we are getting differing opinions on O'Donnell. I tend to agree with the poeple that have prasied him...folks, the other team is going to make some plays..the hawks are pretty stingy about giving up goals so far...top 5 PK and O'Donnell is right in the thick of it..not sure you can come down on every mistake when giving up few goals per game
JR, does Keith have a no-trade in his contract? I'd love to see the Hawks move him, his salary and his overrated game. It's becoming clear that he will never return to Norris form... He's not even the best, or second best, dman on the team. A Norris trophy winner shouldn't be getting bailed out by a 20 yo kid every night. Some form of Keith for Parise would work, eh?
I think you are being too harsh..I wonder if winning the award was the worst thing for him..pretend he didnt win it..his cap hit is about 5 mil so its not SO bad..Im sure he has some kind of no-trade but I dont know specifics. If you think you can trade him and not get a very good D-man back and the hawks still be good, thats some wishful thinking...you dont think if hes paired with seabs to start hed be better...he would be..here is the bottom line: if he never returns to norris form it still means he can be very good...think of it that way instead of the highest standard in the league
Jesse do you think the NHL will ever create a rule to play out full penalties at the end of regulation or OT when a powerplay goal may mean the difference in the outcome. Bobby Ryan's penalty with 2.4 seconds left being an example.
No, not much you can do...I was joking with Crawford after the game about that..He said let it carry over to the shootout...2 on 0 !! was joking of course...its a minor thing..btw, the ones at the end of regualtion do carry over to OT no issue there..
Leddy had some problems clearing the puck last night during the PK. Also, Stalberg and Frolik, esp Fro, can not seem to finish. Fro has been great on the 3rd line, but Stalberg has been invisible. Do you see all 3 players making the necessary improvements?
I do with Leddy...hes learning..it takes d-men a long time to get it all down..stalberg not so sure hes figured out how to score or playmake in this league yet...Fro should be fine..enugh talent there to be a nice 3rd line contributor just not a star in my opinion
Why do the Hawks not generate more traffic in front of the goalie? Brunette does it some, but this seems to be where they really miss good ol' Dustin. Is this a coaching thing -- maybe Q prefers to cycle the puck rather than create havoc in front of the net and risk a 3-on-2 the other way?
No, I think they are doing it...Carcillo went to the net last night giving room for Kane's spin and pass to Hossa...bruno as you mention...Bickell at times...all teams could use more screens but not a coaching thing
I have been super impressed with Mayers, brings some great toughness to the team. Still it seems that we are being pushed around quite a bit, look at the Ave's game on Sat. When is someone else going to pick it up and get tough
Agree on Mayers...not sure they;ve needed others yet...you know carcillo will and tried to with selanne of all people last night..again, wininng and getting points will keep everyone doing the same thing no matter what it looks like to you or I
I heard a lot about the locker room being stale last year. In turn, I've heard that this years off-ice chemistry is much improved. Do you think that's more to do with the good fit of the new free agents, or the absence of a cup hangover?
I think first and foremost is everything associated with the hangover is long in the past then came the quicker chemistry...I mean can we say for sure, considering the way the returnees (especially on defense) played that even without the roster tunrover the hawks would have been great right away? I dont think so..the hangover is real whether you turn your roster over or not..in fact, can make a case you might have less hangover with new players cause rested and hungary but the core wasnt good early last year and they didnt have enough good role players to pick up the slack
After Pronger's stick to the face I was wondering if there has been a push by the Blackhawks to get more guys to wear visors. Also what are your thoughts on the subject? Thanks.
More and more are wearing them...Im not the biggest fan but Im not playing..up to the player..dont think it should be mandatory though
JR, quit praising Kruger! A maniquin on skates can do what he's doing out there. Just stop it! It's ok to admit when you're wrong about a player! You did say last yr that Kruger would be our #2 center this season; you couldnt have been more wrong, he's lucky to be on the team. He's shown absolutely nothing in the offensive zone.
Coming from Ben Smith Ill take that with a grain of salt...Pretty sure I said he "could" end up being their No. 2 center..and anything I was saying the Hawks were saying...Q wanted him to be their third line guy last yr to start...And if he's so bad why is he still here...You (Smith) could be called up at anytime..so could Morin, etc. They like his defense and think his offense is coming...and I agree...(btw I know that you're not ben smith and anyone reading should too of course)
Even though his stats aren't all that impressive, game in and game out Toews is hands down the best player on the ice. He is really making things happen out there I feel like. Think he will start tallying up some points soon?
You think Im going to say "no way" to that question. Of course the points will come. He's Tazer
A point shooter? You're thinking defender, right? With the depth questions there, and with Kane seemingly answering the call at center, I'd think a puck-moving, accurate D-man in the mold of Campbell or Campoli would fit the bill, you think so?
No, keith and Leddy and kane can bring the puck up on the pp..they have enough puck handlers...they need a monster shot unless Seabs takes that role and runs with it...reluctant to shoot last night
When ex-teammates come to town, like Ladd and Byfuglien do they all go out together and paint the town red?
Um, yes. generally speaking of course
Do you think with Toews, Kane, and Bolland up the middle the Hawks have the best center 1,2,3 in the league. Better than Sedin, Kesler, Maholtra?
Well they are getting there...need to see more..too early to say that
With as well as Carcillo is playing (leader of team with +5) why did he only play about 11 minutes last night?
Not positive but prob cause hawks were on PK a bunch...and I think Q will pick his spots to play another wing (like sharp) every so often after a pk, etc. so he loses some shifts
are we finally gonna see that 40goal season outta Hossa that we all expected when he first signed here. Who knows how many more of those he even has
Not sure..they spread things out so much its tough for any one guy to put up the HUGE, HUGE numbers plus right now he's on the 2nd PP unit and you have to pile some up there...if healthy though, why not.
Jesse which of the FA's that we picked up will be here next year? I would really like to see CAR BOMB stay, thoughts????
8 games in ? holy cow...carcillo makes sense cause hes the youngest...unless mayers falls off the shelf i could see another 1 year deal there as well..thats off the top of my head but they want to make some room for prospects so no guarantee..i could see bruno being a 1 year thing
100 points for Kaner this year assuming health remains intact?
Tough call. He just went 3 games without a point..That pp has to get better or else no way..lets start with 90
Hi Jesse - Hossa and Crow missed a few practices because of injuries. Both have been playing well, but do you know if they are back to 100%?
Craw is..I dont know about Hossa, prob no 100 percent but is he ever?
Off topic hockey question. What NHL city do you hate traveling to the most?
Either Phoenix or Vanocuver..though when Im on the beach next week in Fla i might change my opinion :)
Is it just me, or does the Madhouse play the best arena music in the league? Clapton? The Who?I've been to several games at Scottrade, and I couldn't be sicker of the Kady Perry nonsense they play that's supposed to get me excited for pro ice hockey.
Vancouver and SJ good for music too
About the question with the end of OT and a penality, why isn't the player banned from the shootout? There should be some ramifications to their actions.
Im on board...why not.
Hey Jesse, the team is off to a hot start, what are the areas that they need to work on? and btw I saw you at the UC the other night and OMG you are so hot. Your pic above doesn't do you justice
What did you ask again?
Am I missing something? Correct me if I'm wrong the Hawks are in first place in the Division and are off to a good start, why is everyone only talking about negatives and wanting to replace pretty much everyone on the roster? Relax people our team is good enjoy it!
IM sort of with you...my theme today is, remember there is another team on the ice...Id like to see more games like in PHX but its oct and they are earning points. exactly what they didnt do last yr at this time...but I so understand the questions..I just love the vast different opinions
Do you think there is a chance that we see a Kaner and Tazer statue outside next to Bobby and Stan in the future?
I mean I would have to say yes, though its so hard to predict something so special like that...but yeah, some championships and hall of fame careers (maybe on both!) that'll get you some statues but so far off hard to imagine really
hi jesse! thanks for all the info u give us! two part question: how long until olesz gets shipped out/down and how long until smith gets brought up? the reason being toews and sharp need someone a little faster on that top line imho. brunette nust doesn't seem to fit that line.
if it happens, i would say after 15-20 games but the hawks would have to be losing some games or offense REALLY dries up...
JR, your response says it all. Saying Keith would've been better if he was paired with Seabs...? Isn't 2 the one that's supposed to be elevating his partners game, not the other way around?? I don't hate the guy, but for the name, the money an the minutes he leaves a lot to he desired.
Well maybe he is elevating Leddy's game..people are raving about him...IM just saying maybe keith isnt superman and does need his guy some..I hear ya..again, lets lower expectations a little, would help
What happens in February, March, or April? I think letting Leddy play with Keith or Seabrook helps him adjust to being a top-four defenseman on a top team. I like the idea. But does the former Norris Trophy winner end up on the second defensive pair come playoff time? Or do 2 and 7 reunite?
I dont think there is a #1 or #2 def pair..they do diff things though 7 and 4 are going to get the tough def matchups..they expect more Offense out of 2 and 8...how come no one goes nuts over Hammer (2nd yr in a row). He cant fall into an asssis...cullimore had more than he did last yr and o'donnell has 3...anyway, everyone has a role...but yes leddy will be better for it playing big, importnat minutes now...why do you think he's ahead of montador? cause hes better and getting better..2 and 7 will play some, yes, but I cant tell you if they re-unite for long term
Thats going to do it for today...I would say whatever you are wondering about 8 games is too soon to have a defintive opinion on and that includes Keith..cause you might say well its a whole season plus 8 games...first off, hes better than last yr early on and hes playing with a 20 year old...lets give a quarter of the season...follow me on twitter @espnchihawks. and spread the word about my blog...good stuff coming up over next day or so including savard and others react to kane spin from last night..plus video of kane from practice today talking about it..plus other stuff as well...thanks again for all the questions...email me at email@example.com if you need anything...