Hi all, Welcome to our weekly Hawks chat...this week from S. Florids where the Hawks will play the next few days...they just finished practice...now hanging with their dads. Weather nice here but very windy.Hawks had a good first month, now on to November. Fire away with questions!
Andrew Brunette seems to be slowing down the top line just a bit. I don't want to say demoted because he has played decent so far, but is he better suited on the 3rd line with Bolland and Frolik? Experiment a red hot Stalberg on the 1st line with Toews and Sharp? Just a thought. What do you think?
Its possibe but as I wrote in my first month review which is in my blog now, I dont think we're quite there yet...If they get there i wouldnt mind seeing Brunette and Frolik swicth spots...Stalberg wull play with Toews even with Carcillo back so we'll see how long that lasts..In the past he hasnt lasted long for stalberg in the top 6 but after the back to back game winners, why not? So let this play out some more and we'll see...they're winning so they wont mess too much with it..diff ways to get it done so plenty of options
If Keith is out, what do you see as the defensive pairings?
It looks like O'Donnell and Leddy will be paired..they ran drills together in practice today and played in the preseason together...montador and lepisto were paired and seabrook and hammer...usually if one guy is out coaches dont want to mess with everything unless they have to so right now O'Donnell takes Keith's place
Any update on Duncan?
His left hand was swollen so think just need it to heal up..not sure if there is a break in a finger or not but fact they are listing him day to day is a good sign..he wont play tomorrow and I doubt friday but could see sunday return
Hey Jesse,Where do you rank Crawford as a goalie in the NHL? He's playing great in the early going.
Hard to give a specific rank but def top 3rd for me..no doubt in my mind..Ive been saying it for a year now, as technically sound as you'll find..how many times do you see him scramble to recover, etc. Pretty rare..so he's moving up...prob about 5 or 6 I'd take ahead of him...cant call him elite yet just not enough time but hes moving in that direction...
Eddie O said last night that the only thing the hawks are missing to become the team to beat is a second line center. Although Kane's been doing great at center, do you see him sticking around center all season long or will he return to the wing to play with Toews? BTW great work, follow you and the Hawks from Boston, best team for sure
Tough to gague right now...I think if the second line center they want falls in their lap then they will move him but as Q said the other night the "trial is no longer a trial." So lets just say with the team they have he's staying at center.
Will Q do the right thing and keep Leddy on the PP1 unit with Sharp? The last PP the Hawks had the other night was the best looking PP they've had in quite sometime despite scoring. Leddy may be the best person no the team at gaining the zone as he always seems to make the right decision with the puck. Add this to his superior shooting ability compared to our other dmen (pretty much the only one that can hit the net), instincts in the offensive zone, and abillity to keep the cycling/passing going and this unit will be much better with him on it. If only these guys would shoot/pass quicker to not let the defense/goalie reset itself when we hold on to the puck too long.
No doubt Leddy stays on the pp for sure...he's the only D-man with goals...looks like Q does like the current combos because the last 2 games they have much better chances..with ketih out its a little mixed up...saw seabrook and sharp some together today...expect montador to get some pp time as well...Seabrook has the best shot back there but you're right Ledddy is coming on
Not a question but can you ask Kane in front of Toews what it feels like to be the best Center on the team and film Toews' reaction (though I think Toews is still probably the better center, I think it would be a hilarious interview)
We've joked about that with Kane..he was egging some in the media on to tell Toews he's #2 and see his reaction..not sure I want to take my life into my own hands...was told on a pp, Kane asked Toews if he should take a face off and got the stare...pretty funny
How do you evaluate Hammer's play? He has been pretty underwhelming ever since the offer sheet in my opinion.
Youre not wrong...another start to the season without a point in the early going..feels a little like last year BUT he's playing fine on defense...youd think a puck would hit him and he'd get a secondary assist...have to call it like we see it..def not a 3.5 mil D-man right now..nice player but not great...does little things well..we just expect ANY offense apparently..even defensive d-men should get a few points if they are doing postiive things with the puck..heck, o'donnell has 3 helpers..
Why aren't the Hawks d-men outside Leddy jumping in the play more?
Not sure..they'll tell you its about the opportunity...maybe if seabs and ketih were together we'd see more, in fact IM sure of it, they trust and know each other better so maybe we see it more as the season goes along and the pairs get used to each other...when it dries up for the forwards, will need that for sure from back end
Florida/Tampa/Vancouver this weekend...how many points out of 6 do the Hawks get in your opinion?
I'll say 4-5..they usually lose one of these fla games but should be juiced and ready for sunday
Hey Jesse...the past few games the Hawks have had either Sharp or Hossa playing at the blue line on the PP and they've given up a few breakaways just after the penalty expires. Can this be chalked up to just unlucky timing or do you think Q would be better served leaving 2 d-men back there on the PP?
Theyve had a forward on the point for most of the time under Q and it hasnt been a huge issue..it is bad timing..besides Seabrook messed up on that one in Carolina so cant always blame the forward...unlucky and poor play at the same time
While we are clearly deeper, and a bit tougher than last year, we could still use more grit. Ben Smith could provide some of that. How long do you expect him to stay down? And who does he bump...Rusty? Scott?
I simply dont know the timetable..but I would bet it depends on how the team is doing. we tend to over analyze things..team is winning, despite some warts, Q will leave well enough alone..so look for a slump to force changes like smith coming..if everyone is healthy and they made the move, I guess they would try to send Olesz down based on what we've seen
Hey Jesse, what is going on with the Hawks power play? With all of the big names already on the ice, realistically, what can they do to get it going?
Soon. I really believe it..no idea if ends up in top 5 or anything but lets just assume its a slump to start the season and at the very least its due for a hot strecth even if it dies down again...but lets start with some goals and go from there..think its coming now that Q has mixed up the personnell..think that was the right move
Hi Jesse! Hope you're enjoying Florida. So, maybe I missed something here, but I thought Edzo and Foley said on the broadcast the other night that Keith had elbow surgery in the offseason. I don't remember hearing anything about that. Clarification?
I am unaware of elbow surgery but if they said its prob true..assuming it was minor since it hasnt been a topic..Ill ask keith...
Jesse, Love your chats. But watching these last few games I'm starting to worry about committing too many turnovers in the defensive zone. Is this a side affect to the changes in the new pairings or is this something to be concerned about for the long term?
I think a little of both...In my blog I called it a "shaky" defense at times but one that hasnt sprung any leaks...guessing it gets better with time but I'll say this..they've clamped down pretty well in the 3rd periods and PK has been good..forwards have something to do with that but D-men too..anyway, some good some just ok there...more time needed for full evaluation
With Stalberg starting to light the lamp, and looking more like the player I hoped he was going to be last year, do you think he'll get a promotion to the top 6?
he is for now but I dont think its full-time..I talked to him today extensively and he thinks hes almost there..says his 12 goals in limited time last year would have extrapolated to over 20 with serious minutes and he might be right but would that extra ice time cost the hawks on the other end, etc. In other words need to see the full game from him for an extended period before we know..we've seen these flashes before..maybe it is coming..love that speed thats for sure
So if Kane is going to be the 2nd line center that the hawks were looking for, does that change what Bowman should be looking for in terms of trades and how so?
Good question..Could look at the best top 6 guy available, even at wing, or another D-man who can play top 4-5 minutes..opens up the possibilities...if Carcillo and Stalberg sort of slowed up there are openings there..Smith would be in the mix..but if they can get a guy like Doan I jump at it..No idea if they can but between cap room and prospects they should be in a good spot
I think the Dads' week is a neat idea. Is that something that the 'Hawks specifically do, or is that an NHL-wide practice?
Many teams in the NHL do some form of it..hawks have now done it 3 years in a row...dads, moms, dads...pretty cool...im looking at Dave Bolland's dad as I type...Look for a video interview i did with Gino Carcillo in my blog later today..met a bunch of them over last couple years and days..great guys and all proud of their sons
Was it my imagination, or did Crawford let in a couple of weak goals against the Preds?
I think he makes the save on a few of those normally, prob not his best game...middle of the ice without a screen should be stopped
JR, I know this is bordering on blasphemy, but what's with Tazer? I know he does things that don't always show up on the score sheet, BUT he's gotta start showing up on the score sheet. You still believe he's not missing Kaner? I love 88 at center, but maybe it's time to start looking for that second playmaking center... I don't see how the first line gets going without a playmaker, which it doesn't have now that 88 is centering the 2nd line. Thoughts??
I hear ya..I never said he wouldnt miss Kane, of course it would be easier but in the past it was Kane that needed Toews..anyway, thats where the brunette/stalberg thing kind of does hurt 19..I mean 10/88/81/cmon, thats as good as it gets so Toews needs to make those guys better...as good as they are they dont have 6 stars to take the top 2 lines..I'd rather see Toews "make do" than Kane...
Lepisto in for O'Donnell I feel is the right move, what do you think JR?
Sometimes..wont happen all the time..with keith out they will both play...
Hi Jesse <3, why is Scott playing so much, I thought Rusty would be getting some playing time. What is going on with Rusty?? <3
Another good question..we've probed Q about this..I asked straight out why scott over olesz and havent gotten a great answer..so assuming its not practice habits or something..I know that Q has always "backed" scott..olesz really doesnt have any backers so maybe this is just throwing a bone Scott's way
Jesse, moved to Florida this summer so I finally get to see my 2011-12 Hawks in person. Going to both games on Thursday and Friday. Can't wait. Do those guys remember they lost back to back games to Florida and Tampa in March the last time they were down here? I hope their dads are keeping them away from South Beach, so we can pick up some points in FL this season.
Im looking at four players and their dads having a nice lunch right now so they are staying away from south beack..and they have a team dinner with the dads tonight so all good there...they know they lost to these teams last yr but remember they won 8 in a row right before these games so hard to pinpoint anything there...no keith changes the dynamic so we'll see
Would you say Leddy has been the Hawk's best defenseman so far this year?
No, I dont think so but its close..like his offense but he's been caught in a pickle a couple of times and still has issues in his own end..he needs to bail out his partner or the goalie once in a while and we havent seen it...prob seabrook but tough call
The BIG game is Sunday. NO doubt Q will put the rat out against Sedins. That leaves Jonny and Kane against Kesler and Malhotra. Are you expecting Q to try and match Kane with Kesler (which might free up JOnny)?
Nope. Toews on Kesler..no way its kane
Ok, you see most practices: is Olesz really that bad? Forget what he's being paid, he is a natural forward. Apart from size, what does Scott really have over him to warrant Olesz sitting? Does this guy ever get a shot, or is he 2011's Jordan Hendry?
he's fine in practice..again, must be more at work with this thing but nothing real nefarious..what I wrote before..
I'd like to see the Hawks be a little more physical, do you think they've been effective with their checking?
Tough call..on certain nights, yes but as Q points out the nights they have the puck alot they arent going to do much checking..you dont hit guys when your time has the puck..but on those nights they arent skating well they need to bring it physically, etc. so just depends
Hey Jesse, so what do you think Bowman is going to do with Olesz? Package him with someone (Stalberg, Smith and maybe to a lesser extent Morin) or just keep him in the press box? His 3 million plus cap hit isn't looking good sitting up there...
Would be tough to package 3 mil when he's not even playing. hes insurance right now..their healthy which wont last long Im sure so lets see how it plays out
Jesse, what are the chances that we bring in some first line talent to play Tazer at the trade deadline? Carcillo and Stalberg: not first line. good, not great. Sharp, Kane, Hossa: 2nd line. It would make a great 1-1A offensive punch. Thoughts?
I think its possible. But again they wont panic to make a move if things are going well..that first line has done some damage...long way to go till the deadline but yes, of course its possible..they have the prospects and the room
You mentioned Doan as a possible pick up for the Hawks, and I totally agree. A top 6 forward who can PLAY. What would it take to get Doan from the Yotes?
Probably a smith or morin type plus more...
Kaner looked like he was playing on an entirely different level the other night vs. Nashville. Even more impressive considering the press his wrist injury got in camp. Did he change his offseason workouts coming into this year to better prepare? He looks quicker, more confident, and dominant to start the year.
He had a jummp in his game like this a couple years ago so i think he simply had the time to dedicate himself unlike last summer...hes simply a world class talent motivated to be better...hes been amazing
How happy are the Blackhawks executives that they didn't follow through with the trade of Kane to Buffalo for Miller? Kane seems to be more motivated now and Crawford is a rising star in goal.
My god, that was NEVER a possibility. none. ever. dont read another blog besides mine ever again.
Love hearing the post game and when the questions are asked of coach Q I always hear you ask a question. How many people are asking Q questions?
Not alot cause alot dont know what to ask. lol. The beat people ask the most cause we write about the most. The tv guys just want a 10 sec quote then go home.
Do we see Carcillo drop the gloves with LaPierre or one of the other worthless Vancouver scumbags in your opinion? He did some jabbering during the summer...
He did and Lapierrre was one of the guys he talked about..tough call coming off suspension..hell be sure not to get an instigator or do anything dirty but doesnt mean they wont go...bomb might fell obligated after that talk
How come after Keith and Seabrook, the second and defensive lines play poorly well atleast in my mind they do. That was especially a killer last year and it was shown in the playoffs. I guess what i'm saying is, instead of all this concern on the offense, Bowman and Hawks should try to help the depth of the defensive lines.
Its possible..but they arent as bad as you say...look at other teams...the hawks have had their moments..maybe they dont have a true #1 so they need to make do...2 and 7 might be great #2's but they arent she weber, etc. anyway, its a work in progress but I dont disagree with you and IM sure bowman doesnt either..that could be the priority when its all said and done
Any prediction on Thursday's score? And who is your pick to click?
Tough one..hate these buildings where there isnt a lot of energy...I like sharp or hossa to click...out on a limb again
Jesse, Why is Brandon Garrett's question even getting through on here? You have a finite amount of time to answer real questions, rather than dignifying hollow rumors with a response.
Because people believe what they read on the net so once in a while its good to remind them alot aint true..
Jesse, If Kane can keep up this level of play, does he get MVP consideration? He has been SCARY good...I can't think of any player in the league with better hands...MAYBE Datsyuk, but close...your thoughts?
Hard to say about MVP...but maybe. need to do it for the whole season...he didnt even get star of the month in oct so lets see how it plays out...82 games of dominant play at a new position and 90 or more points? maybe
Jesse, if corey is in top 3 ,who are your top 2?
Kidding..I guess Bryzgalov, maybe before this year..miller I suppose, tim thomas obviously..but Id take corey ahead of kiprusoff for sure and prob hiller though its close..so he's right there
I know you saw Buff the other day, why did he and Ladd go afetr Skille?
I wouldnt call it bad history but dont think Skille was such "one of the guys" that would prevent ladd/buff to react if needed..guess he ran enstrom or something so they reacted but the point is if its burish or someone, they wouldnt drop the gloves...skille not in that category..
Presume we're talking Craw tonight, Emery tomorrow, Craw Sunday?
Haha. That would be my guess but with a short flight, etc still COULD see corey all 3 but I would doubt it..if its 3-0 chi tomorrow, maybe then..
Hey Jesse, with any road trip do you ever get invited to hangout with some of the guys?
A little bit but not in a planned way..if we stay at same hotel (which I am this time) then it happens or after a game in edm and theres like one joint open, sometimes like that...but not like i call Sharp and say meet me at mcdonalds...buff was another story...lol. also, media schedule diff then player plus they hate the media. doesnt everyone? lol
With the Hawks on top of the West, why are so many people so anxious to make changes instead of letting things gel when we're only 11 games in?
with you..I understand its not perfect but its hard to win and get points and when you do coaches leave enough alone..I mentioned overanalyzing before...quick story..last yr or yr before kane had a couple bad moments in a game and I asked Q kind of off the cuff at hotel or somehwere about it..something real specific and he basically said with a player like kane " i just leave him alone and let him be great". in other words, you'll get some bad moments but when things are going well you dont overcoach..with a player or a team...you prepare and adjust but dont mess with it cause who knows what chemistry will work..fix when its broken only is what most coaches believe
JR, did you see the new Kaner commercial for Discover and "Peggy"?
Have not but I will..Kane talked about that today..said it took 8 hours for 30 sec. enjoyed it, etc. heard it was good.
where would you rank quick from la?
I like him, maybe on par with craw....a spot or two behind when its all said and done..if I had a choice I talk craw
Jesse - quote from the first ten games of the 2009-2010 season in your article. "Thank goodness the Hawks' power play isn't responsible for actually powering anything. Has anyone noticed that the power play is 0 for its last 9 over the span of three games? I know that can change tomorrow, and it's a small sample size but more than not producing, it's looked rather mundane, especially with the two-man advantage. The Hawks have scored a power-play goal in only half of the first 10 games. That's not good enough. Not with the talent on the ice. I know Marian Hossa will make a difference, but as Joel Quenneville said the other day, moving the puck and finding options are nice, but "it's time for production now." "While certainly not as loaded as that team, there are a lot of similiarities through the first 10 games. Can't ever count them out of a game, Kane is the MVP, terrible power play. Think they have the same ability in them as the cup team come play offs?
Good digging there...I agree there are similiarities..the year they won the cup pp was avg but came on in playoffs...kane was great to start that year...but I think its just a coincidence
Jesse, every week there seems to be 1 or 2 people on this chat who call our Keith as being "horrible" or "overpaid." Personally, I think he's been nearly as good as his norris year. Yes there have been slight hiccups here and there but even the best defensemen in the league have them. Sometimes you hit a rut in the ice or a puck skips or rolls on you in this game. What are your thoughts?
Hmm..Cant say as good as Norris yr. Offense isnt there and he and leddy are still figuring things out..Ill say hes better than last year and leave it at that..
whos the biggest gym rat on the hawks? you know, always there early, always leaves late, always takes the extra skate when he has a chance?
Hmm...not bolland Ill tell you that much. lol. I guess Keith..I mean they all work hard. hard to pick one guy...seabrook wlways working out..they're all put on a routine so again hard to find one guy that stands out
With seemingly improved chemistry, do you see Mario Kart tournaments making a comeback appearance during the big road trip this year?
yes, and hammer will win them all. still the best
As far as Kane centering the second line, i think he has put up a valiant effort in the defensive zone so far, but the guy just isn't built to tangle with some of the bigger centers down low (i.e. Joe Thorton). Do you envision a situation where Hossa would take over the responsibilities of the center in the D-zone when faced with such a situation?
They way they play, the first guy back goes down low do those times when they are on the ice against the bigger centers, yes Hossa will help. Against carolina, Kane didnt have his best night facing Staal so once in a while there will be issues..anyway, hossa helps for sure. Im sure thats how they envisioned it form the start
Jesse,What's the ceiling on this years team? With guys like Stalberg, Bickell, and Leddy contributing early, I really see 6-7 20+ goal scorers on our team, much like 2010. Would the Conference Finals be too much to hope for, or under achieving?
Conf finals for sure
Thanks for the questions. Great stuff. Hope I answered them to your liking. Check out my blog later...video with carcillo's dad will be in there...plus everything from practice today....will try for a video thing with soup or steeg tomorrow...you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if i missed your question and follow me on twitter @espnchihawks . chat next week..think from columbus or somewhere...anyway ,thanks again and look for new blog tonight...10 game/1st month review is up now