Hi all. welcome to our weekly Hawks chat. Im at the united center for the big tilt tonight. final game between the hawks and canucks this season. or is it? I just spoke with Luongo and Bieksa...hawks had an optional skate before Vancouver...Toews was out there working hard in drills...so thats a good sign..fire away with questions!!
A healthy Hawks team gets the 4th seed. Who do you prefer to play and unfortunately you gotta pick one, a healthy detroit team or nashvillle with radulov back?
Tough one...Im going to say det. the match-up is better. Simple as that. Pekka Rinne can steal a series better than Howard as well in my opinon....Nash is pretty loaded so Ill take the better macthup and its det. no question their styles are similiar and hawks are better agianst them
With how the hawks are playing now, where was this a couple weeks ago or all season? seems like this is either a tease for the playoffs or do you think they can/will make a serious run?
Thats hockey buddy. I do think in general with good teams, a lot are simply waiting for the playoffs...and they get into bad habits and sometimes cant get out of them..every yr is different...but I do think we have seen so many ups and downs cause, well, they just dont care as much in jan and they do in april...Im making a generalization but basic premise I think holds true...
Have you had a chance to spend anytime with Toews...I understand when your suffering from concussion type symptoms you can seem a lil out of it...I remember an interview with Seabs after that hit from Wiz...and he seemed like he was in a daze...does Toews seem a lil out of it or does he seem like his self?
By the time I and other media are around him he's past all that so he basically seems ok..I didnt see him in the days after he was shut down..not many teammates did either...so again, by the time he's skating and doing interviews or even just hanging out he's past the major symptoms and on to the more minor ones..
What will the line combos look like when 19 comes back?
Its a good question and tough one...Obviously, brunette will drop down of the top 6 that are there..unless they do something will stalberg...but will they keep kane at center? Im going to say no...so toews with stalberg and kane? then kruger with sharp and hossa? it sounds like that third line is set...but if they keep kane at center it all changes...still think he goes back to wing...I know there will be a desire to keep 88 and 81 together..i dont know about playoffs though...
So CC has played well for his last 4 starts... Got the NHL 2nd star of the week (warranted or not). Meanwhile, Oduya is just getting familiar with his teammates. Is it possible that Crawford is not really playing any better, and instead it is the improved defense? Hope Quenville doesn't look too far into the whole NHL 2nd star deal.
Taking nothing away from Crawford, nothing, he has faced FAR less shots and tough chances than previously...watching the game and looking at the numbers says so...so yeah, more on team in front but still have to make the saves you need to and he is..
Speaking of lines....why is Brunette still on the top line? He slows down Kane and Hossa and rarely makes any plays. I know he is more defensive minded that 88 and 81, but there's got to be a better fit.
Q likes him. Likes his know-how and his hands around the net...have to admit hes made some nifty plays with kane...brunette has everything but the wheels...smarts, hands, etc. shot just ok but Q trusts him...again, when toews returns have to dropo him down
In your blog the other day, you just assume the Hawks are going to hit another lull before season's end? What gives? What do you consider to be a lull? I mean, if we win 6 of 8, that should do it, no?
I just meant a few bad games..you expect them to go 16-1-1 in the last 18 games? I just think they'll lose a couple they shouldnt or 2-3 in a row..just the feeling of how things work, nothing more than that...make sense right? secire a spot, take a breathe, lose a couple/three...something of that nature..maybe they got 5-3 or 6-2, i dont know...but a little lull wouldnt be a shock
So Bickell speculations all year about him being traded...The Shaw,Bolland, Bickell line has been pretty darn good. Do you think Bickell may still have the trade target on his back this off season? and How about McNeil you think he'll get any call ups in playoff run or next season more?
Only fans were specualting..I dont know the Hawks offseason plans..they might not know them...lets see how things play out...if they spend a lot elsewhere, they might need him at the little money he makes..so I cant tell you..or maybe he's part of a bigger trade cause someone else likes his cheap prodcution..I do think McNeil might be here but not to play..just to soak it up
If Montador skates again this year and is healthy enough to be in the lineup, is Olsen the odd man out? He's played pretty well of late; all six D-men have.
Yeah, he'll have to earn it back but I do think they will play the vet over the rookie in the playoffs unless he falters then all bets are off..I see montador playing, yes.
I know it's a long and grueling season, but did the Hawks really have to lose 9 games in a row to figure out that strong starts lead to more wins/easier 2nd and 3rd periods?
Its just how it works sometimes...People and media are panicking in vancouver cause they are 2-5 in last 7..they won their division a while ago..who knows why things happen..q admitted to getting away from defensive structure..maybe it took longer to get back..I do think they were ALL slow to react tothe issues at hand...they eventually did and now things are better
Who has been the bigger let down this season: Frolik, O'Donnell, or the goaltenders? Frolik seems like he could benefit from some time down in the minors, as he doesn't seem to be NHL ready from a mental standpoint... Not sure if that is even a possibility though.
Well, frolik, i guess. signed a deal over 2 mil a yr and has prodcued nothing from a former 20 goal scorer. hard to say emery has been "bad" or anything...and Craw just didnt take the "next step" in becoming an elite guy but the team is still 41-25-8 with those guys in net so cant be all bad...so frolik..and would have to clear waivers and maybe he would but minors isnt the answer
I am happy they Hawks are playing well, but the last team I want to face in the first round is the Redwings. Do they take potential opponents into consideration?
No. Q said to me "be careful what you wish for" when I asked something similiar. And he's right..you start trying to fanagle your spot youre ripe for an upset..if youre the best team out there you beat whoever is in front of you...thinking any different will get you in trouble..hawks are 3-0-2 agianst det this yr. why scared?
I would have thought with the injury to Jonny and the lack of depth at center Pirri would have gotten more of a look. He could use more weight but RNH is a rail. So my questions is where does Pirri really fit in the long-term plan.
Unsure..if Kruger were to move to wing, maybe he fits in then..maybe he turns into a 3rd line guy though i doubt it...its always fluid..I would think Kruger will every chance to keep 2nd line role next yr unless they bring in a star so he's behind kruger at this moment..all I can tell you
What is the deal with Alexander Radulov? Is he a big concern for the Hawks, or is he just getting hype because of the juicy story behind his return?
Sure hes a concern..good talent..has to mesh and everything so we'll see...nash is really going for it...
With his recent win streak, does Crawford get the nod to start in the playoffs?
Not necessarily...I was cautious about it when emery took over recently and I would still be cautious..hes the favorite but he falters in these last few games in march...and emery take it around april 1..he might have it...I say whoever is hotter come april is the man...Right now its craw and chance it will be but many prob thought that a week or so ago about emery..
Marian Hossa is the Hawks most valuable player in my opinion, almost every single night. How long do the Hawks have him locked up in contract and how many more years do you think he will be able to perform at this level?
They have him for another decade basically..I think in a few years he'll turn into a very good third line player and thats how he'll finish his career...kind of like modano.4 yrs from now?? around 37-38
Let's say the Blackhawks end up in 6th place and face Dallas (or whoever) in the first round, but Toews is still out. Who would you have as the favorite?
I think vegas would still make hawks fav. I guess I would too. Slight fav.
Will Frolik be on the Blackhawks' roster next season?
I have no idea
Jesse, of all the kids we have seen this year - Saad, Hayes, Shaw, Olsen, etc, which ones(if any) do you see as having all star potential down the road?
I think most would say Saad..and it makes sense..he's a kid in a man's body already and his skill set is pretty good...cant say it for sure cause the mental part of the game is huge and I dont know him well enough in that dept..but talent wise, has to still be him
I've bashed Bowman for his band-aid approach to this Hawks roster but I have to give him full credit for acquiring Oduya. It is no concidence that everything about the Hawks game has improved with another d-man that can make plays with his feet and hands. Do you think Oduya has earned a contract for next year's team?
Sure, if it fits monetarily which it might not..how much can you spend on your defense? But who knows, maybe someone is moved or he doesnt ask for the world but sure they would like him at this point..near perfect for the system they run
When does Saad's junior season end? If/when he is called up do you think he gets some ice-time? Or just a chance to soak it all in like you described with McNeil?
They are just starting the playoffs so when his team is knocked out...the longer he's not here the less I think he would play..but I would not rule it out..he had a monster year down there..if his team did not make the playoffs I think he would be here and playing...just depends
is there any chance we could see morrison come out of the healthy scratch in the next couple of weeks
doubt it..hes behind a bunch at this rate..would need some injuries..maybe if hawks secure a seed which Im sure they wont til the end since its so tight
It seems like the Hawks D is starting to shoot with less velocity and more accuracy and more pucks are getting to the net. Do you agree and is this a deliberate coaching point? It's about time they figured out that you don't need to score on the shot just create rebound "garbage" opportunities.
Right, create the havoc...hmm, havent asked that specific question..I do know theyve been stressing whoever gets the puck to the net is going to get that pp time that everyone wants..its why oduya earned a chance..so accuracy is def being stressed, not sure if speficially at expense of velocity but maybe they;re doing it on their won to be more accurate
Better hypothetical (re)addition to the hawks: Antti Niemi or Dustin Byfuglien. Another hypothetical scenario; although it may sound crazy, I find it quite intriguing: would you trade patrick kane for Dustin Byfuglien and Antti Niemi if Betteman said you could do it TODAY?
You're killing me. Two of my fav ex-hawks though Niemi and Sharks are struggling big time..I love Niemi but Buff's abtilites come along once in a great while so I'd take him first....kane for those two? I dont know...I guess not...maybe. If niemi has one more playoff run like hes had for 2 yrs I would say yes, but they may not get in so glow comes off him somewhat..answer is no though..youre killing me with that one
How can you, not you per se, justify splitting up 88 and 81?
Right, cause this is now and you have to project..its not so much 88 and 81, its simply is 88 capable of center in playoff hockey against the nash predators or blues?? maybe it changes with the matchup..maybe there is no right or wrong answers just differnt ones...Im just not convinced Kane is a center for spring hockey...maybe im wrong..
I know its hard to say, and it is all up to him, but what do you put the chances of 19 making it back this season? Is there anything that you pick up from being around the team so much that we dont?
There is nothing to be picked up except the facts..he skated hard today..thats better than not skating..but if he wakes up tomorrow or goes home today and starts feeling crappy then we go back a step...they already thought he was moving towards playing and he had a set back...he might go well for 5 days and have one...or hes fine from this day forward...montdaor has gone back and forth..everyone wants answers and no one has them
Is it true that teams can only call up 4 players from their AHL club after the trade deadline? If yes, the Blackhawks have called up 2 (Shaw and Bollig), correct? Or does Carter Hutton's brief back-up for Emery count as well? Thanks.
Yes, its true except in emergencey situations which Im sure Hutton qualified as..emery was sick..there is another exception or two as well but thats basically it...
Jesse, if the Hawks lock up the 6th seed, who do you like as an opponent for the 3rd seed: Dallas, Phoenix or San Jose?
Prob PHX...I dont like Tippet in the playoffs and Lehtonen and yes, Niemi can steal a series..SJ and Dallas dont scare me but of the three I go PHX...plus, road games would feel like home games out there..not a bad thing either..
Jesse, the hawks tend to get out hit in games against very physical teams like STL and NSH. Won't that pose a major problem in a 7-game series, and how do the Hawks combat that?
I think its over rated...My opinion...not saying it doesnt matter..hawks are less physical but can skate better...how come no one says "wont st. louis be worried cause they cant skate with hawks". its always hte physical angle..plus the hawks CAN be..they proved it last game against the blues..they can be enough I guess I should say
Is there any concern from the Hawks, players or organization, that Toews status could turn into a Crosby type situation?
No, because he's had ONE setback not multiple and as far as I can tell he doesnt have a second issue which they found about with crosby's neck or spine or what not
Outside Nashville and perhaps Detroit don't the Hawks match up pretty favorably against everyone in the West? I would even say Nashville is probably the only team that gives the Hawks Matchup nightmare.
I think that makes sense..Nash the worst in style and talent...dont love PHX style but hawks can beat them...no issues style wise we know with van and det. Blues play it rough but hawks have pushed back this yr...so yes, I would agree
If the Hawks don't make a deep run in the playoffs, do you believe that Rocky's recent comments of the coaching situation will come back to haunt him?
Nope. He might just chalk it up to someone has to lose and someone has to win...if you think you have the right coach you can look elsewhere to "blame". they came out of their slump, sounds like that was good enough for him
Hey Jesse, There are a lot of good centers that are FA this offseason like Ganger, Berglund etc. But nice that the Hawks are being successful without Toews allowing him to fully recover, but are the Hawks still out looking for another Center?
I would think so. Can never have enough good ones..BUT like last offseason, they wont throw thier whole plan out of whack for one...
Kane seems to have found his game. What do you think attributed to that? Maturity, responsibility to his team or the time of year? Other thoughts?
TIME OF YEAR
Prediction for tonight's game?
Im always wrong so this will make you happy..i like the canucks..no deep reason to it..just their turn to win and hawks to lose, IMO
Earlier you mentioned Bickell. He started the year with an impressive wrister, showed promise and strength, then kind of got in the dog house. He seems to be playing more recently, so what should we be expecting form him at this stage, can he blossom into being a very productive player on a consistent basis?
I think he is what he is..an ok 3rd line player...who looks even better next to Bolland..remember, he makes nothing in NHL terms so if he has a good run in the playoffs in that role again..actually being underpaid in a way...IF he keeps it up. we'll see...he tends to go south after a while
Is dunc finally back? Him and Seabs have been on fire. Seems to me Keith plays much better when he isn't playing 30 minutes a game. Also how much of a bandwagon is Berry Melrose? The guy changes his mind on the Hawks ever single day.
Ill tell you one thing, Seabs is back..Been a monster lately..Dunc is Dunc...he does a lot of things well but his mistakes are GLARING...thats the issue with him...but yes, they are both killing plays better and contributing on offense..killing plays, thats key against other top lines..just diffuse whats coming so goalie doesnt have to make the big save or at least less of them
Continue to be impressed with their discipline (few penalties), product of the system or playoff-style hockey? Honestly, without Carbomb in line-up, it helps?
Style of play..goes back to that physcial thing. Remember a team that is more physical tends to take more penalties, for better or worse..so yes, think its that more than anything...
Thats it for today. Sorry, if I didnt get to yours. So many questions. I'll go longer when we get to playoffs. Look for stuff in blog postgame and Video of Luongo meeting media this morn..should be up soon..plus story on toews skating today...enjoy the game..follow me on twitter @espnchihawks. and spread the word on the blog...just an hour after the game you can read all from locker room,etc. thanks again, talk to you next week!!!