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April 11, 12:30 PM ET
Chat with Jesse Rogers

Jesse Rogers
  (12:33 PM)

Hello from sunny Az. Im right next door to arena where the Coyotes and then the Hawks will prac later today in advance of their opening round playoff series on Thursday. The postseason is finally here!! Check out my blog for all sort of coverage from playoff beards to the power play. But rihgt now, lets talk some playoff hockey! fire away

David (New Jersey)

Hi Jesse is there any concern that the hawks might be looking past the coyotes to the second round?

Jesse Rogers
  (12:35 PM)

Hard to say, not one player has mentioned that Van/Chi possible showdown in rd .2 We'll get a better idea of their focus once the series starts..but I have put it do Q and some players...think of teh first round series over last 3 yrs...this team does tend to "sleepwalk" through an early game or two...could happen here against a less than sexy opponent. Short answer, I dont think so but their play will tell us more

Mark B (Chicago)

Looking back now, was it a gigantic mistake for matching the Sharks offer for Hjalmerson? He is our 5th best d-man and we could have had Niemi.

Jesse Rogers
  (12:36 PM)

Like you said hindsight is 20/20..everyone thought Hammer would take great steps than maybe he has but at 3.4 he's not WAY overpaid..but in him and montador they spent a lot on at least current #5's I agree...such a tough call at the time..thier mistake was not locking him up sooner for less...they def could have

Papa Schizzle (Hawkeytown, USA)

Who's performance is more important to the Hawks in this first round series? Crawford or Toews?

Jesse Rogers
  (12:38 PM)

Gotta be CRawford, right? Hawks have done pretty well without Toews and thier not facing a 105 pt team here...its a good one but no team will win if their goalie is below avg. So more question marks on Craw than Toews even with the layoff...Im going to look it up but if I recall Toews came back like a monster a few yrs ago after willie mitchell got him with a concussion..I expect the same

Jeff R (Dallas)

I saw your blogs about the 81-19-88 line from the past. Do you think enough growing has happened among the players to this point that this could seriously work? What would you say is a Best Case/Worst Case scenario?

Jesse Rogers
  (12:40 PM)

Its a good question...the key there is Kane..has he grown enough where a change like that wont send him backwards mentally..based on how he took to center maybe thats the sign...and based on what hes been saying all case is they have instant chemistry and the 2nd line continues on...worst case, its "awkward" out there and Q changes the top 6...I love the kruger line but its not inseperable so we'll see how it plays out...means more, say, if you couldnt chnage lines..but they can change at any moment...

Aaron Krivanek (Schererville, IN)

Can the Hawks be a playoff competitor if Toews continues to be unable to play?

Jesse Rogers
  (12:40 PM)

Its a moot point. He's playing.

Joe (Indian Head Park)

Jesse,Aside from the obvious choice of Crawford, who do you think needs to play at the top of his game in order for the Hawks to advance to Round 2?

Jesse Rogers
  (12:42 PM)

Tough to say...easy answer is keith and seabrook...they neutralize the few weapons PHX has and its game over in my opinion...but to pick one player is always tough...I guess on offense it could be kane considering the position switch...but actually, if you include trhe power play as I tihnk abut it, Ill go with seabrook...he'll be key on that first unit

David E (Ridgefield, CT)

I am really excited about this the fact the Phoenix newspapers just concentrate on the regular season series and pick the Yotes in 5. I mean, am I alone in not being scared of a 40yr old Whitney and Vrbata as their firepower??

Jesse Rogers
  (12:44 PM)

Gotta show those guys some respect..the 40 year old Whitney had same points as Hossa..but I know what you me on this, the reg season means absolutely nothing MOST times and in this case it means even less...I 100% believe that..dont worry about 1-2-1...the season series was not a good indicator of whats to come...not one bit

Kevin (My Cube)

Is Bollig going to play over Hayes? Fighting disappears in the playoffs, wouldn't you rather see someone who can score out there?

Jesse Rogers
  (12:46 PM)

I am a little surprised that Bollig is wouldnt mind some offense form that 4th line and less likely to do it..I acutally think frolik played well in a those couple games down the strecth...hes more likely to at least create SOMETHING...youre right about the fighting..need to ask Q about that one...I ti8hnk frolik or hayes would be better option in this case

Steve (Chicago)

With Emery now being locked up for the year, does that settle the goalie situation going into next season? Or do you believe something still could happen in the summer pending how Crawford performs in the playoffs?

Jesse Rogers
  (12:47 PM)

I think its settled...I think if Corey flames out they think Emery could handle whatever he needs to...Craw would really have to be bad in this series not to be the guy going into next yr. Get somphomore slump out of way and start over..he still has could make the case for just the ups and downs of a young player with new contract, etc.

Dennis (MI)

Which player do you think could suprise with breakout playoff performance? oduya, shaw maybe?

Jesse Rogers
  (12:49 PM)

I mean at this point not sure what constitutes a surprise but I think Stalberg will keep it least in terms of getting his chances..and maybe the points as shaw though..if that 3rd line plays in the off zone those top players on other teams wont keep track of him..he'll get his looks

Rob (AZ)

Being a hawks fan in Phoenix, my biggest concern is scoring on Mike Smith. He's been great all year and standing on his head the last 5 games. They have struggled playing here for most of the last 3 years & haven't beaten Smith this year. Don't you think how they do offensively is going to be the key? I don't like our odds in a 1-0, 2-1 type games.

Jesse Rogers
  (12:51 PM)

You bring up some good points...thats why i think there will be at least one game where the hawks play thier cutesy perimeter game and get beat but then they'll remembe rwhat traffic in front does, etc. and wake up...maybe it will happen from game 1...but if the hawks play their pace, Smith will be inundated...PHX gave up 54 shots to columbus not long ago andSmith got a shutout..they are not full of finishers..the hawks are

John (West Loop)

Jesse, how soon until 6 sits and Olsen replaces him?

Jesse Rogers
  (12:52 PM)

Hard to know obviously..see how these games go...I think Q likes to have something in his back pocket to go to..Its why I thought Bollig would NOT start then he go to him if they need an energy guy...maybe they have enough young guys in lineup..I totally understand letting O'Donnell play until he plays himself out of the lineup..we'll see

mike (LGP)

Hey can you give me a brief once-over of how the playoffs work for hockey? Who could be a next round much up if the hawks get past the first round? Thanks

Jesse Rogers
  (12:53 PM)

It all depends...the highest seed left plays the lowest seed and so on...

Paul (Elmhurst)

Jesse I know you cover the Hawks as your job, but are they your favorite team? I'm sure u root for them tho...if not, who is your favorite team? Also, who is your all-time favorite player? Thanks!

Jesse Rogers
  (12:54 PM)

grew up in chicago so yeah I was/am a fan..not as much now in the sense that it is a job..mostly I like seeing them win for you guys cause I kow how invested the fans are...I loved Roenisk and Savard...and outside of Chicago..Great One of course

Matty-Ice (Detroit)

Someone asked me the other day, "Who is coming out of the West?" I think I'd have better luck picking if I put all 8 team names into a hat and randomly drawing. Any better ideas?

Jesse Rogers
  (12:56 PM)

Nope I dont. Thats why the hockeyu playoffs are the best....bulls/heat are a done deal right? Here, forget about it. Who knows? Reg season is not an easy barmoeter...look at divisions..VAN wins presidents trophy playing that dreck 6 times...and all those points garnered or lost in OT wins and losses and shootouts are who many varaibles

Aaron Krivanek (Schererville,IN)

Looking ahead, how much importance do you put on straitening out the Hawks pp performance in this first round?

Jesse Rogers
  (12:58 PM)

I would say its important in every round..playoff games can come down to one pp could make a bigger case here assuming its not high scoring affairs...poiint is you could have a 0-0 game midway thru then a sill delay of game penalty is called and that pp could be the diff. no other sport even soccer (just 1 of 11) gives such an have to jump on it

Rob (AZ)

I hear alot of people saying the Hawks got what they wanted. One of the west coast teams instead of Nashville since they weren't going to get get home ice anyway. Do you agree considering its now likely Vancouver if they advance instead of Stl? Did you think Nashville is that much tougher of a matchup?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:00 PM)

Only the players keep bringing up the short flight to Nash as a reason they wanted the 5 seed...cause fans dont want to hear it but it is the truth...PHX and then Van will wear you the fact that Q pulled craw in a 2-2 game in the final sec against det tells you what he wanted to happen

Matt Ogorek (Chicago)

What kind of leash will Crawford be on? If he gets pulled in a game would Emery start the next one?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:01 PM)

That's the million dollar question...if it coems in Game 1 then yes I could see emery getting the next one...if CRaw is playing well and then stumbles he prob gets the net back..but this is is he giving up goals, whats the series like, etc. hard to just say somethin now and have it stick

Mark (Shanghai, China)

Good job this week Jesse!1st question: Some NHL "experts" are picking the Yotes' in this series. Does the team or coaching staff use things like that openly in the locker room as some added fuel or motivation? 2nd: How many Hawks road white jerseys do we expect to see in the Phoenix "white out?"

Jesse Rogers
  (1:03 PM)

Do expect a good number of hawks fans...unless an "expert" really bashes them, no its not really use as motivation..the players might talk about it in a casual manner if asked but they dont really care too much.

Mike (Chicago)

How many games do you expect kane/toews/hossa to stay together?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:04 PM)

Ill be the pessimist...not problem being wrong on that one..

Jerry (Skokie)

Say if the 88-19-81 line doesn't produce but 25-16-10 line keeps on producing in the playoffs, what are Q's options then?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:05 PM)

Thats interesting..all depends if they are winning...remember early on when bruette stuck on top line even though was obvious it wasnt a fit? As soon as they started losing Q changed it up there is your answer...he'll let a line struggle if the team is winning...

Kevin (Elmwood Park, IL)

Has anyone talked about or have you seen anything in practice with the power-play and dumping the puck more? Especially with what I saw in the last few games with both PP lines (especially second line)...if they cannot walk into the zone, possessing the puck, then their momentum is totally thrown off.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:07 PM)

Not been talked about too much..they mostly prac in zone stuff...but yeah thats not a bad question to bring up over next 24 hours..prob is they dont have go-getters to get the puck back . I know a lot of people want stalberg in there for that reason

Kam (Elmira)

now that it seems sedin is out for the first game of the playoffs, do you still think keith should have only gotten 5 games. Given Toews issues with concussions I would hope not

Jesse Rogers
  (1:08 PM)

I think 5 was fine...but I do think A lot of hawks fans need to admit they were wrong about sedin..he wasnt playing it up, especially after the suspension was handed down..keith got what he deserved....

Mike (CHI)

I know it was last game and were looking toward the playoffs, but what was the thought behind pulling Craw in a 2-2 game on Saturday. Was that more to send a message to everyone else or were they really trying to pull it out for the 5 seed?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:09 PM)

What kind of a message would they be sedinding? Q wanted to move up..simple as that..

Adam (San Diego)

I've been to Hawks games in Phoenix before and there seems to be more Hawks fans than Coyote fans... I'm even flying out for game 5. What are you expecting, 50/50?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:10 PM)

Maybe not quite 50/50...3565? hard to know cause this is playoffs so Coyotes fans might come out where when the hawks are here twice a year ticks are eaten up by transplants

TP (Chicago)

Just wanted to clarify, there is NO CHANCE of a VAN/CHI Round 2 matchup like you said earlier. The 1 v 8, plays the winner of 4/5.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:11 PM)

That is not right...the highest seed laft plays the lower one and so forth..if 7 and 8 lose then 1 plays 6

Mrs. Shaw (Oak Lawn)

Hi jesse! Cyou talk a bit about how the Hawks are going to have to beat Mark Smith? Is he a rookie? I haven't heard much about him. Go Hawks!

Jesse Rogers
  (1:14 PM)

Haha. Its Mike Smith and hes not a rookie....easy answer is traffic in front...make his "miserable" as Hossa siad to me the other day....

Kevin (Elmwood Park, IL)

It's interesting that the Coyotes power-play is actually worse than the Hawks. Everyone always talks about how important the PP is in the playoffs. The problem is that the PHX penalty kill ended the year in the top 10. Are you a big believer of throwing those season ending stats our the window, or could this be a problem for the Hawks when they are on the PP?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:16 PM)

Good question...there is plenty of evidence to suggest it can turn around and there is evidence that it wont play a part in every series but to thnk that way going in would be a mistake...what I wrote before is true..that one pp goal can be the differnece in a game and subsequently a series...but yes, its a clean slate....

skip (aurora)

In watching some of the other playoff teams recently, their defensive coverage around their own net is certainly better than we've seen from the hawks. The teams I saw scrambled less and held positions better. Do the hawks play a system that encourages the players to chase a puck carrier or is it more of a matter of the players not staying disciplined?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:19 PM)

Its prob the system more than anything..was talking to O'Donnell about this...basically, if you cant move the guy dont want to be another screen for the goalie but most of that D takes it too far in my just cant let a guy have free reign..O'Donnell is good at slightly puching a guy so he's out of position for the tip/rebound while not blocking his goalie...I think others need to take a pasge from that

Dan (Champaign)

Hey Jesse, Just curious--if you knew the Hawks couldn't win the Cup, who would you root for instead? And you don't have to limit yourself to teams in this year's playoffs...

Jesse Rogers
  (1:20 PM)

Honestly, San Jose so Niemi would get some more respect around here....haha. I like Doug Wilson, hes worked hard to build that thing..likeable enough players until thornton nailed toews I guess but I suppose would root for Mclellan too...I like Tallon so them too

Ken (Tinley Park)

What's one thing to watch duirng the Hawks playoff games that will make it more interesting/understand a concept better?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:23 PM)

Well, not sure if Im answering your question but I do think "pace" will tell alot. Hawks might give up one or two in a frantic pace but they will come at the Coyotes in waves as they used to do in 2010...if its just kind of plodding along shift and shift, the hawks will make mistakes in thier own zone so i guess see how quickly the puck gets out of thier zone..that will set the tone..caught in their own zone spells trouble

Jesse Rogers
  (1:23 PM)

Well, not sure if Im answering your question but I do think "pace" will tell alot. Hawks might give up one or two in a frantic pace but they will come at the Coyotes in waves as they used to do in 2010...if its just kind of plodding along shift and shift, the hawks will make mistakes in thier own zone so i guess see how quickly the puck gets out of thier zone..that will set the tone..caught in their own zone spells trouble

Nick (Long Island, NY)

Hey Jessie, can you remind Seabs to keep his up this year with Roffy Torres?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:23 PM)

Going to interview both those guys today, see if there is anything fun there.

Paul (Mt. Prospect)

With less than 1/2 the cup team still there, how much will it hurt them that the majority don't have playoff experience?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:24 PM)

Not that much in my opinion..I just dont see Shaw being intimidated...Kruger and Leddy had a taste last yr. I think its a non-factor

Adam (San Diego)

Am I wrong to think that the Coyotes just don't have enough fire power to beat the Hawks in a 7 game series... the ONLY way I see the Hawks not winning this series is if Smith totally dominates this series.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:26 PM)

I would agree with that...thats big picture..there are some smaller issues like what I wrote before..the "pace" of these games etc

Mark M. (Johnnys Ice House)

I hear all these analyst saying that the Yotes' are no slouches and they are a force to be reckoned with blah blah blah... All that is true but last time I check the Hawks are not exactly slouches. I guess I do not understand why any NHL people would rather have the no-hope-of staying in Phoenix Coyotes go further than a solid original 6 franchise. Your thoughts?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:27 PM)

TV ratings care but if Yotes win they deserve what theyve earned..stats wise it is hard to make a case for hawks...stats wise..what does that mean when they take the ice tomorrow? I have no idea

Chicago (Robert MacMurray)

Hi Jess! Great Job! I just wanted to see if you thought that Q should think about playing Toews at LW and let Kane center because he's done so well? Or maybe have him be the center for Sharp + Stalberg and move Kruegar to the fourth line. BEAT PHX!

Jesse Rogers
  (1:28 PM)

No, bascially the things you suggest dont max out the players except for maybe kane at cneter as opposed to no

Jesse Rogers
  (1:29 PM)

Thats it for today...might have another special chat session on friday after Game 1...check out the blog right now for tons of stuff..will have plenty of new material later in day after both teams practice...follow me on twitter @espnchihawks for all your playoff coverage...great questions..shuld be a fun playoff series. Thanks again, and enjoy Game 1 tomorrow