Good afternoon, all. I hope everyone has been enjoying the madness of the last few days. I still can't believe that game's ending. Being my first year on the beat, it's been a wild ride. I hope my coverage did it justice. Anyway, I'll be here for about an hour to answer whatever questions you have.
WOOOOOOOO WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS. HAWKS 24\7 365 days. Cant get enough
Not really a question, but glad you're enjoying it.
Hey Scott, what are the hawks major priorities during this off-season?
Nick, I think Bickell is the No. 1 priority. It's going to take some creativity to clear up cap space for him. They only have a little over $2 million at this point. They could use one or both of their compliance buyouts and free up more space. Montador is a candidate for that. They could also look to trade someone. I would think they'd be willing to give up Bolland if they had any takers.
How close are we to terms with Bickell?
Moose, I doubt Rozsival will be back. There's not enough cap space for him. I think your defensemen for next year will be Keith, Seabrook, Oduya, Hjalmarsson, Leddy, Brookbank and Clendening or Stanton.
How big of a drop off is there between Bickell and Hayes?
Al, I think it's substantial at this point. Bickell was one of the best players in the playoffs. There are obviously questions he can be that guy consistently during the regular season, but he was something special during the playoffs. Hayes played well enough when given the opportunity this season, but Bickell is at a different level at least right now. I do think Hayes will get a chance to make the team next year.
Who in your opinion will be moved or not resigned this offseason? I am guessing Bolland is traded and Stalberg passed on.
I foresee the Blackhawks letting Stalberg, Rozsival, Mayers, Handzus and Emery all walk after the season. Bolland makes $3.375 million next season, so it won't exactly be easy to find a taker for him.
Do you think the Hawks unload Ray Emery now that Crawford is their goalie or do they keep him around as an insurance policy?
Carlos, I don't think the Blackhawks are bringing Emery back. He will likely get a salary bump somewhere else based on what he did this season. The Blackhawks probably will have Antti Raanta as their backup next season.
Are Toews and Kane Hawks for life?
Mike, you would think so. I would imagine that becomes a priority soon, too. They both have two years left on their contracts. They're each making $6.3 now. That will go up some for their next contracts. The Blackhawks will have to figure out to free some space for that going forward, too. You still also have lengthy contracts for Hossa, Sharp and Keith.
Was Kane your choice for the Conn Smythe?
Doug, no, I thought Crawford deserved it. From what I heard, a lot of the Chicago writers voted for Crawford, and the national ones voted for Kane. Kane was obviously great at times, but I thought Crawford was consistent throughout the playoffs.
Of all the injuries on the team, which one concerns you the most? Bickell - MCL, Hossa's -back...?
Jacob, I would certainly think Hossa's back. It's a scary thing when you start talking about numbness. The Blackhawks obviously have a lot of money and years invested in Hossa. I would expect Bowman will address the injury when he talks to the media again in the coming days.
Is Hossa a buyout candidate? I love the guys production when healthy but with his history of injuries and the length and amount of money owed, wouldnt it make sense to cut ties?
Jack, certainly Hossa's name will always come up for the compliance buyout. If he's playing like he did early in the playoffs, I think the Blackhawks would like to keep him. He's proven he can still be a top player. Despite the few injuries over the last few years, he has consistently played nearly full seasons over his career. But his body may also be on the decline. I'm sure Bowman is weighing these issues himself.
Where does this Stanley Cup Finals rank in your book? Great? Or the greatest?
Ryan, personally, I haven't reported on many Stanley Cup finals, but that was the same question I posed to a number of national writers at the end of the series on Monday. Most of them said it ranked at or near the top for them. They said the drama was one thing, but it was also that both teams were playing at a such high level of hockey throughout the series.
Obviously a lot of dominos yet to fall this offseason, but it's always fun to speculate. Are the 'Hawks the 2014 cup favorite?
Brian, Vegas just released the odds yesterday and the Penguins were first. The Blackhawks were second.
Hey, Scott! I see a lot of people see Bolland as trade candidate. Fully understand he's overpaid for 3C or 4C, and a lot of replacements in the organiation. However, I believe he's a playoff kind of guy who brings nasty character to the table, which is hard to replace. Your thoughts?
Lee, Bolland brings certain positive attributes, but I don't think they are worth $3.375 million. If they can move that salary, they will.
If Stalberg leaves, do you see a Saad, Shaw, and Smith next year?
Dustin, yeah, I think Smith gets another chance next year. I think Hayes, Pirri, Morin also get opportunities. Carcillo and Bollig will be in the mix as well for some of those fourth-line spots.
Anybody from he minors ready to step up like Saad?
Chico, I don't think there's another Saad at Rockford, but there are some quality players down there. Morin, Pirri and Hayes were all pretty good this season. I think they'll get their chance next year to make the team. Mark McNeil and Philip Danault to go along with Teuvo are players to keep an eye in the next few years, too.
Is it safe to say we can see Toews and Kane on the same line for a few years now?
Chris, I wouldn't say that's guaranteed. They were on separate lines throughout the regular season and each produced 23 goals. If both are clicking, I still think Quenneville likes that balance they provide on different lines.
what about Montador? in the d mix for next yr?
Possibly. If they don't buy him out, he'll get a chance, too. He makes too much money for them not to take a look at him. From reports, he appeared to playing fine in Rockford.
Can the Hawks find a way to keep Brian Bickell? Bickell's Dad commented yesterday that he hopes that Brian stays in Chicago. We sure hope so as well.
Paul, I think Bickell would like to stay in Chicago, too. He was one of Bowman's project players. He's said he loves the organization and the city. At the end of the day, though, it's going to be about money.
Scott -- Any chance former first-rounders Phillip Danault, Mark McNeill or Teuvo Teravvainen crack the rotation next year?
Dave, I think they're all a year or two away. I think Danault and McNeil spend next year in Rockford. Teravvainen may be overseas for another year.
With all the championship gear to purchase and choose from, when will information come out about the DVD and Blu-Ray celebrating the teams run? And when will it be released?
Joe, not sure. I'll be put out the information once I get it.
Which player do you think was bravest in overcoming injury in Game 6?
Ashton, it's a tie between a number of players. Bickell had a knee injury, and they weren't sure he would even play in the finals. Hossa had a back injury and had numbness in his legs. Handzus had reportedly a broken wrist and torn MCL. It's amazing any of them were still playing.
Who surprised you most this season?
Phil, I think Crawford. He obviously came into the season with a lot of question marks around him, and he answered them all season long. People even doubted him in the finals. He was consistently good throughout the season from start to finish. He should have won the Smythe, too.
Hi Scott, with Leddy playing so little in the Finals, are his chances at getting extended with the club at all affected? If he still gets a new contract, does all of his recent bench-warming lower his price?
Dan, some of this may depend on what other teams are willing to pay for him. Quenneville obviously lost faith in Leddy by the end of the year. I'm not sure if that's the organization's view on him, too. At Leddy's age and his skill level, I would think it would still be in the best interest for the Blackhawks to resign him.
What happened to puck from Game 6?
John, McDonough has it.
Scott, as much as we all love bringing the cup home, let's take a look at this off season. With the cap going down, and Bickell due a big raise, have we seen the last of Bolland in a Hawks uniform, and what could the Hawks get in a trade? 3 million plus for a third line center seems a bit high, and the Hawks need to clear cap room...
JW, I think the Blackhawks would have to entice a team with a prospect and/or draft picks to take Bolland and his salary for the year.
Considering that Kane and Toews are only 24 and 25, how many Stanley Cups do you think is reasonable to expect from the pair if they stay together throughout their careers?
Ryan, I was thinking about this yesterday. I was thinking over/under at four Cups. Maybe 5?
How much longer are Frolik and Kruger signed for? They did great all year
Dan, Kruger is a restricted free agent and Frolik has one more season. Frolik is making $2.33 million, so I doubt if he's kept after next year. I think the Blackhawks will resign Kruger this year. He's young enough and shown to be a solid contributor.
Moose, it's hard to say that Kompson is at fault for the power play. I think it's beyond one coach's miscues. Teams have proven the last couple of years you can without a solid power play, but it has to be a priority again once next season rolls around.
what is Montodor's cap hit for next year?
Paul, Montador's cap hit is $2.75 million for next season and the season after.
Scott, if I don't know anyone that can get me up close to the Cup, what would you suggest I do to elevate my chances?
Mike, I would get to the Grant Park rally first thing on Friday. Maybe sleep over Thursday? That may be your best chance at this point.
who played this year that will not get their name on the Cup ?
Michael, I'm looking into this today, but I think Mayers and Carcillo do not qualify. I hope to have this confirmed later today.
Which game or moment from this season was your favorite to write about as the Blackhawks' beat guy?
Bob, hmm, I think the most dramatic was that third-period comeback against the Red Wings in Detroit in Game 6. That could have easily been the end there.
Sorry, I couldn't get to everyone's questions today. As always, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll be sure to do a few of these chats during the offseason as well. Thanks again