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September 27, 2:30 PM ET
Chat with Scott Powers

Scott Powers
  (2:25 PM)

Hello, all. Welcome to our first Blackhawks chat of the season. We're planning to have one every week, and they'll probably be at 1:30 p.m. on Thursdays. As always, feel free to tweet (@espnchipowers) or email (spowers@espnchicago.com) me questions as well. I look forward to my second season on the beat.

Ty (San Francisco)

Scott, great to have you back! We are talking about Hanzus back to the 2nd line? say it aint so scott... How does Pirri look? I want someone that excites me next to hoss and sharp...

Scott Powers
  (2:27 PM)

Ty, it appears Handzus will be the second-line center at least out of camp. That doesn't mean that Pirri or someone else won't take it later in the season. I'm curious to see how Handzus' body holds up through an entire season. I think Pirri's preseason injury really affected his chances. As much as Pirri has done in the AHL, I think it was important for Quenneville to see him play well in games now.

Paul (Chicago)

as of now, what do you see as the 4 lines being for the hawks? im guessing the defense will stay as is

Scott Powers
  (2:29 PM)

Paul, I think it'll be Bickell-Toews-Kane, Sharp-Handzus-Hossa, Saad-Shaw-Smith, Bollig-Kruger-Nordstrom. Depending on who makes the team, Morin, Pirri and Hayes could switch with Smith, Bollig and Nordstrom at any point.

Mark (Houston) [via mobile]

Is Bollig going to play a larger role for the hawks this year?

Scott Powers
  (2:31 PM)

Mark, I believe Bollig will play a larger role. I think the fact he's the lone enforcer left earned him an initial spot, but he's shown some improved offensive skills in the preseason. If he can contribute the occassoinal assist or goal, I think he could be less of a healthy scratch this season.

Kevin (CA)

Scott, Can't even wait for Tuesday!! What do you think the chances are of Jimmy Hayes making the team?

Scott Powers
  (2:33 PM)

Kevin, I still think Hayes has a pretty good shot at making it. He looked really good early in the camp. His size is noticeable, but he's also quick and can make plays. He was outside of the top-4 lines today, but Quenneville said he still liked Hayes' play.

Raj (Durham, NC)

Hello from Duke University, Scott! Although it's 70 and sunny here, I am dying to be by the ice of Chicago. Why did Saad get a shot at second line center, but not Pirri? I've seen clips, and I think see the Hawks "second line of the future" as Saad, Pirri, Hayes. What are your thoughts?

Scott Powers
  (2:35 PM)

Raj, I believe the thought process with Saad was trying to keep him among the top-6 forwards. With Pirri, I think his injury recently affected his chances. He would have had more of a shot to impress with Quenneville with a few more preseason games.

Mike (Mishawaka Indiana)

What are the Hawks going to miss this year from last years team or will they be even better.

Scott Powers
  (2:37 PM)

Mike, I think they will miss having Ray Emery, at least during the regular season. Khabibulin has looked okay, but it's hard to imagine him duplicating Emery's success. Emery was as key to the Blackhawks' regular-season success last season as Crawford.

Eric (Chicago)

Scott always a pleasure to see you chatting with us fans. Have you seen any ill effects of the short offseason for the Hawks that makes you worry going into the season?

Scott Powers
  (2:39 PM)

Eric, I think the main concern now would be with guys like Handzus and Hossa already dealing with injuries and missing time. Those two guys are getting up there in age, and it's hard to heal those injuries during the regular season without missing some serious time.

Brad (Chicago)

How do you think the 3rd and 4th lines will shake out?

Scott Powers
  (2:40 PM)

Brad, I think Saad and Shaw are definitely on the third line and Bollig and Kruger are on the fourth line. I think Smith could be on that third line and Nordstrom could be on the fourth based on recent lines. Pirri, Morin or Hayes could fit in there, too.

Richard (Naperville)

Hello Scott Powers. What happened with your Boston over Blackhawks series prediction? What about your Steelers over Bears prediction last week?

Scott Powers
  (2:42 PM)

Richard, glad to see you haven't forgotten. I was wrong about the Blackhawks. I did pick them to win it all this season in our upcoming ESPN predictions. Also, you're wrong on the other one. I picked the Bears over the Steelers. I was wrong about picking the Bengals over the Bears.

Paul (Chicago)

Scott,I'm not suggesting that Hossa is 100% but are the Hawks using an abundance of caution with him because having him healthy in May/June is much more important than having him on the ice early in the season (especially considering the extra wear and tear with the olympics)?

Scott Powers
  (2:44 PM)

Paul, I think they're going to very careful with Hossa, Handzus and Rozsival this season. Quenneville can turn to some depth again this season to give them all some rest. The key is making sure they're healthy for late in the season.

Dustin (Champaign)

Would it make more sense to let Hossa take a month or two off to fully get healthy and have someone from Rockford take his spot?

Scott Powers
  (2:46 PM)

Dustin, I think they'll be careful with Hossa, but I don't get the sense the Blackhawks think it's a serious injury where it is better to keep him out a few months. That could change, though. I do think he could be a healthy scratch at times this season which would give one of the younger guys some more ice time.

moose (out west)

Is Stan still trying to move Brookbank? Stanton/Olsen/Dahlbeck have all shown something and are lower-cost options not to mention guys that might stick for a few years as bottom pair and/or depth guys.

Scott Powers
  (2:49 PM)

Moose, I haven't heard anything right now on Bowman trying to move Brookbank. I'm not sure if anyone would want him now anyway. They might just be stuck with him this season. With eight defensemen, they won't have to play him much if he's bad. He'll be a free agent after the season.

Mark (Cary)

How's Pirri's health, will he start the season as the 2nd line center?

Scott Powers
  (2:51 PM)

Mark, Pirri may not make the team out of camp. His play in Saturday's preseason game may determine where is next week. He could be the second-line center later in the season, but Handzus is probably there now.

Bill (Chicago)

Which rookie do you think will make the most immediate impact on the team this year?

Scott Powers
  (2:52 PM)

Bill, I was really impressed with Hayes early in the camp. He made a lot of plays. If Nordstrom sticks, he could be key just based on his penalty-kill role.

jeff (san clemente, ca)

In your opinion, which prospects make the team?

Scott Powers
  (2:54 PM)

Jeff, I think Ben Smith, Jimmy Hayes, Joakim Nordstrom and Mike Kostka make the team.

Jon (Denver)

Should we be reading anything into Kane's comments that it would be "ideal" to be a Hawk for life, but then he seemed to hedge on that a lot. Should we be worried about drama around him choosing to be a UFA next year and then bolting for a mega-contract elsewhere?

Scott Powers
  (2:56 PM)

Joe, Kane definitely sounded less convincing than Toews on the matter. I can't tell if Kane is less interested in staying a Blackhawk for life or just doesn't want to deal with the questions so early on since they can't even start negoatiing their next contracts until after this season. Plus, they'll probably each have two more contracts in their careers.

MA (Louisville)

Will the Olympic rosters be announced soon? Will Q et al consider minutes early in the season for those playing in Sochi? Especially with the short summer. Or does it all depend on how Hawks start?

Scott Powers
  (2:57 PM)

MA, I definitely think Quenneville will be careful about minutes before and after the Olympics. He was pretty good at reducing players' ice time last season during the compact schedule, and I could see a similar situation this year.

Omar Ayala (Adana, Turkey)

Do you feel this team is better than last yr squad also how big of a winning streak you think the Hawks can put together now with a full season?

Scott Powers
  (2:58 PM)

Omar, I can't imagine this team having more success or a longer winning streak than last year's team. Last year's success in the regular season was something special.

Al (Chicago)

I think the Blackhawks paid too much for Bickell and Crawford and in order to keep them they had to get rid of 2 key penalty kill guys in Frolik and Bolland. I think this may come back and bite them. Am I a knitpicking fan or is my concern legit?

Scott Powers
  (3:02 PM)

Al, I can understand your concern with overpaying Bickell and Crawford. There's definitely some risk in giving both of guys big contracts. They both still have a lot to prove. But I don't think losing guys like Frolik and Bolland should be part of that equation. I think the Blackhawks have enough guys in the system to fill those roles. I think where the issue may be is if Crawford and Bickell don't remain consistent, then you wasted money on them instead of preparing for other future contracts.

Zack (Macomb, IL)

My biggest concern is a real chance for a bad SC hangover after a shortened season. Are our guys rested, healthy (hossa), and motivated for a full season?

Scott Powers
  (3:03 PM)

Zack, it's yet to be seen whether Hossa is ready. The next week could be telling about where he is physically. As for motivation, I think they're fine. They know they have to get off to a better start this time around if they're going to defend the Cup.

Eric (Chicago)

Scott, can you give us a couple of reasons why you picked the Hawks to repeat?

Scott Powers
  (3:05 PM)

Eric, I still think the Blackhawks are the best team in the NHL. The best team doesn't always win the Cup, and the Blackhawks may not win again this season, but my prediction was based on who I thought the best overall team was.

Steve (St. Louis)

Did the Hawks organization try to put up any fight behind the scenes with the league or the Preds/Blues regarding the ticket policies for Hawks games in Nashville and St. Louis designed to keep Hawks fans out?

Scott Powers
  (3:07 PM)

Steve, I don't think so. Teams can do whatever they want with their tickets. A lot of professional teams and college teams (like Northwestern) set up ticket plans to protect certain games from rival fans. I think it just says something about how strong the Blackhawks' fan base is right now that St. Louis and Nashville felt they had to do that.

Scott Powers
  (3:07 PM)

Steve, I don't think so. Teams can do whatever they want with their tickets. A lot of professional teams and college teams (like Northwestern) set up ticket plans to protect certain games from rival fans. I think it just says something about how strong the Blackhawks' fan base is right now that St. Louis and Nashville felt they had to do that.

Michael (LaSalle, IL)

Not a big fan of the Khabibulin signing. Did they kick the tires on Tim Thomas? He's also old, but was so much more productive & dominate the last few seasons. Not sure how much faith I have if Crawford gets hurt.

Scott Powers
  (3:08 PM)

Michael, it sounded like the Blackhawks turned to Khabibulin pretty quickly when a deal with Emery fell through. I think the plan will be Khabibulin to begin the season as the backup and for Raanta to step in later in the year if Raanta progresses as expected and/or Khabibulin breaks down.

Ty (San Francisco)

Tell us more about Tuevo? Is this a top 2 liner breaking camp next year?

Scott Powers
  (3:10 PM)

Ty, I think Teravainen is the guy next season. He still has to put on some weight and muscle, but he looked like he belonged as a top-6 forward now. He just did some things with the puck you don't normally see here outside of Kane.

LOGAN (Saskatchewan CANADA)

Hey Scott, How close is Goalie Antti Raanta to eventually making the team?

Scott Powers
  (3:11 PM)

Logan, I think Raanta's NHL arrival will depend on two factors - him playing well early in Rockford and how Khabibulin is doing in Chicago. I could see Raanta being the full-time backup at some point this season.

Alex (Northbrook)

Bowman obviously believes Crawford is the goalie of the future, but why did that do that deal this offseason? Why didn't they wait until next summer? I think it was a big risk. If Cory regresses the Hawks will not be able to get out from under that contract.

Scott Powers
  (3:12 PM)

Alex, I'm with you. I was surprised they didn't wait. I thought Crawford needed to prove himself another season in order to get the massive contract. Obviously Bowman felt differently.

Tim (Chi)

Hi Scott, Will Tuevo be eligible for the playoffs this year?

Scott Powers
  (3:15 PM)

Tim, from what I understand, Teravainen could return to Chicago in April and close out the season with them. The way his contract works if he plays less than 10 regular-season games, then his contract slides a year and he becomes a restricted free agent a year later off his entry-level deal. Teravainen's agent said whether he decides to play in the World Championships could also be a factor whether he comes to the Blackhawks this season.

Scott Powers
  (3:18 PM)

Dan, I need to look into the details again, but I believe the Blackhawks still take a massive cap hit if he retires early. Bowman could have saved one of his buyouts, but he seems confident Hossa will be okay in the long run. I wouldn't be so sure if I was him, though. Hossa's injury problems don't seem to be going away.

Scott Powers
  (3:18 PM)

Matt, I'm going over 20, but less than 30.

Kuzyn (Chicago)

Scott, did you think that Blackhawks overpaid Bickell and Crawford's contracts?? I am not really sure what to think about it. I thought Bickell would get 4 years/12M and Crawford 5 years/25M

Scott Powers
  (3:20 PM)

Kuzyn, both numbers surprised me. I thought Bickell was going to be closer to $3 million, and I thought Crawford would have to prove himself another year to get his deal. I think with Bickell the Blackhawks were just concerned someone would swoop in and offer him something even crazier.

Alex (Tampa)

Scott,Who do you see being the Hawks' biggest competition in the new division?

Scott Powers
  (3:22 PM)

Alex, I think St. Louis will be tough this season.

Bill Swerski (Chicago)

Matt, what cup win was more important and/or special? The 2010 over the Flyers or the 2013 over the Bruins? I'm thinking a little bit of both: 2010 was their first in a long time and the series was entertaining but 2013 was just a dominate year and cemented them as a perennial cup contender and potential dynasty (and the series was very entertaining as well). Thanks!

Scott Powers
  (3:25 PM)

Bill, I agree. I think all championships are important and special. It's not an easy feat, especially in the NHL where the best team doesn't always win the Cup. I think the 2010 Cup reignited this city's love for hockey and this past one has put them in a position to become a dynasty. Last year's Stanley Cup final with the Bruins was certainly entertaining, too.

Steve (St. Louis)

Has Q found his #3 shootout shooter?

Scott Powers
  (3:27 PM)

Steve, I assume he goes with Hossa, but I guess that could depend on his health. Quenneville started turning to Hossa more as the No. 3 shooter as last season went on. You may have to wait for it, but I think Teravainen will be that guy in the future.

d (chicago )

hey scott are the blackhawks capable of adding players through trades when teams start dumping some players at the trade deadline or are they financially handcuffed

Scott Powers
  (3:28 PM)

D, I can't imagine the Blackhawks making any moves. They seem set on going with the younger players and are right up to the cap.

Erick (Lombard)

Who is your breakout player this year.

Scott Powers
  (3:29 PM)

Erick, I think Jimmy Hayes has the potential to provide some offense this season.

Tyson (Hawkeytown)

What were your impressions of Antti Raanta in the few games you've seen him in, and how long do you think it will be, if ever, before he makes it to the NHL?

Scott Powers
  (3:31 PM)

Tyson, Raanta looked fine. He moves well and seems to know the game. It's hard to truly evaluate during the preseason because the defensemen are always changing and some of the goals he allowed weren't his fault. I'm hoping to see Raanta play in Rockford over the next month.

Matt (Michigan)

Based on the current cap, with the new contracts from this summer (Crawford, Bickel, Hjalmarsson), the Hawks are going to have a heck of time extending Kane and Toews. Bowman must have inside information that the cap will be going up, right?

Scott Powers
  (3:31 PM)

Matt, the cap is definitely expected to go up. I think everything Bowman has been doing is with Kane's and Toews' future contracts in mind.

Steven (Gvegas)

What is the consensus with Ben smith staying in the team this season?

Scott Powers
  (3:32 PM)

Steven, I think Smith will stay. He's reliable on both sides of the ice and has proven himself in the past.

Scott Powers
  (3:33 PM)

Thanks for all the questions today. Again, I'm hoping to do a weekly chat on Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. As always, feel free to email me questions at spowers@espnchicago.com. Hope you have a good weekend.