Hi all, hope everyone is having a good Friday. I feel like we have more to talk about this week with a few more games, some line changes and some positives and negatives in the games so far. I was also out at the IceHogs' practice this week and can talk prospects if you'd like. I'm a little under the weather, so I might just do 30-or-so minutes today. I promise to chat longer in the future. Thanks
did sharpie's wife have the baby yet? I wanna put him in my lineup tonight but only if he is playing for certain...
Pamela, no, Sharp's wife hasn't had the baby yet. The official due date is Oct. 14, so it could be any day now. His last child was nice enough to come on an off day.
With the new 3rd and 4th lines that were reported, how apt do you think Coach Q is to starting them that way on Friday? And which 3rd defensive pairing will we see supporting the Bulin Wall's first regular season start?
Brandon, I think Quenneville will begin with Kruger-Shaw-Saad and Bollig-Nordstrom-Smith as the third and fourth lines. It may not end up that way, but he usually starts with the lines he used in the morning skate. The final defensive pairing with be Leddy and Rozsival.
What Chicago Black Hawks Player(s) will Retire at the ebd of the 2013-2014 season?
Chris, I think Handzus and Khabibulin would be candidates to retire after this season. Both are near the end of their careers. How they play this season could dictate whether they look for new homes next season.
What is it that Q sees in Nordstrom? He gets tossed around like a ragdoll and seems to be nothing more than mediocre on the penalty kill. Sure, he's got speed, but should we expect to keep seeing him in over Smith and Morin?
Mike, I'm curious to see if Nordstrom sticks with the Blackhawks if Quenneville decides not to use him on the penalty kill. That seemed to be the part of Nordstrom's game Quenneville liked the most out of camp. Also if Kruger is going to play on the third line, that opens the fourth-line center, and I could see Pirri getting a chance there. I think that will play itself out in the next week or two.
This isn't really a current topic, but what happened to Dylan Olsen? He played 25 or so games with the Hawks two seasons ago, then didn't play with the Hawks at all last year. His name was hardly mentioned last year or during this year's camp? How did his stock fall so far?
Jim, I actually spoke with Dylan Olsen for a bit while in Rockford and plan to do a story on him in the next week. He had a decent camp and has been playing well to start the IceHogs' season. Rockford coach Ted Dent spoke highly of him, and Olsen has been working on improving his offense. I think he could still be in the mix for a spot in the next year or two.
How do you think Khabibulin feels about serving as Crawford's backup? Obviously he signed knowing that would be his role on the team, but he's made some comments that seem to imply he's uncomfortable with what will be infrequent appearances.
Jon, I believe Khabibulin understands his role. The schedule will pick up here now, and he'll get more of a chance to play and that should please him. I'm still not sold he can be a consistent backup to Crawford. He's been really up and down the past few seasons.
Hi Scott,I realize it is very very early, but I am a little worried that the Hawks aren't going to be as strong this season. What do you think?
Sarah, I do think it's really early, and you can't fall into the trap of comparing everything this season to what happened last season. Last year was a special one from the start to finish. You need to expect a few more adversities this season. But overall, I would say the Blackhawks have played well. The penalty kill is obviously an issue, but the power play has been strong, Crawford has played well, the offensive is creating a lot of chances, and the defensemen are as solid as they have ever been.
Three games in & I don't think #29 has played @ the level that we should see from a 4 MILLION $ MAN, your thoughts.
Greg, I agree. Bickell hasn't picked up where he left off last season. Quenneville was still pretty positive about him when asked the other day, but he also hinted that he would turn to Saad or Sharp on that first line if he didn't get more production from Bickell. Bickell said he's been okay with his game and felt the goals were going to come. He thought he needed to be more of a physical presence out there.
If Khabibulin falters in his role as Corey's backup, would the expectation be that Corey becomes an ironman or would they bring up someone from Rockford?
Pat, I think the plan is for Antti Raanta eventually to get some time with the Blackhawks this season. Khabibulin's play has declined late in seasons the past few years, so Raanta just may be ready in time to take over later in the season. He needs to get some games under his belt in Rockford.
Big hoss doesnt seem to be ususal self early on, any info ?
Kirk, I think Hossa has looked better the past few games. He said yesterday that his back was feeling better, but he felt his timing was still off. He also thought this weekend was a big test in playing back-to-back games and seeing how his back responds. He did have a few quality looks against the Blues.
One last question (I promise!). Does Nordstrom's contract use up a year if he plays more than 10 games? And if so...do you see him being sent down before that?
Logan, I have to look into it, but I'm pretty sure Nordstrom's contract uses up a year this season no matter what. He's a RFA after the 2014-15 season.
Hi Scott, who do you think has been the better defensive pairing thus far this season: 2&7 or 4
Ross, Hjalmarsson & Oduya and Keith
It seems like the Hawks haven't ever given Morin and Pirri a fair shake, but try to force Smith and Hayes in there much more often. With Teravainan coming to the team and Q's love for Brandon Bollig and Joakim Nordstrom, do you think Pirri and/or Morin will be dealt? Also did they just finally give up on Kyle Beach when they sent him to Europe?
Chris, I don't think they're forcing in Smith and Hayes. I thought both played well during camp. Morin was okay during camp, and Pirri didn't get a chance to showcase much with the injury. I expect we see Pirri and Morin at some point this season. As for the future, Pirri and Morin are RFAs after the season. I think Bowman still thinks they're part of the future and would imagine he tries to resign them. Pirri made it sound the other day he was ready to go somewhere else to get a chance to play. As for Beach, I think they will let him go after the season.
Any insight as to why Nordstrom stuck ahead of center like Danault?
Chico, Quenneville made it sound like Nordstrom's ability on the penalty kill and him being a more defensive-minded center helped him make the team. I think prospects like Danault, McNeil and LeBlanc are at least still a year away. Talking to the IceHogs' people, Danault and McNeil have looked sharp the first few games. They're using a line of McNeil, Danault and Ross.
Is what we are seeing from Jimmy Hayes what we are going to get? I had higher hopes for a physical presence - and stronger going to the goal. Thoughts?
Bruce, yeah, I sort of expected to see more out of Hayes, too. He had some really nice spurts during camp. I imagine it's hard for him and Smith not playing consistently right now, but I thought Smith has played better when given the opportunity. Hayes is a big body, but he's not as physical as someone like Bickell. He's a little more finesse and relies on his quickness to create chances.
It feels like a flip from last year. PK doing poorly PP doing well...thoughts?
Adem, it does feel like a flip. I think the PK still will come around. They may have to rely more on PK ice time from veterans like Toews and Hossa. I thought later in the Blues' game the forwards were more aggressive and disrupted the puck.
George, I think it's too early to say what they're missing. Three games is still a small sample size. They obviously need to close out games better. They had a problem with that for a small span last season. The PK needs work. They've had a lot of offensive chances and obviously need to put them away more. I think it'll help too once Quenneville decides on consistent personnel with Smith/Hayes, the three defensemen rotating for that final spot and who is on the penalty kill with Kruger.
Where do you think the Hawks will end up in the conference this year? Feel better soon!
Sam, thanks. I still think they finish near the top. It will be harder to win it as they did last season, and it's a strong conference at the top, but I don't see any reason why the Blackhawks shouldn't be right there again.
with all of the prospects in Rockford (pirri, danault, mcneil, etc...) do you think teravainan still comes in next year and gets the first shot at the #2 center position?
Pamela, I do think Teravainen gets that chance next season from the start. He may have been the second-line center if he had stayed this season. He needs to add some strength, but his offensive game is already at an elite level.
While I realize that Kane is never going to be a finalist for the Selke, it does seem like his made progress each year on his back checking. Do you think he has the ability or desire to be a player like Hossa that people have to be aware of when pushing the puck up ice?
Pat, Kane has certainly become more defensive minded. He gets back on plays more often and is back checking a lot more. I do think there's a ceiling to him as a defensive player, though.
What is org plan for McNeil...C or wing?
Moose, the Blackhawks have McNeil playing wing in Rockford, but I'm not positive what the future plan is for him. Pirri, LeBlanc and Danault are playing center for the IceHogs. I need to look into whether they see McNeil switching to the wing or that's just a necessity with some many centermen down there. Please ask me again down the road.
With Kessel receiving that 8 million per contract. How much do you think Toews/Kane will be getting?
Logan, I think Kane and Toews each get at least $8 million each. I think Bowman's goal will try to put them both near the top-10 players in salary. It certainly isn't helping Bowman when players like Kessel are getting those bigger deals.
Who is impressing you the most on the Hawks and why? What game are you looking forward to?
Josh, I've been most impressed by Kane and Saad so far. Kane has always been great at the start of seasons, and the power play's success is only helping him. Saad has been impressive offensively, too. He's creating space, getting to the net and allowing his teammates to find him and he's been good at setting up his linemates as well.
Scott you keep saying Crawford is playing well BUT- his save % is under .900Am I missing something??
You have to look beyond the save percentage sometimes, especially through only three games. Five of the nine goals he's allowed have come on the opposition's power play, and three more have come on odd-man rushes. There hasn't been a goal where I've really thought it was soft and mainly Crawford's fault.
Thanks again everyone for all your questions. As always, feel free to email (email@example.com) or tweet (@espnchipowers) me if I missed your question or you want to ask or discuss something else. We'll have the chat again next week on Thursday or Friday. Have a good weekend.