Hello, hope everyone is having a good Friday. I'm still over the United Center following today's practice. Not a whole lot to report, but Mills and Handzus are still out. I have a few stories to write, so I may cut this short a little early today.
How are the Blackhawks on Power Plays in the 2013-2014 Season?
Chris, the Blackhawks are much better on the power play this season from last season. I think they've scored the last four games on the power play and have been pretty consistent on. They seem to be shooting a lot more this season. They were too patient last season and looked for the perfect shot.
After giving up 6 goals to Tampa Bay, 5 goals to Minnesota, and 5 goals to Ottawa, is there any concern on the coaches part about the defense? It seems like teams are getting more shots off against our goalies lately.
Tyson, the shot totals against actually haven't been that high. I would say Khabibulin's struggles were the main reason for the high scores against the Lightning and Senators. Khabibulin had only faced 25 shots against Tampa Bay and 22 against the Senators.
Hi Scott, with Pirri playing so well on the second line, where do you see Handzus fitting in once he returns next week? I have a hard time imagining that Q will move Pirri back down with the way he's been filling the score sheet.
Dan, my guess is Handzus become the fourth-line center and Kruger goes to the right wing. I don't think Quenneville would remove Pirri either.
I think it's pretty obvious that Khabuibulin isn't working out. How long do you think it will be before we see an appearance from Antti Raanta?
Bill, I think Khabibulin gets at least one more start to redeem himself. I think their plan was to bring up Raanta at some point this season, but not this early.
Are we going to see more of Ben smith? He seems to have strong games when he plays
Dustin, you will see more of Ben Smith at least this weekend. The Blackhawks only have 12 healthy forwards with Brad Mills and Michal Handzus being out, so Smith will get another chance to prove himself.
I know that Teuvo Teravainen has to complete his season in Finland but can we expect to see him in a Hawks' jersey this April? If so and he stays with the team through the playoffs, would this year count as his rookie year?
Brad, I was told Teravainen may come up after his season. Two factors are whether the Blackhawks need him and whether he's invited to play in the World Championships. Also, I believe he needs to play 10 or more regular-season games to be considered a rookie. I don't see that happening.
I don't get how Stan can put Stanton on waivers when his remaining options are Brookbank and Rosival. Stanton get claimed immediatel and slides into a starting role where he's contributing on the scoresheet and we get, well, Brookbank and Rosival. Is Stanton one that "got away"?
Alex, I'm sure Bowman is regretting that move. Stanton has quickly proven to be a reliable defenseman in Vancouver. I heard the Blackhawks thought they had a better chance of slipping Stanton through waiver than Kostka. It probably was best for Stanton, though. He wouldn't be getting that opportunity with the Blackhawks any time soon.
I'd like to see Pirri stay as 2nd line center.... do you see that happening or does he move once Handzus comes back? Pirri is much better as a 2nd line center than Handzus!
Eric, I do think Pirri is going to stay. He still has to prove himself defensively to Quenneville, but the bump in offense for that second line is enough to keep him there. Kane sounds a lot happier with Pirri there also.
It seems that the Hawks are really missing Bolland and Frolik on the PK. Is this something that can improve with the units just playing together or might this be a problem all year?
Albert, the Blackhawks are certainly missing Frolik. They assumed Ben Smith, Joakim Nordstrom or someone else would be able to fill his role, and that hasn't been the case yet. The PK did look better with Handzus playing with Kruger, so that may be a solution going forward. Saad has also earned more playing time there and seems to have the skill set for it. Quenneville said today it was a work in progress.
Hey Scott. I think it is becoming clear that the Hawks are in need of a better back- up goalie. Khabuibulin is just look old, slow and just plain bad. With their salary cap restrictions, is this something they could look outside the orginization for or would they have to look to the minors?
Al, I don't see the Blackhawks going outside the organization. The Blackhawks ideally would like to get Khabibulin going a bit and then call up Antti Raanta later in the season. They wanted to give him more time in the AHL and also bringing him up later will alleviate the cap hit they'll take with him.
Hi Scott, Hope all is well! I think people may be overreacting to Kane's -9, would you agree?
Tim, I would agree. I don't think Kane has played poorly defensively. Those numbers often have a way of working themselves out. Quenneville said he fully anticipated Kane to a plus player in the end. Pluses and minuses also aren't always the best way to measure a player's effectiveness.
Scott,Does Bowman regret trading Frolik? They have not been able to replace him yet with the Rockford players they have tried on the penalty kill? Frolik also had some offensive touch and could hold his own on the top two lines if necessary. I still don't understand that trade. He wasn't overpaid like Bolland was.
Alex, the Blackhawks wanted to free up some cap space and also add some draft picks. I think they saw Frolik as expendable. That obviously hasn't worked out so far. I think the Blackhawks are better on the PK when Handzus returns.
Which games are you looking forward to in the next few weeks?
Adem, I think tomorrow's game in Winnipeg will be a fun one. Aside from Toews returning hom, the environment is supposed to be pretty special. I expect the fans to get after Kane a bit.
Who is the most underrated player on the Hawks? What about overrated?
Gregg, that's a hard one. I think underrated has to be one of the defenseman, maybe Oduya. I'm not sure about overrated. Rozsival is having a tough season so far.
Sorry, I have to run early today to finish up some work. We'll plan on having the chat at the normal time next week on Thursday. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a good weekend.