Hello all, hope everyone is having a good Olympic break. I figured maybe a 20-30 minute chat today with not much going on. Let's get started.
Do you think the hawks trade on of their defenseman to get a center or is the guy we just got our center? Thanks
Jerry, I think Regin is the guy for now. I still believe Teravainen could come cover late in the season and get a crack there. If the Blackhawks make any more trades, I would imagine they deal prospects for future draft picks.
When can NHL teams return to having full practices?
Keith, the Blackhawks will be back on the ice on Sunday afternoon. They obviously won't have a full team there with the gold-medal game being played that same day.
Hey Scott! Do see new line combinations after Sochi?
Matt, I don't think so. I would think the lines would be Sharp-Toews-Hossa, Versteeg-Regin-Kane, Bickell-Shaw-Saad, Bollig-Kruger-Smith. Handzus will obviously be in the lineup at times, too.
With the Olympics finishing up shortly, do you feel that the NHL should be involved in the next Olympics in 4 years? We have seen two premium players that are done for the season (Tavares, Zetterberg) and I still fear for the remaining Hawks players still playing. Is it worth the risk for the NHL to let the stars play for two weeks for their country and risk major damage to a team for the rest of the season?
Tom, I know the NHL owners will push for this to be the last one. Their greatest fear is exactly what happened to Tavares and Zetterberg. I would tend to agree with them as well. It doesn't make sense to have players leave during the season. It breaks the flow of the season, and the risk is too great for organizations that are paying these players millions of dollars. I know the players will fight for this, but I don't they'll win. Recently saw someone write that hockey should be played during the Summer Olympics. I could see that as an option if you want to keep NHL players in it.
Has there been any discussion of why they kept Regin with the hawks and sent Bouchard to the minors? From what I read, bouchard is the more talented one...??
Jeff, no, there hasn't been much discussion. The trade happened right before the break, and Stan Bowman hasn't spoken since it occurred. Bouchard has played well since joining the IceHogs. I think you'll see him up with the Blackhawks at some point later this season. He'll give them some more depth at forward.
Any chance the Blackhawks turn around and trade versteeg and maybe a draft pick for vanek?
Jerry, I don't foresee the Blackhawks moving Versteeg again. They got a deal for him with the Panthers picking up half of his salary. At $2 million a season, the Blackhawks are happy with him.
When do players not playing in Olympics report back to work?
Ed, the Blackhawks will begin practicing again on Sunday.
What has someone like Raanta done to stay sharp?? He won't have played for like a month when Hawks return.
Mario, I imagine he's done some off-ice work during the break, but I haven't heard anything for sure. The players aren't allowed to get together with any of the team's personnel during the break. I know some of the players are starting to return from their trips this week, so they may get on the ice together. I haven't heard of that yet either. Quenneville didn't sound too worried about Raanta's break. They'll have a handful of practices to get him and Crawford going again, and I assume Raanta's workload will pick up in the final weeks with the condensed schedule.
Scott - great times in San Diego! Burns is an idiot. Who do you think is the 2nd line center by the end of the year? Regin? Teravainen? Pirri? Another trade?
Murph, good to hear from you. Regin is a free agent after the season, so he'll be gone. Pirri may end up in another organization if the Blackhawks can find the right trade. They could always resign him because he's a restricted free agent and give him another look next season or deal him then. I'm hearing Teravainen could still come over from Finland late in the season. Whether he plays likely depends on if there's any need for him in the lineup. Regin could end up working out there this season. Either way, I would expect Teravainen to be the second-line center next season.
Thanks for the questions today. We'll pick it up again next week. We should have a lot more to discuss then. Have a good week.