Chat with Scott Powers
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! On Thursday, Chicago Blackhawks reporter Scott Powers stops by to chat.
Powers covers the Blackhawks for both ESPN Radio 1000 and ESPNChicago.com.
Send your questions now and join the chat Thursday at noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
Scott Powers (12:58 PM)
Hi all, hope everyone is having a good Thursday. Can't believe this is already our last regular-season chat. It's gone by quick. Anyway, I'll be here for about an hour to answer your questions.
Will we see some rookies get some ice time over the next week while guys that have been banged up get some healthy rest? Or do you think Q wants to make sure the chemistry is there on his lines?
Scott Powers (1:01 PM)
Curt, I'm not sure yet. With only two games remaining, I'm sure Q wants to balance carrying some momentum into the playoffs and resting guys. None of the Rockford players have been called up yet either, so that could be something to watch in the next day or two. I could see LeBlanc, Bollig, Mayers, etc. seeing some extra ice time on Friday and Saturday.
Brad (Castle Rock)
After last night's scare with Sharp do you think the core might be given a game or two off with call-ups from Rockford?
Scott Powers (1:02 PM)
Brad, I think it's a possibility. I think with Sharp you want to keep him on the ice, so he develops some consistency again. Ideally, you'd probably get him, Bolland and Kane together a bit again, too. Otherwise, there's really no need to give Toews, Hossa, etc. much ice time over the last two games.
What's the status on Razor?
Scott Powers (1:03 PM)
Ryan, Emery is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Quennville said it wasn't serious. I would assume he starts on Friday or Saturday.
Mike (Boston, MA)
Its a big longshot but wouldn't it be interesting for the Stars to sneak into the 8th seed? Considering the last time the Hawks won the Presidents trophy they were bounced in the first round by the Minnesota North Stars.
Scott Powers (1:04 PM)
Mike, yeah, it's unlikely for the Stars to make it at this point. If I had to guess, I would say the Red Wings hold onto that eighth spot.
Fonda (Boring, OR)
What is up with LeBlanc? Guy looked pretty good last night at time...can we expect to see him in the lineup moving forward?
Scott Powers (1:05 PM)
Fonda, LeBlanc was surprisingly solid at points last night. He may play the last two games, but he's not eligible for the playoffs.
Scott, I am a huge Hawks fan and was so excited that they clinched the president's Trophy. Wings fans I know immediately brought up that they were going to succumb to the President's curse. Obviously they are just bitter but have any of the players talked about the curse or whether they put any stock in it?
Scott Powers (1:07 PM)
Alex, I believe the players are aware of it. Quenneville definitely is, too. He coached on a Blues team which won the Presidents' and then was upset in the playoffs. I don't think they put much stock into the past, though. There are Presidents' Trophy teams that have succeeded as well.
Mike (Denver) [via mobile]
I really like how LeBlanc played last night. Do you think he will be on the team next year? And if so do you think the Hawks will trade Bolland?
Scott Powers (1:09 PM)
Mike, I think it's too early to tell with LeBlanc. I'll sure he'll given a shot to earn a spot, but there are plenty of guys in Rockford probably capable of making that jump next season, too. I also don't know what Bolland's trade value is at this point. He will be a free agent after next season.
Are there any health concerns as the Hawks head into the playoffs?
Scott Powers (1:10 PM)
I would say Bolland and Emery right now. Emery's injury may not matter if Crawford remains solid. Frolik was out of the lineup yesterday, but Quenneville said it wasn't an injury.
Tim (Wicker Park)
So what's the deal with Bolland? If he's out, who do we look at for second line center. Obviously LeBlanc isn't a possibility so does Pirri get a shot in these last two games? Does Kruger (playing wing last night?) move to 2C?
Scott Powers (1:12 PM)
Tim, it sounds like Bolland will be back. But if not, Pirri isn't up yet, so I don't see him being a possibility. Kruger has played there often in Bolland's absence. Kruger could go to the second line, Shaw to the third and Handzus to the fourth.
Scott, this season has obviously been amazing! However, do you have concerns about the playoffs? We just seem to get punished by big, physical teams and every playoff game is extremely physical. It will be interesting to see how they handle it night after night.
Scott Powers (1:14 PM)
Kevin, the physical factor has been a concern for fans all season, and the Blackhawks have dominated this season despite that. I know the playoffs can be a different game, but I still think the Blackhawks have enough skilled players to beat anyone playing their own game.
Hey Scott, who are your odd men out in the playoffs? I know the scratches will change based on factors, but what do you think Q's go-to lineup is?
Scott Powers (1:15 PM)
Chris, if everyone is healthy, I think the lines are Hossa-Toews-Saad, Kane-Bolland-Sharp, Bickell-Shaw-Stalberg, Handzus-Kruger-Frolik. Handzus and Shaw could flip lines, too.
Mark (San Diego)
Scott, I see Sharpie was back on the ice last night. What has been his lingering injury issue(s), and is he 100% healthy and ready to jump into the post seaon grind?
Scott Powers (1:17 PM)
Mark, I think he's as close to 100 percent as he's going to get. They wanted to give him at least a few regular-season games to get back into the flow before the playoffs. I thought he was solid last night.
Any doubt crawford is going to get the nod for the playoffs?
Scott Powers (1:18 PM)
Nick, I think any chance Emery had was thrown out the window with his latest injury. I think Crawford is the goalie for sure.
do you have a vote for nhl awards and do you think toews has a solid shot at MVP?
Scott Powers (1:19 PM)
Skip, I do have a vote, and I think Toews has a real chance at it. He's been so good in all areas this season, and he's playing for the best team in the league.
Al (Downers Grove)
Who do you think the Hawks first round opponent is going to be?
Scott Powers (1:20 PM)
Al, I believe it'll be Detroit.
How do the Hawks match up in the playoffs against the potential 8th seeds?
Scott Powers (1:22 PM)
Mark, I think the Blackhawks match up well against the Red Wings, probably not as much as against Columbus. The Blue Jackets have battled the Blackhawks closely in all four games this season. Blackhawks have had success against both teams, but I think they have an easier ride in the playoffs against Detroit. The Red Wings just seem so inconsistent this season.
Is Bolland done with the hawks?
Scott Powers (1:23 PM)
Lee, I don't think so. He's got another yet on his contract.
Sam (Winnetka, IL)
We have seen a lot of different looks on the 4th line, who would you expect to see on this line in the first round if we are playing Detroit?
Scott Powers (1:24 PM)
Sam, I think Quenneville would like to have Kruger, Handzus and Frolik there if everyone is healthy.
Will Bolland be ready for the playoffs? Love me some playoff Bolland
Scott Powers (1:27 PM)
Matt, Quenneville said Bolland would be ready for the playoffs.
Sam (New Jersey)
Any hot goalies to watch out for going into the playoffs?
Scott Powers (1:29 PM)
Sam, Jimmy Howard has played pretty well for Detroit lately. Most of the other Western Conference goalies seem to be a bit up and down. I'd have to look at the numbers more closely.
Are we gonna get some Danny Carcillo in the playoffs or what? This guy needs to play. He's got skill and he will patrol and won't let our guys take shots all game long.
Scott Powers (1:29 PM)
Jac, it's unlikely at this point. I think if the roster is healthy he's one of the odd men out.
Jack Mehoffer (Covington,WA)
I feel like the Hawks have a lot of talent at Rockford that is ready to make a big impact next year. Pirri, Morin, Hayes, Clending and possibly evenLeBlanc. I can see guys like Bickell, Stalberg moving on next year. Do you agree?
Scott Powers (1:32 PM)
Jack, I would agree. Based on salary numbers, I don't think it's realistic for the Hawks to keep everyone next year. I could see Pirri, Morin or Hayes get a call up and move into a spot or two. The first and second line probably remain intact next year. Carcillo, Shaw and Frolik are back, too. Kruger is also a restricted free agent after this season, too.
Why sign Carcillo to a multi-year contract if we are not going to use him the way he plays?
Scott Powers (1:34 PM)
Michael, I just don't think Carcillo ever got into a good grove this year. He was coming off the injury last season and then had another severe injury in the season opener this year. He's been inconsistent this season, and I think that's the reason. I would think he returns healthy next season and is looked again to be a contributor.
do you think the hawks are physically tough enough to win the cup this year. They might have to get by st. louis, L A, annaheim, vancouver, and or pittsburg
Scott Powers (1:37 PM)
Danny, this just isn't a very physical team and they're going to be outhit every game, but I don't think it hampers them as much as people think. They have been the league's top team all season despite that. I think a bigger key in the playoffs is Crawford staying consistent and the power play being able to convert occasionally.
Handzus had probably his strongest game as a Hawk last night centering the line between Sharp and Kane. Is there a possibility that when Bolland comes back Q keeps Handzus on that line and moves Bolland to the 3rd line role that he thrives in?
Scott Powers (1:39 PM)
David, I think Quenneville is set on keeping Bolland on that second line. If there's a key faceoff, I could see Handzus getting an extra shift on the second line. But Quenneville does like Sharp, Bolland and Kane together. Of course, we haven't see a whole lot of them together this season because of injuries.
Jeff (San Clemente, CA)
Hi Scott, what about the Selke for Toews this year?
Scott Powers (1:42 PM)
Jeff, you would think he's in the race for that, too. He leads the league in takeways and is on the ice against the toughest lines.
Scott Which Hogs have been brought up to practice with the Hawks after the season ended?
Scott Powers (1:43 PM)
Frank, none that I'm aware of yet. That could still happen in the next day or two. They have today off and return to practice tomorrow.
Hi Scott, which players with expiring contracts do you think the Hawks will target to lock up? I can't imagine they'll let Leddy walk after the progress he's made the past two years.
Scott Powers (1:45 PM)
Dan, I would think they tie up Leddy and Kruger. Both are young, and both have shown progress. I think Bickell and Stalberg may be too expensive. Mayers, Handzus and Rozsival will probably leave. I wonder if Emery gets a better shot somewhere else too after his consistent season.
John (Arlington Heights)
When will the NHL announce the playoff schedule?
Scott Powers (1:46 PM)
John, I would assume as soon as all the seeds are locked in. The availability of some arenas will depend on the team.
I feel that Roszival has being playing exceptionally well in comparison to Brookbank. I know Q said he's playing both just so Brookbank will be ready in the case of an injuring occurring but who will be the D and what will be the pairings be com playoffs? I noticed Q switched them around a couple weeks ago.
Scott Powers (1:49 PM)
Jordan, I assume Quenneville stay with the current pairing. He's like those, and they have been consistent again. The pairings yesterday were Hjalmarsson and Keith, Seabrook and Leddy, Oduya and Rozsival.
Scott, which player is consistently the funniest in interviews?
Scott Powers (1:50 PM)
Dan, Shaw's pretty funny. He likes to have a good time.
Is there any worry that the injury to Emery could take him out of the playoff mix for an extended period of time?
Scott Powers (1:51 PM)
Brandon, Quenneville said the injury wasn't serious and it was day-to-day, so I would assume not. I'm sure it's something they'll be mindful about, though.
In the playoffs will we finally get back to seeing Toews & Kane paired up on the top power play line? It makes sense to me because you need to take advantage of the power play and that pairing gives them the best chance.
Scott Powers (1:53 PM)
Chris, I don't see them tinkering with lines that much. I think it's helped too that they've had some success on the power play lately. Quenneville often likes to split Kane and Toews up.
Scott, do you think Q will rest players (Sharp, Hossa, etc.) a game or 2 down the stretch now that all the regular season goals are wrapped up? Would be nice to get some guys some rest so they are as close to 100% as possible for the playoffs...
Scott Powers (1:53 PM)
Chris, I would assume some of the regulars get some extra rest the next few games.
Cory (Afghanistan) [via mobile]
Do you, honest opinion think the hawks will take the cup?
Scott Powers (1:55 PM)
Cory, I like their chances. They've been consistent all season. I think Anaheim would be a tough match up in the conference finals. I think there are some teams in the East who can compete with them, too. But overall, the Blackhawks have been the best team in the NHL all season. That has to mean something.
Mark (San Diego)
Why did they bring up Drew LeBlanc so late in the season when they are scratching healthy players who have been contributing all season? Who will be inactive, and why, to start the playoff run?
Scott Powers (1:57 PM)
Mark, they had no choice with LeBlanc. They couldn't send him to Rockford because he was signed too late. He's not eligible for the playoffs either. I think once the playoffs come Bollig, Mayers and Carcillo will be the scratches. I don't see Quenneville scratching any of the other guys if healthy.
Do the Hawks have to call up Hutton before the start of the playoffs to be a worst case if Emery can't back up Crawford? Worst case, what happens if both Crawford and Emery get injured in the same game?
Scott Powers (2:00 PM)
Curt, Hutton is up with them now. He just hasn't dressed the last few games since Emery returned. He was called up when Emery got hurt recently and has remained up.
Scott Powers (2:01 PM)
As always, thanks for all the questions. Feel free to email me at email@example.com if I wasn't able to get to your question or if you ever have any other questions. Take care