Hawks with Scott Powers
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
Scott Powers (1:08 PM)
Hi all, this is Scott Powers. Some of you may know me, but some may not. I'm still new. I'll be covering the Blackhawks this season. Jesse Rogers has moved over to the Cubs. I know I have big shoes to fill. I'll have my own unique way and perspective of covering the team, but I hope to continue the strong coverage Jesse provided. I look forward to answering your questions today and on future Wednesdays here. You can also contact me on Twitter at @espnchihawks and @espnchipowers.
Jeff R (Dallas)
Excited for the first chat Scott! Welcome to at least :30 minutes of ridiculous questions and nonsense (most of which will happen because of me, I'm sure). Regardless, IYO, is the current play more a result of growth from players like Leddy and Hammer or a result of constancy among this team compared to others?
Scott Powers (1:11 PM)
Thanks, Jeff. I think the current success can be explained for a number of reasons. There's the continued development of some of the younger guys (Leddy, Kruger, etc.) Crawford has obviously looked improved through his first five starts. The special teams, especially the penalty kill, has emerged as a strength. Kane and Hossa have gotten off to hot starts.
If you're quenneville, do you give Emery the majority of starts on this road trip to keep crawfords momentum going?
Scott Powers (1:13 PM)
Jim, I think you want Crawford in net as much as possible right now. He's got the hot hand. If you sit him, that doesn't necessarily continue. You want to give Emery a few starts to get him a feeling out there as well and give Crawford a breather, but Crawford is seeing the puck well now.
Anthony Dongo [via mobile]
Why do you think Cory Crawford is having such a good start to the season?
Scott Powers (1:16 PM)
Anthony, Crawford seems more focused this season. I wasn't around the team last year, but from talking to people that appears to have been a problem at times this year. He's adjusted his pregame ritual this season and now put himself in a corner and focuses on himself and the game. That seems to be a big part of his early success.
Emery looked shaky in his one start, and Q hasn't put him in goal since. Meanwhile, they picked up Karlsson, who has NHL experience, from Calgary, and management's been fairly mum on the whole situation since. What's the deal? One or two more shaky starts and they bring Karlsson up? Is there anyone on this trip we even want to risk a shaky start against, Phoenix maybe?
Scott Powers (1:20 PM)
Think it's too early on the Emery call. He's played just one game. Hutton and Karlsson do give the Blackhawks some organizational depth at the position. I still think Hutton would be the likely guy to come up if needed. I talked to IceHogs coach Ted Dent the other day, and he said Karlsson would be getting his start for them this week.
Zaks [via mobile]
What do you contribute to seabrooks slow start? Or am I wrong...
Scott Powers (1:21 PM)
Zaks, I haven't noticed a slow start for Seabrook. He and Keith have been solid as always, and Seabrook has been leading the NHL in blocked shots.
steve (west loop)
where are all the idiot "hawk fans" who wanted Kane traded now??!! lol
Scott Powers (1:23 PM)
Steve, they have certainly been quieted. But you also couldn't blame them. Kane wasn't producing last season as he had in the past. The off-the-ice distractions weren't helping. He's come out focused and driven this season. He's setting himself up for a special season.
Hey Scott - I've been really impressed by Nick Leddy's progress this year. Do you think this is a make-or-break season of sorts for him? He's been around awhile, and Adam Clendening is in the pipeline.
Scott Powers (1:26 PM)
Lisa, I think a lot of us forget Leddy is still only 21 years old. He held his own last year, too. He was the only defenseman to play 82 regular-season games. He's also off to a good start. I don't think is a make-or-break year for him. With Clendening and Stanton in Rockford, there's some depth there, too, though, at the position.
Mike (Niles, IL)
Scott, please introduce yourself...
Scott Powers (1:30 PM)
Sorry, I tried to post an introduction, but I don't think it went through. My name is Scott Powers. Some know me, but some don't. I'm covering the Blackhawks this season. Jesse Rogers have moved over to the Cubs. I know I have big shoes to fill. I'll provide my own perspective and way of covering the team, but I hope to continue the strong coverage Jesse started. We'll do chats on Wednesdays. I can also be contacted on Twitter at @espnchihawks and @espnchipowers. I look forward to hearing from everyone and enjoying the beat this season.
How long does Saad stay on the first line if he doesn't start producing? And if he doesn't stay who fills in? The other 3 lines seem pretty solid.
Scott Powers (1:32 PM)
Dave, Quenneville was asked about Saad yesterday and his lack of numbers. He said he's liked what Saad has given that line and doesn't foresee a change right now. I asked Hossa about him, too, and Hossa raved about Saad's ability to win puck in the corners.
I'm not too familiar with the Hawks cap situation but are they in danger with the cap dropping next season of losing any core players? Would one of our D-men have to go with a young guy like Clendening and Stanton coming up as a cheaper option? I just hope it's not like after we won the cup...
Scott Powers (1:34 PM)
Mike, the Blackhawks are in pretty good shape with the cap. They have most of their core guys signed for years to come. It also helps that they're also turning to younger guys right now, and their salaries won't hurt them. Bowman talked about the cap before the season, and it could allow them to make a trade deadline move if the team required it.
Mike (Niles, IL)
What's your background covering hockey?
Scott Powers (1:37 PM)
Mike, I covered the Chicago Wolves for a number of years for the Daily Herald and filled in for the legendary Tim Sassone with the Blackhawks occasionally. I've also helped Jesse on the beat in the past. I've been around the team a bit covering them and also grew up in Chicago.
Duncan Keith last two years were sub par, but it looks like he's back to full force. Because of rest or less minutes?
Scott Powers (1:39 PM)
Matt, the reduced minutes have certainly helped everyone. But I also think the longer offseason benefited guys like Keith who have logged major minutes for a number of seasons. I know Toews has talked about it a lot where he felt refreshed coming back.
kyle Antioch [via mobile]
I'm not sure what the odds were preseason and I know its early, but are the hawks the cup favorite?
Scott Powers (1:41 PM)
Kyle, I'm not sure if they are THE favorite, but they're among them. Their hot start has people noticing them, but also San Jose is undefeated and teams like Boston, St. Louis and Tampa Bay have been good out of the gate.
Tom (( Pingree Grove, Illinois ))
Hi, Scott : Do you have an update on how Dan Carcillo is progressing, and when he may return? Thank you.
Scott Powers (1:43 PM)
Tom, there hasn't been any updates on Carcillo lately. They originally thought about a month, so probably still looking at three weeks or so. I'll try to get an update on that, too.
Following up on Steve and what you said. I don't think Kane is ever meant to be THE guy on a team and it seemed liked he was pushed into that role last year with injuries and center questions. I feel like he is at his best with tons of weapons around him where he can dance and set guys up no?
Scott Powers (1:45 PM)
Cody, Kane is such a marvelous passer that having skill around him helps a ton. The overtime winner to Hossa against Dallas is a great example of that. I think his goals will go up too, though. He's just missed on a few chances this season.
IYO, when Carcillo returns, whose spot does he take? Does he have to earn his way back into the lineup? (All else equal)
Scott Powers (1:47 PM)
Dan, I think if he's healthy he'll go back alongside Toews and Hossa. Quenneville likes that line and the physical aspect Carcillo gives to it. It could also put less pressure on Saad if he drops down, and he could also strengthen another line.
Steve (Oak Lawn, IL )
Do you think "this" Crawford will last?
Scott Powers (1:49 PM)
Steve, it's hard to say this early. But you have to like the fact he's made some changes, and he's not saying he's having success now despite doing the same things he did last year. Quenneville said he think Crawford's focus has improved, too.
Adam (Columbia, MO)
Hi, Scott. Glad to have you with us. If you had to guess, who do you think the 'Hawks first loss will come against?thanks!
Scott Powers (1:51 PM)
Adam, thanks. I'm predicting a win tonight against Minnesota. I think another back-to-back on Friday and Saturday against Vancouver and Calgary could be rough on them.
Hey Scott, welcome to the party. Is it just me or have Saad, Stalberg, Frolik, and Kruger been showing unbelievable forechecking energy and skill this year? When does Kruger get put on the 3rd where he belongs? Shaw is a 4th liner all the way IMO.
Scott Powers (1:54 PM)
Chris, I've especially enjoyed watching Kruger and Frolik play in the early goings of the season. Both have been vital to the penalty kill unit's success. Frolik was a man on a mission against Detroit. He nearly had as many short-handed shots as Detroit had power-play shots. Quenneville isn't messing with success right now, so there haven't been any drastic line changes. Kruger to the third line could be an option if the Hawks drop off.
Will you be running down from the press box to the locker room with your laptop open like a maniac at the end of games much like your predecessor did?
Scott Powers (1:55 PM)
Hope not, but probably will be. I'll have to get some pointers from Jesse on that.
You know if the Hawks lose tonight, we are all blaming you. No hawks chats and we are 6-0, so if we get the first "L" tonight, no more chats for Scotty P.
Scott Powers (1:55 PM)
S.J., I'll accept the blame.
Raff (Oakville, Canada)
Scott, What do you think of the play of Sharp so far? He has been a non-factor on the second line so far>
Scott Powers (1:57 PM)
Raff, yeah, I get Sharp's numbers aren't great yet. I've been watching him closely the past few games, and I feel like he's had some chances and they're just not finding holes for him. Let's see what he does on this road trip, and we'll discuss again.
Ryan (Chicago) [via mobile]
Who are the most likey call ups from Rockford (forward and defenceman)
Scott Powers (1:59 PM)
Ryan, IceHogs coach Ted Dent thought he had 2-5 guys ready to go whenever the Blackhawks came calling. Hayes, Morin, Stanton were part of that first group recalled to start the season, so you would think they're in the mix. Clendening is another defenseman to look at. Ben Smith is currently hurt, but he's been up before.
Last year's penalty kill was terrible and is basically all the same players as this year.What are the Hawks doing differently on the penalty kill from last year and what has led to the change in their results?
Scott Powers (2:03 PM)
Curt, I think Kruger and Frolik have been key to the penalty kill. Both have embraced that role and been great in it. I think an added focus on it, too, has helped. The Blackhawks knew that and the power play were problems last season.
Rob (Downtown Chicago)
Over/Under on 30 wins for the Hawks this season?
Scott Powers (2:06 PM)
Ooh, that's a tough win. In the 1994-95 shortened season, only two teams reached 30 wins. The most was 33. I'm going to say over at 31.
Raff (Oakville, Canada)
I am so amazed as to how a contract year brings out the best in these pro athlethes ie;Frolik and Hammer. So how about they pay back some of their salary for the last couple years? Any others on contract years, i think Bickell is one as well.
Scott Powers (2:09 PM)
Raff, Bickell, Stalberg and Mayers are free agents after this season. Leddy and Kruger are restricted free agents. Frolik and Hjalrmarsson are signed through next season, according to capgeek.com.
Do you think a 10-2 overall record is a realistic expectation after this 6 game road swing?
Scott Powers (2:12 PM)
Mark, I think you'd have be ecstatic at 10-2 after this road trip. I think you even take 3-3 on the road trip and be happy. Not just this current trip, but having four out of the Blackhawks' first six games on the road made for a difficult early schedule. So far, the Blackhawks have succeeded in it.
What's the development on Jeremy Morin? He seemed the be the most highly touted prospect in the organization. I know he's still young, but do you see him seeing any time this year, or possibly at the beginning of next season?
Scott Powers (2:13 PM)
Jamie, I need to get a better sense on some of the prospects, but I know Morin is still someone the Blackhawks have high hopes for. I'm going to get out to Rockford soon and start watching some of these guys for myself, too. I hope to be more educated about the prospects as the season goes on.
Do you think this is going to be leddys and crawfords breakout seasons if so why?
Scott Powers (2:15 PM)
Jack, I think they're primed for big seasons because of where they are in their careers. Crawford is in his third full season and that can often be a turning point for a goaltender. As for Leddy, he's been up for a few seasons, but he's still only 21. That experience now with some more maturation should put him in a good spot, too.
Do you expect Shaw to play center on the third line come playoffs? As a "shut down" d role, he seems to turn the puck over a lot in the neutral zone.
Scott Powers (2:18 PM)
Dan, I think it's still too early to be talking about roles come the playoffs. I think you evaluate him over the next month and see where he's at. Let's return to this conversation.
Is it me or has Toews almost been invisible this season? We know about his successes at the dot, but it seems as if he doesn't get the puck as often as he did last season.
Scott Powers (2:21 PM)
Brett, some of that has to do with Hossa and Kane being so productive early on, too. Toews is still sharp on both sides of the ice. It might also be him adjusting to playing with Saad. I think you'll see Toews touches and production increase with time.
Dan C (Steeterville)
How will Coach Q handle the goaltending workload moving forward? Should we always expect Emery on a back-to-back run? How will the short schedule impact how much rest Crawford gets?
Scott Powers (2:24 PM)
Dan, I think on most back-to-backs you'll see Emery. It worked out with the last one where it was short travel from Columbus and the Hawks had the following two days off. The schedule will dictate some of when Emery plays, but it sounds like Quenneville wants to get Crawford in net as much as possible right now with him playing so well.
Scott Powers (2:27 PM)
Everyone, thanks for all the questions. I know there's some I didn't get to, but feel free to email me at email@example.com or tweet me at @espnchihawks or @espnchipowers. Hope everyone has a good day. Talk to you soon.