Chat 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 (1:01 PM)
Hi, everyone. Welcome to another Blackhawks chat. I'll be here for an hour or so. Look forward to answering your questions. It's certainly been an exciting first few weeks to the season.
With the current run of success, what moves if any are the blackhawks likely to make? Also whom down on the farm is poised for a chance to joins the Hawks?
Scott Powers (1:04 PM)
It's probably too early to be talking moves just yet. With the condensed season, everyone will feel like they have a shot at the playoffs until they're out of it. You may not see any trades until late March or just prior to the April 3 deadline. I think the Blackhawks are always looking for defensive depth and they may make a move if there's a top center to get. As for prospects, Jimmy Hayes continues to play well in Rockford. I think the guys brought up prior to the season -- Pirri, Stanton, etc. -- will get looks if the Blackhawks need anyone.
Not much to complain about with their play so far. Is it just me or does it seem like the Hawks pass to much? I feel they always look for the extra pass instead of shooting.
Scott Powers (1:07 PM)
I think that's just the makeup of this team. They have a lot of offensively skilled player who also don't mind sharing the puck. I know on the power play they've been trying to focus on passing less and shooting more. It's probably something you have to live with this team, though.
Tom (Pingree Grove, Illinois)
Hi, Scott: Do you have any information on how center Mark McNeill, the Hawks' 2011 1st Round Pick, is progressing? Thank you.
Scott Powers (1:10 PM)
McNeil has played well in the WHL this season. He's leading the Prince Albert Raiders with 51 points. The Raiders are near the top of their conference too. He got a late call to play for Canada in the junior world championships ion late December, so people are taking notice of his play. He's probably a few years away, but he appears to be progressing well.
Mayers was critical of that hit after the game last night, do you know if his attitude changed once he saw the replay? That looked like a good, clean shoulder-to-shoulder hit to me.
Scott Powers (1:12 PM)
Not sure his thoughts since seeing the replay, but he was obviously upset last night before so. Everyone, including Quenneville, sounded like they felt like the hit was clean. Mayers just happened to not see it coming. The puck was on him.
With how Saad has been playing on that top line, when carcillo comes back, do you see him rejoining toews and hossa or is it more they have to see how the hawks are playing at the time?
Scott Powers (1:14 PM)
Quenneville appears to like Saad with Toews and Hossa. That trio has had some success together now. I think he stays there, and they move Carcillo down to one of the other lines. He may need some time to get back into the swing of things, too. He hasn't played a lot of hockey in the past year and is now coming off two significant injuries.
Is it just me or do you agree hawks wont do anything to torres, besides a few bumps here and there? Hawks arent that kind of team.
Scott Powers (1:16 PM)
Patrick Kane said recently he expected some "fireworks" for tomorrow's game. I know the Hawks aren't normally that type of team, but I expect at least Bollig to get involved with Torres. Hossa has downplayed the game, but I think his teammates want some revenge.
Robert (San Antonio) [via mobile]
After stealing that game in Calgary, I'm really starting to believe in this team. Kruger and Saad in particular have impressed me. What's going on with Roszival though? Brookbank is a decent security blanket but he takes too many risks for my tastes-especially since he's playing with Leddy
Scott Powers (1:17 PM)
Kruger and Saad have been impressive so far. It sounds like Rozsival is steal dealing with a nagging injury. I don't think it's serious.
What's with Thornton and Towes, as last year they got into again. Is there something between these two we aren't aware of? It seems Thornton maybe a bit jealous of the skill.
Scott Powers (1:20 PM)
Don't know of any history between the two. It just seemed like two competitive captains letting their emotions get the best of them late in the game. I'm sure it didn't help that Toews was taking the puck away from the Sharks as well.
Jeff (South Elgin)
The young guys are really playing well as of late, while sharp on the other hand has been struggling all over, not to mention coughing up the puck. Quenneville hasn't really juggled much with lines thus far, just gotta hope that sharp plays through this slump and gets his consistency back?
Scott Powers (1:22 PM)
Jeff, Sharp has been a little snake-bit. He's had a handful of shots connect with the pipes. He's getting shots. I think as long as they're winning and getting opportunities Quenneville will assume Sharp will come around as he does every season. I don't see him juggling lines right now.
Tony(Dallas) [via mobile]
Transplanted die hard hawks fan here, I've seen every game oretty much and believe if the hawks can stay sharp on special teams and keep up the defense through 60 minutes each game they will be in position to drink from the cup, your thoughts?
Scott Powers (1:25 PM)
Tony, they certainly look to have that potential now. They need Crawford to stay consistent. He had his rough moments early yesterday, but he bounced back. The offense, especially the power play, needs to produce a little more than it has the past week. The penalty kill is the best in the league right now. If that keeps up, you have to like their chances.
How does Quinville justify using Leddy as a 3rd shooter with the point on the line with such other good offensive players on the bench.
Scott Powers (1:26 PM)
Bob, Quenneville is desperately seeking an answer on that shootout, and I think he was trying to go outside the box with Leddy. Leddy had converted one earlier in the season in Rockford. I would expect Stalberg, maybe Saad, to get future looks, too. It hasn't been a strength for Hossa in recent year.
Crawford has been playing well as of late. I hate to say it but its almost uncharacteristic. Have you noticed any change that has been the catalyst of his recent success or has he indicated he's doing anthing differently this year versus in the past?
Scott Powers (1:29 PM)
Frank, a lot of it has seemed to be a mental change for Crawford. He's changed his pregame routine. He now goes off on his own and sort of meditates on the game prior to it. Quenneville said he's seen more of a focus from him. Plus, Crawford is in his third season. It's often the year goalies make some strides.
Scott, I love the fact Bickell, Frolick and Kruger are playing GREAT. That's the kind of production that was evident with the 3rd and 4th line in 2010. What has changed with them?
Scott Powers (1:32 PM)
Paul, I think a few things. Bickell played overseas during the lockout and seems to have improved his skating. Kruger has seemed to also benefit from playing in Rockford during the lockout. He's been active and confident with the puck. Frolik has a radar for the puck and gets shots on nets. They've all started the year out strong.
Zach Chicago [via mobile]
Glad to see Q stick with crow last night and to see how well he recovered.. That said it seems like we have two good goalie options going right now. How will Q deal with keeping them both hot? Will we see more Emery?
Scott Powers (1:35 PM)
Zach, I think the condensed schedule will allow Quenneville to use both consistently enough. Crawford is going to see more starts, but I think on back-to-backs and tight stretches he'll turn to Emery. Emery's performance the other day obviously will give Quenneville more confidence in that, too.
Any chance hawks are keeping a eye on goalies like bernier & luongo?
Scott Powers (1:36 PM)
Anthony, I don't see it at this point. Crawford has played too well so far for there to be panic. Through eight starts, he's been consistent and hasn't given up many soft goals. There's only been one game where he's allowed more than two goals. I think he's your guy.
Ok, our penalty kill is best in the league. On PP we slipped to 14th best. Are they adressing this before it gets ugly like last year? Seems to me they have to dump and chase and get more shots on net instead of being too cute. Thoughts?
Scott Powers (1:38 PM)
Ryan, I think the power play has become a concern again. They haven't had a lot of practices while on the road, but they will likely have a few in the coming weeks with a long home stretch. I imagine that will be a point of emphasis again. I wouldn't be surprised to see Quenneville make a few changes. They need more shots on net. That was the problem last year, too.
I think this year Leddy has taken the next step, he looks really steady every shift and more confident with and with out the puck. How good do you see him becoming?
Scott Powers (1:41 PM)
Chris, his potential is great. He's still only 21 years old and already has nearly 150 games of NHL experience. Playing around Keith and Seabrook and some experienced defenseman has to help, too. It does seem like his stickhandling has improved this season and isn't afraid to make decisions with the puck.
Sam (Lincoln Park)
Scott, I am loving Saad right now. The young guy is skating hard and getting his stick in all the right places. Maybe a little frantic in the heat of the moment .Will he continue to get time when Carcillo the Thug returns? I hope so. Give Saad the third shot in shootouts! Your thoughts?
Scott Powers (1:43 PM)
Sam, I anticipate Saad staying in place when Carcillo returns. He's shown enough to remain there. I think Quenneville will be looking elsewhere in the shootout. I would think Saad has to be on his shortlist. He's looked comfortable in practice in shootout opportunities.
Zach (Blue Island)
Scott,Give us your thoughts on how well the Blackhawks play in 4 v 4 situations. With this in mind, will we see the Hawks settle late in close games to go OT with the Hawks looking to capitalize on the 4 v 4 play?
Scott Powers (1:46 PM)
Zach, I think the more open ice there is, the better the Hawks play with all their skilled players. I think they've done well in 4 on 4 chances. I know they've had a few games go into a shootout, but they've also won a couple in overtime.
Sam (Lincoln Park)
The Hawks, while playing great, seem to lose a lot of pucks inbetween the blue lines, either because they are getting too cute/fancy (Kane), or just not passing well (Sharp). Always something to improve on right?
Scott Powers (1:49 PM)
Sam, certainly. The passing was especially sloppy against Calgary. I thought it improved yesterday, but it hasn't been too costly so far this season.
Mike (Ukrainian Village)
When will we see Carcillo return and did her re-injure the same knee?
Scott Powers (1:50 PM)
Mike, it wasn't the same knee. It was the other one. Carcillo should be back sometime this month.
Jerome Iginla is in the last year of his contract and the Flames are falling fast. He would be the perfect 2nd line center for Kane and Sharp. If a deal is there, do the Hawks pull the trigger?
Scott Powers (1:53 PM)
S.J., it's funny Jesse Rogers and I were just talking about Iginla today. The only thing with him is he a wing. But if someone like that comes available at the deadline, the Hawks would have to consider it. He would add to their offensive firepower.
Dave [via mobile]
Scott - gotta love shaw's game right now. 2nd in the team in face off win % and a great net presence on and off the PP. Is he a long term center with this team? Id hate to think he's just getting lucky.
Scott Powers (1:56 PM)
Dave, that appears to be the plan. He played center early in his career, and they wanted him back there and gave him the time in Rockford to adjust to it again. He has some true skill there as you mentioned with his faceoff percentage and playing in front of the net. He's not the biggest guy, but he has some toughness, too. I think he has a future there.
Scott, Please rate Stan Bowmans work so far.
Scott Powers (1:59 PM)
Scott, I think a true rating can be given after this season. Bowman tried to acquire some players in the offseason, wasn't able to and ended up pretty much relying on last year's team to take a step forward this season. He was hopeful Crawford and the special teams would bounce back, the younger guys would improve and the veterans kept up their pace. So far, it's worked out for him. If the Blackhawks don't make a playoff run, though, he's going to be deserving of some criticism.
Scott, Did you think Q was going to pull Crawford after that 3rd goal?
Scott Powers (2:01 PM)
Bill, I thought it was a real possibility. Goalies have been pulled for less. Crawford bounced back nicely, though.
Mike (Ukrainian Village)
Who is the biggest threat in the West this season to the Hawks... I would go with either the Blues, Wild or Sharks.
Scott Powers (2:06 PM)
Mike, I would throw Anaheim and Nashville in there, too. Both have gotten off to good starts. I think we'll know more in the next few weeks as we get around 20 or sogames.
Hi Scott,Who has been this years biggest surprise for you thus far?
Scott Powers (2:07 PM)
Chase, Kruger and Frolik have stood out to me. Both have come up huge on the penalty kill. Saad has to be up there, too. He was even scratched from the first game and is now playing well on the top line.
Adam (San Diego, CA)
I think we have to give Stan some credit for bringing in Oduya via trade last year and Rosival, Brookbank in the off season... the D is much better with these 3 than they were with Montador, O'Donnell, and Scott last year to start.
Scott Powers (2:09 PM)
Adam, true. Oduya has played well this season, and I think the Blackhawks do have more defensive depth. They need to get Rozsival healthy to see what he can provide on a regular basis. It might allow them to occasionally sit Brookbank, too.
Stephen S. (Vancouver)
Scott, How much of the good play tdo you attribute to change in assistant coach?
Scott Powers (2:11 PM)
Stephen, probably very little. It's not as if this team had much time to be coached early in the season. I'm sure it' been beneficial for Quenneville to have another assistant he's familiar with.
How do you know when to pull a goalie? Crow stayed in and settled down last night, but we played the Wild they changed their goalie quickly, and probably won the game for them.
Scott Powers (2:14 PM)
Matt, there are a lot of factors that go into it. It depends on how he's played in the recent past. It depends on the goalie's mental makeup. It depends on what the coach is feeling, too. Quenneville obviously made the right decision yesterday. He showed he was still confident in Crawford, and it paid off.
What can the Blackhawks do about Montador and his cap hit?
Scott Powers (2:17 PM)
Jack, it was explained to me that there was nothing the Blackhawks can do about the cap hit right now. I'll go back and look into it again, though. Feel free to followup on that.
Pat (Mount Greenwood)
With Emery great play on saturday did he earn more playing time?
Scott Powers (2:18 PM)
Pat, I think he gave Quenneville more confidence to turn to him. I think they'll ride Crawford whenever they can, especially if he's playing this well, but the schedule will allow Emery his opportunities in net.
Al (Downers Grove)
Is it just me or does the Hawks PP fall apart the second the other team puts pressure on them?
Scott Powers (2:19 PM)
Al, it appears the power play has fallen apart all together as of late. It's something they need to address again. I expect it'll be an area of focus again when they return home and get some more practices in after this road trip.
Mike (Ukrainian Village)
How is Q deciding between Jammer and Bolig each game... coin toss, paper rock scissors or is there more to it?
Scott Powers (2:21 PM)
Mike, he doesn't explain his methods all the time, but I think he's trying to keep both fresh and give both some ice time. They have both played about the same amount of games so far.
Scott, I am so impressed with Patrick Kane this year. He seems more centered...well, not literally - love him at wing! But you know what I mean. Do you think he'll ever wear an "A"? I can't help but think he must inspire the younger guys and lead by example.
Scott Powers (2:23 PM)
Lisa, it's such a veteran team it's hard to take an "A" off someone and give it to Kane. I think he is developing more leadership skills, though. I know when I talked to his coach in Switzerland from during the lockout he was impressed with Kane as a leader and felt he was getting more comfortable in that role during their season. The Blackhawks have a lot of veterans and leaders, so it hasn't had to be Kane's concern.
Scott Powers (2:26 PM)
Thanks to everyone for their questions again. I know there were a number about possible trades, but I don't see them pursuing anyone aggressively at this point. It may not be for another month until trade scenarios become clearer. The Blackhawks also likely don't feel they need much right now at 8-0-2. I'll keep an eye on that, though. As always, feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or tweet me (@espnchihawks or @espnchipowers). Have a good week. Take care