Chat with Scott Powers
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! On Thursday, Chicago Blackhawks beat reporter Scott Powers stops by to chat.
Powers, who joined ESPNChicago.com in 2009, covers the Blackhawks for both ESPN Radio 1000 and ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning reporter who has been reporting on sports of all levels, from preps to pros throughout the Midwest since 1997.
Send your questions now and join Powers Thursday at 1:30 p.m. CT/2:30 p.m. ET!
Scott Powers (2:31 PM)
Hello, all. Hope everyone is having a good Thursday. I recorded my first Blackhawks podcast earlier today. It's raw, but it's a start. Would love some feedback -- please be kind. I plan to be here for an hour or so today. Let's get started.
Eric (Downers Grove)
Hi Scott - Thank you for the chat. Is there any truth to the rumors around Andrew Ladd being traded for? I would love to see Ladd back, but the rumor I saw was for Bickell, Tevo, and a pick.
Scott Powers (2:33 PM)
Eric, I haven't heard those same rumors. I also don't think he's in their financial plan right now. Ladd is a $4.4 million cap hit through 15-16. Even with the cap going up, the Blackhwaks still have to plan to pay Kane, Toews, Saad. I still think Pirri, Morin or Teravainen could be the addition for this team come the playoffs this year.
Do you think the hawks need to make a major trade to help their third/fourth line wingers? Maybe not a major trade?
Scott Powers (2:35 PM)
Where they are with the cap, I don't foresee them making another move. Quenneville actually seems more pleased with the fourth line than the third now. From an advanced statistic standpoint, Bickell and Versteeg has been pretty good lately, but Quenneville isn't giving them third-line minutes. If you're looking for more offense off those lines, I think Pirri and Morin still are possibilities. It'll be interesting to see if Handzus will hold up between the Olympics and a full season.
Fernando Monge (Chicago (Edgewater))
Hey Scott, Last nights game was disconcerting in alot of ways. I see the absence of the three players that were traded as being something that hasn't been overcome. Do you see this as being a factor so far?
Scott Powers (2:38 PM)
Fernando, honestly, I don't think Bolland, Frolik, etc. save them last night. The Oduya-Hjalmarsson pairing had an off game. Oduya especially struggled in that first. And then they just got out-hustled on some plays. Seabrook had the puck just taken off of him. Crawford didn't give up soft goals, but he has to be better than four goals. I think they're better than they were last night, but it wasn't a great effort.
Hello Scott. Do you think eventually during the trade deadline going into the playoffs, Stan Bowman will try to look for a second line center
Scott Powers (2:40 PM)
Dean, I don't think so. That second line has been better with Shaw. I don't know if that's a temporary solution or longer. Pirri was productive there when he was in the lineup, but Quenneville went back with Handzus. I think Pirri is capable of doing that if he's given another chance. As for long term, I believe Teuvo Teravainen is the answer there. He may be in Chicago in April or next season. They're biding there time until he comes.
moose (out west)
Bollig played all of 5 playoff games last year and was not seen after he couldn't handle a pass which lead directly to Bruins winning Game 2 in OT. This year he is automatic. Is Q seriously going to trust him come playoff time?
Scott Powers (2:44 PM)
Moose, Quenneville likes Bollig. I know that's not what you want to hear, and some of the numbers indicate otherwise. But Quenneville has given some large defensive responsibilities to Bollig, Kruger and Smith. Quenneville said his goal for that line is to come out even. That's what they did last night. They gave up a goal and scored a goal. That may change in the playoffs, but that's the plan is now.
Scott, every trade rumor (and I know they're just rumors) seems to include Teravainen. Hopefully trading him is not even an option. Any insight? Thanks as always!
Scott Powers (2:44 PM)
Kevin, no way. They have a top-6 forward in Teravainen and won't have to pay him much for a number of years to come. He isn't going anywhere.
Ray in Las Vegas [via mobile]
When the Olympic Break comes I'm sure Raanta heads to Rockford. Who else might be going down for the break?
Scott Powers (2:46 PM)
Ray, I haven't heard any specifics, but I doubt anyone else would go. It's not as if anyone isn't getting much work in Chicago. It's probably best to rest everyone else. Raanta could use the work, but I could even seem them not wanting to chance an injury. He's going to play a lot more after the break with the condensed schedule.
What's it going to take for Pirri to get another shot? Handzus and Bickel have both had stretches where they've deserved to be a healthy scratch, but we only carry 12 forwards. Will Pirri only get another shot if there's an injury?
Scott Powers (2:50 PM)
Rick, an injury will be the fastest way for him to get back up. But as time goes this season, they will have some more cap room as the players' contracts coming up will be prorated. I could see Pirri or Morin being recalled and giving some guys some rest. Players like Handzus and Hossa might need the occasional game off after the Olympics. Pirri just needs to shine in his next opportunity.
Kyle JP (Iron River, Mi) [via mobile]
I thought Kostka looked pretty good in last nights game and to me he seems like a much better D man than Brookbank. Why do you think Coach Q scratches Kostka in favor of Brookbank so often?
Scott Powers (2:52 PM)
Kyle, Quenneville's trying to keep them all fresh. I thought Kostka was okay, too. He didn't do anything terrible. I would assume Rozsival is still Quenneville's guy come the playoffs. I know he also prefers Brookbank when it's a more physical game. Kostka fit well against Detroit.
Last night was tough. But how is our defense not prepared for the boards at Joe Louis? Pretty well known around the league and the Red Wings were able to come up with a few very good chances as a result. More of a rhetorical question, but I'd like to hear your thoughts on our defense moving forward
Scott Powers (2:55 PM)
Jim, that was a bit strange with the boards last night. Oduya got beat a few times on that. As for the defense as a whole, I think Keith and Hjalmarsson have been really good. Seabrook and Oduya have been above average. Leddy's done a good job adapting to different defensemen. One thing I did notice the other day when going through ice time was Quenneville has cut Rozsival's minutes from last season. Overall, I don't think they're as solid defensively as last season, but still more than capable than containing teams.
moose (out west)
Why is Q stuck on carrying 8 defenseman (3 of whom--Rozy, Brookbank, Kostka--share one spot when we are at full strength). Wouldn't we be better off adding a 13th forward so Zus could get some rest days, and the defenseman could get enough game time to stay fresh. From what I hear Dahlbeck is solid and could be our #8 in a pinch.
Scott Powers (2:57 PM)
Moose, they made that decision before the season and had to stick with it because if they reassigned Kostka they were worried another team would pick him up. They would certainly benefit more now from a 13th forward, but I don't see them recalling anyone else until after the break and their cap situation is slightly better.
Keith S. (Waupaca, WI)
What do you think the odds are that Teuvo Teravainen gets a late look when the Finnish league is over? Does his contract play into it much?
Scott Powers (2:59 PM)
Keith, there's a lot of talk about him coming over in April. He's either going to come to Chicago or play in the World Championships. As for his contract, I was told as long as he plays less than 10 regular-season games this season his contract will slide a season and not officially start until next year. So I think they're fine with that. It's just a matter of need.
Do you see Brookbank or Kostka being traded out since there's a surplus there? And how far away do you think Clendening is from making the team?
Scott Powers (3:01 PM)
Loags, I can't imagine there are teams looking to acquire Brookbank or Kostka. As for Clendening, he might get a shot next year, but possibly two years away. You look at next year's roster and they have Keith, Seabrook, Hjalmarsson, Oduya, Rozsival and Leddy all signed.
It seems like over the last month the total team defensive effort has been lacking and there have been more situations of the d-men getting caught out of position creating odd man rushes. Have the d-men been encouraged to pinch more and take more chances in the offensive zone creating the back end issues?
Scott Powers (3:05 PM)
Skip, I think the Blackhawks' defensemen are given the freedom to pinch and try to get involved in the offense. Hjalmarsson has certainly done that more this season than ever before. I'm not sure if the others have done it more than previously, but obviously some guys regularly get up in the play. The reward has been there at times, and it's also gone against them. I'll keep an eye on it more often, too.
The rotating 6th D-man concerns me, is this the plan for the rest of the season? Would like to see some chemistry going into the playoffs.
Scott Powers (3:06 PM)
Matt, I would imagine that continues on until the playoffs. I'm sure their concern is keeping Rozsival healthy and prepared for the playoffs. Him playing in the Olympics is something that makes that more complicated, too.
Scott, really like the Saad-Shaw-Kane line Q has been going with the last few games. Think Saad has cemented himself as the 4th best wing on this team and Shaw works great with both guys playing in front of the net. You see Q sticking with this line for a while as long as they keep producing?
Scott Powers (3:08 PM)
Chris, I would agree with you. Kane needs to find a way to get some more shots off with those two guys on the ice, but they've worked well together. I thought they did a nice job of creating some rushes last night and capitalizing around the net. Quenneville sticks with what works, so I assume he'll keep that line together.
Corey, Berwyn. [via mobile]
It seems to me that Crawford has struggled lately and Scott do you think Raanta will get more playing time as playoffs approach us? And do you think the Hawks will make any deals to get a second line center, and improve our penalty kill?
Scott Powers (3:09 PM)
Corey, Crawford's numbers have actually been better than Raanta's lately. I do believe Raanta will see increased starts after the break. There are a lot of games in a little time, and they'll also want to keep Crawford fresh for the playoffs.
Kevin (Sacramento) [via mobile]
Scott, Bickell has been awful this year and it's become evident he's way overpaid. Any chance that contract is tradable and how does that affect signing 88 & 19 to new deals?
Scott Powers (3:11 PM)
Kevin, Bickell isn't going anywhere. I think you need to give him more time to be judged. That knee injury affected him this year. His contract will also have no impact on Kane and Toews.
Scott Powers (3:14 PM)
Everyone, thanks again for all the questions. As always, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if I missed anything or want to talk about anything else Blackhawks. Have a great weekend.