Chat with Scott Powers
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! On Friday, 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 Friday at 11 a.m. CT/noon ET!
Scott Powers (12:07 PM)
Hi all, sorry, running a bit late today being in Minnesota. I'll probably do about 30 minutes today because the Blackhawks' skate is at 12. Let's get started.
Tyler Scherer (Illinois)
Will Shaw return at some point during this series?
Scott Powers (12:08 PM)
Tyler, it's questionable at this point. The Blackhawks thought they might be getting him back as early as Game 3, but his timetable has changed.
John (Arlington Heights)
Do you think the lines Q uses in practice are really lines he is interested in using or is he just trying to show as many possibilities as possible to keep his true intention hidden from the Wild coaches?
Scott Powers (12:10 PM)
John, I think those are the lines. They went through the entire practice with those lines. It seems like a waste of time if you're working on breakouts and such and not doing it with the the players you expect to have together. I could see a late change on the fourth line, but I think the top three will stay.
Greg (MO. / ARK. BORDER)
Why would you have a guy ( Bollig ) starting & only play him 4 or 5 minutes ???????
Scott Powers (12:11 PM)
Greg, that entire fourth line has become obsolete. Without Kruger and Smith on there, the reliability just isn't there any longer. I don't think you'll see Quenneville give Bollig or anyone on that line a lot of minutes.
DO YOU SEE THIS SERIES GOING 7? THANKS
Scott Powers (12:11 PM)
Billy, I think it all depends on tonight.
Game 3 seemed like a prime "letdown" game leading up to it. Do you agree and do you think the team will be amped up enough for tonight?
Scott Powers (12:14 PM)
Jim, yes, traditionally, the Blackhawks have bounced back with a strong Game 4. But the Blackhawks will have a battle on their hands tonight. All three games of this series have been really close. The Blackhawks have to find a way to get more quality shots on net. The quantity just isn't going to be there against the Wild.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Scott - The Blackhawks got a reminder on Tuesday that the Minnesota Wild won't be a pushover. With game 4 on Friday at Minnesota & game 5 on Sunday at home, bottom line what does Chicago have to do to win this series over the next two games ?
Scott Powers (12:15 PM)
Rich, just touched on it, but the Blackhawks have to find a way to get more quality shots, especially rebounds and redirects around the net. They had a few open looks from the slot and the circles in Game 3, but not a lot going on in front of the net. They need Smith and Bickell to be better there.
Speaking long term, will the Hawks be able to keep the current roster intact through expiring contracts, free agency, etc.? Speaking primarily on Toews, Kane and Saad.
Scott Powers (12:16 PM)
Matt, yeah, Bowman's long-term plan centers around paying Toews and Kane. Saad could be interesting if someone decides to offer a large contract, but I think it's something the Blackhawks will try to address before he becomes a restricted free agent after the 14-15 season.
Greg (Oak Forest)
Do you see the line changes as an overreaction by Q to one tough loss or just some simple tinkering? For now, I'm willing to give the Mad Scientist the benefit of the doubt.
Scott Powers (12:19 PM)
Greg, it seems like a lot of shifting in my opinion, but I do think the new lines give the Blackhawks more firepower over the first three lines. They seemed like a two-line team in Game 3.
James (Fort Worth)
Considering Q really likes Brookbank, and that the fourth line is having issues, any chance Brookbank makes an appearance as a forward in the playoffs like he did at times in the regular season?
Scott Powers (12:20 PM)
James, it's always a possiblity, but I doubt it. I do think Versteeg could replace someone on that fourth line tonight. We'll see the morning skate here in a bit, so we should have a better idea.
Dan (Mt. Prospect)
Q wants to play with pace yet he plays some of he slowest guys in hockey like Handzus, Brookbank, and Rozival regularly. Why? He wants dependability yet these guys turn the puck over as much as anyone. I don't get him sometimes.
Scott Powers (12:22 PM)
Dan, I get your frustration, but he's trying to balance pace with defensive reliability. I think he was frustrated Leddy wasn't aggressively getting to pucks in Game 2. Handzus' 5-on5 role has been minimized, and he's essential to that PK, so he isn't going anywhere. Rozsival is solid, too. I do think Morin could be more effective if given a chance on the third line.
Scott it seems like Versteeg's knee is still bothering him (and affecting his play) or that he's not the same Versteeg from 2010. With the Hawks farm system and all the players in the waiting (Morin, Hayes [hopefully], etc...) do you forsee the Hawks moving on from him this offseason before they take on his full salary?
Scott Powers (12:24 PM)
Dustin, I'm not sure who would be actively pursuing him at this point. I also have to look into how his contract works. He's being paid half and half by the Panthers and Blackhawks right now. I don't know if that would change if he went somewhere else. I think the Blackhawks are hopeful he'll have a full summer to rehab his knee and will be closer to his usual form next season.
Are we ever going to address the 2C position? Ever? Is TT going to stick?
Scott Powers (12:25 PM)
Swanny, Teravainen is slated for there next season. I thought Smith has been okay there in the playofffs.
jim, burbank [via mobile]
Hey Scott, This is more of a future question of next yr. If you had to pick a player who might not be on the hawks next season who would you say? I'm thinking Oduya? Also, can you see hawks entertaining offers about Sharp in near future? Reason I'm asking is he's still a great player but he and maybe Seabrook in my opinion have the greatest value the hawks in next yr or two could trade trying to get back some high draft picks or even a player or two who have high upside. Only reason I say this is to keep the talent coming into hawks system.. Sharp especially is now getting into low 30's. Your thoughts? Grade work you do!
Scott Powers (12:28 PM)
Jim, yeah, Oduya is a possiblity. Who knows, maybe even Leddy? It'll be interesting to see what they do with Rundblad. Bowman didn't trade a second-round pick for him to not be used. As for beyond that, some future moves will be decided by Kane's and Toews' contracts. Saad's contract could also be a factor. The salary cap will come into play. I'd be surprised if they shipped Sharp because he's still so effective and one of the faces of the organization.
Mark (Pasadena, CA)
How much longer do you think Shaw will be out? And with respect to this "lose the first road game of each series" thing, what mind tricks could the Hawks use to convince themselves that the first road game of a series instead is the second or third road game? Although it hasn't stoppped them from winning two Cups in 4 years, this trend is perplexing.
Scott Powers (12:30 PM)
Mark, Shaw's return date is unknown at this point. They expected him to be back already, and that obviously hasn't happened. As for the first road game, I don't think it's anything psychological. I think it has to do more with the other team playing better in their own building. Lately, those Game 3s have been desperate ones for the opposition. It's just as difficult for other teams to play in the United Center during the first game of a series in Chicago.
sounds like a lot of people are freaking out over the loss. now is not the time to go into full panic mode.As long as they hold home ice we should be o.k. Your thoughts?
Scott Powers (12:32 PM)
Catfish, ultimately, yes, I agree with you. But the series does become a lot more interesting if the Wild win tonight.
Joel Segura(Apple Valley MN) [via mobile]
With shaw out who has to step up?
Scott Powers (12:33 PM)
Joel, I would say Ben Smith is one key player just because he's replaced Shaw on that power play. Plus, it looks like Smith will be on the top line tonight.
Hi Scott, with the few moves or signings that stan did this year in acquiring, versteeg, regin, runblad , and bullin , why are these players not getting the opportunity to play ? And looking back on the bullin signing will stan learn his lesson to not sign a over the hill player who is a liability ?
Scott Powers (12:35 PM)
Rich, Versteeg not playing is strange, but the other guys seemed like depth moves. The Blackhawks haven't had to use those players because there haven't been that many injuries. As for Khabibulin, I'm not sure if there's a lesson there for Bowman. It was obviously a questionable signing, but Bowman rarely admits he messed up. I'm curious to see whether they pursue another veteran goaltender in the offseason. I'm not sure if they trust Raanta to be the backup yet.
Chris (Salem Oregon)
Hey Scott-- Impressions on Sharp? We need his fire in his game. How about Morin in Game 3? Expectations tonight?
Scott Powers (12:37 PM)
Chris, Sharp is certainly struggling. He said yesterday he needed to be more direct with his play. Playing with Hossa again could help him tonight. As for Morin, I don't think he'll see a lot of ice time if he does play. Quenneville just doesn't trust him in these games.
Chris (Salem Oregon)
Hawks always seem to rise when challenged. I think we end this in five...Toews wont allow another letdown. Is that the vibe around the locker room?
Scott Powers (12:38 PM)
Chris, the Blackhawks are certainly a confident team in these situations, but I think they respect what the Wild are capable of, especially defensively. This isn't the same Minnesota team they walked over last year.
Brian (Chicago, IL)
True or False. The Hawks will not win the Stanley Cup if Patrick Sharp doesn't find his game.
Scott Powers (12:40 PM)
Brian, I think this team has enough offense to overcome one player slumping. Toews was quiet for much of the playoffs last season. But, yes, Sharp would certainly help right now.
Scott, if Versteeg isn't gonna be on top 2 lines you think he's better off as just a scratch? Doesnt seem to fit the 3rd or 4th line criteria?
Scott Powers (12:40 PM)
Gareth, it looks like Versteeg will be a scratch today. He didn't skate with the top-four lines yesterday.
Do you see Raanta playing? LOL, just kidding. In regards to the Wild syle...what specifically do you see the Hawks attempting in order to free up the neutral zone and keep the Wild from slowing things down at the blue line?
Scott Powers (12:44 PM)
Greg, I think one key is making less passes in the neutral zone and trying to get someone the puck and then allowing them to make an entry into the Wild's zone. I thought Hossa was able to create some offense off some clean entries in Game 3. Quenneville talked the other day about they have to be more careful in the neutral zone and not allow the Wild to counterattack off turnovers.
Scott Powers (12:45 PM)
Thanks to everyone for the questions. Sorry about the strange time and cutting it short today. The playoffs have altered the usual schedule. As always, feel free to email me at email@example.com. Have a good weekend.