Two more days. Just two more days.
If you think the summer has felt long to you, think how it’s felt to the Blackhawks. It’s been a bittersweet one for a few reasons, from that abrupt postseason exit to Marian Hossa’s issues to watching more teammates get traded away to welcoming two former Blackhawks back to the lineup.
We’ve addressed a lot of topics this offseason and there will be much more to talk about once training camp begins on Friday morning. I would’ve thought there wouldn’t be many more questions left but you all still had some and I thank you again for your participation.
So before training camp finally beginneths, have a read at the final offseason Twitter mailbag.
Does Debrincat, Fortin, or other rookie have real chance to make opening day roster or at least join the team early and contribute#Tradar— Don Vacha (@donnyvacha) September 13, 2017
Unless either/both just really knock it out of the park at training camp and give coach Joel Quenneville and company those tough decisions they say they love to make, I say both start the season in Rockford. Whether or not they get called up later always depends on how they’re doing/what the Blackhawks need at any particular time. All that said, there’s always some surprise out of training camp and I’m curious to see who it is this season.
What do you anticipate the PK unit to look like?— Patrick Sullivan (@PatrickSulldawg) September 12, 2017
First, my apologies. I misread this and gave my power-play prognostications (thank you, Tom Quinn, for pointing out my error). Anyway, to answer the question you actually asked. The Blackhawks’ penalty kill will really feel the offseason losses. Of the six players who logged the most shorthanded minutes last season, four of them are gone (Niklas Hjalmarsson, Marcus Kruger, Dennis Rasmussen and Marian Hossa). Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook remain a key part of it. Connor Murphy and Tommy Wingels have experience there. When I talked to Wingels at the convention he talked of playing on the PK, “to take some of the minutes off that core. Do you want your best players eating up hard minutes, penalty killing? Probably not. You want to use them in other situations.” He’s right, but the Blackhawks will likely still put the onus on the guys they know well. And before we all assume the penalty kill will struggle early due to changes, remember: it got off to a horrific start last season with its longtime personnel.
Will Toews emphasis on speed+condition this off season, along with the acquisition of Saad at LW return him back to '14/'15 form? #Tradar— Kevin Janowski (@Harp4803) September 13, 2017
That’s certainly the hope. Nobody was more frustrated than Toews with how his game went last season, hence the changes. Be it that or the reunion with Saad, all of this looks great on paper. It would be outstanding for the team, and especially for Toews, if he and Saad picked up right where they left off in 2015. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: of all the former Blackhawks the team has brought back, the Saad reacquisition has the most likely chance for success. We’ll see if it actually comes to fruition.
how do you think we will match up against our new arch nemesis predators this year?— Derek Javorek (@JavorekD) September 13, 2017
Yeah, the Predators sweeping the Blackhawks out of the first round certainly ups the ante in their matchups from here on out. Last season was a reminder that what happens in the regular season meant a damn thing when the playoffs arrive. The Blackhawks should be angry and motivated, but not just when they face the Predators. While you’re never going to get consistency through 82 games the Blackhawks need to treat last year’s dismissal as a wake-up call.
Which of the ptos have a chance of making the team? Could Jurco or Tootoo end up being cut? #tradar— AJ (@CoachDacc) September 12, 2017
Outside of a complete bust performance at camp or other strange occurrence, I’m going to assume Franson will be on the Blackhawks’ roster this season. They need another veteran back there, and once they place Hossa on LTIR after the season starts (he has to be on the roster Day 1 of the season) I’d expect signing Franson would be next. I don’t see Jurco going anywhere right now; Stan Bowman’s made it clear that he loves the guy. With Tomas Jurco and Jordin Tootoo, either would have to go through waivers.
How much concern should there be around the Blackhawks defense? #Tradar— Curtis Koch (@CurtisK_Radio) September 13, 2017
If I had to put it on a scale of 1-10 I’d say about a seven (granted, I’m not the panicky type and it would take a hell of a lot for me to put anything at a 10). We all know what the Blackhawks lost and filling those voids, especially Niklas Hjalmarsson’s, won’t be easy. That’s why I think Franson, as I said above, is likely a part of this. We don’t know how Connor Murphy will transition into this defense yet. As I wrote as part of my five questions earlier this week, some of the Blackhawks’ young defensemen have opportunities here but they’ve got to be ready to fill some big voids. How much will Keith be taking on this year? Can Seabrook bounce back from last season? There are a lot of questions with this defense so yes, concern is a good word to use.
The Hawks have traded away a lot of good players as of late. How are they going to fill that Hossa-sized hole? #Tradar— steven j kleinvehn (@sjk8990) September 12, 2017
Ah, speaking of great defensive players… yeah we’ve talked about this a lot because it’s another problem. Hossa was just one guy but he was one hell of a guy when it came to all facets of the game. Everyone’s going to have to do a little bit more. Saad solves part of that problem but it can’t be just him. Plus, the Blackhawks are going to have to find a new king of the battle drills. I’ll keep an eye out for candidates myself; I don’t want that Spaceballs GIF to go to waste.
What's status on Hossa n Eddie O? Are they improving? Send them our prayers. Let em know many Blackawk's fans are thinking of them.— Frank M. (@Teamnguns) September 12, 2017
I unfortunately have no update on Hossa. Eddie, understandably, values his privacy during this time. But he said to let you all know he is undergoing treatment, doing alright and he appreciates all the kind words and support he’s received.
Yes, Steve Konroyd will be in for Olczyk for the time being. And Mr. Mayers will indeed be part of CSN’s pre- and postgame programs.
Will the public be able to attend practices at the new facility like you can @ Johnny's? #tradar— Peggyslivka (@peggyslivka) September 12, 2017
Yes, the Blackhawks’ new facility will be very much like Johnny’s IceHouse West in terms practices being open to the public.
Which PTOs do you think will be Hawks. Franson seems most likely. US wine recommendation - preferably dry and red!— Sandra Muer (@SandraMuer) September 12, 2017
Since I answered the first question above let’s just skip to the wine (usually a good idea regardless). At a recent dinner I got to try Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. It’s a little pricier than I’d usually go ($25-30 range per bottle) but it was outstanding.
Favourite Canadian city #Tradar— Carmelo Caldarella (@CaldarellaC) September 12, 2017
Montreal, with Vancouver being a very close second (let’s call them 1 and 1A). I probably lean toward Montreal because we don’t get there near enough and I love getting the chance to speak French, even if it’s a brief opportunity. Vancouver is just a fantastic blend of water and mountains.
Top three must have Foods when in an NHL city during the season? #Tradar— Jose Vivar (@kauaiking2010) September 13, 2017
This may be the easiest question I ever get, so thanks in advance for that. The paella at Barroco in Montreal, the black linguine frutti di mare at Mangiamo’s in Manhattan Beach and sushi at (pick a sushi place, any sushi place) in Vancouver.
#tradar I'm in China to try and scrounge tickets to the Shanghai game next week (really) ...stunt or market growth?— steve stompanato (@aromanchina) September 12, 2017
I’m very curious to see this unfold. Whether it proves to be a success or not it’s going to take time, but it’s worth a shot. If there’s a market there, if there’s a real interest in growing the game, why not?
Headed downtown in late Sep, TRU is booked full. Other recos? #tradar— Richard Stanforth (@rfstan) September 12, 2017
If you’re still looking for French food, I’d recommend Chez Joel near UIC. If the weather cooperates they have a great little patio off to the side of the restaurant. Otherwise, so many choices. For Italian, Nonnina or Mama’s Boy. I just tried Tanta not too long ago (Peruvian) and it was outstanding.
#Tradar will your twitter handle change when CSN moves to NBCSNC?— WaivingWorm (@cliffdeutsch) September 13, 2017
It will change at some point soon. I suggested CSITraMyers as my new handle but I was just a few letters off — and the wrong network.