Coach Joel Quenneville’s use of all four lines and all D-men is masterful, but with the compacted season is it smart to double-shift Patrick Kane? Kevin, Chicago
With Marian Hossa sidelined with what a source said is a shoulder injury, Quenneville turned to Kane to fill in on the top line while also anchoring the right side of the second line. The move paid off in Colorado when the Hawks defeated the Avalanche on Monday night, but backfired a bit during Wednesday night’s 4-2 loss to the Ducks. Kane ran out of gas in Anaheim while playing a game-high 25 minutes, 21 seconds and was on the ice for all four Ducks goals. The winger took the loss hard and in the dressing room and blamed himself, saying, “I could have been better. I wasn’t good enough and it was the reason we lost the game.”
Hossa’s return will help, but if he is sidelined for any length of time, a shakeup in the lines will need to happen to fill the void instead of continually running Kane out there.
What do you think the Blackhawks will do with Ray Emery after this season when his contract expires? Kara H., Chicago
I believe the Hawks will try to re-sign the veteran goaltender and keep the tandem of Emery and Corey Crawford intact for the 2013-14 season. Emery has been brilliant, becoming the first goalie in NHL history to start the season 11-0-0. As an unrestricted free agent after the 2013 season, Emery should have plenty of suitors so Hawks general manager Stan Bowman should be looking to lock in the backup to a deal sooner rather than later.
The Blackhawks’ key players have been (until recently) spared from missing significant time because of injuries. Who at Rockford do you feel is ready to step in should one of the regulars go down and will they be able to be an effective contributor? Greg, Houston
During a recent sit-down with Hawks general manager Stan Bowman, I asked him this very question and he extolled the virtues of forwards Jimmy Hayes (already up with the injury to Patrick Sharp), Brandon Pirri and Jeremy Morin, saying the latter two “have both been really good lately.”
Defensively, Bowman said Ryan Stanton and Adam Clendening “have been the two most steady players” and also added that Dylan Olsen is looking strong after battling some injuries.
In my opinion, Pirri has the brightest future offensively and likely will soon be in the mix at center for the Hawks.
Clendening has a ton of talent and could be the next youngster in line to get a chance along the blue line. Olsen showed flashes in stints with the Hawks last season and isn’t far from landing an NHL job.
Really, what happened to Joey the Junior Reporter? Danielle, San Jose, Calif.
What happens in the press box stays in the press box, so I can’t divulge information about Joey’s job status. One thing I can tell you is that I’m glad he hasn’t been around much as I’m tired of being scooped by the kid.
Readers' Q&A: Chris Kuc's Blackhawks mailbag
Double-shifting Patrick Kane, what to do with Ray Emery, who is next up from Rockford and the whereabouts of Joey the Junior Reporter are semi-meaningful issues addressed in this edition of Ask Chris