TTMI~Radio, e.92, Sam Fels and Chris Block preview the 2011-12 Chicago Blackhawks

By Chris Block

With Opening Night of the 2011-12 NHL season now a mere days away, we called upon an old friend and colleague on tonight’s edition of TheThirdManIn~Radio to get down to some serious Blackhawk puck chatter.

Sam Fels, writer extraordinaire and editor of The Committed Indian – SecondCityHockey.com and blogger at NBCChicago.com’s MadHouse Enforcer joins me to digest the off season and preview this year’s Chicago Blackhawks.

On the show, we discuss, but won’t limit ourselves to….

— Blackhawks’ Opening Night roster
— Updates and status of injured Hawks – Ben Smith, Patrick Sharp & Davey Bolland
— Brandon Saad signs entry-level. Begins season in NHL
— Saad vs Morin
— The mess at the center position
— Kane at Center, Sharp at Wing – For how long though?
— Grading Stan Bowman’s off season. Likes & Dislikes
— Can Dan Carcillo play?
— John Scott in the lineup Opening night?
— Ray Emery ‘wins’ the backup job
— The shake ups and makeup of the new defense corps
— Chris Campoli’s contract stand & new place in Montreal
— Biggest Hawks’ Storylines, Key Players for 2011-12
— Bolland again
— How much longer will Joel Quenneville remain Hawks’ head coach?
— Stan Bowman’s new 3-year contract extension in 2016
— 1st NHL head coach to be fired
— Western conference & Finals picks
— Predictions on Hart, Norris & Selke winners
— the Dallas Stars Ice Girls~!
— Drink beer – Get loaded – this Friday night at The Bottom Lounge with Sam and the boys over at SecondCityHockey.com at their big Opening Night viewing party.

And much… much… more

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Enjoy.  And thanks to everyone as always for listening.

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ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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7 Responses to TTMI~Radio, e.92, Sam Fels and Chris Block preview the 2011-12 Chicago Blackhawks

  1. Interesting podcast.

    One note on Saad: he’s not eligible to play in Rockford this year due to being drafted while playing in the OHL and not turning 20 prior to the end of this calendar year. Next year he can start in Rockford. McNeil and Danault, on the other hand, will still have to play in juniors.

    I’m very hopeful that Pirri, Saad and a healthy Morin will make up 3/9ths of the top three lines next season, although it’s possible Saad may need a year in the AHL. This would expand the Hawks young core and, combined with expiring contracts and a possible buyout of Olesz, could lead to more than 12M to spend on the 4th line and a quality defensemen. Bringing in the latter might also allow them them to put Olsen in as a regular.

    • Check that. It’s probably more like 9.5M in cap space to spend.

    • 19, but yeah I should know better than to bring up a hypothetical not rooted in fact. I do appreciate the mention here, but you’re also not the first. It was the wrong way to bridge the discussion to our Saad vs Morin discussion.

      I don’t see the Hawks buying out Olesz. I suppose ultimately no one can say for sure until we see the next CBA, but if they’re going to ‘eat’ a contract, they’ll probably just do that, and not have that ramification linger for twice the amount of time.

      • I’m sure the Hawk don’t want to be paying 1.35M for two years of Olesz after he’s gone which would be the case with a buyout. However, I can’t really see them burying him in Rockford for two seasons. That’s no way to ingratiate yourself with players around the league, something the Hawks have been good at in recent years.

        As to the forward group, I’m hoping next year’s opening lineup consists of Kane, Toews, Hossa, Sharp, Bolland, Frolik, Pirri, Morin and Saad. And there’s always the possibility of bringing Brunette back for a year if he plays well this season and the Hawks don’t think Saad or Morin are quite ready. On D, they’ll need to get Olsen in pretty soon because, long-term, there’s little chance that both Hjalmarsson and Montador finish out their contracts in Chicago.

  2. Olsen might be up sooner than you think. Pirri is NHL ready or maybe one year away. Barring anything unforeseen don’t expect him in Rockford next yr

  3. Also montador is brutal. How he makes 3 .25 is unreal.

    • The cap hit $2.75 and he’s getting $4.6 of his $11m this year, but yeah, he’s not off to a great start. He was better Saturday night though. I think over time people will come to like him. I knew this (fan reaction) would happen once they gave him that contract. He’s a solid 5-6 guy on a contender.

      I think Olsen’s on the team permanently next fall. Pirri probably as well. I think either Kruger or Pirri could be on the Hawks sooner than later with a strong October/November in Rockford. Similarly to how the Hawks promoted guys like Bolland, Byfuglien, Leddy and even how they jumped the gun on Barker after a strong month or so. Overall, that’s a strategy better looked at on a case-by-case basis, as we saw in the results on Barker. But there’s a strong need at center for the Hawks that probably will cause them to promote at least one guy before its ultimately the right time. Pirri has been marked for the second-line center position ever since he was drafted (all of two years ago) but he could really use another year of experience, learning and growing physically in Rockford. I liked what he did down the stretch last year and wrote about it at the time, but realistically, he did all of that well after the Hogs fell out of contention and were playing meaningless games. I want to see him in more, and all, pressure situations night-to-night before I’d give him the puck between Hossa and Sharp or Kane. That’s a huge leap and he’s work in progress defensively right now either, which is another issue.

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