Skip to content
The better Thibault plays this year, the more I wonder why Passmore played in the playoffs last year. Sure Thibault wasn't at his best, but most goalies seem to go through a period of playoff setbacks before they learn what it really takes to be a Stanley Cup contending goalie. If Thibault is the man for the future, why didn't they let him get that all-important playoff experience? It doesn't seem to add up based on what I know about Sutter. What am I missing, Bob? They're a good team, but as far as I'm concerned they are at the same place they were last year because they still don't have a playoff tested goalie. --Jon Dimos, St. Paul, Minn.
Jon, that's a good question and you're exactly right. There will be questions surrounding Thibault until he has success in the playoffs -- that's just the way it is. Sutter felt that Passmore gave him the best chance to win last year. I agree with you, though, I think Thibault deserved to be on the ice during the playoffs. Remember, this team was shut out in three of the five games, that's tough for any goalie.
I'm sure you saw games at Chicago Stadium. How does it compare to the United Center? Which do you like better? --Ed Stone, Champaign, Ill.
Ed, there is nothing that can compare to the old Stadium. However, in this day and age, you have to have modern, comfortable facilities with all the bells and whistles. The only thing that I have against the United Center is that it's too big. If capacity was 18,000, it would be a much better place.
I know what kind of mess Chicago's back-up goalie situation is, and it's not pretty. The Capitals just cut a decent back-up and great locker room character guy in Craig Billington. Is there any good reason for the Hawks not to pick him up? I've heard nothing but good things about his presence in the locker room, etc. from Washington players and news outlets. -- Aaron Risdal, Alexandria, Virg.
I asked Mike Smith if he was interested in Craig Billington and he said no. I'm not sure what they plan on doing about a backup goalie -- Thibault can't play every game and there are very few games to waste on a rookie goaltender, be it Craig Andersson or Michael Leighton. Aaron, Billington seems like he would be the perfect guy -- money may have something to do with it -- the Hawks are near their limit budget-wise.
Is there any hope of the Blackhawks ridding themselves of Alex Zhamnov? I don't understand what the attraction is. --Chip Ramsey, Naperville, Ill.
Chip, not any time soon. The Hawks think as highly of Zhamnov as they have of anyone in their organization in quite a while. My opinion of Zhamnov is this: He's a very good player. He's not a great player by any means in the sense that he doesn't dominate games like a Sergei Fedorov can do. He is too unselfish a player. He hasn't scored more than 70 points in a season since his second year in the league, that's not enough for someone that is considered the No. 1 center who is expected to be one of the best offensive players on the team. He would be an excellent No. 2 center and is a very good defensive player. But don't expect him going anywhere anytime soon.