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With the westward expansion of the AHL, will the Hawks seen an affiliation with a team closer to Chicago? It would make sense to me to have the Wolves as the top minor team for the Hawks and Norfolk the AHL affiliate for say, Nashville or Atlanta. It would cut down time of call-ups and spark more interest in both teams if guys from the farm team are playing in the same market as the big club. It seems to work for the Flyers, Rangers and Bruins. --Michael Jacobi, Evanston, Ill.
Michael, It would make perfect sense for the Wolves to be the Hawks affiliate, but it's not going to happen anytime soon. According to a former Hawk executive, they were close to a deal with the Wolves when the IHL folded, but the Wolves wanted the Hawks to get rid of John Anderson and the Hawks wanted the Wolves to pull the trigger. Officially, all sides deny that. I'm not sure how close the Wolves want to be associated with the Hawks. They've always maintained that they don't compete with the Hawks, but I'm not sure I buy that. I think the Wolves do compete with the Hawks, which is bad for them because no matte how bad the Hawks are, they are still in the NHL. Maybe one day it will happen, but that day is a long way off.
Hi, Bob, is the scouting report around the league on Nikolai Khabibulin "shoot high, glove side"? Is this an angle problem or is it the new smaller catching glove? --Mike Thompson, Calumet Park, Ill.
Mike, I wouldn't be surprised. In the preseason and early part of the year, that was the place to go on him. He seemed to correct that but lately it appears the hot spot for shooters. The catching glove is smaller than in the past, but he should have adjusted to that by now.
Every time I read or hear about the Blackhawks' lack of skill and need for speed, I cannot help but think of why we got rid of Steve Sullivan. He's exactly what we need yet let him get away. I know that this was before Dale Tallon's realm but what exactly was the reason behind letting him go? He also would've been a great mentor for our young kids. I really thought he would be a part of the Blackhawks' future plans. He would look good right now skating alongside Bourque. --Marl Albarillo, Chicago
Marl, Steve Sullivan would look very good in a Hawks uniform right now. Remember, when the Hawks traded him, they didn't know how dramatically the game would change and how much of a premium would be on skill--although that should be the premium no matter how the game is played. I'm not sure they felt Sullivan had the amount of "character" they wanted as well.