The questions and concerns keep pouring into my inbox.
If you have one, send it to me via email or Twitter. I'll do my best to answer. And have a little fun.
So I have a few questions. Why is Brent Seabrook still on the ice? I understand he's a great guy, and an important clubhouse presence, but his skills have deteriorated badly. Why are John Hayden in Rockford and Ryan Hartman still in Chicago? The Hawks' fourth line, Bouma, Wingels and Hayden, was the best fourth line of the last decade. Why was it broken up? Why the hell isn't Bouma on the ice every game? Why the hell is Brandon Saad on the ice? Where has his once promising game gone? — Roger
I have a few answers.
Seabrook's average time on ice is a career-low 19:55 this season, so the Hawks understand he isn't the player he was when he was instrumental in leading the team to three Stanley Cups. But frankly, the Hawks don't have a ton of other options, especially with the combination of money and years left on his deal and the makeup of the roster.
As for Hayden/Hartman, Hartman is a better player right now. Not to say Hayden won't develop. Remember, he came straight to the NHL from college, so some Rockford time could do him some good.
And the fourth line? Oh, boy. Nothing against Lance Bouma, Tommy Wingels or Hayden. But to say they were the best fourth line for the Hawks in a decade is a stretch. Some of the lines from past years, including any that included Marcus Kruger, would like a word.
And, finally, Saad? He's young. He makes a lot of money. He has three years left on his contract. He's getting the shots. They just aren't going in. And he is a more-than-capable defensive forward, though I agree, that's not what his $6 million cap hit is all about.
Since teams aren't required to describe injuries, why don't they just say nothing instead of "upper-body" and "lower-body" or just say a player is injured and nothing else? — Jim
I addressed this in the last mailbag. For some silly reason, teams are required to describe the injury in only the most generic of terms, but they aren't prohibited from disclosing injuries more specifically. The league changed to this policy in 2008. Some teams do. Players I've talked with think the "unwritten rule" is silly. I do too. But I don't see it changing, for the most part, anytime soon with the Hawks.
Lifelong Hawks fan marooned in the snippy state of Massachusetts. Bowman's contracts have suffocated the team, strangled its ability to maneuver and improve. Yet, the top dogs are playing like mutts, in a way. What about Q's inability to stimulate progress? Where does that begin and the Bowman flaws end? Would they even consider trading Keith or Toews? The championship run was blessed. But those steering the ship have run it aground. — Parke
I'd guess most people would trade three Stanley Cups for that problem. And really, the Hawks have been pretty good at being consistently good while playing musical chairs with the salary cap. Yes, most of the "top dogs" aren't performing up to expectation — or their contracts — this season. Can't argue that.
For so many years the Hawks were ahead of the curve, thanks in part to moves made by Stan Bowman. But the league has seemed to catch up to them in a hurry.
Both Keith and Toews would have to approve any trades, a right they've earned. Would the team consider it? I suppose any smart GM would consider anything. But my guess is that doesn't happen.
Oh, where have you gone, Dale Tallon? Hawks have had a decade to draft a top-four defensive man. You'd think some fourth-rounder would pan out. Lack of scouting and especially poor talent evaluation by Bowman on defense. — Jeff
Tallon, of course, has gone to Sunrise, Fla., where he is the GM for the Panthers.
The Hawks have drafted 26 defensemen since 2010, only four of whom have played in the NHL, and only two with the Hawks. Not a great track record. No arguing that Keith, while still productive, has lost a step. His decline in ice time shows the Hawks know that.
You stated the Hawk players with the big veteran salaries have no-trade clauses. Can Hawk brass ask them to waive their no-trade clauses? If that is possible, does a market exist for those players? Do you think any of these Hawk players would waive their no trade rights? — Joel
Do you you have a legendary mustache, too?
Anyway, yes, the Hawks can ask. But even if a player agrees to waive that clause, he likely will have a list of teams to which he's willing to go, thereby severely limiting options when it comes to a trade.
There is a market for players with big contracts, specifically for teams trying to reach the salary floor. While I can't say for sure whether any Hawks would waive their clause, my guess is probably not. Unless they can go where they want, kind of the point of a player having such a clause.
When a player on the opposing team scores Coach Q pulls a notepad out of his pocket and writes something. What do you think he writes? Notes on what allowed the goal to be scored? — Dave
He's writing haikus consisting of nothing but expletives. Or maybe he's like WWE superstar Chris Jericho, who adds people who make him mad to his "list."
But really, I don't know. I'll have to ask him.