Over the last few days I have been having an email Q&A with ESPN hockey writer John Buccigross about the Chicago Blackhawks. I asked questions varying from his thoughts on the Robert Lang trade to Kyle Beach and Akim Aliu. Enjoy.
Wagner: What do you think of the Robert Lang trade to Montreal?
Buccigross: Excellent move. The Blackhawks have a nice corps of young players who are good and need to play. Plus they were up against the Cap. They do need someone to step up and help out at center.
Now the urgency to trade Khabibulin is lessened and perhaps they have more leverage in a deal. If a team loses its goalie early in the season, now the Hawks have the leverage and can get that centerman, one more solid defenseman or maybe both.
Wagner: Do you think this trade hurts or helps the Blackhawks?
Buccigross: It hurts them short-term, because it does hurt their depth up the middle. They can't afford an injury. But, in the long run, it was the right move. Although it is kind of interesting—come trade-deadline time, if the Hawks are among the top eight in the West, Robert Lang will be the kind of veteran player/centerman that the Hawks may be looking for.
Wagner: Who do you think will be the second-line center? Petri Kontiola or Dave Bolland?
Wagner: Do you think Jonathan Toews should be wearing the "C" for the Blackhawks?
Buccigross: Without question. He's a born leader for a franchise that is beginning anew.
Wagner: Do you believe that the Blackhawks will make the playoffs this season?
Buccigross: I picked them last year and they should be better this year. I'm not sure if I am going to pick them yet or not. We'll have to wait and see when my ESPN.Com season previews come out.
Wagner: Do you think that Andrew Ladd will finally live up to his potential this season on the Blackhawks second line?
Buccigross: I'll say 19-22-41 for Andrew Ladd.
Wagner: Do you think Dustin Byfuglien will be an effect power forward in the NHL?
Buccigross: I think Dustin Byfuglien could be as good as Ryan Malone. Compare their stats this year.
Wagner: Can Martin Havlat stay healthy for an entire season?
Buccigross: He certainly has a lot of incentive. He's an unrestricted free agent after this season. Maybe he is made of balsa wood.
Wagner: Is Adam Burish the next Sean Avery-type of player?
Buccigross: He should strive for bigger things.
Wagner: Which prospect do you think has more upside, Kyle Beach or Akim Aliu?
Buccigross: That is like asking me which Olson twin has more upside. Too early to tell.
Wagner: Who do you think will get the most time in net, Huet or Khabibulin?
Buccigross: I would guess Huet to start, but the hotter goalie plays.
Wagner: Will ESPN ever have an NHL show again, like NHL 2 Night?
Buccigross: A man can pray.
Wagner: Just for fun, who would you rather have dinner with, Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews?
Buccigross: Whoever pays.
I would like to thank Mr. Buccigross for taking the time to answer my questions. He was very easy to get a hold of and promptly got back to me with answers to all my questions.