I read a lot about a "trapping defense." What exactly is it? --Jeff Butler, Skokie, Ill.
Jeff, a "trap" is when all five skaters collapse into the neutral zone. Normally a team will have one or maybe two forwards pressure the opposition in their own end of the rink to try and force a turnover. When a team traps, it drops its forwards into the middle of the ice and tries to force the opposition to go to one side of the ice or the other--setting a trap, if you will. Once the team has committed to one side, then the trapping team collapses on the puck carrier, forcing a neutral zone turnover. Teams usually try to beat a trap by cross-ice passes or quick passes and speed going through the neutral zone.
What are the odds of the Hawks making any more deals? I have seen the Hawks on satellite several times. I note that the Hawks defense is not very tough or offensive and several of the forwards, especially Korolev, are playing poorly. --Garth Allen, Calgary, Alberta
Garth, I think the addition of Chris Simon and Andrei Nikolishin add to the team's toughness. The defense is another issue. The Hawks don't think their defense is a problem and once they are fully adjusted to the way the game is being called, then they'll be fine. That's debatable. It's a faster game now and, aside from Housley and Nathan Dempsey, the Hawks don't have a lot of speed on their blue line. Korolev has been playing better lately. Remember, when you talk about trading a player -- such as Korolev -- you need another team that wants him. See you in Calgary in a couple weeks.
Will the Hawks ever show home games on TV? I'm a hockey junkie. I have NHL Center Ice and watch probably a game a day. But I haven't seen one Hawks game yet this year. The Hawks are out of sight and out of mind. When will the Wirtzs get out of the Stone Age? --Ian Talisker, Chicago
Ian, the Hawks still televise all their road games, so you should have at least seen four games by now. Five home games will be televised -- three will be on ESPN and two on Fox Sports Net. The Hawks hope that in the future, they can increase that number.
What is your take on the Michael Nylander deal? Is this good for the Hawks in the long run? --Greg Gerber, Chicago
Greg, I think it was a very good deal, even it was Nylander for Nikolishin straight up. Nikolishin adds a dimension that the Hawks haven't had in a while -- a hard-nosed center that can win faceoffs, play defense and add some offense. In many ways he's like Bobby Holik--only much cheaper. If Simon can add anything offensively, then it's a very, very good trade.
Hey Bob, dont know when you will read this. So answer it in the present. What is your take on the Hawks season so far? --Tom Kelley, Chicago
Tom, this assessment comes after Tuesday's 2-0 victory in Detroit. I think considering not having Eric Daze or Theo Fleury, the Hawks are in a pretty good spot. Daze will add more depth and scoring, as will Fleury, assuming he comes back, contributes and stays out of trouble. If there is a question mark, it may be on defense. Whether the blue-line crew is mobile enough remains to be seen. It may be hard for Brian Sutter to keep Nathan Dempsey and Steve Poapst out of the lineup because they both skate well, which is a must the way the games are being officiated. How Sutter manages the return of Daze first and then Fleury will be interesting.