Bob, rumors persisted a few years back about Darryl Sutter becoming the Hawks' GM. Now that he is free of a job, is this a possibility? I know Smith just re-upped for three more years, but I don't think he is the answer. Also, Mikhail Yakubov has been getting some poor reviews at Norfolk, what gives there? -- Scott Santille, Mt. Prospect, Ill.
First regarding Sutter. It's an interesting proposition and one that may eventually happen. Mike Smith isn't a lifer and when his contract is up, he may decide he's had enough. Or, if the Hawks fail to make the playoffs this season and these highly-touted prospects don't pan out, the Hawks may make a change before then. Sutters seem to find a home in Chicago and after being a coach for so many years, Darryl may be looking for a different challenge.
As for Yakubov, I've heard the same reports, basically that he isn't working hard enough night in and night out. Could be one of two reasons -- either he's somewhat depressed because he believes he should be playing in the NHL -- or he just has a bad work ethic. Obviously, the Hawks hope it's the former. I still think he'll be given every opportunity -- maybe sometime this season -- to prove himself at the NHL level.
Hi Bob. In watching most of the Hawks recent games, I've noticed a tendency to shy away from pairing their top players late in the game when the game is still on the line. I've noticed teams such as the Avs will pair Sakic and Forsberg in similar situations. Why do you suppose the Hawks shy away from this strategy? -- Anthony, Park Ridge, Ill.
You're correct. On the power play, Brian Sutter will mix and match his offensive players, but a line of Zhamnov, Sullivan and Daze already includes three of their best offensive players. The problem that arises, if you were to replace Sullivan with maybe Tyler Arnason, is that if Zhamnov gets tossed out of a faceoff, Arnason has been terrible taking faceoffs. Trying to have two people on the ice to win a faceoff at the end of a game is another factor coaches look to. With Fleury back in the lineup, Sutter may shuffle a little more, since Fleury is good on draws.
Why am I not hearing that the Blackhawks are attempting to get Kyle McClaren from Boston? I know we can use him and I think we have players to trade. What do you think? -- Mark Brines, Lincolnwood, Ill.
You're not hearing that the Hawks are attempting to get Kyle McLaren because they're not. McLaren is a restricted free agent who made $1.755 million last season and is looking for a considerable raise. The Hawks already have a large sum of money tied up in their defense -- although a little less with Mironov sitting at home -- and they feel they have some promising prospects in Steve McCarthy, Kent Huskins and Anton Babchuk.
Bob, I was at the Hawks game against the Kings and was very disappointed in the team's performance. Where is the offense and why does this team look so offensively challenged night in and night out? Thanks! -- Mike Jackson, San Diego
Theo Fleury said it best Friday morning -- 100 percent of the shots not taken don't go in. Aside from Tyler Arnason, this team is very reluctant to shoot the puck and is always looking to make the extra pass. In soccer, the term is "walking the ball into the net." It's also appropriate for this team. Sutter has often said that shooting is contagious. If that's the case, then not shooting is as well and that's the main illness the Hawks have.
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