Sean Furlow from Naperville asks: In your opinion, do you think that Martin Havlat will make a difference on his new line? Does the move spread out the still on the lines?
Bowman: We seem to get a lot of questions about lines, and it seems like fans are always worried about who is on what line. I don’t know if the coaches look at it that way so much. I think we had a few games there where we didn’t score a lot of goals. At the end of the trip, we had four goals in three games. You just want to try something different and obviously we got the win.
The thinking is that it is a little harder to check when you’ve got an offensive player on each line. Do you check [Patrick] Sharp and [Patrick] Kane? Obviously they’ve got great chemistry and they score a lot. Then you’ve got [Jonathan] Toews, [Dustin] Byfuglien and [Kris] Versteeg. Those three guys have played well and then you’ve got a game-breaker in Havlat on the other line. You kind of pick your poison there, one of those lines is going to get the other team’s least-defensive unit.
I am sure they will change again at some point. But I think that was the thinking, to try to get some different combinations. I know when talking to Joel [Quenneville] he likes to try keep a couple guys together and then rotate one different guy just so that there is some continuity. By the end of the year, the guys will have played some games with almost everybody.
Alfonso Maiorana from Montreal asks: How dissapointed are the Hawks that [Shawn] Lalonde and [Kyle] Beach have not been invited by Team Canada Juniors? Is this a step back in terms of scouting for the organization or simply a case of a coaching preference?
Bowman: You know, as unfortunate as it is we are not really surprised. Team Canada is very strong first of all, so I don’t want to say they have made any bad choices in their selections. There are a lot of great Canadian players that are eligible for that. I think Beach does have a history going back - fair or unfair - he is probably not the most-favorite player for those groups so we were not really expecting him to make it.
Lalonde, I think - I don’t want to say he has come out of nowhere - but even speaking to people in the Ontario Hockey League he has really opened people’s eyes. He wasn’t really on the radar until this season. There are other players that have been with the program for a while, who they are comfortable with.
It doesn’t reflect on our scouting at all; they are both very good players. We have seen this before with Canadian and U.S. teams. I know Byfuglien never made it. Back when he was a dominant player his last year of junior he didn’t get an invite. But those things do happen. I don’t think it is something people should be too concerned with.
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