No Winners in the Blame Game

In what is becoming a weekly ritual here at the Feather, I will again attempt to explain why it’s a little bit silly to criticize Patrick Kane for arbitrary reasons.  While I figured Brian Campbell would catch the brunt of the blame for his untimely mishap from the Hawks faithful (and he did from the “Columnist who shall remain nameless“, SHOCKING!!!), there’s been a rumbling that Kane showed a lack of hustle that had something to do with the game-winning goal.

First of all, Kane is probably one of the slowest guys on the team.  It didn’t make matters any easier when he stumbled over a bumbling Campbell at the blue line.  So that put him about three or four strides behind right off the bat.

Then, he noticed that Troy Brouwer was going to have a better chance at catching Samuelsson so he let up.  Imagine for a second that they both committed to Samuelsson, and say that one of them caught him but the puck squirted past them.

Now the puck would have found a wide open Detroit defenseman who would have plenty of space and time to either shoot it or find an open player, and the result would have been the same.  Then, Kane would actually be to blame.

He let up so he could cover the high slot, not because he was lazy or not hustling.  Any puck that would’ve gotten past Samuelsson would’ve been gobbled up by Kane instead of a streaking Wing defenseman.

This is not an excuse; this is what he’s been taught.  

Since Kane’s +/- is all the rage in this series, any one care to guess how many Hawks have a + rating thus far in the playoffs?

A whopping 4.  Brian Campbell, Duncan Keith, Andrew Ladd, and Adam Burish. 

Yet, the Hawks somehow find themselves in the Western Conference finals.  Amazing, I know.  What a telling stat +/- is.

Patrick Kane won’t win a Selke in the next year, but as all of our new Wings fans can attest, it took 12 years for Steve Yzerman to even discover the defensive zone and he turned out alright in the end.  For a lot of professional players, the last thing they ever learn is defensive responsibility.  Players like Kane and Yzerman are never required to learn at the lower levels because they’re too busy lighting up the scoreboard.

That’s what makes Jonathan Toews such a freak of nature.  At the ripe age of 21, he’s already an offensive force and a bulldog in his own end.  So no, Kane is not Toews in the defensive zone, but this is hardly the finished product.  He’ll learn and then people will find something else they can complain about.

–A belated kudos to Brian Campbell for standing up and facing the music last night after the loss.  Many Hawk players of the past would have dressed and fled the locker room like it was on fire, hell some of them were even captain of the team (*cough* Adrian Aucoin *cough*). 

His leadership has gone mostly unnoticed this year and when Duncan Keith sat on the final game of the regular season against the Wings, it was Campbell who wore the ‘A’.  With all that being said, he may have spoke a bit out of turn:

“On the goal, I’ll do that play a hundred more times,” Campbell said. “He made a good play. If I have a chance again, I’ll do the same thing. That’s a play I can make, and I normally do make it.”

I have to believe he was still in the heat of the moment when he said that and after realizing how it all broke down, he’ll recognize the error of his ways.  Either way, no one feels worse than him about costing his team an overtime goal, regardless of what his salary is.

–Kyle Beach is now an official member of the Blackhawks after signing a standard 3-year rookie contract today.  As someone much wiser than me once said, “Hold on to your butts.”

–If Karma is making us pay because of our not so nice words about Chris Osgood (Please make it stop, I take it all back, I’ll even vote for him to get into the Hall of Fame once I get my credentials.  I promise.), then things may take a turn thanks to Drew Sharp.  He doesn’t write the headlines but if anything will anger Ms. Karma more, it should be a headline of “Chicago Blows It; Stanley Cup Finals Inevitable”.  Or at least that’s all we can hope for.  (H/T to chicagokill)

–Speaking of, chicagokill has a post up about breaking up Kane and Toews and whether it will pay dividends as the series continues.  The only way we’ll find out is if the Hawks can win a couple games, which would be lovely.

–I thought this piece was particulaly relevant considering yesterday’s conversation in the comments swung towards the Hawks cap issues.  Looks like it’s not as desolate as some want us to believe. 

Should be plenty more coming tomorrow, so stay tuned.

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9 Responses to No Winners in the Blame Game

  1. Leonidas says:

    I’m not going to add width to the blame net, chiefly because I believe it’s next to impossible to figure out what was going on in such a broken play. However, watching the replay made me wince at how close it seemed Troy Brouwer was to poking the puck away from Samuelsson. Perhaps a Patrick Sharp style dive would’ve caused some chaos, even if it meant taking a penalty. But, in the end, what can they do but win tomorrow?

    Regarding the cap, ironically NHL Numbers was the source of my anxiety. If Gretz’s estimate for Kane and Toews’ expected price tags are legitmate, then that would leave around 4-7 million to sign Versteeg to a one year, Keith to a long term, Bolland to a medium term, Barker to something, and then Havlat?? Unless they wait to extend Kane and Toews until next year and sign some guys to bigger one year deals, I’d have to guess at least 2 out of those 5 are gone. Which wouldn’t be a big deal if Tallon makes good choices on replacements….but wait, that’s less likely than me finding a metric ton of uranium in my apartment.

    I suppose up until Tuesday at 9:35 I was living in this movie world where Kane Toews and Havlat agree to take slimmer long term deals in order to keep the core together. It was a good film.

    BTW, is Sopel going to be worth the 2.5M next year with cheaper Ham Sandwiches?

  2. John says:

    You have to figure around the 6 mill needed for Kane and Toews are what Khabi and Havlat get now. So they’re still in about the same position. The question you have to ask yourself, is Martin Havlat more valuable than Byfuglien, Sharp, and Barker? My answer, no.

  3. Lou says:

    John, you said it. Havlat is not worth more than those three.

    Havlat had a magical year and was healthy but you have to wonder if it is for real. I am not sold he isn’t a contract year wonder european. I was heavily on the run Buff band wagon and now that he is figuring it out, I like the guy. I would rather have more talent than Havlat at their expense.

    Sopel needs to just go someone has to need a d man. The big question is what can we do at goalie? Huet is awful pricey to sit and is he good enough to play every game? His five hole is awfully wide. Niemi is a career minor leaguer. So Huet and Crawford? Maybe it is time to draft the goalie of the future in the first round.

    Tallon needs to get some credit in the talent process. And now there are much better folks in the front office and we have Scotty Bowman too.

  4. Lou says:

    What is the knock on Skille? No D is what I have read.

  5. John says:

    Goalies are wacky, you never what you’ll get from year to year unless you have Brodeur. In the offseason, I’ll break it down more but as of right now, the difference between Khabi and Huet isn’t that large.

    Niemi played in the Finnish Pro League so he’s not a career minor leaguer. Tim Thomas didn’t get his first chance until he was 30.

    I wouldn’t waste a first round pick on a goalie unless it’s somebody you’re 100% sure will be your goalie for the next decade.

    Skille’s biggest knock is his poor play in the defensive zone along the wall. Not a good thing for a winger.

  6. Lee says:

    All the talk about Campbell and Kane being to blame is redundant. How come in no ones blog or any newspaper do I read that Tomas Holmstron is allowed to stand un noticed and not touched in front of khabby and is constantly blocking the goalies view. Why is he allowed to do this and are all of the Black Hawks defense men afraid of him?

  7. John says:

    Technically Lee, he is allowed to stand there. After the strike, the rule changes prohibited any continued abuse in front of the net. The only thing the Hawks are allowed to do is lift his stick or move him when the puck comes toward him. Any prolonged attempts to move him without the puck being close and it’s an easy penalty for the refs to call. So no, they’re not afraid of him. They’ve been playing like that all year.

  8. Lee says:

    John:

    It looks to me that the Wings don’t play the same game because I see them constantly “try” to move Big buff out of the crease with any type of force they can come up with. For sure neither the Wings, Canucks, or Flames left him alone, they just wern’t able to move him. Holmstron is not as big as buff and he should be moved. This is the playoffs and not all penalty’s are called. I’ll be there tonight and hope the Hawks are much more physical because, in my opinion, that’s the only way they win

  9. John says:

    I think your hopes will fall upon deaf ears. The Hawks have played a style all year where they’re more than willing to give up the front of the net in order to make themselves more mobile down low. They’re not going to change now. Getting into a tug of war with holmstrom in front only takes one defenseman out of the play.

    The Hawks were by far the more physical team in first two games. It didn’t help too much. I would just prefer if they put more pucks into the net.

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