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.