Dear Columnist Who Shall Remain Nameless,

Why is it that you hate Patrick Kane so much?  In your top 10 countdown of the most memorable moments from the Hawks postseason, there is no mention of Kane’s 4 point performance against Vancouver or Kane’s goal against Detroit or even that Kane proved his worth by finishing second on the team in points.  Nope, the only time you brought him up was to compare his +/- to Andrew Ladd. 

Seems rather silly because I can say that Kane finished the postseason with 14 points while Ladd only finished with 4.  I would also say that without Kane’s Game 6 performance, there is a fairly good chance the Hawks go back to Vancouver and drop Game 7.  

Either way, you probably don’t want to believe me because it’s easier for you to hate someone for no real good reason.  Maybe the rumors are true that last year at training camp, Kane floated in an angel outfit with butt-less chaps and landed 3 millimeters from your nose.   That would probably tick me off too.

Sincerley,

John from The Fifth Feather

_____________________________________________

After having a full week to digest the Hawks elimination from Detroit, here are a couple of things that have been rattling around my brain:

Knowing the final outcome from Game 5, I think I would have rather seen Johan Franzen end the game in regulation instead of Cristobal Huet making that ridiculous save.  If only, so I could see what Hawk fans reaction would have been to Duncan Keith committing the cardinal sin of letting someone get behind him with less than minute in the game. 

I do know that if Brian Campbell made that same mistake, there would be an outcry from here to Saskatoon with people calling for his head, his family’s heads, and any one he has ever come in contact with.  

Duncan Keith played a perfectly ‘meh’ playoffs.  Many times, his turnovers and sloppy play were covered up by Brent Seabrook or the goalies.  Not exactly the type of play we should expect from a guy who’s supposed to win a Norris someday and be the anchor of this defensive unit.

–Since no one is sure what kind of experience points the Hawks racked up in this playoff run and people have wondered on here for awhile if it means a hill of beans, here are a few things I came up with that they may have learned:

  • The regular season is not that important.  Towards the end of the year, the Hawks approached games against Columbus and Nashville with the urgency of a Game 7 playoff game.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it will certainly start taxing teams the longer they play.  I think that happened in the Hawks case.  They went through their dry spell in March and started to panic.  Now they know, eventually, they’ll get through it and in the end, they can leave something extra in the tank for when the playoffs start. 

  • Back-checking is pretty important.  The Hawks got a first glace look at what it’s all about when they played a 5 game set with Detroit.  Patrick Kane even admitted as much.  A coach can preach about back-checking and it’s importance until he’s blue in the face but until a team sees it up close and personal, that’s when it really starts to hit home.  Now it’s only up to the Hawks to practice what they learned. 

  • They’ve won on the road.  As a team, they’ve gone on the road and won big games.  Next year, getting home ice advantage will simply be a nice luxury, not a necessity.  Stealing a game on the road won’t seem like such an impossible task. 

Of course, all these things won’t make a lick of a difference if their team is not that good enough, but that’s a debate we can have 9 months from now.

–And finally, Brent Seabrook, Canada’s next great porn star

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7 Responses to Dear Columnist Who Shall Remain Nameless,

  1. ChicagoKill says:

    “Since no one is sure what kind of experience points the Hawks racked up in this playoff run”

    I’d say that defeating both the Flames and Canucks is worth at least 823 Exp. and 1,489 Gil. No Items found though. Definitely a level up for some of the younger players.

    Too nerdy?

  2. CT says:

    “Duncan Keith played a perfectly ‘meh’ playoffs. Many times, his turnovers and sloppy play were covered up by Brent Seabrook or the goalies.”

    I gotta say that after Seabrook’s breakthrough in the 2nd half of the season and his playoff performance, the contract extension that Tallon gave him looks pretty damn good right now.

  3. John says:

    Killion, it’s take a lot to be nerdier than me, but you may have topped it sir.

  4. ChicagoKill says:

    I do what I can..

  5. Leonidas says:

    I don’t think the Campbell lynch mob is out of their heads. Looking at comparable defensemen deals in the NHL leaves me scratching my head (perhaps due to total naivety). Watching the finals game last night you could see the intangibles that Lidstrom or Rafalski bring, even if they don’t sniff the score sheet. In watching him play for roughly 6 games this season, I struggle to recall a Lidstrom blunder, not to mention the fact that is the team captain. Or consider guys like Zdeno Chara.
    Frequently the defenders of Campbell point to his speed in brining the puck out of the defensive zone, or his ability to setup the power play. His colleagues in the +6M a year salary range all do much, much more than that, starting with playing consistent defense. It’s one thing if the guy is offensive minded, it’s another if his defense can be a crushing liability. Ask yourself, how many good Cambpell playoff plays (strech your memory through as many goals and defensive stops as you can) can you remember against the horrendous blunders like the game 2 overtime pass. After one intensive seasons of post 2005 hockey under my belt, I feel less than qualified to make an assessment, but my opinion is that Campbell is worth maybe 4-5M a year. Anything more than 10% of the teams salary cap would seem atrocious for such a specialized player. I’m not saying he’s a lousy player, just that he’s not worth 15% of the cap.
    But maybe I’m not recognizing the things he does to help the team. I admit this honestly rather than sarcastically, as I’d like to believe the deal was a decent one and not a gross mistake. Basically, what does he do to make him as impactful as, say, Brian Rafalsk or a Niedermayer?

  6. John says:

    There is no doubt the Hawks overpaid by a million bucks or so but that’s what happens with free agents. Every team in the league does it. Atlanta was offering him even more money.

    He’s five years younger than Rafalski and quite a few years younger than Niedermayer so he’s got that going for him.

    As for no one else making tragic blunders like Campbell, Lidstrom made quite a big boo-boo last night when he fed Crosby standing on the doorstep in a 2-1 game. Osgood made the save but it was still an awful pass. The Pens ended up scoring a minute later.

    Alas, my point was more along the lines of the lynch mob going after Campbell when he made a mistake, what would happen if Keith made an even worse mistake? Would people go after him the same way they did Campbell or would they look to make excuses for him.

    Brian Campbell was somewhere between the best and second best defensmen for the Hawks during the first two rounds of the playoffs. There is no denying it. He also made a killer mistake in Game 2 and had a bad Game 4, but who had a good game 4 on the Hawks.

    His salary is what it is. It won’t prevent the Hawks from signing their key players. No point in harping on it.

    As long as he’s paired with someone who can play off his strengths (ie not Matt Walker) then he’s more than able offensive defenseman.

    Again, my point wasn’t to turn this into Brian Campbell post, just curiousity if Keith would feel the same wrath.

  7. Lou says:

    John, great synopsis. I am not sure of Coffey playing a whole lot of D without having Lee Fogolin anchored to center ice.

    Campbell is going to always be offensive first and defensive second. What I did like was that he didn’t duck the turnover and hide from the media. And we probably overpaid for Soup but welcome to the free agent game. We kind of overpaid for Havlat and surely didn’t get the same value in the first years as we did last year.

    The difference b/w the Campbell lynch mob and the Keith lovefest, is obviously profile and pricetag. Soup is the highest paid player so he is supposed to be superman and Dunc is one of our kids coming up through the system. So Keith, gets a little bit of the homegrown loyalty.

    I think the Keith playoff thing puts him third on the signing priority when he may have been second ahead of Kane. He had a pretty lousy playoff. What seemed to be different is that teams pressed him a little bit more and forced him to move and anticipate with the puck much quicker than in the regular season. I think this created some jitters and some sloppy play from a guy who was defensively steady all year long. So his lots of oh-shits often got blended in by the major f-u by say a Campbell or Walker etc.

    I think he is still part of the plan but they want to see if he bounces back from the funk he was in. Obviously, he may also have a lowered price tag than earlier in the season.

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