Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks’ Kane, Toews Show Both Sides Of Linemate Debate

By Colin Likas
Mar 2, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) receives congratulations from right wing Patrick Kane (88) and center Jonathan Toews (19) after scoring in the second period against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 2, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) receives congratulations from right wing Patrick Kane (88) and center Jonathan Toews (19) after scoring in the second period against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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How important is it to have consistent linemates in the NHL? The Chicago Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane can probably tell you

Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is known for his line blender, among other things. Essentially, the mustache man will jumble his forwards together in all sorts of formations until he starts getting consistent two-way output. Sometimes, defensemen even slot in at forward.

There are upsides and downsides to this, of course. The upsides would be all the forwards get a chance at on-ice action with each other forward, and eventually Q will come up with lines that can push the Blackhawks to consistent success.

On the flipside, no one is able to get comfortable with any teammates, and guys’ rhythm at both ends of the ice can be drastically thrown off.

So what has this meant for guys like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks’ two biggest stars and highest-paid players. Well, it’s meant quite a lot in recent seasons.

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