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.