Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane Is Not A Penalty Killer

By Sean Fitzgerald
Jan 24, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) with the puck during the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 24, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) with the puck during the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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It’s unusual to see Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane on the penalty kill, and there’s a good reason for that

If you were watching the third period of the Chicago Blackhawks’ game Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, you may have noticed an oddity.

No, it was not the fact that Blackhawks blew a lead in third period and lost a game in regulation as a result, which had not happened since the start of the 2014-15 season. It was seeing Patrick Kane in an unfamiliar spot. Kane was inserted on the penalty kill in the third period of the game.

Let me clarify this for some Blackhawks fans: This not a regular occurrence! A fellow Blackhawks fan and I had a debate on Twitter last night on the very issue.

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Kane is on the first unit of the powerplay but is not a regular on the penalty kill. Kane is not known for his defense, and usually your penalty killers are your best defensive forwards. As of late, the Blackhawks’ penalty-killing forwards have been Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Tanner Kero and others.

Coach Joel Quenneville made the move because of the situation in the game. The Blackhawks were down two goals and Ryan Hartman found himself in the penalty box for a two-minute hooking call with about 10 minutes to play in the third period.

Coach Quenneville took a chance

Coach Quenneville said via the Chicago Tribune with regard to the situation that the Blackhawks “almost got it.”

Quenneville was trying to generate some offense on the penalty kill with Kane on it. He was hoping Kane could corral a loose puck and generate a shorthanded goal. Quenneville was right, as Kane had two chances to bring the Blackhawks closer in the game. Both attempts were thwarted by good defensive plays.

Kane commented on his play to the Chicago Tribune: “I wish I would have made a better play on both rushes, to be honest with you. I guess the first thing is just to try and kill the penalty and if you see a break, try and take it.”

This is the first extended look this season for Kane on the penalty kill but it is not the first time in his career. Quenneville usually defaults to Kane when the Blackhawks are in a dire need of offense and has not hesitated to use him in any situation.

Next: Blackhawks To Start Darling Thursday

Blackhawks fans should not be looking for Kane on the penalty kill going forward. It is a once-in-a-blue-moon move. The Blackhawks should be looking forward to the return of Marcus Kruger to the lineup and penalty kill. Kruger is an excellent faceoff specialist and penalty killer and has been throughout his career.

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