Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane Hot, Team’s Defense Not

By Gail Kauchak
Mar 9, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) looks to score against the Anaheim Ducks during the first period at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 9, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) looks to score against the Anaheim Ducks during the first period at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Overall, the Chicago Blackhawks have not had a good week since our last edition of Hot and Not. Let’s take a look at some individual efforts.

The Chicago Blackhawks managed to beat the Dallas Stars last Thursday 3-2 in a shootout.  But then they were embarrassingly shut out 7-0 by the Florida Panthers, and lost in a hard-fought overtime battle 5-4 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night.

Nevertheless, we’re headed towards the end of the regular season.  With their seven-point lead over the Minnesota Wild in the Central Division and the Western Conference, it’s probably hard to get up for these remaining games.  But the show must go on.  And the ’Hawks want to enter the postseason with momentum.  So let’s see who’s doing their part, and who has some work to do.

Who’s Hot: Patrick Kane

As fellow contributor Juliana Nikac pointed out last week, we are hard pressed to find a time when Kaner has not been hot this entire season.

After bringing home the Art Ross Trophy and the Hart Trophy last year, he picked up right where he left off this season.  Kane scored the first goal against Dallas this past week, as well as adding a nifty shootout goal.

Kane also scored a timely goal in Tampa Bay to put the ’Hawks back on top 2-1.  Overall, he is leading the team in goals (34), assists (48) and points (82).  These numbers put him in sixth place in goals, and sixth place in assists in the entire NHL.

He is currently in a three-way tie with Sidney Crosby and Nicklas Backstrom for second place in the NHL in points.  Connor McDavid is in the lead with 89 points.

What’s Not: The Defense

I was thinking about going with Brent Seabrook and Johnny Oduya as separate entries here, but then I got to looking at the rest of the defense, and well, the whole darn blueline needs some work!

Giving up 14 goals in three games is not what you want to see happen.  Sure, you could put this on the goaltending, but I’m not going to do that today.  The Blackhawks defense is not where we would like it to be heading into the postseason.

Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson are holding their own for the most part. But I can tell you from seeing the team in person Monday night that these two look exhausted.  And it’s not even the playoffs yet!  The top offensive defenseman and the top defensive defenseman need some help!

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The second pairing of Brent Seabrook and Johnny Oduya is simply not working out.  Seabs is out of position, he’s falling down and he’s just not in sync with Oduya.

And like Brian Campbell, unfortunately Oduya is not living up to the expectations that were hoped for when he was acquired.

Campbell and TVR are serviceable as a third pairing most of the time.  But when they are exploited, boy they are exploited!

I’m not sure what the answer is here.  Do the ’Hawks go back to Keith/Seabs and Oduya/Hjalmarsson?  Do they put in Michal Kempny and/or Michal Rozsival again?  Whatever it is, Coach Q needs to work some magic.

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