It is still too early to tell whether or not Jeremy Colliton is going to be a long term solution for the Blackhawks in Chicago. While I have thought Colliton has done a good job at times, I also think he has made some flaws along the way. One flaw can easily be fixed though.
I think Patrick Kane needs a little more of a break on the ice. This team is not going to be looking good in the long run if we continue to overwork him night in and night out to try and keep us in a game.
I understand where Jeremy Colliton is coming from. Patrick Kane is this team’s best player by far, and playing him extra minutes is going to give the team a big player on the ice who can score a goal to change the tide of a game. If it was not for how much Colliton played Kane who knows, maybe we would not be talking about playoff hockey again for a few years.
Kane is an all-star, but that does not mean the Blackhawks should over-utilize him. During Jeremy Colliton’s two years behind the bench, Kane has averaged two of his highest three ice times in a season, 22:29 in 2018-19 and 21:20 in 2019-20. You usually do not see people complaining that their star players are played too much, and that is not what I am trying to do. I am merely saying we need to spread things out a little more.
Kane is getting older and is not going to be able to play at this pace forever. Younger players like Dylan Strome, Alex DeBrincat, and Dominik Kubalik are all ready to take on the responsibility of those extra minutes, and they might just surprise a few people. Even a player like Brandon Saad was having a hard time finding the ice throughout the beginning of this season.
The Blackhawks would be an all-around better team if they diminish Patrick Kane’s ice time by even just two minutes. This would give Kane some rest and allow him to not hurt his body too much. In tern, this would allow him to play to a higher age. I know that includes a lot of if and then situations, but at the same time, I can guarantee that it is not going to help Kane by playing him more than most defenders in this league.
If Jeremy Colliton wants to get this team on track and get them competing for the Stanley Cup, I think he is going to need to make sure Kane is resting a little more during the first and second period to make sure he is ready for the big push at the end of the third.