Defensive Effort Let Crawford Down
Chicago’s defensive effort let them down. The team needed to be much more together in their end than they were.
There are lots of things you could say about Chicago’s defensive play, and even about particular players.
Specifically though in Game 5, the duo of Duncan Keith and Adam Boqvist stood out. Keith was a -2 for the night and Boqvist was a -1. They were the only defensive tandem to have +/- that was below zero.
And to be perfectly honest, Keith was the worst.
People have rightfully pointed at Brent Seabrook’s decline as a reason why Chicago has been held back defensively, but it’s time to start spreading the blame.
Chicago has a lot of young defensemen and in the next couple of years, the blue line will be filled with inexperienced, but talented players. That’s what’s to come.
It’s just getting there that may be a bit of a challenge. This period of transition could be hard to watch.
Keith wants to win, and his dedication is second to none. He’s not getting younger though, and the occasional bad night has become a little too common.
By contrast, Adam Boqvist is a rookie who, when he was drafted that he take 2-3 years before he ready for the NHL.
This season would have been the earliest he’d suit up for NHL games, and so things have been a little accelerated. Considering that he’s only 20, his mistakes are much easier to explain. Not easier to watch, per so, but easier rationalize.
Keith has done everything there is to do. If he’s having as much trouble as it seems like he’s having, it’s likely just a natural decline due to age. There’s no cure for that though.
It would be cynical to predict mediocre hockey in the next few years, but the weight of the contracts Chicago is dealing with will make it hard to make significant changes on the back-end.
If Keith has truly reached the point of no return with his age, then the short-term future of Chicago’s defensemen will suffer.
Here’s hoping that the off-season helps players reflect, and learn from their mistakes.