Call this one a bit of a reach for now, but is it possible that Patrick Kane is suffering from a post-Stanley Cup hangover on the ice? Al Cimaglia of Hockey Independent took notice of a few things during the Blackhawks 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings last night that point towards the possibility of Patrick Kane being in head coach Joel Quenneville’s chateau bow-wow.
Kane was fumbling the puck in the Hawks zone near the side boards. He wasn’t able to clear the puck and the Hawks got hemmed in their zone. All that was needed was a determined effort and a simple play and there would have been no pressure by the Kings.
As Kane came off the ice Quenneville directed a vocal burst in his direction.
Q. put Kane right back on the ice with his usual mates and didn’t bench the young Hawks’ star. Quenneville seldom chews out one player in particular from behind the bench. But he gets his point across and isn’t afraid to make his feeling known to star players.
My view is Kane needs to play differently soon, or he will not play as much. Quenneville nudged Kane by placing him on the checking line…Now Q. will push harder. Plus/minus can be a somewhat misleading stat, but there are reasons why Kane is a -6 on the season.
More than likely this is just a coach doing his job coaching his team, but it’s a curious kind of motivation for Kane to have him play with the checking line. It’s not as if Kane is playing poorly this season. He’s got two goals and six assists this year, good for third on Chicago in scoring. One area that he could use work is defensively as that -6 isn’t going to win him favors. Helping him out there is defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson also being a -6 so he’s not alone.
That said, Kane’s job is to score and he’s doing that just fine, a coach trying to get a little bit more out of a player is nothing new and is expected.