Patrick Kane’s minus-9 is ‘a number that obviously doesn’t look good’


The value of plus/minus as a hockey statistic may be highly dubious, but when the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner, playing for the defending Stanley Cup champions, has a minus-9 rating in just 13 games, people are going to notice.

We are, of course, referring to Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane, who was asked about his rating yesterday after practice.

“Sometimes you catch some tough breaks,” Kane said, per the Chicago Tribune. “Other times, there are plays that I can probably make to try and help keep the puck out of our net. It’s a number that obviously doesn’t look good. It’s not something that’s going to change overnight. It will be a long road back to try and get into the plus column, but I’m confident I can do it.”

Only four other players in the NHL have a lower plus/minus than Kane — Justin Schultz (-10) and Nail Yakupov (-10) of the Oilers, Marc Staal (-11) of the Rangers, and Mike Weber (-12) of the Sabres.

Of course, those four play for losing teams with negative goal differentials overall. Kane does not. In fact, the next lowest rating on the ‘Hawks is minus-2, belonging to both Michal Rozsival and Duncan Keith.

“I put myself in that situation so I’ll try and get out of it,” Kane said.

The ‘Hawks are in Winnipeg to play the Jets tomorrow.

Oh, and for any of you “advanced stats” aficionados, yes, Kane’s PDO (a.k.a luck) is very low, at 91.9.

Sabres waive d-man Donovan

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Buffalo has put blueliner Matt Donovan on waivers, per Sportsnet.

Donovan, 25, signed a one-year deal with the Sabres on the opening day of free agency after spending his entire professional career with the Isles organization.

The fact he’s being waived isn’t a huge shock. Donovan failed to draw into a single Sabres game this year despite a whittled-down blueline; Jake McCabe, recently called up from AHL Rochester, drew into the lineup for Monday’s win over Columbus at the expense of Carlo Colaiacovo, who played the first two games of the year.

The fact both McCabe and Colaiacovo were ahead on the depth chart didn’t bode well for Donovan. Today’s move could also suggest that Zach Bogosian, who hasn’t played this year due to injury, is ready to return.

Stars to scratch Nichushkin after rough outing versus Avs?

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Looks as though slumping Dallas winger Valeri Nichushkin could be a healthy scratch tonight when the Stars host the Oilers at American Airlines.

Per the Morning-News, Nichushkin — who barely played in the second and third periods of Saturday’s 6-3 loss to Colorado — is likely to be replaced by Colton Sceviour in the lineup.

Stars head coach Lindy Ruff was fuming after the Avs defeat, calling it “embarrassing, worse than disappointing.” It didn’t take a genius to realize one of the players in his doghouse was Nichushkin, who had just 2:02 of ice time in the second period and 3:24 in the third.

Yesterday, Ruff dropped Nichushkin to the fourth line in practice.

“I’ve been trying to help him by shifting him around,” the head coach explained. “He had some struggles early in camp on right wing, so I put him on left, and he doesn’t seem real comfortable at left right now.

“His game, everything has got to get a little bit quicker.”

The 10th overall pick in 2013, Nichushkin has struggled to build on the form shown in his rookie campaign, when he scored 14 goals and 34 points in 79 contests.

He missed nearly all of last season with a linger hip ailment and has been a virtual non-factor through the first two games this year.