Welcome to another installment of Life Without Kaner, the continuing story of a captain who’s down on his luck.
In today’s episode, we find Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quennville more than upset over the team’s loss to the Vancouver Canucks. So in practice, he decides to change the lines a bit:
First line: Patrick Sharp–Jonathan Toews–Michael Frolik
Second line: Daniel Carcillo–Patrick Kane–Marian Hossa
Third line: Andrew Brunette–Dave Bolland–Rostislav Olesz
Fourth line: Viktor Stalberg–Marcus Kruger–Jamal Mayers
First pairing: Duncan Keith–Brent Seabrook
Second pairing: Nick Leddy–Niklas Hjalmarsson
Third pairing: Sami Lepisto–Sean O’Donnell
This has Toews perplexed. “But Coach, why can’t I have Kaner back on my line?” he whines.
“Kaner’s good with Hoss, you’ll be all right with Sharpie and Frolly,” Q replies.
Then the power play units are set:
First: Brent Seabrook, Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews, Andrew Brunette, Viktor Stalberg
Second: Duncan Keith or Nick Leddy, Dave Bolland, Patrick Kane, Daniel Carcillo, Marian Hossa
“BUT COACH!!! Kaner’s not with me!!” whines Toews.
“You’ll be fine, you’re both strong centers, you can each lead a unit and help improve our power play,” says Q.
Toews sits in the corner. “I miss Kaner,” he pouts.
Seriously, I can’t be the only one who’s noticed that while Patrick Kane is flourishing as a center on the second line, especially with Hossa on his wing, Toews is faltering. He may have more goals, but his play on the first line is inconsistent, hence the numerous winger changes to it.
It seems to me that Toews had become too dependent on Kaner to be there on the wing. When Kaner was moved, Toews struggled. With Hossa, Kaner has someone who’s proven to score points and get those tricky goals. Toews can’t seem to click with the wingers he’s given.
He better get his act together soon, because Kaner will have his own line for foreseeable future.
Tune in Tuesday night, when we see how the new lines welcome Ken Hitchcock to St. Louis!