Apr 16, 2011

Toews, Sharp, Kane M.I.A.

Mar. 2011: L to R - Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, and Patrick Kane celebrating
            a  goal together on the first line. (Photo courtesy: www.blackhawks.com
The thing that I am wondering most about right now is the Sharp-Toews-Kane trio.  Where were they these past two games?  I personally disagree with Coach Quenville’s decision to bump Kane down to the second line and Hossa to the first line with Toews and Sharp.  I mean, it does make sense to have two strong lines on your team in order to shut down the Canucks’ first line with the Sedins and the second line with Kesler, but this decision has not worked well for the Hawks so far. 

I remember when Toes, Kane, and Sharp were on the first line together and they  dominated every play, every game, and mostly every team in the regular season.  What happened to them? What happened to Toews’ constant presence and play-making skills on the left side of the opponent’s net?  Where’s Kane’s ability to suddenly show up in front of the net, receive the pass from Toews and score?  And where are the plays and goals that Sharp makes from the point?  Where is this first line that every team used to fear?

There are other players on the team such as Hossa and Brouwer, who are just as skilled, but the Hawks’ first line is what brought them to win eight games in a row before the playoffs.  If it weren’t for Toews, Kane, Sharp, and the two other defensemen (Keith, Seabrook) in the regular season, the team wouldn’t have done as well as it did.  This Hawks team is nothing like they were last year when they won the cup.  But from what I’ve seen, if their first line starts to play like they did during the regular season, it’ll get the whole team going.  Maybe they wouldn’t be outplayed as much as they were in game one and two either.

Separating Toews and Kane is like separating the lemon from the lemonade - they can’t work without the other.  

*More Blackhawks and playoff coverage here.


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