The Chicago Blackhawks are off to a 4-1-2 start this season, but they’re a long way off from where they’d like to be. Their offense has struggled at times, some of their big names have yet to show up consistently, and they’ve fizzled out late in multiple contests so far here in the earlygoing.
In order to try and jump start the Blackhawks and their offense, head coach Joel Quenneville will shake up the lines heading into Saturday night’s game. This shouldn’t come as any sort of surprise, as Quenneville is notorious for his willingness to shake up the trios up front, whether between games or between shifts.
One of the changes that Quenneville made heading into the weekend was to split up Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. This tends to be a move that Quenneville utilizes, frighteningly often, in order to jump start the offense between games. It always seems to result in the two being reunited.
Toews will obviously skate on the top line, likely between Brandon Saad and Marian Hossa. Kane, on the other hand, will be relegated to the second line, where he’ll be to the right of Michal Handzus, with Patrick Sharp on the other side. One of these lines is just fine. One will not fare so well.
The concern here is the second line. In splitting up Toews and Kane, you make it much easier for opponents to match up against the latter. Skating next to Handzus created some issues for Kane, as opposing players were able to key in on him throughout last year’s playoffs. Playing next to Toews opens him up to be more creative out on the wing.
This move is just going to result in the same exact thing that has been the result in the past. The two will be reunited before long. Which makes this move even more questionable. Putting Kane next to Handzus isn’t going to help him break out. Just as it hasn’t helped Hossa break out. We’ll see how long this lasts, if it even makes it through the weekend.