Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Veteran Blackhawks get in line with new partners heading into season
Blackhawks' right wing Patrick Kane won the Hart Trophy as league MVP and the left wing Artemi Panarin won the Calder Trophy as the top rookie playing on the same line last season.
Center Jonathan Toews Jersey and right wing Marian Hossa has been a great success along with the top line a number of times of the year.
But when the Hawks open the 2016-17 campaign against the Blues on Wednesday night at the United Center, it is likely that neither of these combinations are playing together.
This is because, coach Joel Quenneville has spent the preseason tinkering with his lines of an endless quest to achieve balance, and the Hawks thin proven to be headed to forward this season Quenneville likely to spread to the top of his arms around as many lines as possible.
"The whole idea behind it is probably a little more balance," Quenneville said. "We think we have all of the scoring lines, we have the speed of all the lines, we have the ability to check all the lines.
"I hope we are a bit more predictable and consistent throughout the lineup. That way they are put together."
And how he put them together? Judging by last week's practice, after all, the Hawks were present, Artemi Panarin Jersey and Toews are together with Richard Panik on the right wing. Kane hold on Artem Anisimov probably one of the rookies on the left side. Last week, Alexandre Fortin and Tyler Motte got a spin there. It is thought that Kane is a dynamic scorer who can carry his line rookie playing alongside him.
Hossa, in turn, would drop the third row of Marcus Kruger and likely to be another opportunity to create a strong defensive line, but which could be challenged to ignite the lamp, taking into account the Hossa is coming off a season in which he scored only 13 goals and Kruger does not collect 41 games.
Quenneville said he spoke to potential changes with time Hossa and Kane to make sure everyone was on board.
"All have been nicely balanced look and thinking of three different looks on all the lines," Quenneville said.
Hossa said it does not matter who he plays for as long as he is to get the ice when he gets in general.
"I'm totally fine with that," Hossa said. "Where I can help the team. I know that it is up to the coaching staff and I finished last season in third line and we played so much ice time. As long as you play and you're in the game you're okay with it."
Similarly, Kane is fine with the changes, because he has seen a rotating cast of linemates most of his career. Last season, when he played mostly Panarin and Anisimov, was an exception.
"It was one year that I really only played a couple players, so I'm used to playing all over the place, playing different guys," Kane said.
These lines have a new look Quenneville plans but of course, if the Hawks fall behind early, comes out of the blender.
"It could change in an instant, lines, and we know that we can put everything back together, how it looked last year," Quenneville said.
But the Hawks want to try a different look first.