8:40 AM CDT, April 25, 2012
I don’t know what the Blackhawks could get in trade for Patrick Kane, but they have to find out.
I’m not saying they must trade their star forward just to trade him. I’m not saying they have to take a bad deal. This is not the Cubs’ eating Carlos Zambrano’s salary just to get rid of that nutbag.
I am saying, however, that option has to be investigated after Kane failed to score a goal in the Hawks’ first-round loss to Phoenix.
Kane was dangerous in the series --- more dangerous than Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp overall. But Kane was the only one of the three not to score --- combined they were outscored by Antoine Vermette --- and Kane absolutely has to score.
Kane’s goal production doesn’t match his hype or salary. Steven Stamkos had 60 this season and 45 and 51 in past seasons. Heck, Hawks castoff Radim Vrbata potted 35. Kane scored 30 goals. Once. And not this season.
But if Kane’s failure to match substance with style is a problem, there might be an even worse situation even if the Hawks tried to do something about it: I’d be afraid of what general manager Stan Bowman might do. Same goes if this has been the father and son outfit we all figured. Either way, the decisions coming out of Bowman’s office feel about one Alexander Karpovtsev shy of being a complete mess.
Bowman thought his team was good enough to win. I suppose that’s what you say when you blow the job of filling an obvious hole. Bowman’s failure to land that second-line center necessitated Kane’s move to the middle. The move gave Kane more room to make plays and less glass to eat as a winger, and it worked for a while.
But then line-matching on the road became an issue when the opponent has the last change. As for faceoffs, the first battle, Kane was a mess in the playoffs, losing 26 of 36. It’s hard to make plays when you don’t have the puck.
Kane has a history of scoring big goals. Important goals. The Stanley Cup winner, to cite one example. A hat trick in the elimination of Vancouver the previous year, to cite another. That kind of player is hard to give up.
But since the Cup winner, Kane has scored one goal in his last 13 playoff games.
Maybe Kane becomes that kind of player again. Maybe he becomes a big-time goal-scorer if the Hawks bring in that No. 2 center.
Or maybe Kane brings that dangerous second-line center in return.
It would be worth boycotting the team if the Hawks hockey operations department wanted to trade Kane but couldn’t because the marketing wonks have made him and Toews the faces of the franchise.
I know the Hawks are big on marketing and branding, but when the hucksters in a hockey organ-I-zation dictate to the hockey people in a hockey organ-I-zation, it’s over. You’re dead. Welcome to Loserville. That’s thumbsucker stuff. That’s the old Cubs blueprint, or even the new Cubs blueprint. Isn’t that right, Kerry Wood?
I’m not saying that would be the case, just that it had better not be. Look, here’s the deal: Hawks fans deserve more, certainly more than an increase in season-ticket prices. I presume “One Goal’’ remains the point. I also presume Kane shouldn’t be outscored by an ad campaign.
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