Chicago Blackhawks stars Toews, Kane look to ramp up offense soon
Offensively, it's been an awfully quiet start to the season for Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
Not completely silent, mind you.
But the Chicago Blackhawks' stars certainly haven't exploded out of the gates like they did in 2018-19.
"I feel like I can give more obviously to the team," Kane said after practice Wednesday as the Hawks prepared to host Columbus on Friday.
After four games last year, Toews already had racked up 5 goals and dished out 3 assists, while Kane had 4 goals, 3 assists and a whopping 24 shots on goal.
During their team's 1-2-1 start this season, Toews was 30 seconds away from beginning a campaign on a four-game point drought for the first time, while Kane has a paltry 8 shots on goal.
The forwards aren't overly frustrated -- publicly anyway -- but both expect more production soon.
"Little bit. Little bit," Toews said when asked if he was happier with his play in a 3-1 victory over the Oilers on Monday than the first three games. "Definitely made some more plays. Was better defensively.
"Just got to find a way to play with some more energy, more speed. Hasn't been there yet."
Toews finally got on the scoresheet when he assisted on Brandon Saad's empty-net goal against Edmonton at 19:30 of the third period. He is centering a line with Alex DeBrincat and Drake Caggiula after playing Games 1 and 2 with Kane, Alexander Nylander and Dominik Kubalik.
Kane, meanwhile, is currently with Andrew Shaw and Dylan Strome.
"(We could have) the puck more," said Kane, whose 8 SOG are a career low through four games. "That kind of goes with our whole team game -- having the puck more, making some plays, and also getting the puck in sequences. Not just being one-and-done in the offensive zone, but getting a chance (and) getting it back."
While the current lines aren't creating a bevy of offensive chances, they are doing an admirable job of preventing them.
And that's a winning recipe in coach Jeremy Colliton's mind.
"(Toews and Kane) want to produce and they feel that's how they're going to help the team win, and that's true," Colliton said. "But it's what you get minus what you give up.
"And so we can juggle things around -- and maybe you build a line that's going to produce a ton -- but if they give up more, then I'm not sure that helps us."
One way to get Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane going would be to get the power play untracked.
The Hawks are 2-for-9 thus far, which is an acceptable 22.2 percent success rate, but they managed just 3 shots on goal in almost 10 minutes of PP time in the first three games.
They then went 0-for-3 against the Oilers but did manage to put 7 shots on goal.
"It's probably looked better than the results," Jeremy Colliton said. "We moved it around well. We're missing a little bit of execution at times.
"We put ourselves in a good spot and then (are) missing that last play, that last connection. But feel pretty good about the guys we have and there are plays available. Just got to execute."
Dave Bolland, who scored the game-winning goal of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against Boston, will be honored with the Blackhawks' One More Shift promotion before Friday's game against Columbus. Bolland spent seven of his 10 NHL seasons with the Hawks, scoring 70 goals and dishing out 98 assists in 332 games.
He is, of course, best remembered for the Hawks' second goal in 17 seconds that stunned the Bruins and lifted coach Joel Quenneville's team to its second Stanley Cup title in four seasons.
"It'll be cool to see," captain Jonathan Toews said. "He's kind of like Shawzie (Andrew Shaw). … He was one of those guys that you loved having on your team that other teams hated. He found ways to chip away at their best players and get them off their game."
Duncan Keith and Zack Smith took maintenance days and did not practice Wednesday.
By the numbersHow Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have fared through four games each of the last five seasons
Jonathan ToewsSeason G A Pts. SOG2015-16 0 2 2 9
2016-17 0 1 1 9
2017-18 2 3 5 8
2018-19 5 3 8 15
2019-20 0 1 1 9
Patrick KaneSeason G A Pts. SOG2015-16 3 3 6 21
2016-17 1 5 6 16
2017-18 2 4 6 11
2018-19 4 3 7 24
2019-20 2 3 5 8
Note: Kane's 8 shots on goal (SOG) are a career low through four games. His average was 14.9 in his first 12 seasons.