Boy, you leave for one weekend...
Anyway, while this muttonhead was destroying himself in NYC, the other three muttonheads didn't get to address this, so I will upon my return. I'm sorry, I haven't read the comments in various threads about the subject, so if I echo what the sentiment is there, my bad. But after the Bears game on Sunday I checked the Twitter and found it not blowing up per se, but at least setting off the geiger counter. My jaw didn't hit the floor when I read that Joel Quenneville was going to try Patrick Kane at center, but that's mostly because in my post-wedding attendance hangover I was sure I'd time-traveled back to 2008, and Aramis was grounding into a season-killing double play again. Then I was on the floor in the fetal position and weeping for a few minutes.
It must say something about the hold that the Hawks have over the local media that this hasn't been laughed out of the universe. We've seen this before. It lasted one period, we used it as evidence that Denis Savard was about as qualified for the head coaching job as a chain-smoking sloth (which is about what he was), and he was fired a scant couple weeks later. And yet it's now worth a look?
At the time the Hawks first tried this, when I was commenting on various messageboards before this existed, I said I understood why. Kane's vision and hands would suggest he can make plays from anywhere, and it was just a matter of whether he could be strong or interested enough in his own end. And the thing is, based on what he looked like during '09-'10 and what he looked like this summer, Kane probably is strong enough if he's determined enough. We've seen him able to fight off checks before, and he can do that. But consistently? Not sure. Secondly, though he's got great vision and dishes out the killer assist at a regular rate, do you remember him doing it in traffic that much? Most, I think, come from the half-boards when he gets to slow the game down by getting d-men on their heels as lanes open up. You can't do that when you're playing in the middle.
Can he take a draw? We don't really have enough sample size to guess. What we do know is that in the last two seasons he's taken 36 draws, and won 11. That's nada so good, amigo. But being a center who can't win a draw isn't something new to the Hawks, is it Mr. Bolland?
Another concern, even though he gets thrown into the "Hawks are so fast" discussion all the time, is that Kane isn't all that fast. He's got a quick step, he's shifty, but straight-up skating he's just not that. Will he get beat in his own zone simply due to footspeed?
Quite simply, can anyone provide an example of a winger -- a Top 10 winger in the league mind you, with perhaps the best hands anywhere not named "Datsyuk" -- who was shifted to center and it benefited the team more? I'll be here with a Sprite when you get an answer. Case of heartburn and all.
But let's look at this for what it is. It's Coach Q telling his GM that he's going to need another center at some point. It's Q telling his GM that his "plan all along" simply isn't an NHL player at the moment. That's all it can be. It's Q saying that with Sharp on the shelf, I've got no options here.
And it all leads back to the question of why The Shooter isn't the answer here. In was parallel world will Kane be a better center than Sharp? Why is Sharp locked into the wing, two years after being the #2 center on a Cup winner? Why am I going to be screaming this question into the wind and rain until my vocal chords melt? Why won't I ever get an answer? Is it Sharp not wanting to do it? Is it the Hawks thinking he's a better winger, even though they brought him through almost all of his career as a center?
I'm lost in the ether.