To say it has been a difficult season for the defending champion, Chicago Blackhawks, would be a bit of an understatement as they currently sit eleventh in the Western Conference and right now on the outside looking in at the playoffs.
When things are just not going right for a team fans seem to gravitate towards one player being the main cause of that decline, for Blackhawks faithful that player who has become their scapegoat is Nick Boynton.
While Boynton is in no way have a great season his is still having a solid season for someone who is only making $500,000 this season and has been in and out of the lineup on a regular basis. This season Boynton has posted a plus-minus rating of +2 and has recorded 8 points to boot.
However it seems on a nightly basis something happens during the course of a game that can be directly attributed to Boynton, whether it be getting burned by an opposing forward or deflecting a puck into his own net trouble seemed to find Boynton. Even on Twitter fans would get on Boynton for his shortcomings and even created the phrase “blame it on Boynton” if anything goes against the Blackhawks.
Although Boynton has had less than stellar season much of the problems the Blackhawks have faced is below average play of from all of those on the ‘Hawks blue line. From defending Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith to Boynton, the defense corps have not been cutting it and Boynton has been the face of that struggle.
Yes I am not a Boynton fan but I do not believe that he is the one that should be blamed for all the struggles of the Blackhawks defense and maybe we need to look deeper into the blueline and what is really to blame for the defensive struggles.
As we sit today the two defenseman on the Blackhawks with worst plus-minus rating on the team are know as their two most reliable defensemen, Keith and Brent Seabrook. Now that is not a direct indictment on how the two have played this season but it does show that even the Blackhawks top defensemen should not be shielded from scrutiny. Now the plus-minus is not a direct indication of how well a defenseman has played it is just a way to give perspective of how things have change in just a year since winning the Stanley Cup.
Was last year just a time when everything came together and the ‘Hawks found lightning in a bottle? It is possible but it could just be as simple as the defenseman trying to get use to new teammates and building the similar type of chemistry that they shared with their Stanley Cup teammates.
Of course Boynton is one of the least reliable defensemen in the Blackhawks lineup but the struggles of the defense have to do much more with their play as a group than as individuals.
So show we really be blaming it on Boynton?