Things haven’t gone as hoped for the Chicago Blackhawks so far this season, but their captain has answered the bell and silenced the doubters.
It has been tough treading for the Chicago Blackhawks this season so far, but their two cornerstone players Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have been exceptional. We sort of expected Kane to play at an elite level regardless of his teammates, but there were questions about Toews and his production going into this season.
He has silenced all of the doubt with the way that he has played so far this season. His hat trick on Sunday vs. the defending Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals led them to a very impressive win. He also chipped in two assists for a five-point afternoon. Toews leading the way to victory on a regular basis is something that the organization and its fans need to see.
Although he doesn’t have the offensive prowess of Kane, he does have the two-way game that any winning team needs from their top line center and Toews has been giving them just that. It is also nice when he is their second-leading scorer, which is the way it should be.
After the big game vs Washington, he has 21 goals and 26 assists for 47 points in 50 games. This is very good production from Toews and is a sight for sore eyes, as he hasn’t eclipsed the 60-point plateau since the 2014-15 season. He is on pace to not only pass it, but blow past it. He is on pace for 76 points which, believe it or not, would tie his career-high. He has never been known for elite offensive production, but he has been known for above-average offensive production.
Toews has taken on some criticism because he is paid like an elite player and he has been a slightly above average player, until now. He seems to have found what made him great in previous years and it is nice to see. Toews is one of the best two-way centers in the league, and one of the best captains in the history of not only hockey, but sport.
Toews should be very proud of himself. He is a three-time Stanley Cup Champion, a Selke Trophy winner as the league’s top defensive forward, and a winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs. He is one of the best Chicago Blackhawks to ever live. He will be in the Hall of Fame and Chicago will likely retire his number, and maybe even build a statue of him.
It would be nice to see the Blackhawks brass reward Toews with some better pieces around him and the rest of the core so they can get back to competing for not only a playoff spot, but the Stanley Cup once again. It is a hard league, but Toews has done his part this season.
In order to win the Stanley Cup you need some generational players — guys who can be “best players” on a championship team and come through in the clutch. Toews, along with Kane, have proven they can be those guys, but they only have a few more years left in their prime. The time to win should be now.
Chicago is likely not going to reach the Stanley Cup playoffs for the second year in a row, but if they want to have a successful retool on the fly and find themselves back in contention with Toews and Kane still in their prime, number 19 is going to have to keep this up. It also helps when number 88 takes some pressure off with his elite level of production. He has also helped Toews by emerging into a leader on and off the ice as well.
Toews and the Blackhawks only have one more game vs. the New York Islanders before the All-Star Break, then the NHL’s mandatory bye week comes immediately after. It isn’t impossible to climb back into it, and if Jonathan Toews has anything to say about it they will not go down without a fight.