For those of you familiar with the Boxing feature here at Blackhawk Up, you’re well aware I have the extreme privilege of channeling the mind of ‘Hawks captain Jonathan Toews. Despite the fact the Blackhawks are currently making tee times, I was once again able to get into the mind of the fearless leader and read his thoughts on his individual season.
It was very difficult, I might add. Toews doesn’t much care for singling out players, including himself. If you remember when Toews skated back toward his teammates holding the Conn Smythe Trophy after the ‘Hawks won the Stanley Cup, he clearly reinforced the team accomplishment by stating, “This is for you guys.”
He’s the clear definition of the consummate team player – unselfish, willing to be the voice when needed and perfectly able to lead when asked. And, more importantly, capable of putting an entire team on his back to win for them, not just him.
That Selke Trophy nomination? Great. I’m sure he’d like to add more hardware to an already impressive collection. But it’ll never mean as much to Toews as that big silver chalice or gold medal, simply because it represents team.
Here’s a look at his season stats, followed by Toews’ season review of himself and my grade, since he’s too humble to possibly grade himself.
“As you know, nothing is good enough for me except the ultimate prize. Do you think just because we won the Cup last season I wouldn’t be disappointed we didn’t win it again this year? If you believe that for a single second, you obviously don’t know me very well, nor care to listen to anything I’ve said previously.
There’s a reason Sharpie had to pester me with continuous texts just to get me to watch that Wild-Stars game which decided our playoff fate. I was so pissed we couldn’t get the job done ourselves that I didn’t want anything to do with anyone. There’s also a reason when I don’t feel I’m playing well enough, I tell everyone I’m disappointed for letting them down. And when I’m playing well? There’s still more I can do. I’m never satisfied.
That should’ve been clear when I scored in Game 7 with less than two minutes to play from my damn knees. I’m never giving up. Ever. And if it weren’t for us playing like shitheads in the first three games of the series, we may not have been in that position in the first place. I take responsibility for that. I take responsibility for not leading this team to where I wanted it to be – sitting atop the NHL again with our faces looking like unkempt 70s pornstars’ genital areas and getting a big ass ring to match last season’s.
I did what I could. I scored eight goals and had five assists during our eight-game winning streak from Feb. 20 to March 3 and tried to carry us when we were playing like shit. But I also played, in my eyes, like one of Yokozuna’s farts from March 26 to April 10, when I mustered only two goals. That OT goal against St. Louis was huge for us toward our playoff run. Yippy. I’m still pissed.
Here’s the thing: I’m happy with the way I prepared, with the way I played and with the way I led my teammates best I could. But the fact of the matter is I’m going to be watching the Stanley Cup Final from my goddamn couch for the third time in more four seasons in the NHL. That Cup was awesome, one of the best experiences of my life. I’ll never forget it.
But I’m still going to remember each season that ends in disappointment from here on out and take it personally. I’m not the only person on this team, but I’m the only one who wears the ‘C.’ It all falls on me, and I want that responsibility. But that responsibility includes learning to improve on the rough times, making them good, then figuring out how to make them great.
We didn’t get there this season, but you better damn well believe people are going to pay for that next season. Watch out, assholes. I’m coming for you.”
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