Dec 21, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) scores against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the third period of their NHL game at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Hello ‘Hawks fans! Who loved last night’s shootout win over the Penguins?! I’m not sure what I liked more…the actual shootout win or the “best player in the world” not registering a point and ending at -1. Granted, the Pens were without Evegni Malkin and Kris Letang but you still got to play and everyone has injuries.
With the pause in games until after the All-Star break, journalists everywhere are finding topics to fill space. Some of the most popular are “player comparisons”. Before last nights game ESPN posted an article comparing Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby. While it was a fine article, we at BlackhawkUp think we’re better equipped to compare the two. : )
Jan 21, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) looks on from the ice against the Chicago Blackhawks during the first period at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s just face facts. Sidney Crosby may be the most gifted offensive player of his generation. No one in the league puts up more points than Sid the Kid. And really, it’s not even up for debate. His career average of 1.38 PPG is first among active players and fifth all time. Read that last part again. FIFTH ALL TIME. Everyone who loves the game of hockey understands that scoring is down from 30 years ago. However, even in an offensively depleted league, Crosby sits among the greats in league history. Just behind the immortal Bobby Orr and just in front of the great Marcel Dionne.
All that being said, Captain Serious is no slouch. With 18 more points this season Toews will reach 500 career points and match the needed number for consideration. He will then sit 13th among active players and in the top 100 of all time in PPG. Toews will sit in front of legends such as Joe Nieuwendyk, Brendan Shanahan, and Keith Tkachuk. Obviously, a players PPG average goes down during the later parts of his career. Still, Toews is obviously a very gifted offensive player.
Jan 4, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) during the third period against the Dallas Stars at the United Center. Chicago won 5-4 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
This is obviously where Toews shines. The 2013 Selke Trophy winner, Toews plays against the top opposition every night. He takes pride in his defense and it’s always been apparent. He was a Selke nominee last year and while Patrice Bergeron took home the award, Toews could have easily won and most wouldn’t have argued. Simply put, Toews is one of the premier 2-way players in the game.
While not on the level of Toews defensively, Crosby has worked very hard throughout his career and has become a solid 2-way player. He will probably never win a Selke but that’s not what he gets paid to do.
Jan 21, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Blackhawks won 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
This is closer than most ‘Hawks fans probably want to admit. Both captains provide excellent leadership qualities and bring different leadership qualities to the ice and dressing room. Neither is a ‘rah rah’ kind of guy, though Toews is probably a little more vocal. They both however lead by example and are the unquestioned franchise player for each of their teams.
While it is close, most front office executives around the league would say Toews is the stronger leader. Not better per say. He’s just a natural leader who inspires teammates in a way that is very rare in professional sports.
Jun 24, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) hoists the Stanley Cup after game six of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. The Blackhawks won 3-2 to win the series four games to two. Mandatory Credit: Michael Ivins-USA TODAY Sports
As I’ve repeatedly said, I believe Jonathan Toews is the best overall player in the game today. When you measure his defense and leadership with the scoring he provides you obviously get a special Hall-of-Fame worthy type of player. Don’t be discouraged though Pens fans. You have an all-time great franchise player. But like any great player during Michael Jordan’s day, it’s just a shame he has to play in Captain Serious’s era. Well, it’s a shame for ya’ll…not us ‘Hawk’s fans. : )
Have a great All-Star break!