Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks: Is Jonathan Toews Game Evolving?

By Keith Schultz
Jan 6, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) and Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) exchange words during the third period at the United Center. Chicago won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 6, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) and Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) exchange words during the third period at the United Center. Chicago won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Chicago Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews game has always been great, but this year his scoring has been down a bit, and his aggressive play on the ice has increased, so the question would be is Toews game evolving in the middle of his great career.

This wouldn’t be the first time a Chicago Blackhawks all-time greats game evolved in the middle of their career.  Looking back in Chicago Blackhawks franchise history, if you look back at Stan Mikita‘s career you can see a career that totally evolved.  When Mikita came into the NHL he had a whole lot of nastiness in him and picked up a lot of penalties with his aggressive stick work.

The legendary story goes that Mikita got home from a long road trip and when he asked his child if he watched his Dad play on TV, his kid said he didn’t get to watch his Dad play because he was in the penalty box so much.  The transformation from that point in Mikita’s game was night and day going from over 100 penalty minutes a season to cutting it down to 12 and 14 penalty minutes.  Mikita went from a frequent guest to the penalty box to back to back Lady Byng Trophy Winner.

That moves us back to the current Chicago Blackhawks Captain who has been considered a leader and highly skilled offensive center with a 200 foot game for his entire career, but now in this 2015-2016 season has thrown tough guy into the mix.  Nobody is saying he’s the next Brandon Bollig, and everytime he starts a scuffle we call him a goon on Twitter, but his game has changed a bit this season.

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Toews only has 26 points on the season, and after only 3 fights in the first 8 seasons in the NHL, Toews has already been in 2 fights this season. Toews would have been in his third fight of the season if Kris Letang would have dropped the gloves instead of body slamming Toews to the ice.

It’s not just the fights, but it’s sticking up for the teammates on the ice.  He went after Letang after he up ended Artemi Panarin late in the third period which is what a leader is supposed to do, but this really wasn’t part of Toews game in seasons past.  Part of it has to be that the roster no longer has a Bollig, John Scott, or Daniel Carcillo on it.  As fans we begged not to have an enforcer on the roster, and now that we don’t someone has to step up into that role and surprisingly it’s Toews.

Again, as players getting older their games change, not every player can be the fastest, goal scoring youngster and sometimes a players career path takes a small turn no one expected.  Granted this could be just exaggerated because it still happens so few times or could this be Toews game evolving a bit and in a place we didn’t expect. Either way he’s still the best Captain in the NHL, and a player 29 other teams in the NHL wish they had on their roster.

What do you think? Evolving or just a rare example.

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