Jonathan Toews has zero points in his last five games, which makes him a prime candidate to be involved in this week’s Chicago Blackhawks’ Hot and Not segment
Well, what used to be a friendly rivalry between two rising superstars in the NHL has clearly been decided, at least for this year. Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has been held pointless in his last five games while Patrick Kane is headed to another All-Star Game, also having scored his 800th career point with the Blackhawks. Unfortunately, Kane’s efforts haven’t been enough to earn wins.
The Blackhawks capped off a disappointing homestand Wednesday, collecting just one point in their last four games. They currently sit six points out of the last wild-card spot in the Western Conference with Anaheim, Minnesota and Colorado having productive months.
The ‘Hawks are in a difficult position. They seem to have the right pieces but something just isn’t clicking. Plus, there isn’t much they can do with their current roster. If they are rebuilding, they can’t afford to give up draft picks or prospects. On the other hand, they can’t be that perennial contender they claim to be and miss the playoffs entirely.
So who are they?
Let’s start with some good news, then dive into the heavy stuff.
Who’s Hot: Patrick Kane
With 20 goals and 28 assists on the season, Patrick Kane is heading to his 10th straight All-Star Game. A lot of people believe this accomplishment is insignificant, and it can be if you’re voted in without deserving it. But Kane’s streak has shown he continues to be a force in the NHL year after year.
In a down year for the Blackhawks so far, Kane continues to play hard and make fans jump out of their seats. He doesn’t have his right-hand man anymore in Artemi Panarin, but he still finds ways to create with whoever he plays with.
Because of the recent Blackhawks slump, Kane has just three points in his last five games, but he did reach a career milestone in scoring his 800th point. Like a true hockey player, he was sad his team didn’t win and gave credit to his teammates.
Who’s Not: Jonathan Toews
Wednesday in the game versus the Maple Leafs, NBC commentator Mike Milbury pointed out that Blackhawks captain hasn’t looked like the player he’s seen in the past.
He pointed out Toews’ lacks spark and enthusiasm, which have been ways he’s stood out in the past. In addition to body language, Toews has also been lacking in point production recently. He has zero points in the last five games.
Toews’ noted his lack of production last season led to a change in his diet and workout plan to get more lean and faster. Toews’ stick handling and passing still resembles the skill of a top-line center, but his drive holds him back from being one of the best in the league as he’s been before.
It’s possible Toews had to change his game because of an injury. It’s never disclosed what types of injuries hockey players are dealing with, especially when they are playing the playoffs.
But the amount of hockey Toews played between 2010 and 2015 most likely took a beating on his body, specifically his back. We can’t jump to conclusions with these assumptions, but it’s been tough for Blackhawks fans watching younger centermen pass up their dear captain in terms of talent when Toews should be at the height of his prime.