Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks: What to Make of the Resurgence of Jonathan Toews

By Juliana Nikac
CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 20: Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates after scoring against the Washington Capitals in the third period at the United Center on January 20, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 20: Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates after scoring against the Washington Capitals in the third period at the United Center on January 20, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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TAMPA, FL – NOVEMBER 23: Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) in the first period of the regular season NHL game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning on November 23, 2018 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL – NOVEMBER 23: Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) in the first period of the regular season NHL game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning on November 23, 2018 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Eye Test

It’s easy to say he’s playing better by looking at the number of points he’s recorded, but Jonathan Toews just looks like a completely different player this season compared to the seasons prior.

Before this season, I noticed Toews seemed to be lacking that tenacity he usually plays with on the ice. He had trouble working the corners for puck possession and when he came out of those corners, he couldn’t skate and accelerate fast enough. Toews backed off puck battles in the dirty areas more often than not instead of getting involved like we know he typically does.

Something was just off about his game. It looked to me as if the wear and tear of nine straight years in the Stanley Cup Playoffs caught up to him. Toews knew he had to change something. He opted to stay in Chicago this summer and worked with Chicago Blackhawks’ strength and conditioning coach Paul Goodman to change his training regimen.

It worked. This season, Toews looks like a brand new player. He’s rejuvenated himself and is back to playing Toews-like hockey.

At 30 years old, you would expect the guy to slow down even more coming back from two down years in terms of production. Instead, Toews is buzzing all over the ice like he’s 20 again. His skating has dramatically improved, especially in his acceleration. He’s harder to knock off the puck, as well.

Toews is more flashy with his playmaking abilities this season, too. We’re used to his teammate Patrick Kane making all the highlight-reel plays, but Toews has had a fair share of his own. He’s also being more liberal when it comes to taking shots even if they’re not from the best area.

The third goal he scored against the Washington Capitals on Sunday to secure the hat trick was a great showcase of how awesome Jonathan Toews has been this season.

While everything seemed hard for him the past two years, he’s making everything seem easy this time around. By simply watching him play, it seems Jonathan Toews has returned to playing like his old self.

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