Its Hard to Say Goodbye

Winnipeg Jets v Chicago Blackhawks
Winnipeg Jets v Chicago Blackhawks / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

Goodbyes are never easy.  Knowing it’s the end and you see it coming is even more challenging.  Patrick Kane didn’t get a chance to have the send-off he deserved.  On Thursday, April 13th Jonathan Toews will play his last game for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Drafted in 2006 3rd overall by the Chicago Blackhawks.  In college, he played for North Dakota then made the jump to the Blackhawks for the 2007-2008 season. He got a letter on his jersey really quickly and was named the 34th Captain of the Chicago Blackhawks for the 2008-2009 season.  He was 20 at the time.

Jonathan Toews
Stanley Cup Finals - Chicago Blackhawks v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Six / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Toews would then lead the Blackhawks to 3 Stanley Cup Championships while accumulating personal accolades, and Olympic success.

Jonathan Toews
Ice Hockey Gold Medal - Sweden v Canada / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

It’s hard to talk about Toews and not mention Patrick Kane.  Kane was drafted one year later but he made the jump to the NHL the same year Toews did.  During their career, they signed identical contracts and they each brought different attributes to the ice.

Joel Quenneville, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews
Detroit Red Wings v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Four / Jim Prisching/GettyImages

Toews didn’t put up the numbers that Kane put up, but he showed up offensively when it mattered most.  On the defensive side he was always dominant.  Always on the ice to take an important faceoff or play against a top line.  Toews played in 137 playoff games, which is an additional season and a half of hockey.  

According watching ESPN+ they brought up a stat that he scored 11 playoff overtime game winning goals.  Ironically Patrick Kane had the same.  He’s third on the Blackhawks all-time with 69 game winning goals.  He also has the 52 shootout goals which is an NHL record.

When Toews got Covid-19 that was when things started to turn for him.  Statistically his offensive play had dropped beforehand but he was having a bit of a resurgence.  

Jonathan Toews
Toews talking to media / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

He started to feel the effects of long covid and developed Chronic Immune Response Syndrome.  He was able to fight back and put in another season but it came back this season and he had to miss some time.

Jonathan Toews
2015 NHL Awards - Press Room / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

He has done all he can do for the Blackhawks and made an incredible mark on the franchise.  Setting the bar for future captains to try and live up to. At this point, I wish him the best and hope he gets to enjoy what comes next for him.  I think I can see a position in the front office for him later on down the road.  Maybe a Blackhawks GM one day.

Now it’s time to turn the page and see what comes next for the Blackhawks. June 28th we're going to find out.