Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews shows support for Patrick Kane
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org June 25, 2012 8:08PM
Updated: July 27, 2012 6:26AM
Jonathan Toews wanted to show support for two things Monday.
Toews and the Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin headlined an impressive list of players in Chicago for NHL Players’ Association meetings, which run through Wednesday.
It’s a very important series of meetings, with a new collective-bargaining agreement needed and negotiations with the NHL set to take place after they conclude. Neither Toews nor Ovechkin is the player representative for his team.
“We need as many guys —whether they’re big names or not — to be involved,” Toews said. “A lot of the guys are in different situations, but you have to look out for each other.”
For Toews, that also meant going to bat for teammate Patrick Kane, who was criticized for his actions in May in Madison, Wis.
“I just texted him to kind of let him know that the guys on our team, we’re behind him,” Toews said. “He’s been through some tough things. Obviously, it’s arguable if those things happen for a reason or not. I think he’s still learning.
“It’s just unfortunate that now people are really looking for that sort of thing. It tends to be easier for them to find it. I’m sure he’s being very hard on himself right now. [We’re telling him] just to hang in there, and with time, it will go away again and we’ll be able to focus on hockey again.”
Toews said Kane “has that personality that people are kind of drawn toward.”
“He’s an interesting guy, and I don’t mean that to be funny or anything,” he said. “Just the way he plays the game, too, people want to get to know him off the ice and they want to see what he’s like, and the next thing you know you’re under the microscope.
“There’s a lot of 23- or 24-year-old kids out there having a great time, and they don’t have to worry about that sort of thing, and he does.”
Kane’s actions, of course, haven’t been the only ones to garner negative attention this offseason. Assistant coach Mike Haviland was fired after coach Joel Quenneville and general manager Stan Bowman agreed there was “dysfunction” on his staff.
“It’s difficult,” Toews said. “It seemed like there was a lot going on there for a while. As players, you do your best to respect a coach’s opinion and what they’re telling you to do and how they’re trying to coach a team. Whether the coaching staff or the management thinks that changes need to be made, that’s up to them and not really up to the players to worry about.”
Toews, meanwhile, isn’t feeling any side effects from his concussion.
“I feel great,” he said. “I’m just training a lot, getting back into shape and doing a little fishing and relaxing up north in Canada and having a great summer so far.”
NOTE: Defenseman Steve Montador also attended the meetings. He missed 27 games last season with a concussion but said he’s feeling much better and has started training.
“I’ve met with some good people and got some treatment, and obviously a little bit of time does help,” he said. “I kind of feel like a whole new man.”