Jonathan Toews organizes informal workout with Blackhawks, weighs in on NHL lockout
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org September 17, 2012 8:36PM
Updated: October 19, 2012 6:20AM
What Jonathan Toews organized Monday for Blackhawks teammates and prospects wasn’t so different from what players usually do at this time of year.
They ran drills, skated a few laps and scrimmaged at Johnny’s IceHouse West, like they would have leading up to training camp. The main difference is that the training camp that was scheduled to open Friday won’t because the NHL locked out its players.
‘‘It’s definitely a weird situation,’’ Toews said.
So Toews is doing his best to deal with it, especially for those who are still in Chicago and will remain here for a while as the lockout plays out. He secured ice times and sent out a mass email with details, although not all his teammates are in Chicago at the moment.
On the ice, Toews manned the dry-erase board and Jamal Mayers handled the whistle to indicate drill changes. Patrick Sharp, Dave Bolland, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Johnny Oduya, Marcus Kruger and Sheldon Brookbank took part. Prospects Brandon Pirri, Jeremy Morin, Adam Clendening and Ben Smith and former Hawks Troy Brouwer, Brian Campbell and Ben Eager also participated.
‘‘Most of the guys that are here, whether they’re living here for the summer or not, it’s convenient for all of us to be able to skate together,’’ Toews said. ‘‘It’s just a good place to be and work out with all these guys and stay ready . . . whether I’m pursuing that other option [in Europe during an extensive lockout] or if we somehow reach a deal in the next little while.’’
Toews and the others tried to display some optimism when asked about the lockout. But they know, as Bolland often said, it’s a ‘‘waiting game’’ right now.
Montador, the Hawks’ union representative, said that there are no scheduled talks with the NHL and that players ‘‘fully recognize’’ they’re locked out. The preseason is expected to be canceled sometime this week if the status quo remains.
‘‘I’d love to be able to say [when] — and I do believe that we will have a season — but I can’t guess as to when that might be,’’ Montador said.
Some teams have confiscated uniforms, even practice jerseys. The Hawks wore their regular practice jerseys Monday, but Toews said, ‘‘They might take those away from us pretty soon, too.’’
Toews, Bolland and Montador said everyone’s ready to stand with the union, and Toews was content with having to collect money to pay the rental fee for the ice.
‘‘It’s like pulling teeth trying to collect 10 bucks from
everybody,’’ Toews joked.
Still, there is some frustration building, players said. That simply comes from not knowing when they will play again.
‘‘You look at how well the league has been going and how well the game’s been growing the last eight years or so, there is no reason that it can’t be worked out,’’ Toews said. ‘‘It’s up to [the league] to figure it out. I think the plan that we’ve come up with makes a lot of sense for that. There is no reason why the league can’t accept things.’’