Jonathan Toews’ hard work paying off on scoresheet
BY MARK LAZERUS email@example.com March 1, 2013 11:30PM
Jonathan Toews, Vinny Prospal
Updated: April 3, 2013 6:16AM
As the morning skate Thursday in St. Louis wound down, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews perched himself in front of a vacant goal and worked on deflecting shots from the blue line into the net. Time and again, he perfectly positioned and angled his stick to tip shot after shot into the net.
In a string of seven shots, he missed just one. He responded by slamming his stick on the ice in frustration. In practice. After practice, really. Captain Serious, indeed.
Later that night, Toews scored two goals in the Hawks’ 3-0 victory over the Blues. He entered the game with one goal in his previous seven games. Like his linemate Marian Hossa, who recently snapped a run of 11 games with just one goal, Toews was happy to finally be rewarded for his strong play. His first goal came 12 seconds into the game when he knocked in a Brandon Saad cross-crease pass with his skate. His second came when he whacked in a Nick Leddy rebound during a goalmouth scrum.
While Toews has had plenty of highlight-reel goals in his career, he’ll gladly take the ugly ones, too.
“If that’s the way I’ve got to score, then so be it,” he said. “It’s been a tough couple weeks, I guess, just trying to get some confidence and see some results for the chances my linemates and I have been generating. It doesn’t always go the way you want it to, but to get some lucky bounces like we did [Thursday] as a line is a huge thing for us. Hey, we’re doing the right things, we’re creating chances, but at some point they’ve got to go in. And it’s a good feeling when they do.”
Toews has hardly been struggling. Entering the game Friday against the Blue Jackets, he had nine goals and eight assists and was a healthy plus-11. He hadn’t had a point in his previous four games, but as one of the top two-way players in the league, Toews’ contributions go far beyond the scoresheet. He has been pleased with his performance, and he has an eye toward peaking in May and June.
“I think it’s getting better and better,” he said. “That’s the way I look at every season. For myself, I just want to keep improving every game, and the goals will come, and hopefully I can contribute when we need it the most.”