Jonathan Toews spreads credit for Hawks wakeup calls
BY BEN MEYER-ABBOTT firstname.lastname@example.org March 19, 2011 11:36PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — During and after games all season, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has been vocal in addressing what he has seen as poor play.
Mostly notably, he was credited with laying into the locker room after a poor first period Feb. 21 in St. Louis. That put a charge in the Hawks, who blitzed the Blues for four goals in the second and went on to win their second game in a season-best eight-game streak.
On Thursday, he claimed Hawks players ‘‘all picked the same night to crap the bed’’ after a 5-0 beatdown at Dallas that saw them slip to seventh in the Western Conference standings. Hawks fans can only hope the team responds the same way it did after Toews’ first tongue-lashing.
In the meantime, he wants people to know he’s not the only player taking up the charge.
‘‘The whole thing that people were talking about in St. Louis was blown out of proportion,’’ Toews said Saturday after practice. ‘‘There are times when [other] guys step up and say something, [but] they’re not doing it for any sort of recognition.
‘‘As a team, we all responded in that [Feb. 21] game, and people were looking to give one guy credit, and it happened to be me.’’
A recent New York Times story even compared the motivational impact of Toews’ speech in St. Louis to John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural address. Other publications have offered similarly glowing praise.
‘‘It’s not what I was hoping for,’’ said Toews, who admitted he has taken some ribbing for how he’s being portrayed in the media. ‘‘I kind of got chirped about it a little bit in the locker room, which is good.’’
What he was hoping for is what he got: a strong response from his teammates.
Toews declined to go into what he told the team after the drubbing in Dallas, saying only that the Hawks’ best players need to play like the best players and lead the way going forward.
‘‘Things need to be said in certain situations, and we’ll leave it at that,” he said. ‘‘What happens in this locker room stays there, and there’s nothing really to talk about for [the Dallas game].’’
Linemate and alternate captain Patrick Sharp picked up the same thread.
‘‘Whatever happened in Dallas, it happened and it’s over with, so we’re moving on,’’ Sharp said. ‘‘I like what Jonathan said, but I think our whole team’s got to be better, not just the best players. We pride ourselves on leading the way every night, and we’re going to do that against Phoenix [tonight].’’
To do so, the Hawks will have to rebound against a Coyotes team that has won its last five games to shoot firmly into fourth place in the West — the last spot that comes with home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Winger Marian Hossa is confident the Hawks won’t be battling a hangover from their poor play against the Stars.
‘‘We know for whatever reason, whatever happened, that’s not us,’’ Hossa said. ‘‘We know we are a better team than we showed there, so that’s why we have to forget about it and be ready [against Phoenix].’’