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Impossible to ignore Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews now

Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews has 20 points last 12 games.  |  Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews has 20 points in the last 12 games. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: January 6, 2012 8:16AM

Last season, Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews
elevated his production to the point where he entered the Hart Trophy discussion for the NHL’s most valuable player. Now a game doesn’t go by where he’s not standing out in some fashion.

Toews has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in the last five games and 20 points over the last 12.

His 15 goals this season lead all players in the Western Conference and are one shy of the league lead.

Against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, he nearly added a Gordie Howe hat trick (a goal, an assist and a fight) to his résumé, grappling with nemesis David Backes along the boards. But a fight never happened.

‘‘I didn’t think about that,” said a smiling Toews, whose goal and assist against the Blues constituted his eighth multipoint game. ‘‘I probably should have forced the issue a little bit.’’

On the road, there isn’t a better player than Toews right now. He leads the NHL with 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in 15 road games.

‘‘It’s the intangibles that separate him,’’ veteran Sean O’Donnell said. ‘‘Obviously, he’s a talented guy, and there’s lots of talented guys in this league, but the ‘not being denied,’ that will, the desire, whatever you want to call it that he has, you just can’t make it up.

‘‘You either have it or you don’t. He’s got it.’’

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