TELANDER: Toews, Kane - The two winning sides to Hawks’ coin
BY RICK TELANDER firstname.lastname@example.org June 13, 2013 12:20AM
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 12: Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks looks for the puck along the boards in the third period against the Boston Bruins in Game One of the NHL 2013 Stanley Cup Final at United Center on June 12, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 170405315
Updated: August 12, 2013 2:20AM
As Jonathan Toews skated out for the opening faceoff against the Boston Bruins, you knew the Blackhawks were in good hands.
Less than a minute later, young Patrick Kane hopped the boards as the second line took the ice. This also was a good thing.
Not as good as Andrew Shaw’s shot in the third overtime period to give the Hawks a 4-3 win at midnight Thursday. But good.
Here in their second Stanley Cup Final in four years, it’s clear the Blackhawks made decisions about two young men that have been correct and splendid.
Right wing Kane is 24. Toews just turned 25.
There may be less than a half century of hockey between them, but the two are linked forever in the minds and hearts of the hockey faithful here in Chicago.
When the two rode on floats after the 2010 Cup title, through the center of the city, it was a sign of possibilities. So unalike that one is called Captain Serious while the other might as well be General Nuts, Toews and Kane represent the opposite sides of success.
A rugged, defensive captain who is calm and sober beyond his years is the antithesis of a flighty little ice-dancer who can handle the puck like a magician.
Together they make the halves of a yin-yang circle, and it’s hard to say which one you would want to be like — if that’s how you approached all things in life.
Once the Hawks were down 2-0 in this opener, it seemed the dependable Kane and Toews were asleep somewhere. Toews was on the ice for the Bruins’ first goal — by Milan Lucic — and Kane had done little but flit about.
So when the Hawks’ Brandon Saad scored to make it 2-1 in the second period, it was good to see Toews out there with him.
And the fact is, Toews and Kane energize their teammates in ways that are hard to quantify. If you see the stars of your team doing things you can only dream of doing, from effort-giving to puck control, you try to emulate.
Before the game, Saad and Shaw and a couple other Hawks played hall soccer in the United Center foyer at the base of the northeast stairs. Veteran Patrick Sharp was there with them, the guys loose as can be.
‘‘Oh, is it raining out?’’ the cheerful, soon-to-be-game-winning Shaw said, seeing a writer enter, soaking wet. No, just a tornado or two.
The point is, if everybody were as wound up and intense as Toews, the Blackhawks might explode from air pressure.
Stanley Cups are not won in a single game. Nor lost. Not even in an entire month of the regular season.
So when the Hawks dumped so many of the 2010 Cup players — including the winning goalie — it wasn’t certain that Toews and especially Kane might be worth the salary-cap hits to keep them.
But they were kept. And each has a $6.3 million-per-year deal that is good for two more seasons. They are the heart and soul — OK, maybe joy buzzer — of the Blackhawks.
Both were known quantities as youngsters, with Toews being the Hawks’ first pick in the 2006 NHL draft and Kane the first pick — and first pick overall — in 2007.
When they were on the line together in the decisive Game 5 against the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference finals, their unity was a beautiful thing to see. The final pass from Toews to sharpshooter Kane in the second overtime — across the ice, turning goalie Jonathan Quick into a pretzel and propelling the Hawks into the Final — connected the pair like beads on a chain.
Kane’s four goals in the final two games of that series launched him into the national headlines. Toews just keeps on being himself — large-eyed, alert, single-minded, the captain who won Olympic gold with Team Canada at 22, the pillar who should be in Chicago for another decade. With his little buddy.
Toews and Kane — salt and pepper. Ice and fire. Milk and shots.
Good for Chicago.