Chicago Blackhawks center Toews looks around in the second period in Game 4 of the NHL first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, April 19, 2016, in Chicago.
Toews has no goals and two assists in the first seven games of the season.
“I do not think you’ve ever worried about him,” said Patrick Kane. “He’s going to make, it will be effective on the ice. I’m sure he wants to produce more, but I do not think it’s something that we’re really worried yet.”
In fact, there is nothing unusual about the beginning of Toews’. For a guy who scored his first NHL goal in his first NHL game, the slow start was quite common. Last year, he had no goals in the first seven games. In 2014-15, he had one goal in seven games. In 2010-11, he had one goal in nine games. In 2009-10, he had no goals in seven games. And in 2008-09, he had no goals in 12 games.
But the captain of the Hawks never scored less than 23 goals and had 28 goals in each of his last three seasons. Toews usually finds his offensive groove at the end of October or beginning of November, and never looks back. At the same time, it plays a sound all-around game that he is still a huge contribution. In fact, only Duncan Keith and Panarin have the best numbers of possession so far, than Toews. When he was on the ice, the Hawks had a dominant 57 percent of attempts the shot.
“His production is not where you look at his game,” said Hawks coach Joel Quenneville. “We still always like the way he plays. He is so helpful in many different directions.”
However, it does not hurt the cause sputtering Hawks when Toews – who had three goals and two assists in six World Cup games in September – started to create goals, not just the odds. With this in mind, Quenneville is going to the so-called nuclear option in all seven games of the season – put Kane Jersey and Toews together on the top line of the road for Friday’s game against the New Jersey Devils, with Richard Panik on the left wing.
After playing together at the beginning of his career, Kane and Toews were usually separated from each other as Quenneville seeks a balance in the lineup. But never feeling out process between the two superstars, and they tend to be good for any time of the crime. In fact, Kane said Toews is “probably the easiest player to play.”
“He plays the game with a two-way, so pure, so good on faceoffs so well defensively, rarely in its end so well over the goal line on the washer-protection, and coming up with loose washers in the battle,” he said of Kane. “Sometimes, when you play with him, and you have not played with it a bit, you should just let it be and do not keep it too much. Because it is so good in these battles, and he can come with washers.”
The twist now is that by assembling this super-line, Quenneville broken one. Trio Panarin Artem Anisimov and Kane held the Hawks to the start of last season. Now Goss will skate in the usual place of Kane.
Of course, this Quenneville. Of course, it is possible that recent clicks lineup and sticks for the rest of the season. But more likely, it lasts for a few games. Or maybe even a few shifts.
“It’s not like we’re too far away from the return to the [line Panarin-Anisimov-Kane] at any time,” said Quenneville. “It’s always close and available. But maybe we’ll get more balance and a little more gain across the board [this way].”
Kane played the best hockey of his career with the Russian duo, and this is probably his permanent place in the long term. But, hey, he is always happy to take a spin with Toews.
“It’s an exciting thing to go forward in the [Friday] is to try to get him on the board, try to play a good team game, have a good game as a line,” Kane said. “I am confident that we will be talking to each other, trying to pump up each other, and get ready for the big game, and try to help the team get two points.”