Jonathan Toews is paid to play strong protection, win faceoffs and battle exhausting for pucks everywhere in the ice.
He is paid to assist kill penalties and to verify the ability play is operating easily.
Because the Blackhawks’ captain he is additionally paid to place out any behind-the-scenes fires and to verify staff morale stays up, even in essentially the most dire of circumstances.
And, in fact, Toews is paid to attain objectives.
So whereas Toews is doing — at a minimal — an satisfactory job in loads of areas, he is but to search out the again of the web even as soon as throughout the Hawks’ first 21 video games.
Toews is one in every of seven forwards who’ve but to attain with 25 or extra pictures on purpose. He and Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler have essentially the most at 37.
It goes with out saying that each staff wants their high centermen to be at the least a average contributor within the goal-scoring division. After they’re not, it typically creates a nasty ripple impact that makes it troublesome for groups to win constantly.
The Hawks, whereas 6-3-0 below King, are nonetheless 1-for-30 on the ability play over the past 11 video games. In addition they have simply 8 objectives within the final 5 contests.
So do you pull Toews off the highest power-play unit? Transfer him right into a third-line function for some time?
These are robust conversations to have with a future Corridor of Famer and a three-time Stanley Cup winner, however solely Toews is aware of for certain precisely how he feels.
Backside line: There’s little doubt that coming again after a season away has not been straightforward.
“It is not minor hockey, you understand?” mentioned interim coach Derek King after the Hawks misplaced 2-0 to San Jose on the United Heart on Sunday. “You may get away with it there, however right here these gamers are good (and) these are good groups. … While you miss a 12 months of hockey and also you’re coming again and you do not rating for some time, it begins to get to you. However he is working exhausting, he is doing all of the issues we ask (of) him.
“He is our chief and he is taking part in good hockey.”
Toews had just a few probabilities in opposition to the Sharks, with maybe the very best one coming when Dominik Kubalik appeared for a redirect off Toews’ stick on a power-play. The puck flew to the tip boards, making solely slight contact with Toews’ stick.
It is troublesome to say if the cross may have been a bit extra on the right track, or if Toews merely missed, however most guys will let you know they have to get extra wooden on the puck to at the least give it an opportunity.
“The cross may’ve been extra on the heel than on the toe or in the midst of the blade,” King mentioned. “It is a recreation of inches, proper? And proper now, we’re lacking guys just a little an excessive amount of in that space with the passes.”
Toews didn’t communicate to the media Sunday, and the Hawks didn’t apply Monday.
Toews is annoyed and certain urgent an excessive amount of to finish this drought. When he spoke two weeks in the past after a win over Arizona, Toews mentioned he’d like to enhance “every little thing” in his recreation.
As for the purpose drought, which was at 15 video games on the time, Toews mentioned: “I imply it would not hassle me. However, you understand, I might love to do one thing about it one in every of today right here.”
Since then Toews has simply 8 pictures on purpose in six video games. So possibly it is simply time to shoot first and ask questions later.
“It is simply not clicking proper now, and it is not simply him, it is a bunch of them,” King mentioned. “We simply have to remain the course and battle by way of this.”
Whereas Toews has but to attain, it is not like he is the one one struggling on the Hawks (7-12-2). Removed from it.
Do you know simply 5 Hawks have 3 or extra objectives so far? FIVE! And two of them are Dominik Kubalik and Kirby Dach, each of whom ought to have at the least 6-7 by now.
The Hawks are averaging a paltry 2.14 objectives per recreation, second worst within the division behind Arizona’s nearly comical 1.86.
Colorado leads the way in which with 4.06 objectives per recreation (nearly double the output of the Hawks) and has eight gamers with at the least 3 objectives. Minnesota is subsequent with 3.71 objectives per recreation and has 11 skaters with 3-plus objectives.
So, sure, apart from Alex DeBrincat (12) and Brandon Hagel (7) it will assist if all the Hawks stepped up their recreation. This goes double for the blue liners, who’ve a measly 4 objectives COMBINED. That is the identical whole as Adam Boqvist has for Columbus in simply 12 video games. You all keep in mind him, proper?
“For essentially the most half, the floodgates will open for a few of these guys,” King mentioned. “And if our energy play begins clicking once more, we’ll be on high of those groups and we’ll come out forward.”
We’ll see. As a result of if it would not occur quickly the Hawks’ little resurgence below King is in huge bother.
Roster transfer: The Blackhawks recalled ahead Josiah Slavin from the Rockford IceHogs and assigned ahead Philipp Kurashev to Rockford.