Jonathan Toews is paid to play strong protection, win faceoffs and battle onerous for pucks all around the ice.
He is paid to assist kill penalties and to ensure the facility play is working easily.
Because the Blackhawks’ captain he is additionally paid to place out any behind-the-scenes fires and to ensure 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 ample job in loads of areas, he is but to seek out the again of the online even as soon as throughout the Hawks’ first 21 video games.
Toews is one among seven forwards who’ve but to attain with 25 or extra pictures on objective. 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 very least a reasonable contributor within the goal-scoring division. After they’re not, it usually creates a nasty ripple impact that makes it troublesome for groups to win persistently.
The Hawks, whereas 6-3-0 beneath King, are nonetheless 1-for-30 on the facility 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 position 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 simple.
“It isn’t minor hockey, you recognize?” mentioned interim coach Derek King after the Hawks misplaced 2-0 to San Jose on the United Heart on Sunday. “You will get away with it there, however right here these gamers are good (and) these are good groups. … If 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 onerous, he is doing all of the issues we ask (of) him.
“He is our chief and he is enjoying good hockey.”
Toews had a couple of probabilities in opposition to the Sharks, with maybe the most effective one coming when Dominik Kubalik appeared for a redirect off Toews’ stick on a power-play. The puck flew to the top boards, making solely slight contact with Toews’ stick.
It is troublesome to say if the cross might have been a bit extra on course, or if Toews merely missed, however most guys will inform you they have to get extra wooden on the puck to at the very least give it an opportunity.
“The cross might’ve been extra on the heel than on the toe or in the course of the blade,” King mentioned. “It is a sport 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 sure 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 “all the pieces” in his sport.
As for the objective drought, which was at 15 video games on the time, Toews mentioned: “I imply it does not hassle me. However, you recognize, I might love to do one thing about it one among nowadays right here.”
Since then Toews has simply 8 pictures on objective 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 combat via 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 to this point? FIVE! And two of them are Dominik Kubalik and Kirby Dach, each of whom ought to have at the very least 6-7 by now.
The Hawks are averaging a paltry 2.14 objectives per sport, second worst within the division behind Arizona’s virtually comical 1.86.
Colorado leads the way in which with 4.06 objectives per sport (virtually double the output of the Hawks) and has eight gamers with at the very least 3 objectives. Minnesota is subsequent with 3.71 objectives per sport and has 11 skaters with 3-plus objectives.
So, sure, aside from Alex DeBrincat (12) and Brandon Hagel (7) it could assist if all the Hawks stepped up their sport. 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 does not occur quickly the Hawks’ little resurgence beneath King is in huge hassle.