Jonathan Toews Could Be Breaking Out of Season Opening Slump

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Chicago Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews, affectionately known by his fan base as “Captain Serious” or “Tazer,” scored the game winning goal Friday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Toews was one of the three stars of the game in the Blackhawks 3-2 victory, just their second win this season.

Jonathan Toews became the 16th player in NHL history with 13 career OT goals, and he’s the franchise leader in that statistical category. Among players from the 2006 NHL Draft class, Toews trails only Brad Marchand (15) in that department. 

Toews and the Blackhawks have a lot of work to do in order to become a playoff contender. Many of those who make free NHL expert picks see them as a postseason sleeper, but they currently sit only fifth in the Central Division. They’re getting stellar play from goalkeeper and off-season signing Robin Lehner, but they need a whole lot more from their captain. 

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He had just one assist and no goals through the first four games, and his defensive numbers were atrocious. Toews entered Wednesday ranked 390th out of 391 forwards with enough ice time to qualify in the category of scoring chances allowed per minute. Yes, he was the NHL’s penultimate in this regard, with only the N.Y. Rangers’ Chris Kreider ranking worse.

That’s very surprising, given how Jonathan Toews is annually in the conversation for the Selke Trophy, which goes to the league’s best defensive forward. Maybe this is the turning point, which sees Tazer flip the switch on. His first goal game in dramatic fashion, via a rebound from a shot by teammate Patrick Kane.

Jonathan Toews said his winning goal ricocheted off his shin pad; he’ll take it. It’s a method that Andrew Shaw has often used to score.

“I ain’t stealing anything from Shawzy,” Toews said after the game. “I guess if that’s the way I have to score to get things going I’ll take it.”

Chicago Blackhawks forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews

The other half of the Hawks’ recent dynamic duo, Patrick Kane, continued his hot start to the season by adding two assists Friday night. Kane is on track to have another point per game season, and if Toews can get it going as well, the Blackhawks could have a pleasantly surprising season.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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