CHICAGO -- Not having Jonathan Toews will definitely be a challenge on Tuesday night for the Chicago Blackhawks, but for more reasons than just his outstanding leadership and offensive skill.
Toews also leads the League in winning faceoffs (61.1 percent) and usually takes the most important draws on a nightly basis. So, how will the Hawks cope in the faceoff circle without him against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night?
For starters, there likely will be more responsibility placed on the wingers to get to pucks off the draw first.
"I think you've got to tie up the puck, tie up the centermen and look for help," said Jamal Mayers, Chicago's veteran fourth-line center who's won 55.6 of the draws he's taken this year. "(Toews) is the best in the League for a reason, because he works at it. He's committed to starting with the puck. It's better to start with it than to chase it and I think that obviously it's going to be a group effort to win those draws tonight."
Thanks largely to Toews' efforts, the Hawks are the third-ranked team in the NHL in faceoff percentage (52.1 percent), while the Predators are 20th with a success rate of 49.5 percent.