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Ask The Hawks: Jonathan Toews

by Staff Writer / Chicago Blackhawks

Blackhawks rookie sensation Jonathan Toews answers your questions.

Who's your most dangerous opponent for rookie of the year? -- Andr Kashindi, Montreal

I try not to think about that sort of thing, but I have to say it's Kaner. He's having a great season. He's doing a lot of good things and definitely turns a lot of heads, especially in Chicago and across the league.

What has been the hardest thing to overcome in your life to be where you are today? -- Joe Smith, Chicago

There are little things along the way, but I think most of all I've been so fortunate that I really haven't had to worry about too much. I give myself a lot of credit for all the work and sacrifices I made, but I would say that's nothing compaared to what my parents did and how much money and everything they've sacrificed for me to have those opportunities as a hockey player and to be a normal kid and be able to play sports and do everything like that. I've pretty much had everything handed to me and I can't 'lain. I have been very fortunate.

How is it living with Brent Seabrook? Who is a better cook? Do you guys split responsibilities around the house like: dishes, cleaning, laundry, etc.? -- Brooke, Bourbonnais, IL

I think as far as cooking goes I thought we were pretty even until the other night. He's got a couple of tricks up his sleeve; he's not too bad in the kitchen. But we switch up roles -- one day I'll clean and he'll do the dishes. I think we get along pretty well and it's working well so far. We enjoy hanging out together.

With the college season being significantly shorter than what the NHL requires, what are some of the things you added to your summer training program to make sure you have the legs to stay consistent at this level? -- Ari, Chicago, IL

I just do a lot of conditioning, pretty much every day, and I think a lot of the preparation I did this summer was the same as when I just turned 17 and was going to play college hockey as a freshman. I was just trying to get stronger and build my leg strength so I can skate and survive the storm of the busy NHL schedule.

Hi Jonathan, you are an awesome player and I hope you will be a lifetime Blackhawk... continued success. What song would you like them to play at the UC after you score? -- Jen, Ottawa, Ontario

I can think of a lot of good ones. I like the one they're playing; it's kind of an oldies song (Johnny B. Goode). It's alright. I like that one, but I can't really think of anything right now.

What was more memorable: your shootout goals to lift Canada past the U.S. or your first goal as a Hawk? -- Ben Boyles, Madison, WI

Obviously the three goals in the shootout was maybe my coming out party where after that people kind of had an idea of who I was, what I was like as a player and a person. But I think especially here in Chicago, that first goal resembled a new beginning and it was a special moment in my new career here.

How are you going to feel when TJ, Dunc, Taylor, and the rest of the boys finally bring home the trophy this year? I can only imagine how awesome we would be if you were back. Good luck, Jonathan, all of us Sioux fans are following your career and cheering for you. -- Jon Heffernan, East Grand Forks, MN

Even though I'm here in Chicago, I still feel very close and still feel like a very big part of that Fighting Sioux family, so I'm watching closely and I know the guys will be able to make another run and take another shot at that NCAA title. And I'll be just as happy if they win it this year than if we would have won it when I was there the last few years.

Jonathan, it looks to me like you truly enjoy the game. I think the most overlooked factor is a successful career is the fun factor. How much do you enjoy the game of hockey? Do you agree that having fun is a key factor in you being a great young hockey player? -- Dan Hyde, Arkansas

Yeah, I think this year has been so much more fun too since everything is so new for me personally. But especially for the guys who have been through some tough times here, everyone is so excited about the way things have been going this year. Right off the bat everyone got along so well that when you show up to the rink, nobody has any differences in the locker room and we're all very motivated which makes it a lot of fun to show up and go to work every day.

What's the best advice you would give to a 15 year-old hockey player (my son) who wants to advance his career? -- Joe McCarthy, Chicago, IL

I've always taken my career so seriously that even when I was eight or nine my dream was to play in the NHL and I wanted do anything to be the best all the time. I look back and maybe that wasn't necessary. I think you just have to enjoy the game and work hard. Obviously, if you work hard and pay your dues when you're young, the last thing to worry about is scouts and being noticed. You work hard and do well and have fun playing the game. If you're a good player, you know you're going to find a way to get there.

Congrats on a great start this season. When you got the chance to meet Joe Sakic during the warm-ups (vs. Colorado on Oct. 19), did he impart any words of wisdom? -- Steve, Warrenville, IL

Not really. We just kind of chatted a little bit and it was really nice to get to know him at pre-game practice and talk to him a little bit. He's such a class act and I was pretty nervous talking to him. He just made me feel real comfortable and asked me a bunch of questions and it was pretty awesome.

Hi, Jonathan! How old were you when you started playing hockey and for how many hours a day? -- Jack Sullivan, Chicago

I started skating around 3 or 4. I played organized hockey around 5 years-old and my dad always built a backyard rink so that's where I'd spend those long winter days. That's pretty much all I did as a kid.

Jonathan, you are obviously adjusting well to the pace of the NHL game -- congratulations. What will you miss most about NOT being in a Fighting Sioux jersey this season? Keep up the great work! -- David U, Grand Forks, ND

Now there are a lot of distractions with everything that comes with being an NHL hockey player. This is your job; it's what you do, but there are a lot of things on the side that you don't realize, a lot of things that might change the way you are as a person. Back in North Dakota it's a small town, it's really cold in the winter... obviously it's college and there's a lot of partying and stuff like that, but it's just hockey there. You just enjoy playing the game. But here it's a professional lifestyle and you have to be professional and obviously battle through mentally, keeping those other things on the side and just do your job and come to the rink everyday and leave everything behind.

Watching you play on TV is nothing like watching you live. You've got great skill, keep up the good work. Being Canadian, how was it playing your first game in Toronto -- on Hockey Night In Canada and coming up with the win? Did you have any family or friends come down from Winnipeg to watch? -- Leo P., Toronto

It was still early in the season so I didn't have too many people come from Winnipeg, but it was pretty cool to me. Playing in the World Juniors was the same type of thing for me as playing on Hockey Night in Canada, so that was a pretty special night.

Hi Jonathan, there has been plenty of talk of you being the guy to step up and take the "C" next year. If offered this responsibility, would you take it? And if so, what sort of positive leadership do you think that you can offer to the incredible balance of young talented rookies and experienced veterans on the Blackhawks roster? -- Brett Gurr, Lethbridge, AB

I would definitely be up for the task. I think it's still early in my career; there are still a lot of things I have to do as a player -- the way I play on the ice, the way I am in the dressing room with the guys... there's a long way to go. But I think all throughout my career I have prided myself on working hard and doing the little things right, going the extra mile, and some of those qualities I guess resemble that of a leader, so I think it's just a matter of gaining the respect from the guys in the room. If you don't have that no one's going to look to you for leadership or for you to make big plays on the ice. I think it's just a matter of time and we will see how it goes.

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