The following is excerpted from the October 2017 issue of Blackhawks Magazine, which celebrates 10 years of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Pick up a copy at the next Blackhawks home game, or by calling the Blackhawks Store at 312-759-0079.
If you think bobblehead giveaways attract attention, watch the ice when Patrick Kane is present on the right wing. Opponents gather around whether he has the puck or not. He can thread a pass through a keyhole with those magical hands, and can score from anywhere -- even while horizontal, as he did against the Montreal Canadiens last November. Bobby Hull cites Kane as among the best ever at handling the puck while speed-skating.
Jonathan Toews, a center, has performed with numerous linemates, as has Kane. No. 19 is strong of body and mind, always conscious of the risk-reward element endemic to his pedigree, which is based on monitoring the entire rink. Whether that has affected his offensive possibilities is an issue he will not duck. As a baseball manager says on a trip to the mound to counsel a pitcher who wants to strike out every batter, there's a reason you have eight teammates wearing gloves.
"Could I score more than I do?" said Toews, whose stats last season (21 goals, 37 assists) bothered him. "I'd like to think so. Part of my problem is that I spread myself too thin in certain ways. My personality is that I feel I need to be involved all the time so that I don't really disappear and trust our other guys. That doesn't mean you become less responsible as a two-way forward, but it means playing a little smarter, seeing the game differently, not being too cautious and over-worrying. Have more fun.
"I look at guys like Kaner and Sharpy. They are so good at zoning in, finding open ice and letting the play come to them. Let things happen. You don't have to cheat, either. Just let the process play out by maybe seeing the game a little differently. There's more there, and I have to find ways to let it out and find those scoring areas. Plus, on top of all that, after we got knocked out in the first round by St. Louis two years ago, we had a longer offseason than we wanted. So I trained really hard and might have overdone it. The game is so fast now, and I came into last season feeling slow. I wasn't moving like I wanted to."
Toews and Kane basically grew up as Blackhawks. That they did so together enhanced their journey.
"We were fortunate to be drafted by Chicago, for sure," Kane said. "And fortunate to come up at the same time. Especially at the start, when we were 19 or 20, still feeling things out, reading off each other, bouncing things off one another. Jonny brings things to the franchise that I don't, and maybe there are things I bring that he doesn't. We have different roles. He deserves to be captain, for sure. He controls the room. I think I've become a better leader, but sometimes it's nice just to prepare yourself. Would I ever want to wear the 'C'? Nope."