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100 Greatest Players

Blackhawks past and present highlight elite list

Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith join seven past Chicago legends among 100 Greatest NHL Players

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

LOS ANGELES -- Not that Jonathan Toews needed another reminder of what he represents on a daily basis, but he got one Friday when he was named as one of 10 Chicago Blackhawks, three current and seven former, who made the cut for the 100 Greatest NHL Players presented by Molson Canadian.

"I don't really know how to describe it," Toews said. "I'm honored. I'm flattered. I want to let myself believe it but at the same time there is that part of you that wants to stay humble."

Toews joined current teammates Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith and former Blackhawks Bobby Hull, Tony Esposito, Denis Savard and Chris Chelios on stage at Microsoft Theater at "The NHL100 presented by GEICO," where the final 67 players were revealed.

Stan Mikita was also announced as part of the final 67, but he couldn't be in attendance. Goalie Glenn Hall and forward Max Bentley were named as part of the first 33 on Jan. 1.

"Our Hawks are a pretty special team," Esposito said.

The 10 players have their names on the Stanley Cup a combined 22 times, including 12 times as Blackhawks. They have won the Conn Smythe Trophy four times, three as Blackhawks, and won 25 major postseason trophies.

Mikita, Hull, Esposito, Hall, Savard, Chelios and Bentley are in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Kane, Toews and Keith are on their way.

"It's something special for a team with the history that the Blackhawks have," Toews said. "Being an Original Six franchise in that city, going back as long as they do, having the sweater, there's just this energy, this history, this kind of richness to it all that I think is special.

"For us to already be midway through our careers and be thrown in the same conversation as guys like Tony O and Bobby Hull and Stan and Denis, it's crazy. I don't think even if I'm still playing somewhat close to 10 years from now I would still believe that I should be mentioned at that level."

What's funny about that is Savard admitted he can't believe he belongs on the same list as Toews, Kane and Keith, players he coached before they became three-time Stanley Cup champions and Conn Smythe Trophy winners.

Savard coached the Blackhawks for parts of three seasons, from 2006-08. His only full season, 2007-08, was Kane's and Toews' rookie season. Keith was already in his third season. Savard still calls them all kids.

"What these kids have done already, three Cups, Conn Smythes, MVPs, Art Ross -- it's so difficult to do," Savard said. "I know they're hockey players and they got to come play every night, that's what they do, but it's difficult to be on the stage they're on every day, every night."

Savard said he pulled Kane aside and told him he wanted to be in a picture with him, and he wanted to be in front, "because this one is for a lifetime."

His hope is that Kane will cherish it decades from now.

"I pointed to Bobby and said, 'That will be me in 20 [years] and you're going to be me in 20,' " Savard said. "I said, 'Think about it, because by the time you know it you're going to be there.'"

For now they're all together, seven Blackhawks in attendance Friday and three more who couldn't be, all on the most prestigious list the NHL has ever put out.

They didn't need another indication of what they represent in Chicago, but they got one -- an impactful one.

"It's the Blackhawks, it's a lot of tradition," Keith said. "It's the city, the people of Illinois and everybody that supports that crest. The word is family and it is one big family. To be a part of that in the top 100 with these guys and representing the Blackhawks is a huge honor."

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