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Jonathan Toews of Blackhawks aims to improve speed, skill

Chicago center will change offseason routine after scoring NHL career-low 21 goals this season

by Brian Hedger / Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews said Saturday he will change his offseason routine to emphasize speed and skill after scoring an NHL career-low 21 regular-season goals and one in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Toews finished with 58 points (21 goals, 37 assists) in 72 games. It was his second straight season with fewer than 60 points. He's scored one goal in each of the past two playoff series, a seven-game loss to the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference First Round in 2016 and a four-game sweep by the Nashville Predators this year.

"Just the way the speed of the game has really changed these last couple of years, I've always been that type of player who likes to play heavy and protect the puck down low in the corners," the Chicago captain said. "It seems that strength has been a factor, but also the speed in my game that I used to have in my younger years."

Part of his offseason focus will be dedicated to increasing his skill with the puck.

"I have to get back to playing more puck possession, more speed on the rush, so that right there is one little thing," Toews said. "But I think the skill part is another thing we'll have to focus on, and try and get back to playing the way I know I can."

Video: CHI@NSH, Gm4: Toews picks the corner for PPG

Toews, who turns 29 on April 29, said he will let his body recover for a couple of weeks before beginning his offseason training. He will not compete for Canada in the upcoming IIHF World Championship, which will begin May 5 in Paris and Cologne, Germany

"It's not as long as it looks,' he said of the offseason, "and going to the World Championship will eat up a lot of that time getting ready to be prepared and be the best I can be for my team next year. [There's] a lot of things I'm looking to change [with] the way I do things off the ice."

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