Jonathan Toews is a steady presence on and off the ice for the Chicago Blackhawks, which is how he got the nickname “Captain Serious”. He doesn’t pull any punches in post-game interviews, and he’s not afraid to defend a teammate and drop the gloves (he’s actually only had two fights in his NHL career, but they were honestly kind of weak).
During the lockout, Toews has been one of the most outspoken players, giving the media his two cents on what’s been happening. His comments have been sharp, to the point that he sounds like he’s politely hinting that Gary Bettman and crew are figuratively doing improper things to the NHL and its players. So it comes as no surprise that Toews will be one of the players sitting across from the six chosen owners in Tuesday’s meeting between owners and players. So what can his attendance do for the meeting?
It could be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, Toews could use that levelheaded captain stance and do as Donald Fehr has done: be a cool head in the room and calm down the other players if things get testy. He’ll probably take that cue from good friend and fellow captain Sidney Crosby, who’s also attending the meeting. While they’ve both had their share of comments on the lockout, they’ve also kept their emotions in check and could help to settle any growing tension.
On the other hand, his emotions could spill out in a very bad way and wreck the meeting. As I’ve said, he’s not one to mince words. If he can’t contain his feelings, he might say things that will only make the situation worse. That could be what the owners are counting on: the players losing their cool. They can take that to the Board of Governors and point to it as proof that there’s no negotiating with them. Then very bad things could happen.
If Toews wants to be useful at the meeting, all he needs to do is turn on Captain Mode. He just needs to make sure he doesn’t go from Captain Serious to Captain Seriously Hindering.