Following two straight years of Jonathan Toews scoring goals at a pace that would have netted him 40 goals per 82 games, the Chicago Blackhawks were expecting big things offensively from No. 19 in 2013-14.
In that respect, the Blackhawks have been let down to some degree. While Toews is not having a bad campaign by any means, he also hasn’t quite measured up to the brilliant level he performed at last season.
Until recently, that is. Chicago’s captain has racked up six goals in his last four games, seemingly taking it upon himself to carry the team’s offensive burden in the absence of Marian Hossa. Prior to this stretch, he needed 27 games to match that six-goal mark. Toews rediscovering his scoring touch has been a breath of fresh air for Blackhawks fans.
One could argue that the uptick in production is at least partially attributable to a change in even-strength linemates. After playing with Hossa and Patrick Sharp for a number of months, Joel Quenneville has elected to pair Toews with Andrew Shaw and Brandon Saad. Hossa and Sharp are obviously the more talented pair, but that line had evidently become stale (and Patrick Kane‘s play was suffering with minimal talent to work with on the second line).
Toews has done this once before, compiling six points in three games immediately following the 2010 Games in Vancouver. The Olympics, for all the media and fans’ inane whining about fatigue, plainly help some participating players; Toews is but one example.
The Blackhawks and their Conn-Smythe winning captain would be quite content to see the pattern set in 2010 and ostensibly occurring once again in 2014 continue all the way to its championship climax.