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Jonathan Toews shining, on defense and offense

May 19, 2010, 11:00 AM EDT

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When the 2010 Selke Trophy  finalists were announced — Pavel
Datsyuk, Jordan Staal and Ryan Kesler — many felt that the one player
who was shorted the most was Jonathan Toews. A lot of the focus on the
Blackhawks is on their stellar blue line and their high-powered offense,
but one big key to their success this past season has been the
incredible defensive play of Toews.

Now that the three finalists are out of the playoffs — not that it
matters in the voting — we’re are truly getting a good taste for just
how important Toews is to this team. Not only has he put up incredible
numbers (7-16-23 in 14 games) but he’s riding a 11-game point streak,
which has tied a franchise record. Toews says that it’s great to be
productive, but scoring isn’t exactly his focus.

“I don’t even really think about scoring, getting on the board going
into some of these games,” Toews said after being named the number one
star of the game. “You know, you want to kill penalties, you want to
play with energy and create as much as you can in the offensive zone
when that happens to be your role.”

“I’ve gone into some of these games, focused on working hard. A lot
of offense has just clicked. Buff has been great on our line with
Patrick and I since he’s been playing with us. Whether it’s on the
power-play or five-on-five, we’re working hard.”

The key words above are “working hard”, something that the Blackhawks
have done almost to perfection so far in the playoffs. They’ve done a
great job of doing exactly what is needed to really throw a goaltender
off his game and what worked against Roberto Luongo is working against
Evgeni Nabokov as well. Toews talked about how he and Dustin Byfuglien
have been able to create chaos in front of the net.

“It’s great. Buff is a big body. You know, it’s nice to go to the
net, have that success when he’s creating, you know, a lot of traffic
and good screens in front of the goaltender.”

“Kane is out in the
open ice dangling around while we’re in front picking up the garbage
(smiles). It’s nice. We’ll take them any way we can. Tonight we got a
couple ugly ones in front of the net.”

You have to love a
reference to The Mighty Ducks during the 2010 NHL Conference finals.

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