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Toews: Presidents’ Trophy ‘doesn’t mean a whole lot’ to ‘Hawks

Apr 22, 2013, 11:34 AM EDT

Jonathan Toews Getty Images

With just four games left in the regular season and holding a five point lead atop the NHL, the Blackhawks are on the verge of capturing their first Presidents’ Trophy since the 1990-91 season.

Not that their captain is very excited about it.

“It’s a cool thing that people talk about, but they won’t talk about it very long,” Jonathan Toews told the Chicago Daily Herald. “It’s not that important.

“Of course we want to be the best and put ourselves at the top for the entire season, but the fact it’s called the President’s Trophy doesn’t mean a whole lot to us.”

Capturing the regular season title has always been odd for players to contextualize.

It’s a significant accomplishment — especially for Chicago this year, given its record-setting points streak — but one that massively pales in comparison to winning the Stanley Cup.

That said, winning this year’s Presidents’ Trophy would be cool for the Blackhawks from a historical standpoint. It would put them in a conversation with the great ’90-91 team that featured Ed Belfour, Jeremy Roenick, Chris Chelios, Steve Larmer and Michel Goulet, the first and only Chicago team to win the regular season title.

It would also ensure Chicago home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs, so that’s something.

There’s another issue to consider with the Presidents’ Trophy, though:

The hex it’s thrown on recent winners.

Since the 2004 lockout, four of seven winners were bounced in the opening round of the playoffs, including last year’s winner — the Vancouver Canucks, who were eliminated in five games by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Kings.

‘Hawks head coach Joel Quenneville said that, with all the parity in the league, winning the Presidents’ Trophy doesn’t mean much come playoff time.

“Hey, we saw last year with the eighth seed that anybody can win,” he explained. “The parity and closeness of all the teams, if anybody can get on a roll and take off and go, they think they can win it.”

  1. jpelle82 - Apr 22, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    just ask washington or vancouver how they like their president’s cups banners with no cups

  2. modellforprez - Apr 22, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    well thats ashame toes cause were going back to 92 baby and thats a wrap. doo doo doo doo doo!

  3. georgejarkko - Apr 22, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    the way teams talk about the President’s Trophy, you’d think they’d just stop giving it away.

  4. capsrockva - Apr 22, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    if they win the president’s trophy that means an early exit in the playoffs. That trophy is a curse

  5. florida727 - Apr 22, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    One of the greatest things about hockey… an 8 seed actually DOES have a chance to upend a 1 seed. When’s the last time an 8 seed beat a 1 seed in the NBA? Or when’s the last time an NCAA #1 seed lost in their first round? Hockey’s different. It literally is one of those “on any given night” sports. That’s why everyone pays attention even to the early rounds. Best sport ever invented.

    Certainly understand Toews’ apathy for the President’s trophy. I don’t think anyone ever asked Gretzky how many of those his teams won, THEN asked how many times his name is engraved on Lord Stanley’s Cup.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Apr 22, 2013 at 1:47 PM

      Just to let you know the 8th seeded Sixers beat the #1 Bulls last season but I absolutely agree with your points. Hockey is one of the few sports where any seed can go on a run. You just gotta get in and then anything can happen. And that’s why the NHL playoffs are amazing.

      • comeonnowguys - Apr 22, 2013 at 2:04 PM

        I get what you’re saying, but the “asterisk factor” on that series is HUGE.

        The league MVP goes down in game 1, their second-best player goes down a few games later. That’s NBA death, pure and simple. Even the Bobcats would have a hard time blowing that series. (They would, don’t get me wrong.)

      • phillyphanatic77 - Apr 22, 2013 at 2:23 PM

        Oh no I totally agree. There’s no way the Sixers pull that off if Rose doesn’t have a catastrophic injury. And to go along with Florida’s points, the Sixers won that series but they had no chance to go farther. In the NBA there’s really only 3 or 4 teams each year with a legitimate shot to win the title. In the NHL, pretty much any team in the playoffs has a chance to pull off the upset. That’s why the NHL playoffs are so much better. I was just answering his question.

  6. blomfeld - Apr 22, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    “Best captain in the game today?” …

    You won’t get much argument from me if somebody throws that question my way about Toews … and we already know coach Sutter’s feelings on the subject eh? Anyway, these accurate and sober remarks by the Hawk’s captain are “consistent” with what one expects from a “quality” leader, which is what Toews is.. There’s only one thing that counts and that’s winning the Stanley Cup. The Canucklers and “Ovi” lovers can go on all they want about their empty President Trophies. But at the end of the day, those trophies equate to nothing more than say leading a golf tournament at the turn, or leading a football game at the half. How you finish is what counts, nothing more and nothing less!

    GO KINGS GO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ps: thanks to PHT as I just learned a new word today ! :)

    Contextualize: to state the social, grammatical, or other context of … to put into context

  7. 19to77 - Apr 22, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    With a captain like that at the helm, they won’t experience the “hex” if they win it. Unlike Vancouver’s leadership, Toews and co. don’t just assume one success will easily lead to another and think they can slack off. L.A. humiliated the Canucks because they had pencilled themselves into the second round before the first game even started. Toews doesn’t let the ‘Hawks get arrogant or lazy.

  8. comeonnowguys - Apr 22, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    That said winning this year’s Presidents’ Trophy would be cool for the Blackhawks from a historical standpoint. It would put them in a conversation with the great ’90-91 team that featured Ed Belfour, Jeremy Roenick, Chris Chelios, Steve Larmer and Michel Goulet, the first and only Chicago team to win the regular season title.

    Don’t get me wrong, I have fond memories of listening to these guys on the radio (the great Bill Wirtz, ladies and gentleman). But I’m pretty sure actually winning the Cup puts you in a higher conversation than a team that, you know, …didn’t.

  9. thehighcountrybear - Apr 22, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    It’s not hard to figure out why players wear respirators and hazmat gear in the presence of the Trophy or during conversations regarding its winning…

    Winning the Presidents’ Trophy is the equivalent of hanging a great dirty albatross around the necks of winning players; for its curse certainly but more so for its association! No thank you ma’am…

    History tanking in playoffs notwithstanding, why would players want to be associated with League presidents, historically presenting as the worst kind of corporate yes-men and in at least one case, a criminal –hey, let’s name a conference after Crooked Clarence?

    In heading the business side of hockey, League presidents are bent on maximizing profit for team owners at the expense of players who in and of themselves are the Game. What kind of idiot stages lockouts in what is presumably meant to be a fair-minded collective bargaining process, this while ignoring the interests of the very fan base that puts the meat and potatoes on everyone’s table?

    It’s not hard to understand why players are becoming overt in dismissal of merit associated with any League president, particularly he who holds present office…the quintessential corporate ass!

    The only awards of consequence in a team game are those given for player achievement in bringing a team to excellence, the only awards of interest to fans are for that very excellence!

    Toews is just too well bred and too politely mannered to out with real feelings about the Presidents’ Trophy and its namesake…

    • blomfeld - Apr 22, 2013 at 4:21 PM

      “What kind of idiot stages lockouts in what is presumably meant to be a fair-minded collective bargaining process” ? …

      The answer of course is none other than GARY BRUCE BETTMAN. Excellent post Highcountrybear and your summation of the “quality” which is Jonathan Toews is spot on. Were I to be an East German judge, then you’d be getting a score of 9.9 from me! :)

    • blackhawksdynasty - Apr 22, 2013 at 8:16 PM

      This is the first time I’ve ever felt compelled to even consider giving the “thumbs up” to a comment from the long-winded bear. (and I did)

  10. comeonnowguys - Apr 22, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    I was wondering where all these random single-thumbdowns came from. He was lurking after all. :)

  11. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Apr 22, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    Truth be told ask any coach and they would tell you that they much prefer having home ice advantage during the playoffs. Toews is reminding the boys on the Hawks that the ultimate goal is winning the SC. Anything else is just a checkpoint on the road to the BIG championship.

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