Tag Archives: jonathan toews

Why Jonathan Toews is vital to the Blackhawks’ powerplay

I read this interesting piece on the value of Jonathan Toews to the Blackhawks powerplay this year, so I thought it was good enough to be on the blog. Take a read. Story by Puck Daddy’s Harrison Mooney.

The Chicago Blackhawks currently sit atop the NHL with 27 points. They’ve been excellent in nearly every area through the first quarter of the 2011-12 season.

But, if there’s been a concern thus far, it’s been the inconsistency and, at times, the downright absence of their powerplay.

This was no more apparent than two weeks ago, when the Blackhawks suffered an embarrassing home ice loss to their rival Vancouver Canucks, largely due to losing the special teams battle: the Canucks scored 5 powerplay goals in 6 tries. The Blackhawks went 0-for-5.

Since then, however, the powerplay has begun to turn around. After scoring only 5 times in 53 man advantages through the season’s first 14 games — worse than all other NHL teams except the St. Louis Blues and the Columbus Blue Jackets — the Blackhawks are 7 for their last 22.

It’s not surprising. It was really only a matter of time before that group began to click, especially when you consider that, with Jonathan Toews on the ice, they start with the puck nearly 3/4 of the time.

This is nuts, by the way. Toews’s faceoff prowess is well-known, but when it comes to 5-on-4 situations, you wonder if the opposition’s fifth guy was supposed to take the draw.

Toews has always been a been a handful in the circle. In his rookie season in 2007-08, he won 53.2% of his faceoffs, good for 23rd in the NHL, and he’s finished no lower than 11th in the three seasons since.

This year, Toews has reached another level entirely. His current 61.6% win rate is well above his career-best. It’s also the second-best percentage in the league, and not by much — David Steckel leads the category at 61.7%.

When it comes to power play faceoffs, however, Toews stands completely alone. (Heck, maybe that’s why he wins so many.)

As of this writing, only six NHL centres have won over 40 powerplay faceoffs: Eric StaalMikko KoivuJason Spezza, Paul Statsny, Vincent Lecavalier, and Toews. But Toews hasn’t simply won 40 — he’s won nearly 40 more than he’s lost.

With the man advantage, Toews is 62-for-85 in the faceoff circle, good for an obscene win percentage of 72.9. On the powerplay, Jonathan Toews starts with the puck.

Considering that a lost faceoff can trim as much as 45 seconds off a two-minute man advantage, this is incredibly helpful. Expect the Blackhawks’ powerplay to continue to improve, especially considering how often Jonathan Toews lets them practice.

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2011 Playoff Preview Rd. 1: Blackhawks vs. Canucks

Playoff hockey is finally upon us, so grow out that mullet or beard or both (if you really want to be female-repellent) and get ready to witness some of the most intense and exciting competition since the 2011 NCAA women’s basketball tournament (just kidding). This year the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks squeezed through the regular season on the last day to capture the eight seed in the Western Conference, thanks to our friends in Minnesota.

This will be the third year in a row that the Blackhawks have to face the Vancouver Canucks, but the first time they will face in the Conference Quarterfinals in the history of the two franchises. The Hawks have annihilated the ‘Nucks’ cup chances in the semifinals both years. But can they do it once more, as an eight seed?
Click here to see the preview

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What the Blackhawks need to make it into the playoffs; tiebreakers explained

First column: Games played, then wins, losses, OT losses, points (in bold), and ROW

As of right now, the Blackhawks are in a tight race coming down to the last game of the season with both the Anaheim Duck and Dallas Stars. The Ducks hold the 7th seed while the Hawks hold the 8th seed. Both teams have 97 points. The Stars are sitting just behind the Hawks and Ducks with 95 points. All three teams have a game remaining. The Ducks take on the Los Angeles Kings tonight at 9:30 central, all eyes should be on this game. However, if all three teams somehow end up with 97 points (which would mean a Ducks’ loss tonight and a Blackhawks’ loss tomorrow followed by a Stars’ win), the 7th and 8th seeds will end up going to the teams who meet the sufficient tiebreaker procedures. Here’s how they work:

The first tiebreaker is basically the greatest amount of games won, called ROW (wins in regulation plus overtime; shootout victories are excluded). As of right now, the Ducks have the most ROW with 42 compared to the Hawks 38 and the Stars 37, clinching them a playoff spot no matter what. They’re going to finish either 6th, 7th, or 8th no matter what happens tonight.

Can the captain lead us to the promised land once more?

A Dallas win and a Hawks loss would put both teams at 97 points and 38 ROW, therefore resorting to the second tiebreaker, head-to-head points. Therefore, the Hawks would need at least to get to overtime against Detroit in their final game of the season to put them ahead of Dallas by one point. Dallas holds the second tiebreaker against the Hawks, as they have six points (three wins head-to-head) while we have only three points (one win and an overtime loss).

A final observation: If the Hawks do in fact lose to Detroit in game 82, Dallas would have to win in either regulation or overtime. If their game with the Minnesota Wild goes to a shootout and they win, they would have the same amount of points as the Hawks (97), but would still have 37 ROW to our 38. Good lord, this is going to be an epic regular season conclusion!

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Don’t Toews Me Bro! Hawks Win Sixth Straight

Well, that was easy

It was a fantastic wins-day evening to watch the Hawks defeat yet another opponent on the ice. Red hot Jonathan Toews notched his tenth multi-point night in the last 15 games after scoring two goals en route to the Hawks 6-4 win over the Calgary Flames. Newcomer Michael Frolik notched his first points as a Hawk (one goal, two assists) after going five straight games without a point.

The streaking Hawks hold a 7-1-2 record over the last ten games and have garnered the fourth most points in the Western Conference as of today. Captain Jonathan Toews has snared 27 points in the last 17 games and has been playing out of his mind as of late. Let’s hope the Hawks have regained their Stanley Cup form for the remainder of the season.

Michael Frolik’s goal snapped a 32 game skid and hopefully will open the floodgates for him. If he can regain his form in past seasons (42 goals in his first two seasons combined), the Hawks will likely be winning even more. One of his better plays during the game happened when Frolik sacrificed the body to pass the puck to Toews which eventually led to his second goal.

Viktor Stalberg roughed it up for the first time in his career against Mark Giordano late in the second. You can imagine how that went. To put it short: it didn’t go very well for Vik. Had Giordano landed one of those haymakers we might have been seeing Stalberg in the Tribune obituaries.

Highlights of the game below:

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