Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews wins Mark Messier Award


Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews wins Mark Messier Award

Jonathan Toews was named the winner of the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award on Wednesday night in Las Vegas at the NHL Awards.

The award, voted by Messier, is given to the player "who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice during the regular season." It's the first time Toews has won the award since it debuted during the 2006-07 season.

Honored and shocked, the Blackhawks captain said he owes all the credit to the players around him.

"Wow, this is amazing. Definitely did not expect to be standing up here accepting this award," Toews said, after accepting his award. "I feel in so many ways unworthy. ...I definitely would like to thank my teammates. I wouldn't be where I am, right here, without those guys."

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Two weeks ago — midway through the Stanley Cup Final, Messier shared high praise for the (now) three-time Stanley Cup winner.

"I know how much pressure is put on a captain at an early age," said Messier. "Jonathan came in here when he was named captain early and has never taken a backwards step. He's grown into an incredible captain, leader, inspirational on and off the ice. The way he's carried himself, the messaging to the fans, his initiatives that he's involved in off the ice — what more can you say? Easy guy to like on and off the ice."

Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron edged out Toews for the Selke Trophy (NHL's top defensive forward) for the second straight year. Bergeron received 1,083 votes to Toews' 1,051. Toews captured the award in 2013.

Blackhawks notables

— Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson took home the Norris Trophy for the second time in his career. Karlsson had 964 votes. Duncan Keith finished in seventh, scoring 134 votes.

— Tampa Bay Lightning's Steve Yzerman won GM of the year. Stan Bowman ranked No. 10.

— Carey Price ran away with the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goaltender. Price had 144 points. Nashville Predators netminder Pekka Rinne was the runner-up with 60 tallies. Corey Crawford came in sixth.

— Patrick Kane finished in 10th place for the Lady Byng Trophy, an award given to the player with best combining sportsmanship and ability. Calgary Flames' Jiri Hudler won the award.

Other award winners

Hart Memorial Trophy (NHL's most valuable player): Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens

Jack Adams Award (NHL's top coach): Bob Hartley, Calgary Flames

Ted Lindsay Award (top player chosen by fellow players): Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens

Calder Trophy (NHL's top rookie): Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers

Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey): Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'


Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

It was a rare sight to see the Blackhawks in a shootout on Wednesday night.

It was just the second time this season — and first time at the United Center — that the Blackhawks made it past 3-on-3 overtime. 

The last came on Dec. 2, 2017, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Stars in Dallas. On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks were on the other end, beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a seven-round shootout. Nick Schmaltz netted the game-winner.

"We'll take it," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we had a decent game tonight. Overtime not so good, I liked the shootout victory, Fors made some big saves for us particularly as the game got deeper. Our third was OK, I thought our first two were way better, and overtime we gave up some high quality, some bells were rings for a bit there. But it was nice to see the shootout win."

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, recording another multi-point game, his 16th of the season.

"I mean we need every point we can get at this point," Kane said. "There's still belief in this locker room. Obviously we need to go on quite a run and have a big record here down the stretch. But take it a game at a time and nice to get two points."

Anton Forsberg was a big reason the Blackhawks even recorded those two points. The 25-year-old netminder stopped 34 of 36 shots and made a handful of big saves down the stretch.

"It was really nice to get a win for sure," Forsberg said. "I would love to have a lot more wins, but right now just gotta look forward and get as many wins as possible."

Added Quenneville: "I think it was good for him to win a game the way he did. Lot of shots were on the line, as we progressed, got deeper, hitting the point first was big for him and for us and then finding a way to get the extra one was a good win."

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?