Days after the Blackhawks were swept in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, Jonathan Toews made it known that he wanted to make "some little changes" to his offseason training program.
He went on to say that he never quite reached the level of play that he wanted to during the 2016-17 season after scoring a career-low 21 goals and totaling 58 points for the second straight year. Not bad, but not great by his standards.
In a recent interview with Sportsnet's Chris Johnston, Toews opened up about why he altered his offseason regime from the previous year.
“Last summer is the first time I really got the time to train really hard and I might have overdone it in the wrong way," Toews admitted. "Just worrying about power and strength all the time. I came into the season and just couldn’t move, just felt slow. I mean the game is so fast nowadays. It’s kind of a wake-up call in that sense.”
The game indeed is getting faster, and younger players are breaking into the league much quicker because of it. Look no further than Connor McDavid, who's quickly emerged as the face of the NHL.
It's also evident after watching the Pittsburgh Penguins win back-to-back Stanley Cups with their speed, not necessarily grit.
Toews recognizes that, and it's why he's making the necessary changes to help return to top form and get the Blackhawks back on track in doing so.
“When you see the top players nowadays they’re all on the ice,” Toews said. “They’re on the ice all the time just working on skill and that’s something I’m really going to focus on going forward.
"Just getting back to playing with the puck, knowing that that’s the type of player I am, and not just being overly concerned with the defensive two-way hockey but knowing that I can go out there and contribute with the best of them, too, if I put my mind to it a little bit more.”