Blackhawks

Jonathan Toews gets rewarded, scores 'ugly one' to snap goal drought

Jonathan Toews gets rewarded, scores 'ugly one' to snap goal drought

Jonathan Toews has seemingly been through it all during his 10-year NHL career.

He wasn't going to let a 13-game goal drought prevent him from playing any differently, but even the greats can squeeze their sticks a little bit too hard when things aren't going their way offensively.

The Blackhawks captain got back on the scoresheet for the first time since Nov. 6 thanks to some puck luck, when he tapped home what appeared to be a shot from Artemi Panarin. The goal extended Panarin's point streak to a career-long seven games with the assist and gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead on the power play midway through the second period.

It took a while for the goal to be announced to the United Center crowd of 21,918 because it was unclear whether Panarin's shot hit an Avalanche defender and ricocheted in.

But it was Toews who was ultimately credited with the goal even though it may have gone in without his help.

"Like I've been saying it was a matter of time," Toews said following a 2-1 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night. "It was an ugly one. I probably stole that one from Bread Man but I think he's had his fair share of one-timers on the power play. It was nice to feel one and see it go in. It always helps the confidence no matter what.

"Unfortunately we couldn't feed off it and get some more the way we needed it tonight. It sucks we came up short."

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

It was only Toews' third point in his last 11 games, but perhaps the puck bouncing in your favor is a sign of good things to come.

He helped create his luck, too, after registering a team-high seven shots on goal. The Blackhawks also controlled 53.1 percent of the even-strength shot attempts, according to naturalstattrick.com, when he was on the ice.

"(He was) around the net, Jonny scored a goal so that'll help him going forward," Quenneville said of Toews' game. "He had the puck a lot. Some of those shots, traffic or not, the shots around the net are a little more dangerous. But usually he's around the net, kind of like (Artem Anisimov).

"The other guys are usually feeding him in that area. Toews is probably more effective around the net and getting those greasy goals like he got tonight."

Toews has now scored a goal in each of his last four games against Colorado, dating back to the 2015-16 season. In their first meeting this season, he scored the first goal that turned out to be the game-winner, and followed that up by lighting the lamp in his next two games.

Perhaps the flood gates will open up after the Blackhawks return from a three-day Christmas break.

In Tuesday's game against the Ottawa Senators, Toews had a prime opportunity to bat the puck in on a wide-open net but it sailed high. He stared at the heavens for a second or two after it happened while play around him continued on.

On Friday, the hockey gods rewarded him for sticking with it.

Blackhawks fill assistant coach vacancy with hiring of Tomas Mitell

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Bildbyrån

Blackhawks fill assistant coach vacancy with hiring of Tomas Mitell

One month after "mutually" agreeing to part ways with assistant coach Don Granato, the Blackhawks have hired 38-year-old Tomas Mitell as his replacement on Jeremy Colliton's staff. 

Mitell spent the past two seasons as head coach of AIK Hockey (Allsvenskan) in Sweden, where he guided the team to an overall record of 64-27-13. He led AIK to a league-best 35-8-9 record during the 2018-19 campaign, with their 35 wins and 109 points each setting franchise records.

Perhaps more notably: Mitell served as an assistant coach under Colliton with Mora IK (Allsvenskan) during the 2016-17 season, so there's obvious familiarity between the two. 

Mitell rounds out Colliton's staff that also includes assistant coach Sheldon Brookbank and veteran goaltending coach Jimmy Waite. It's a young group behind the Chicago bench, with Colliton (34), Brookbank (38) and Mitell (38) each having little NHL coaching experience but offer a new-school way of thinking.

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Blackhawks sign 26-year-old Swedish forward Anton Wedin

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AP

Blackhawks sign 26-year-old Swedish forward Anton Wedin

The Blackhawks have always been active in the overseas market, and they landed another on Thursday after announcing the signing of 26-year-old Swedish forward Anton Wedin on a one-year, $925,000 contract for the 2019-20 campaign.

Wedin had a breakout season with Timra IK of the Swedish Hockey League, where he set a career high with 27 points and led the team with 14 goals in 32 regular season games. He also added nine points (two goals, seven assists) in seven postseason contests.

Wedin is a 5-foot-11, 194-pound winger and carries a left-handed shot. He's known to be a speedy forward and can play a 200-foot game. Wedin is likely to compete for a bottom-six spot for the Blackhawks in training camp, and it doesn't hurt that Jeremy Colliton knows what he brings to the table having coached against him in Sweden when he was with Mora IK.

The Blackhawks' most recent overseas signings include Dominik Kahun, David Kampf and Artemi Panarin. They’re hoping Wedin can join that group as potential impactful players.

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