Blackhawks

Jonathan Toews will make 'little changes' to offseason prep

Jonathan Toews will make 'little changes' to offseason prep

Jonathan Toews gave a succinct "no" when asked if he'd consider playing in the World Championships next month in Europe. For the Blackhawks captain, his 2016-17 season wasn't where it needed to be.

So instead of helping Team Canada across the pond, he'll prepare to help the Blackhawks more next season.

Toews will use this offseason in a variety of ways, including taking some time completely off to heal and rest. And while there's a lot of time between now and the Blackhawks' training camp, Toews said competing in the World Championships would take up a good amount of time he'd rather use to be ready for the fall.

"At this point of my career, going through the last couple of years the way things have played out, there are some little changes here and there with how I approach my preparation, especially the last summer being a long offseason and coming in feeling I was as prepared as I could be and still not getting to the level of play I wanted to this season," Toews said on Saturday. "There are some things I have to re-evaluate and think about this offseason. There's no satisfaction there but definitely take a different approach with how I prepare for next season. I didn't get to the level I needed to be to help our team survive a little bit longer in this last series, so I have to be responsible for that as well. Just look back, assess and see what you can do differently."

Toews had a slow start to the season and then missed three weeks with a reported back injury. Much like the rest of the Blackhawks he started heating up in February and finished the regular season with 21 goals. But it was another quiet postseason for him, as Toews had just one goal in the four games against the Nashville Predators, and that was a late-regulation power-play goal in Game 4.

So was Toews dealing with a physical issue? Asked how healthy he was, Toews said, "well, that's kind of one of the things I'm hitting on," but didn't get more specific than that. Coach Joel Quenneville said some of the Blackhawks' key players, "have some issues they're taking care of, but I don't think it's going to be to that extent to where it's long term care." Quenneville also said any health issues had nothing to do with what happened in this series. Toews certainly wasn't using it as an excuse, either. As for the future, Toews said he'll reconfigure his workout, training regimen, whatever necessary to be better next season.

"Just the way the speed of the game has changed the last few years. I've always been the type of player who likes to play heavy and protect the puck in the corners. It seems the strength has been a factor but also the speed in my game that I used to have in my younger years," Toews said. "I have to get back to playing more puck possession, more speed on the rush. That right there is one little thing. But I think the skill part is another thing I'll have to focus on and trying to get back to playing the way I can."

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Philip Pritchard on his frequent visits to Chicago

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Philip Pritchard on his frequent visits to Chicago

During the 2010s, the Stanley Cup visited the City of Chicago three times and no one knows the details of those visits like Keeper of the Cup, Philip Pritchard, does.

Pat Boyle is joined by Pritchard to discuss his frequent trips to Chicago during the championship runs, why was the Cup late arriving in 2015 and other stories of the Cup's adventures with the Blackhawks.

(1:14) - Missing Cup during the 2015 championship

(8:12) - Reasons why the Stanley Cup isn't present at the start of close out games

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(13:10) - Adventures of the Cup during the 2013 Hawks championship

(18:06) - Most bizarre story of the Hawks championship with the Cup

(24:05) - Which Hawks team had the most fun with the Cup

Listen here or below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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Calvin de Haan takes next step in recovery process, joins Blackhawks for Phase 2

Calvin de Haan takes next step in recovery process, joins Blackhawks for Phase 2

Calvin de Haan took the next step in his recovery process by joining the group of Blackhawks at Fifth Third Arena for Phase 2 of voluntary skates and off-ice workouts, the team announced Thursday. 

De Haan underwent right shoulder surgery in December and was put on a four-to-six-month timetable, which would have ended his 2019-20 season under normal circumstances. But because the COVID-19 pandemic forced the league to put its season on pause, the lengthy hiatus has afforded players like de Haan to rehab their injuries and be ready to go for the 24-team Return to Play plan, pending an overall agreement between the NHL and NHL Players' Association.

"I would expect him to be ready," GM Stan Bowman said of de Haan's status in June.

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Even though Phase 2 didn't open until the second week of June, de Haan has been ahead of the curve compared to other skaters as far as on-ice conditioning goes. He was spotted skating in Ottawa in late May with a small group of players, so getting back up to speed shouldn't be too much of a challenge.

If de Haan is, in fact, cleared to play for the qualifying round, it would be a major boost for the Blackhawks, who could use his presence on the top-four against a speedy Edmonton Oilers team.

"It would be great,” head coach Jeremy Colliton said. “Obviously we've got get him on the ice and go through camp and hopefully everything continues to progress as far as his health. But I thought the games he did play, he’s steady back there and plays a hard game. He’s not overly physical, but he makes contact and he can get a stop in D-zone. Very direct, makes simple plays with the puck, underhandles it and he can make plays on the offensive blue line as well.

“And just his experience, he’s a bit of a bridge between the young group that we have and the group that’s been here. I think that’s good. He’s been in other organizations and helps the new guys to fit in because he’s a new guy, too. We’d love to get him back.”

Phase 3 of formal training camps was originally scheduled to begin on July 10, but that date is likely to be pushed back to July 13.