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Nugent-Hopkins embraces challenge of facing Toews


Playing in the brutal West means Ryan Nugent-Hopkins faces a bevvy of elite centers, but the Edmonton Journal believes that his games against Jonathan Toews presents the biggest tests.

The latest session happens on Monday as the Edmonton Oilers host the Chicago Blackhawks. Nugent-Hopkins seems eager to learn from what the Edmonton Journal calls “a seminar on how to play the game at both ends.”

“I like the way Toews battles in all areas of the game. He’s got so much talent offensively but he’s so good defensively. You can definitely tell he’s the leader out there,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “I like the opportunity to play against him, actually. It’s a challenge, for sure, but I’ve enjoyed it.”

The 20-year-old said he wants to be “known as a two-way centerman.” Getting the best of a star like Toews - in his own zone and on the attack - would be a big step toward accomplishing just that.

Like acing a high-level course, that can be easier said than done, however.

Follow James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins