Hawk Talk: The Promised Land
The Blackhawks and their fans have been waiting. Waiting for a contender. Waiting for a star to lead us out of the wilderness. I think we've finally found him.
Despite missing 16 games due to a knee injury, and despite only playing 37 NHL games (as of this writing), I'm ready to declare Jonathan Toews as the player to lead us all to the promised land.
Too early? Maybe I'm too late.
Everyone who has seen this guy play has declared him as tough a competitor as you'll find. He won me over with one simple line after a tough loss earlier this season, "We have to hate to lose more."
For years I've been waiting for an athlete to say that instead of its mirror opposite, "We love to win." News flash: Everyone loves to win. In this day and age it takes a special athlete to declare how much losing hurts.
And it's not just talk. This is the sort of guy, I think, who teammates will eventually not want to let down. His leadership and desire will be infectious. It'll take time, as not many teenagers can command a team, but sooner rather than later the Hawks will fall in line with Toews.
It doesn't hurt that he's a pretty darn good player as well. I thought his return to the lineup after missing 16 games was nothing short of fantastic! He won draws, drew penalties and set up the Hawks' first goal in Vancouver.
The thing I like about him the most is that he seems like the type who simply won't be denied. He goes after it. The great players in the league are highly skilled, of course, but the very best on offense have an aggression to their game that doesn't show up in the box score. You have to see it with your eyes.
Based on what I see, that Cup thing may become a reality with the help of number 19.
Email pre- and post-game radio host Jesse Rogers at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Listen to "Inside the Hawks" with Jesse and special Hawk guests Thursdays from 8-9 pm on WSCR 670-AM.