Fans Choice Revealed: Best Forward and Defenseman/MVP
Last week, chicagoblackhawks.com asked fans to vote on the best of 2011-12 in the annual Fans Choice Awards. This week, the Blackhawks fans’ picks will be revealed in all nine on- and off-ice categories.
There is little doubt that when he's on the ice, Jonathan Toews is one of the top all-around players and best leaders in the NHL.
Toews recorded 57 points (29G, 28A) in 59 regular-season games and was among the league's point leaders when he went out with an injury on Feb. 21. He also led all Western Conference skaters with 42 even-strength points to that date. No player in the league had a better faceoff percentage than The Captain, who went 59.4 at the dot over the course of the year, and his 82 takeaways in a shortened campaign were still good for seventh-best in the NHL. Toews made a triumphant return in the playoffs, scoring a goal on his second shift back from injury, and adding the overtime-winner in Game 5.
Perhaps most importantly, Toews is an indelible presence inside the locker room, and he consistently gets the best from his teammates. No. 19 is a leader in every sense of the word.
One doesn't often draw headlines for consistency and grinding out plays, but Blackhawks fans understand exactly what they have in Brent Seabrook, who has won the Fans Choice Award for Best Defenseman in two consecutive seasons.
In 2011-12, Seabrook was a model of stability on the back end, embodying qualities like physicality (198 hits, tied for ninth among NHL defensemen) and sacrifice (165 blocked shots), and demonstrated responsibility in all areas. Seabrook's +21 rating ranked second on the team and first among club blueliners, and he not only matched his career high of nine regular-season tallies, but scored a career-high three game-winners. Seabrook's 22 penalty minutes were a career-low, and he again served as the team's top penalty-killer, averaging 2:28 per game shorthanded.
How much more can really be said about the season -- albeit abbreviated -- that Jonathan Toews had?
We asked our fans on Facebook and Twitter to share the reasons why they chose their Most Valuable Blackhawk, and here's our favorite case made for Toews, courtesy of Twitter follower Jennifer Mack:
We rest our case.