The day after fighting San Jose’s Joe Thornton, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said Saturday he would do it all over again.
“There are times where you have to assert yourself and stand up for yourself,” Toews said. “That’s all it was. You’re not going to see me do that very often, and I haven’t in my career.
“It is part of the game, maybe for that reason that you want to buy your time and space and your respect out on the ice. That’s something you have to do to kind of prove that you deserve it.”
The Hawks are 11-0-3 and can move a step closer to Anaheim’s NHL record of 16 games to start a season without a loss Sunday against the Los Angeles Kings at the United Center (2:30 p.m., NBC).
“It’s great we’re winning games; we have goal-scoring from different lines,” Toews said. “I think you can work as hard as you want and do everything right, but when you don’t score goals and when you don’t find ways to win games, that confidence doesn’t quite reach the same level.”
The Hawks’ confidence is reaching new heights.
“It’s high right now,” Toews said. “We work hard, we do the right things, and things go our way. We want to keep that going. It’s a good thing right now to see contributions come from all parts of our lineup.”
“Getting off to a good start always breeds confidence in the locker room,” Patrick Sharp added. “The streak, there’s been a lot of talk about it. To be honest with you, in our locker room we’re just focused on playing good hockey. We’re not really too worried about the end result.
“I don’t think you can crown a champion just now. That’s why you play the games. The league is so close, and so much parity in it right now it only tightens up as the season goes on.
“There’s a lot of hockey to be played. We definitely feel good about the way we’re playing and the idea is to get better every week.
The Hawks skated with the U.S. Wounded Warriors on Saturday at Soldier Field and enjoyed every minute of it.
“We had one drill to get loosened up and get some shots out there, but it was nice sharing the ice with these guys,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “They loved it, and our guys liked it just as much. It was fun.
“These guys are our heroes. It’s inspirational to see these guys come out here and play. They’re doing everything they can to have some fun, stay in shape, play something they love and get to share it with some pro athletes is special to them.
“I think it’s more special for us that we get a chance to show some of our appreciation for what they’ve done for us.
Injured goaltender Corey Crawford didn’t skate Saturday and won’t play Sunday against the Kings.
“No change,” Joel Quenneville said. “He’s not playing tomorrow.”
Crawford is out with a suspected concussion. Ray Emery will make his second straight start.
“It’s nice to play consistently,” Emery said. “As a goalie you want to play as often as you can. You don’t want it to happen when another guy is hurting, but I’m excited to play.”
The Kings are eager to get a second crack at the Hawks, who spoiled their banner-raising ceremony on opening day with a 5-2 victory at Staples Center.
“We got them off on the right foot. We take a lot of credit for their success,” said Kings coach Darryl Sutter told the Los Angeles Times with just a hint of sarcasm as only he can.
“They’re an awesome team. Two years removed winning a championship with that same nucleus, and they’re all healthy. They’re where they are for a good reason. It’s not hard to figure out.”
The Hawks have lost three times in shootouts.
“They’re not invincible,” Sutter said. “Somebody is going to beat them. We’d like to try again. They’re not on a different planet than us.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.