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updated: 5/24/2013 6:33 PM

Hawks try to help Toews keep his cool

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  • While Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard has kept Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews scoreless during the playoffs, he was helped in Game 4 when Toews was sent to the penalty box three times in the game.

      While Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard has kept Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews scoreless during the playoffs, he was helped in Game 4 when Toews was sent to the penalty box three times in the game.
    Associated Press

 
 

Just about every day for the last couple of weeks or so, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has been asked the same question in one form or another:

"How frustrating is it not to have scored a goal yet in the playoffs?"

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And each time Toews has quietly, yet confidently, responded that, yeah, it's a little frustrating, but he's just going to keep his head down, keep playing hard and eventually it'll come around.

But as the games continued, the goals never came, and the losses to Detroit began to mount. Finally, in the second period of Game 4 on Thursday, Toews' reached his boiling point after being sent to the penalty box for the third time in less than a 6-minute span.

Just minutes before, the Red Wings' had scored the eventual game-winner while Toews was in the box, and there he was again, and as frustrated as some have ever seen him, including Hawks defenseman Brent Seabrook, who skated over to have a word with the captain.

"I just tried to calm him down," Seabrook said. "We need him. He's the best player on the team and our leader. If the rest of the group sees him like that it's going to trickle down so we need him to be focused and be ready.

"I just told him to sit down and take a couple deep breaths and be ready to be back out there because we need him."

Seabrook wasn't the only one who wanted to have a word with Toews.

"I was looking to chat with him as well," coach Joel Quenneville admitted.

Toews didn't need to be told, he knew, and no one felt worse about it than he did.

"I understand that what happened in the second period wasn't a good thing," he said. "I don't attribute it to me losing my temper. I think obviously I was a little bit careless with my stick, and unfortunately it cost me, it cost our team.

And after the Hawks dropped a 2-0 decision to put them on the brink of elimination, it was Toews' play that was topic No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 -- on any platform you can think of -- among Blackhawks fans.

"When things go well for our team, sometimes I get maybe more credit than I deserve, and I think the same goes the other way," Toews said. "When we don't play as good as we can, we don't win games, the same thing goes for me. I understand that's part of it.

"The players need to be our best supporters. We need to lead, we need to grab the rope and start pulling for the rest of the guys.

"It starts with me."

Statements like that are exactly why Quenneville is thrilled, goals or no goals, to have this captain on his side.

"He's a true leader," Quenneville said. "He's everything that represents our organization in the right fashion. You couldn't ask for a better captain or a better competitor than Johnny.

"Sometimes his frustration shows because he wants to do things the right way and he will continue to do it the right way."

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