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updated: 6/3/2014 11:05 PM

Toews, Kane are truly Blackhawks mainstays

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  • The Blackhawks have every intention of making sure Patrick Kane, left, and Jonathan Toews remain teammates for life in Chicago.

      The Blackhawks have every intention of making sure Patrick Kane, left, and Jonathan Toews remain teammates for life in Chicago.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 
 

Even though he couldn't be any clearer than saying earlier this season that he wanted Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to be Blackhawks for life, Hawks general manager reiterated that point again Tuesday, saying taking care of his two superstars is job No. 1 this summer.

"It's the highest priority for us," Bowman said of extending the contracts for the pair who can become unrestricted free agents after the 2014-15 season. "There's no doubt that's what we're going to do.

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"We made it clear. We've never wavered from that."

And it sounds like his two big-time players would like that as well.

"Absolutely. Who could ever think of a better situation to be in?" Toews said. "I think back to the day I was drafted. I had absolutely no idea all this would be in store for me in my short career so far.

"I've been so fortunate to be a part of a group of unbelievable guys. The majority of our team has been together since I've been here and just to see the growth of this franchise in the city of Chicago, the amazing fans we have here, there's no doubt in my mind there's no better way to have it as a hockey player.

"Things will take care of themselves when it comes to that. That's where I'm at."

Ditto for No. 88.

"I know we both love it here in Chicago, love playing here and having the chance to win every year," Kane said. "We'll see what happens.

"I don't think it's something Jon or I play for -- our contract or the money. We're playing to try and win and because we love the game."

Kane and Toews are represented by the same agent, Pat Brisson, whom Bowman lauded as "the best agent in the game."

"We're excited to work with him and get that worked out," Bowman said. "I know in my conversations with (Kane and Toews) it's always been positive. They've loved the experience here.

"The one thing I know about both of them is they want to win. Take all the other things and set them aside -- they're winners and they want to win."

There was more potential good news for Kane on getaway day: Coach Joel Quenneville indicated that the days of rotating centers playing alongside him may be over thanks to the recent success of the Kane, Andrew Shaw and Brandon Saad grouping.

"Maybe we found that center with Shawzy and Saader and him as linemates," Quenneville said. "But I just think whether it's two of those guys or one of the two with him, they could be linemates for a while."

Kane's ears seemed to perk up when he heard that news.

"We saw a little success at the end of the year with myself, Shaw and Saader," Kane said. "They're two young enthusiastic guys who want to do well and play hard.

"Just talking to them, I think it's important to have a strong summer and make sure if we're playing together when we come back we're ready to go right off the bat."

Another player who needs a strong summer, according to Bowman, is Kris Versteeg, who struggled late and saw his ice time dwindle as the postseason went on.

"I think the biggest thing for him is to have a good summer -- training, being prepared for next year," Bowman said. "He was coming off the (knee) injury last summer, probably didn't get the full recovery time that every athlete needs when you have an injury (knee) like that.

"It's important for him to have a good summer and come to camp refreshed. He's comfortable with our group here and the way we play … so I'm really excited for that as we move forward."

mspellman@dailyherald.com

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