Toews & Kane: Hawks' core wants more
Together they have led the Blackhawks to two Stanley Cups in the last four years.
Jonathan Toews won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2010 as playoff MVP. Patrick Kane won the Conn Smythe last June.
Toews has a gold medal from Team Canada in 2010 at Vancouver and won the 2013 Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward. Kane won the silver medal with Team USA at Vancouver and was the Calder Trophy winner as rookie of the year in 2008.
They will be Hawks forever, if you believe what chairman Rocky Wirtz and general manager Stan Bowman say.
So what do Toews and Kane do for an encore? For them, it's all about winning.
"I've always said you are presented with certain opportunities and you've got to make the most of them," Toews said. "We don't care about the little things, all the individual achievements on the side, it's about that legacy. It's about what our team and our franchise means to the city of Chicago. We want to keep that success going, and I don't think the hunger is going to go anywhere."
It's difficult to imagine Toews playing better than last season when he scored 28 goals and had 48 points in 47 games and finished fourth in the voting for the Hart Trophy as the league's MVP.
But nobody pushes himself harder than the Hawks' captain, who contends there are always ways to get better.
"A lot of people ask what's next?" Toews said. "As a player you always want to get better, and personally on a selfish level you always want to better the way you contribute to your team. There are little things that you know you can do better and that you can improve and help your team. Every year I want to produce more and more."
It's always on to the next challenge for the 25-year-old Toews.
"It's forget what we did yesterday and it's on to the next thing," Toews said. "Whether your past game was a good or bad one, you've got to move on and try and prove something every single day. If you're just getting a little something out of every single day, at least it adds up to something special in the end.
"We're not going to get ahead of ourselves. People want to talk about repeating this year, but that's a long way away."
For Kane, he has been able to elevate his game every year since he was a rookie. He led the Hawks with 55 points in 47 games last season.
"We're working on trying to get better every day and just enjoy playing hockey and have fun with it," Kane said. "We've got a great team here, we had a great team last year. You always want to get better as a player and improve your stats to help the team."
Kane can think of a few ways he can be better.
"Just your overall game, from scoring to stick handling to playing defense to making good plays and not turning it over," he said.
Kane won't turn 25 until November while Toews already is 25. They are in the middle of their athletic prime despite starting their seventh season with the Hawks.
"They really understand what it's all about," Bowman said. "We are very fortunate to have two players like that. I think most franchises would die to just have one, and we've got two of them."
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville knows how fortunate he is to have players such as Toews and Kane.
"They're both young guys and I would say they're still getting better," Quenneville said. "Both guys are looking to be the best they can be on a daily basis. They both like winning, so it's a situation where I don't think they're content with where they are in their development.
"There is still room for growth. I've watched Kaner skate out here in practice and he looks quicker and stronger. I think Johnny is at that same place. I don't want to say there's a certain age where you stop getting better, but I think these guys still have a ways to go where they're still going to be improving."
If anyone can keep getting better and better, it's Toews.
"I like to consider myself able to compete with the best players and push myself to get to that next level," he said. "At the same time with a team's success, individual success always seems to follow.
"I didn't score a lot of points compared to the top players in the league and somehow I made it into the Hart Trophy talk. That says something right there. I'm surrounded by a great team, and that definitely helps a lot."
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