Blackhawks' captain Toews to play in 1,000th game Thursday
If we were to rank Jonathan Toews' top 10 accomplishments during his 15 years with the Blackhawks, we'd have to start with the obvious -- the three Stanley Cups teams he captained in 2010, 2013 and 2015.
Being named the third youngest captain in NHL history could easily be No. 2.
Where he ranks in team annals in goals, assists and points could be included as well.
As for playing in his 1,000th career game, a milestone Toews will reach when the Blackhawks play at Florida on Thursday?
Is it really that big of a deal -- one worthy of a top 10 moment?
No doubt about it.
"It's a special, special milestone for sure," Toews said. "It's not something I take for granted by any means."
Which is no surprise when one considers Toews has battled through multiple concussions over the years and also dealt with an illness that robbed him of the entire 2020-21 campaign.
If not for these setbacks, Toews could have reached this mark two years ago.
Seven other Hawks have played in 1,000 regular-season games. Incredibly, Toews will be the fourth to accomplish the feat in the past four years. He'll join Duncan Keith (1,192), Brent Seabrook (1,114) and Patrick Kane (1,092).
Stan Mikita holds the record at 1,396. The others to hit 1K are Bobby Hull (1,036), Eric Nesterenko (1,013) and Bob Murray (1,008).
Picking a favorite moment or two was impossible for Toews when he was put on the spot after the Hawks' 6-5 loss to Buffalo on Monday.
"There's a lot of them," he said.
For sure. So let's look some:
• Most fans probably don't remember, but Toews scored on the first shot he ever took in the NHL. After fighting off a San Jose Sharks defender as he entered the offensive zone, Toews fired from just inside the left faceoff dot. After it connected, Toews pumped his left fist as he circled behind the net and was then greeted by an overjoyed Patrick Kane. Brent Seabrook, who sent the pass to Toews, joined the scene just a second later. It was the only goal the Hawks would score in a 2-1 loss.
• Toews' first hat trick came in an overtime loss against Pittsburgh at the United Center on February 27, 2009. The third goal came when Toews beat Marc-Andre Fleury after taking a gorgeous pass from Cam Barker, who assisted on all 3 tallies. A sea of red Blackhawks hard hats, which were that night's giveaway, then littered the ice.
• In the beginning of the 2015-16 season the Hawks played back-to-back games that ended in scoreless ties after regulation. Toews notched both game winners in overtime, beating Tampa Bay with an incredible rush through two defenders, and then Anaheim after taking a pass from Kane and besting Frederik Andersen over the goalie's left shoulder.
• Toews' 100th goal came on January 16, 2011 in a 6-3 win over the Predators. He closed out the scoring with 3:35 remaining and became the fifth-youngest player in franchise history to reach the mark.
• Toews' first 5-point game -- in a wild 6-5 win at Anaheim on November 25, 2011 -- included an incredible 4-point third period. Toews scored twice and assisted on a pair of Patrick Sharp goals just two minutes apart. The Hawks erased a 4-2 deficit en route to their 13th win in 23 games.
• Toews had two hat tricks in 2018-19, the first coming at St. Louis in the second game of the season. Toews knotted things up with 13:01 remaining, then won it in 2:20 into OT on a breakaway.
Other highlights include the Winter Classics at Wrigley Field, Notre Dame Stadium, St. Louis and Washington. There have been classic off-the-ice moments as well, including Toews and Kane singing Take Me out to the Ballgame at Wrigley Field in 2008; Kane demonstrating his dance moves to Toews at the 2014 Hawks Convention; and being waked up to an enormous amount of breakfast items during one road trip (courtesy of pranksters Patrick Sharp and Adam Burish).
"A lot of great memories over the years," Toews said. "(This is) a moment where you get to kind of stop and look back and appreciate all of that and how far you've come, how many great people you've met and players you've played with and teammates you made friendships with and on and on."
The Hawks will honor Toews with a pregame ceremony when the Hawks host Arizona on Sunday.
"Looking forward to having some family and friends and people who really helped me get to this point and showing them my appreciation," Toews said.
Where Jonathan Toews ranks in Hawks history:Games played
1. Stan Mikita 1,396
2. Duncan Keith 1,192
3. Brent Seabrook 1,114
4. Patrick Kane 1,092
5. Bobby Hull 1,036
6. Eric Nesterenko 1,013
7. Bob Murray 1,008
8. Jonathan Toews 999
1. Bobby Hull 604
2. Stan Mikita 541
3. Patrick Kane 425
4. Steve Larmer 406
5. Denis Savard 377
6. Jonathan Toews 355
1. Stan Mikita 926
2. Patrick Kane 742
3. Denis Savard 719
4. Doug Wilson 554
5. Bobby Hull 549
6. Duncan Keith 520
7. Steve Larmer 517
8. Jonathan Toews 489
1. Stan Mikita 1,467
2. Patrick Kane 1,167
3. Bobby Hull 1,153
4. Denis Savard 1,096
5. Steve Larmer 923
6. Jonathan Toews 844
NOTE: Toews ranks 7th in power-play goals (83), tied for 8th in short-handed goals (17), tied for 3rd in game-winning goals (67) and tied for 6th in hat tricks (6). He ranks No. 1 in NHL history with 51 shootout goals.
Milestone goals:50th: March 1, 2009, in a 4-2 victory over the Kings. Toews scored 47 seconds into the game.
100th: Jan. 16, 2011, in a 6-3 win over the Predators. Toews closed out scoring with 3:35 remaining.
200th: Toews tipped in a long shot from Duncan Keith in a 5-0 victory Nov. 4, 2014 at Montreal.
300th: Toews jammed in a shot after taking a pass from Patrick Kane in a 5-3 loss Nov. 3, 2018, at Calgary. Brent Seabrook also assisted.