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Toews wants open line of communication with Blackhawks’ coaches, GM Davidson
As the Chicago Blackhawks go through a transitional period, Jonathan Toews wants to have more dialogue with general manager Kyle Davidson and the coaching staff on the team’s direction.
With the Blackhawks sitting 27th in the NHL standings and struggling through an eight-game losing streak, Toews said Thursday he wants to have an open honest conversation about what the team expects from him as captain.
“I just think sometimes it helps me to hear their honesty,” Toews told reporters. “I just think it helps to have that line of communication, to know what they expect out of me and I know what they need and I know what my job is as a player, as a captain in the locker room.
“It’d be good to know exactly what’s going on in some detail to a certain extent. Then I can control what I can control and just go about my job.”
When asked about the Blackhawks’ play at home, Toews said it pains him to see the team put forth a lacklustre effort in front of fans.
“I think across the board these last few outings have been pretty embarrassing, I would say,” Toews said. “Regardless of the score, regardless of whether it’s a win or loss, the effort just wasn’t there.”
Over the last few seasons, Chicago has struggled to remain competitive, making the playoffs just once since 2017. Davidson took over for Stan Bowman, who resigned after an investigation into former Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich’s alleged sexual assault of Kyle Beach in 2010.
Toews has his role changed, playing on the second line with Philipp Kurashev and Taylor Raddysh. In an interview with Mark Lazerus of the Athletic in March, Toews admitted that he sees the Blackhawks’ rebuild plan as a lengthy process.
“Now, all of a sudden, you realize no one on our team is safe and we could all be going in different directions in the near future — it’s pretty discouraging,” Toews said. “I’ll leave it at that for now.”
Toews has seen many core members from the Blackhawks championship years get dealt, leave via free agency or retire, including Corey Crawford, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp.
Both Toews and Patrick Kane have one year remaining on their respective eight-year, $84-million contracts that they signed after Chicago’s last Stanley Cup win, in 2015. When it comes to his future with the Blackhawks, Toews provided an honest assessment of the situation given that he is 34 years old.
“I wouldn’t say it makes me question it as much as, for the longest time, the thought never entered my mind to leave Chicago,” Toews told reporters last month after the NHL trade deadline. “And, in this case, you can’t help but picture yourself and what it’d be like to play for another team and what that experience would bring.
“That pops into your mind, obviously, but again, Chicago’s my home, I love the Blackhawks, I love the organization, it’s been my family for a long time and I’m not putting the cart before the horse or getting ahead of myself in any way.”
Both Davidson and interim head coach Derek King have responded to the comments made by Toews and understand the position the veteran forward is in. The Blackhawks GM said after Toews’ comments in March that he expects to have more discussions with Toews in the off-season about the team’s direction.
“Jonathan’s an extremely passionate person, and I respect his viewpoints and what he has to say,” Davidson told Charlie Roumeliotis of NBC Sports. “In general too, I don’t think it’s the job of the player to have to worry about those decisions. They’re focused on the next day and their performance, so our purviews are a little bit different and our outlooks are a little bit different and our responsibilities are a little bit different.
“I respect what he had to say. It doesn’t catch me off-guard. That’s who he is. He wears his heart on his sleeve and that’s why he’s been so great. He’s going to go into the Hall of Fame because of some of those traits. That’s totally fine. That dialogue is going to remain and he’s going to understand everything I’m planning. As a player, I wouldn’t expect anything different from him.”