CHICAGO | From the moment he committed an unprecedented three penalties in the second period Thursday, Jonathan Toews was portrayed as a one-man team practically responsible for the Blackhawks’ Game 4 loss.
“When things go well for our team, I sometimes I get maybe more credit than I deserve,” the Hawks’ captain said Friday. “Same goes the other way when we don’t play as good as we can, we don’t win games. Then the same thing goes for me. I understand that’s part of it."
Toews was his usual stand-up self as the Hawks participated in an optional practice after the demoralizing 2-0 defeat in Joe Louis Arena that put them shockingly on the brink of elimination. He was one of only a handful of regulars who participated in the workout following a meeting coach Joel Quenneville termed as positive.
Toews will continue to be the center of attention the longer he goes scoreless in the postseason and the longer the Hawks struggle against the Detroit Red Wings. The arch-rivals now hold a commanding 3-1 advantage going into Game 5 tonight at the United Center.
Defenseman Brent Seabrook had to counsel Toews to take control of himself amid the penalties.
“After the third one, he looked frustrated and I don’t know if that was the reason for the penalties,” he said. “I just tried to calm him down. We need him. He’s the best player on our team and our leader.
“If the rest of the group sees him like that, it’s just going to trickle down. We need him to be focused and ready. I just told him to sit down, take a couple of deep breaths and be ready to get back up there.”
Toews is not psyched out by the defensive blanket Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg has thrown on him.
“I’m not as worried about him as maybe you guys think I should be,” he said. “I think he’s a good player. Obviously (I’m) trying to limit his scoring chances when he gets the puck. I’m still getting chances. He’s doing a great job of playing smart, defensive hockey. But it doesn’t mean I’m not getting chances and I’m not getting to the net. Those chances are coming, and at some point they have to go in…I’m not too worried about it.”