All Love For Jonathan Toews (and Other Blackhawks Bullets)
Thursday, April 13 was a long one, folks. From fighting traffic to get to Kyle Davidson’s 9 AM end-of-season media availability — during which we found out last night was indeed the finale for Jonathan Toews as a Blackhawk — to putting a bow on things with the final media availability from Toews after the game, let’s go ahead and grab a 14-hour day to close the regular season.
As the game came to an end… man. Composure wasn’t happening in many of the seats around the United Center. We never got an under-six TV timeout because of the play on the ice. Overtime went back and forth with Toews almost winning it on a breakaway that would have been the made-for-Disney moment we’ve become so accustomed to him authoring. And then, the formal goodbye. Hoo boy. Lots of dust.
- On Thursday after the Davidson press conference news broke, Patrick Kane was asked about this being the end of the line for Toews in Chicago. One legend confirming that status for his long time teammate. Man… the dust in this room was really bad yesterday…
- John Tortorella has coached against the Blackhawks and Toews for a long time. Last night, he had to coach against Toews in his final game. I think he says what most coaches would: be like Toews.
- And it shouldn’t surprise those who have paid attention to Torts’ appreciation for the game at a macro level, the history of the game and being present in significant moments that his entire team stayed on the ice through the Toews tribute video and as he started his on-ice interview after the game. Much respect to the Flyers’ players and coaches for getting it.
- Every team in Chicago paid its respects to Toews. When you’re the heartbeat of a dynasty, you get the opportunity to make some pretty exceptional photo moments around a city of Chicago. Even Notre Dame got into the act.
- Toews had a mic on as he tried to accept the applause from the more than 20,000 fans who showed up to say goodbye last night. The humility all the way to the end is what will forever set him apart. You’re absolutely worth of it, Captain. All of it.
- And, finally, here’s the start of Toews’ end-of-season… end of Blackhawks career… media availability from last night.
- The Columbus Blue Jackets won in overtime last night and the Anaheim Ducks lost in regulation. That means Anaheim owns the best lottery odds. Columbus plays their season finale tonight; they’re tied in points with the Blackhawks but own the tiebreaker advantage (regulation wins). So we need at least OT from the Blue Jackets tonight to get No. 2 in the odds.
- We now know (almost) all of the playoff matchups. With just one game left that will determine where Minnesota and Seattle start their postseasons, there playoffs kick off big time on Monday night.
- Last night, Buffalo goaltender Craig Anderson played his last game in the NHL. Some of us recall he was a third-round pick by the Blackhawks all the way back in 2001. He turns 42 on May 21, so it feels like it’s about that time on the old body clock. What made last night’s game special was it came against the Ottawa Senators, for whom Anderson played for ten seasons. After the game, the current Senators players paid their respects.
- Finally, the Bulls have a “playoff” game tonight. Their one-and-done in Miami is another opportunity to put the frustrating inconsistencies of the regular season behind and play to their capabilities. Can they? Will they? We’ll find out this evening.