Jonathan Toews is hovering in rarified territory.
The captain of the Chicago Blackhawks is approaching or has already surpassed playoff records set by some of the greats in the franchise. Legends Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita, for example, may soon be looking up at Toews in the record books
The first to fall could be Mikita’s consecutive game point streak in the postseason, achieved in 1973. Mikita and Toews are tied with at least a point in 11 consecutive postseason games.
“I’m [ticked] off as hell,” Mikita joked Thursday, also his 70th birthday. “I didn’t know they kept such a thing in the archives.”
“God bless him. Happy to see a guy like that break it.”
“He leads by example, from what I’ve seen,” Mikita said.
Not surprisingly, Toews is uncomfortable with comparisons to Hawks greats.
“You guys are going to overwhelm me with all this stuff,” Toews said after practice Thursday. “I’m trying not to think about it.”
But he can’t help it. A point in 11 straight playoff games doesn’t happen often. If passing Mikita’s mark isn’t enough, consider this: With his two-point effort in Game 2, he has become the Hawks’ all-time leader in points per playoff game with 1.16, surpassing Bobby Hull in that category for players with a minimum of 30 postseason appearances.
“It’s a cool thing to think about,” Toews said. “You don’t get to this point without working hard and playing the right way and playing a team game.
“I’ve been lucky to be on a streak. You can work hard and play well and do so many things right, but when you don’t see pucks go in, it does hurt your confidence a little bit, so I have to say things have been working pretty well for myself … but [I’m] not going to get too high on myself and go out there and just expect that kind of success.”
Since Toews doesn’t like to talk about himself, his teammates are more than happy to talk about their captain.
“I never get sick of talking about Toews,” John Madden said. “As long as I’m talking about Toews, that means he’s playing well.”
“You saw how great he was at the Olympics, and now you’re seeing it here. He’s been fun to watch in the playoffs. He competes every shift and it rubs off on the rest of us.”
The phrase “He won’t be denied” comes up often regarding the captain. That’s a basic reference to his character and his on-ice play.
“That streak speaks volumes for what he does,” Andrew Ladd said. “He takes it to a whole new level. His preparation 24/7 is what makes him a great player.”
As for Mikita, he’ll be watching closely, in Game 3, and expecting his record to fall.
“I hope it happens and early in the game so we don’t have to sit around and wait for it,” Mikita deadpanned. “He’s a good player.”