Many people expected either Toews or Crosby to be named Canada's captain. Toews recently said he would be fine either way.
“I’m ready for any role they ask me to come into whether it’s captaincy or assistant captain or not wearing a letter at all,” Toews said on Jan. 7. “To me, it doesn’t matter. I think there’s a lot of guys who bring some leadership in their own way to the table. For those guys wearing the letters, those are the guys we look to for that leadership. I think there’s more than enough to go around in that room.”
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville touted Toews’ leadership ability prior to Canada’s announcement on Sunday.
“He’s represented Canada in the past," Quenneville said. "He’s won several championships for them in the past. He’s a quiet leader. He just goes about his business. He does the right things. He says the right things. He leads by example on the ice, how he plays. He’s a great representative of our group. What he brings to a captaincy level to our team, you couldn’t ask for a better role model or a better example of what a captain is supposed to represent.”
Toews’ former teammate Jamal Mayers, who is now an NHL Network analyst, also thought Toews would have been a capable Canada captain. Mayers compared Toews’ leadership to a former NHL great.
“To me, I think the ultimate leader in hockey growing up was Mark Messier,” Mayers said last month. “I think Taser is on the path to where they talk about the leadership quality that he has. Over time, I don’t think there’s going to be a difference when you’re discussing a true leader whether it’s Messier or Jonathan Toews. Taser has a lot of hockey left in him.
“I think he took a huge step in the last few years. It’s amazing to me at the age of 25. It took me to my 30s to realize to have a bigger picture and not just think of yourself for the next game. You want your teammates to do well, but you’re focusing only on yourself. It takes guys longer to have a bigger picture. He has that. He knows he can’t win with just him and him and (Patrick Kane). He knows he has to have that group.”