Toews: 'There's no place better to play hockey'

Toews: 'There's no place better to play hockey'
September 11, 2013, 8:00 pm
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Stan Bowman said last week that he was confident that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane would re-sign with the Blackhawks when their current contracts expired. He reiterated that on Wednesday, and Toews was happy to hear it.

“It meant a lot to hear that, and sitting here with two other (core) guys as well, we understand how special it is to play in Chicago,” said Toews, who joined Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith at today’s media availability. “Amazing things that have happened since I’ve been a Blackhawk, and not a lot of young players can count themselves that lucky. If that’s my potential to spend a lot of time like that in Chicago, so be it.

“I’m just enjoying every season as it comes,” Toews continued. “Right now, it would be tough to find a reason to play somewhere else. There’s no place better to play hockey.”

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Bowman told the team website last week that the Blackhawks’ version of the dynamic duo would be here “forever.” He talked about the team’s confidence in re-signing the two on Wednesday, the day before the Blackhawks opened training camp at the University of Notre Dame.

“I know these players and know they want to win. I’ve had conversations with both of them and they have faith in the ownership -- Rocky will do whatever it takes to make this franchise a perennial winner. Ultimately, this is what those players are looking for,” Bowman said. “They’ve been here their whole career. I know the character of those two. They want to win next year and the year after, and I can make a commitment to them that that’s our focus year after year. You don’t get caught up in the details. But when you have two talents like that, there’s no doubt you’ll make it work.”

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Toews and Kane’s contracts expire after the 2014-15 season, but the team can negotiate/sign them within the year before they become unrestricted free agents.

“When you find two like that who are talented on the ice and quality people off it, you’re very fortunate,” Bowman said. “Most teams would die to have one player like that. We’re fortunate to have two. We’re going to keep them around for a long, long time.”

A-OK

Bowman and coach Joel Quenneville said the Blackhawks are in good health entering training camp. Quenneville said this year’s team “looks like the best conditioned group I’ve ever seen.” Still, with a few players coming off late postseason injuries and, in some cases, procedures, Quenneville said they’ll keep an eye on things. He said all the Blackhawks will practice; some may take limited contact but Quenneville said, even if that’s the case, it would only be for the short term.