Roenick: Toews could be MVP

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Roenick: Toews could be MVP

The praise and compliments for Jonathan Toews continue to pour in. This time, it was former Hawks great Jeremy Roenick with strong compliments about the Blackhawks captain.

"Jonathan Toews is one of the best captains in all of sports... right now he could be, arguably, the MVP of the National Hockey league," Roenick said Friday on Chicago Tribune Live. "It's not so much his talent -- his raw talent is fantastic -- but his mentality, his grit and his dedication to the game and his dedication to his team. He's a captain in all senses of the word."

Toews is enjoying the best start of his career, with 17 goals and 15 assists (32 points) in 29 games. The 23-year-old has scored 12 goals in his last 14 games.

Roenick feels Toews felt extra-motivated after the Hawks' disappointing 2010-11 season and believes the team could accomplish special things once again if teammates follow Toews' lead.

"I think he was embarrassed with what happened last year after they won the Cup, the season that they went through," Roenick went on to say. "Coming back this year, he's focused, he's in great shape and he's elevating his game and because he elevates his game everybody on the team has to elevate their game. If he continues to do that, this team is going to be very difficult to beat because of their captain."

What does Roenick think about NHL realignment? Watch the video to find out and let us know if you agree with his assessment of Toews by leaving a comment below.

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DENVER – Well, that was a wild one, wasn’t it?

We’ll spare you the gory-to-glorious details (most of which are in the game story, anyway). So instead, let’s just get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 6-4 victory over Colorado.

1. Great night for the rookies. The Blackhawks’ newest players were their most prolific players on Tuesday night. Vinnie Hinostroza had two goals. Tanner Kero did too, and added an assist. Nick Schmaltz had a goal and an assist. All of these experiences are great learning curves for the Blackhawks’ youth, and coach Joel Quenneville likes how they’re progressing, not just with scoring but with their overall games. “That’s the part that’ll make them better players and us a better team is playing the right way defensively, being responsible, putting the puck in good areas and going hard to the net.”

2. Top line still too quiet. Line changes were made but the results remained the same, especially for the Blackhawks’ top trio. Ryan Hartman and Richard Panik were up there with Jonathan Toews in this one, but still nada. The three had a combined three shots for the game. Many of you have asked if Toews is still dealing with that back injury. On Tuesday morning he said, “no, it’s been really good, actually.” Still, there’s something up with a top line that, regardless of combination, just can’t get anything going.

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3. Terrible second period. The Blackhawks came out of the first in great shape and with a 2-1 lead. But things got messy in the second period. Be it the inability to clear or get the puck deep in the Avs’ zone, the Blackhawks made mistakes. The Avs capitalized, scoring three goals in the second including two in a 63-second span. Outside of Tanner Kero’s goal, the Blackhawks had a forgettable second period. The Avalanche outscored them 3-1 and outshot them 8-4 in the second.

4. Faceoffs lost. The Blackhawks did not do well in this department, winning just 23 percent of their faceoffs. It didn’t cost them the game but they certainly need better nights than they got on Tuesday.

5. Corey Crawford gets through it. Crawford was stellar prior to his appendectomy but hasn’t been at that level since. Quenneville said he considered pulling Crawford during this one but decided to keep him in. Quenneville’s still happy with his goaltending – again, the Blackhawks aren’t where they are right now without it this season. But he said Crawford could be better than he was on Tuesday.