Jonathan Toews thinks about it every day -- the possibility of having to play overseas as the NHL lockout continues. And while the Blackhawks captain knows he has options, hes waiting for something to push me over the edge in that direction.
I guess, maybe if its at the point where the NHL has the nerve to cancel the season, then that would be the tipping point right there, Toews said after Wednesdays informal practice. Until then, its still an uncertainty.
Several Blackhawks have been considering overseas options for some time now. Those who have remained here have cited hopes that the NHL and NHLPA will work through their differences and get a new collective bargaining agreement in place. The two sides did meet with a federal mediator on Wednesday.
For Toews, the overseas decision is a tough one. He is certainly missing the routine hed be in during this time of year, the game schedule, the practices, all of it. And the burgeoning lockout frustration doesnt help.
A lot of us have waited patiently so far, he said. But when you constantly see the rejection and lack of negotiation, you get the ugly feeling its not going anywhere. Its a tough thing to do, to sit around and think about it even more.
But Toews is also looking at the other side of it. Hes healthy, hes still doing everything to keep in shape including all those informal practices -- and he wants to do everything he can to ensure hell have a long and healthy career. And not going through a grinding playing schedule has its benefits.
Until now I think Ive taken advantage of the time to take care of my body. I almost see this as an advantage, he said. You play so many games during the year and youre so busy, and this is a sport that takes a tremendous toll on your body. To be sitting on your butt is one thing. But to take advantage of this time off, to make yourself better and take care of your body, thats everything. Thats whats going to get you (not only) where you want to go and perform as well you want to, but to keep doing it for a long time.
Im not thinking of just this year or the next one. Im thinking further down the road than that, Toews said. Its a good thing to take care of yourself that way.