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.

Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Stars: Another slow start but better finish

Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Stars: Another slow start but better finish

It wasn't pretty, but the Blackhawks found a way to pick up another two points and improved to 6-0-1 over their last seven games, and 18-3-1 over their last 22.

With Minnesota's loss to Philadelphia, the Blackhawks have taken an eight-point lead for first in the Central Division and are only two points away from the Washington Capitals for home-ice advantage throughout the entire Stanley Cup playoffs.

Let's take a look at Quick Hits from the 3-2 shootout victory over the Dallas Stars on Thursday night:

What Worked: The finish and shootout. While the Blackhawks scored the game's first goal, it was another slow start by a team that has had a few of those over the last several outings and has preached working on turning in more of a complete effort. They recorded only 14 shots on goal in the first two periods, and it took more than six minutes after Patrick Kane's goal to record their next one.

But they finished on a positive note yet again, and went 2-for-3 in the shootout thanks to Kane and Artemi Panarin, who potted the game winner. Kane said after the game that he tried his move on Scott Darling during morning skate and it worked. So he went with it tonight in an effort to snap a mini shootout drought and he did.

What Didn't Work: Controlling the puck. The Blackhawks seemingly have the puck more than their opponent does almost every game, but it doesn't reflect in the shot department because they often look for the perfect pass or shot and fail to record one at all. They had 50 shot attempts with 26 of them on goal compared to the Stars' 64 attempts with 44 on goal. They know they must get better at that.

Star of the game: Corey Crawford. After allowing four goals on only 10 shots in Tuesday's overtime loss to Vancouver, the Blackhawks netminder bounced back in a huge way. He matched a season-high with 42 saves, and recorded his 30th win of the season.

He Said It: "He played amazing tonight. Reason we won the game. Hats off to him, he's done that a lot this year. For a goalie it's probably tough to show up every night, even the goals he let in last game you can't put all the blame on him, but he was outstanding tonight." — Kane on Crawford's performance

By the Numbers:

167 — Niklas Hjalmarsson blocked one shot in the win, and it was enough to set a new career high in that department, previously established during the 2010-11 campaign (166).

15 — Trevor van Riemsyk assisted on Marian Hossa's goal in the third period, giving him a career-high 15 points on the season in 50 games. He had 14 points in 82 games last year. He also extended his point streak to three games.

6 — With the victory, Crawford has earned at least 30 wins in six of his seven NHL seasons as a full-time starter. The only time he didn't reach that mark was during the lockout-shortened year in 2012-13 when he went 19-5-5.

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