Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have become synonymous with Chicago Blackhawks hockey — together.
You can't think of one without the other, can't talk of the abilities of one without saying the same about the other. And if you're a Blackhawks fan, you can't imagine one here without the other.
Now, you don't have to.
As we've written in this space several times, it's never been a question of when Toews and Kane would re-sign lucrative, long-term deals with the Blackhawks; it was when they would sign. That happened on Wednesday, as each signed eight-year extensions worth a reported $84 million apiece (a $10.5-million AAV).
But this isn't about the numbers that Toews and Kane will receive with these new deals, which run through the 2022-23 season. It's about the numbers they've already put up with the Blackhawks: 440 points thus far for Toews, 493 for Kane and, of course, two Stanley Cups they helped the team win. It's also about the numbers they'll likely put up for years to come, and we won't even try to guess how many there will be.
[DETAILS: Eight more years for Toews, Kane]
Toews and Kane get it, too. There was never a question they were re-signing here. They're part of a core that's already won two Cups and has the potential to win several more. Yes, there will be a tweak or two to this team heading into the 2014-15 season — the Blackhawks are a little more than $2 million over the cap, and have to get under the $69-million cap before the regular season begins. But many of the pieces are still in place to keep this machine running a few more years.
“Who could ever think of a better situation to be in?” Toews said at the Blackhawks’ closing interviews on June 3. “I think back to the day I was drafted. I had absolutely no idea all this would be in store for me in my short career so far. I’ve been so fortunate to be a part of a group of unbelievable guys. The majority of our team has been together since I’ve been here and just to see the growth of this franchise in the city of Chicago, the amazing fans we have here, there’s no doubt in my mind there’s no better way to have it as a hockey player.”
Toews and Kane are dynamic players, certainly. But their effect on Chicago hockey goes beyond that. These two helped resurrect a franchise, resuscitated a hockey market that was dying to return to its glory days. Toews and Kane brought hockey back, they brought fans back, they brought the Stanley Cup back. Their agent, Pat Brisson, summed it up in his statement today.
"Jonathan and Patrick are among the most dynamic and impactful players in the NHL today," he said. "The great support the Blackhawks organization has shown them over the past seven years has been instrumental to their accomplishments on the ice. It has been a great partnership and we look forward to continued success.”
Thanks to these two, so do the Blackhawks.