The Career of Jonathon Toews

Jonathon Toews is one of the many Canadians who have become household names in the NHL over the past decade and he continues to play at a consistent level for the Blackhawks. With almost 800 NHL games under his belt, the 30-year old knows what it takes to perform day in-day out at this elite level.

Born in Manitoba, Toews began playing at an early age and is believed to have been just three years old when taking to the ice for the very first time. He skated on a daily basis which helped hone his talents and after impressing at high school, he represented the University of North Dakota where he amassed 85 points in 76 appearances and regularly caught the eye.

Life at the Chicago Blackhawks

It was the Blackhawks who decided to take a chance on this rising star and he was third overall in the 2006 Entry Draft. The Chicago side were blooding youngsters at the time and trying to reduce the average age of their side and Toews was one of a number of youthful additions to the squad.

He made an instant impact for the Blackhawks, scoring in his first appearance in October 2007 and continued his hot streak by claiming at least a point in each of his first ten games. A run which also consisted of five assists. He finished as the second highest team scorer that season and was runner-up in the Calder Memorial Trophy with teammate Patrick Kane taking top honours.

He was made assistant captain in just his second season in Chicago with his leadership qualities clearly impressing the coaching staff. At just 20-years old, he was installed as captain becoming the third youngest in the history of the NHL.

Leading by example, he was a firm fans favourite and was rewarded with a new six-year contract at the end of 2009.

Stanley Cup Success

Toews’ eye for goal helped his side reach the Stanley Cup Play-Offs for the first time since 2002 but despite a decent start, they were eliminated by the Detroit Red Wings in 2009 post-season showdown.

He completed a second career hat-trick during the 2010 Stanley Cup Play-Offs and his fine form continued as he helped the Blackhawks to their first Stanley Cup success since 1961. It took just six games to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers with Toews following in the footsteps of fellow-Canadian Sidney Crosby to become just the second youngest captain to lift the prestigious trophy.

Another Stanley Cup victory was achieved in 2015 with Toews guiding his side to a victory over Tampa Bay Lightning. It was a third Stanley Cup triumph in six years for the Franchise and Toews had been a major figure in each of those successes.

In 2017, he was named amongst the NHL’s 100 greatest players.

International Career

He made his International debut in 2007 at the World Championships after playing just two years of college hockey and he was still on the verge of turning professional at this point. No other Canadian had been victorious in both the World Championship and World Junior Championship up until this point.

He has also enjoyed success at the 2014 Winter Olympics, picking up a gold medal and he also represented Team Canada at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. He scored just a single goal during their success at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver but did clock up eight points throughout the competition which was more than any of his team-mates.

The Glittering Career of Sidney Crosby

There are a plethora of NHL stars who have hailed from Canada over the last twenty years but very few can match the achievements of Sidney Crosby. Born in Nova Scotia, Crosby was always destined to be a star of the game after impressing at junior level and he also hailed from a sports-mad family. His father was a goaltender for Montreal Canadiens and following a modest career, he was seemingly keen for his son to go one step further. During his junior career, he excelled and became the youngest ever player to score in the World Junior Championships. He was making a name for himself and attracting admiring glances from a number of NHL teams.

He was picked up in the 2005 draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins, selected as their first overall choice. They put their faith in a youngster from Canada and it paid dividends.

Early Life at the Pittsburgh Penguins

His debut season saw him amass 102 points despite being given limited time on the ice and he was also dubbed one of the league’s best young players by a number of media outlets.

He continued to excel and during his second season in Pittsburgh he managed to secure the Art Ross Trophy following an impressive haul of 120 points during the regular season. The silverware kept on coming with the Hart Memorial Trophy also secured. He was also deemed the MVP which completed a truly remarkable breakthrough season for the Canadian.

Captaincy

In May 2007, Crosby was installed as captain after playing just 165 games for his side. He initially rejected the offer four months earlier as he didn’t believe he was ready for the responsibility. He was just 19 years and 297 days old when he finally accepted the role, making him the youngest ever NHL captain, beating the previous record by 27 days.

Despite missing a handful of games due to injury, he led his side to the NHL Stanley Cup Finals where they were defeated by the Detroit Red Wings. A 2-1 defeat at the Mellon Arena was a significant blow and they weren’t able to recover in time for game six.

Crosby finally got his hands on the Stanley Cup just twelve months later when guiding his side to success during the 2009 season. They avenged last year’s defeat by beating the Red Wings in seven games with Crosby becoming the youngest captain in the history of the NHL to lift the trophy. He scored 51 goals during the course of the season and added yet more silverware to his ever-increasing collection.

Injury Problems

It hasn’t all been plain sailing for Crosby who has suffered a number of injuries during the subsequent seasons. Concussion left him side-lined for the start of the 2011-12 campaign after he had previously missed out on the 2010-11 play-offs following a blow to the head.

Despite missing a large chunk of the campaign, he still finished as the team’s leading scorer, amassing 66 points during his 41 appearances.

International Career

As well as embarking on a hugely successful club career, Crosby has also represented his country on numerous occasions. He played a major role in Canada’s 2010 success at the Winter Olympics which were held in Vancouver. He netted a game-winning goal during a shoot-out with Switzerland to help catapult his side through to the next round and he also netted the decisive goal during overtime in the gold-medal winning game against the United States.

This is still regarded as one of Canada’s greatest sporting achievements.

In 2015, he captained Canada to success in the World Championships and helped his side bounce back from eight barren years in this competition. He scored four goals during the event and also claimed seven assists.