What in the world is wrong with Jonathan Toews?
The Chicago Blackhawks are in the midst of a nine-game losing streak with no end in sight. They have lost 11 straight road games and in each of those losses given up three or more goals against. It's time for the captain to lead by example.
Captain Serious has gained a reputation of being a great leader in the NHL. At the age of 23, Toews has already won an Olympic gold medal, a Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe Trophy.
But during this losing streak, Toews has only two assists and a minus three rating. It's fair to say that Toews has been less than stellar the past few weeks.
It's not in Toews' nature to be so lackluster when his team is down and out. So what is ailing Jonathan Toews?
It was only a few weeks ago that Toews came back for the game against Vancouver after he suffered a left wrist injury. With the way Toews has been playing since his return one can only wonder if he is still suffering from an injury. Toews would want to rejoin his team especially if they're in the middle of a losing streak, but maybe he did so too soon.
Could it be the stress of being the captain of a team that is spiraling down the Western Conference standings? In a recent interview with ESPN's Jesse Rogers, Toews said that the losing streak is always on his mind.
"Every minute of the day lately," Toews said after practice Wednesday. "It's one of those things you need to try and save that emotional energy for the game, but it's been tough to get some sleep at night the way things have been going lately."
But Toews is known to be cool under pressure as evidence by his performance in the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs.
What plagues the captain is what plagues this Blackhawks team. Toews has been kept off the score sheet for most of this losing streak; the Blackhawks are scoring just below two goals a game.
The Blackhawks have been defensively porous allowing three or more goals during this losing streak. Toews has also lost some of his defensive ability allowing the opponent to get prime scoring chances. Perfect example of this was when Toews gave up the puck in the neutral zone against the Nashville Predators last game. That turnover led to a goal.
It's no secret that this Blackhawks team needs Jonathan Toews. He's the heart and soul that wills the players to win games and to take pride in how well they play. So this team is naturally very reflective of how Toews plays.
Is it any coincidence that this current nine-game losing streak started when Toews' left wrist started to hurt?
Whatever it might be, it is imperative that Toews get out of his slump and play to the standard that Blackhawks fans have come to expect. It's the only way that the Blackhawks will end this monster of a losing streak and make the playoffs.