Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Changes to Expect When Jonathan Toews Returns

James MaahsContributor IIIMarch 19, 2012

Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Changes to Expect When Jonathan Toews Returns

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    The Chicago Blackhawks have hit a stride without their captain.

    In the last 10 games the Blackhawks have gone 7-2-1, all without Jonathan Toews in the lineup.

    Of course that's not saying that the Blackhawks are a better team without Toews in the lineup, just that some things will have to change once he does return to the ice.

    How will Toews' return effect the Blackhawks?

    Maybe they will hit a hot streak at the perfect time going into the playoffs.

    These are the five changes to expected once Jonathan Toews returns.

The Center Situation

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    Consistency has become a major problem for the Blackhawks this season.

    Whenever the Blackhawks would win a few in a row, they would follow that with a few losses. The only thing consistent about the Blackhawk's play is it's inconsistency.

    That has been changing as of late and should continue to stay that way when Toews returns.

    The captain may help the Blackhawks find the consistency that they so desperately needed as this season was on the downturn.

Blackhawks' Leadership

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    In the wake of Toews' absence, Patrick Kane has stepped up and become a leader for the more "inexperienced" players on the Blackhawks' roster.

    Assistant captains have stepped up as well on and off the ice. Once Toews does return expect this to change.

    The leaders of the locker room will still have a voice but they will let Toews do most of the talking after his return. Let the "alpha" hockey player lead the team into the playoffs and to a Stanley Cup–so to speak.

    Leading by example and through his words, Toews will be eager to prove that he is 100 percent healthy and ready to take on any challenge the Blackhawks may face.

Defensively Inclined

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    The Blackhawks have tightened up defensively over the past couple of weeks as shown by their recent upswing.

    Toews, being one of the best two-way forwards in the NHL, will only help the Blackhawks defensively once he returns.

    When Johnny Oduya joined the Blackhawks' back end, he helped them become better organized and gain control of the puck. With the return of Toews, the Blackhawks' forwards could also tighten up defensively in their own zone.

    Being that the Blackhawks rank 23rd in goals against, this would be major boost for a team that is playoff-bound.

Improvement on the Power Play

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    Let's face it, for as much talent as the Blackhawks have on their roster, the power play is horrible this year.

    The Blackhawks rank 24th on the power play this season, which is far from where they are expected to be.

    With the return of Toews, expect that to change.

    Toews will only help a power play that is on its way to becoming more productive than it has been in recent years. The addition of one of the best players in the NHL could be the spark that it needs.

More Consistent Play

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    Consistency has become a major problem for the Blackhawks this season.

    Whenever the Blackhawks would win a few in a row they would follow that with a few losses. The only thing consistent about the Blackhawks play is it's inconsistency.

    That has been changing as of late and should continue to stay the course when Toews returns.

    The captain may help the Blackhawks find the consistency that they so desperately needed as this season was on the downturn.