Jonathan Toews shining, on defense and offense

When the 2010 Selke Trophy  finalists were announced — Pavel
Datsyuk, Jordan Staal and Ryan Kesler — many felt that the one player
who was shorted the most was Jonathan Toews. A lot of the focus on the
Blackhawks is on their stellar blue line and their high-powered offense,
but one big key to their success this past season has been the
incredible defensive play of Toews.

Now that the three finalists are out of the playoffs — not that it
matters in the voting — we’re are truly getting a good taste for just
how important Toews is to this team. Not only has he put up incredible
numbers (7-16-23 in 14 games) but he’s riding a 11-game point streak,
which has tied a franchise record. Toews says that it’s great to be
productive, but scoring isn’t exactly his focus.

“I don’t even really think about scoring, getting on the board going
into some of these games,” Toews said after being named the number one
star of the game. “You know, you want to kill penalties, you want to
play with energy and create as much as you can in the offensive zone
when that happens to be your role.”

“I’ve gone into some of these games, focused on working hard. A lot
of offense has just clicked. Buff has been great on our line with
Patrick and I since he’s been playing with us. Whether it’s on the
power-play or five-on-five, we’re working hard.”

The key words above are “working hard”, something that the Blackhawks
have done almost to perfection so far in the playoffs. They’ve done a
great job of doing exactly what is needed to really throw a goaltender
off his game and what worked against Roberto Luongo is working against
Evgeni Nabokov as well. Toews talked about how he and Dustin Byfuglien
have been able to create chaos in front of the net.

“It’s great. Buff is a big body. You know, it’s nice to go to the
net, have that success when he’s creating, you know, a lot of traffic
and good screens in front of the goaltender.”

“Kane is out in the
open ice dangling around while we’re in front picking up the garbage
(smiles). It’s nice. We’ll take them any way we can. Tonight we got a
couple ugly ones in front of the net.”

You have to love a
reference to The Mighty Ducks during the 2010 NHL Conference finals.

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    Video: Hextall comments on AHL d-man Pyett, who was diagnosed with sarcoma in leg

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    PHILADELPHIA (AP) Defenseman Logan Pyett of the Philadelphia Flyers’ AHL affiliate has been diagnosed with a form of cancer and will be out indefinitely.

    The team said Friday the 27-year-old Canadian has a sarcoma in his upper leg. Flyers general manager Ron Hextall says the club offers “heartfelt thoughts and prayers.”

    Pyett signed a one-year contract with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms after being at the Flyers’ training camp. He was selected by Detroit in the seventh round of the 2006 NHL entry draft. He signed as a free agent with the New York Rangers in 2012 and spent two seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League.

    Update: Wisniewski tore ACL 47 seconds into ‘Canes debut

    James Wisniewski, John-Michael Liles, Elias Lindholm
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    Last night, we passed along news that veteran d-man James Wisniewski — acquired from Carolina at the draft — suffered what looked to be a serious injury just 47 seconds into his ‘Canes debut, and was ruled out for the remainder of the night.

    Now, he’s been ruled out for a lot longer than that.

    From the club:

    Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that defenseman James Wisniewski will undergo surgery on his left knee after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during Thursday night’s game in Nashville.

    Recovery time for the injury is estimated at six months.

    This is, obviously, a tough development for both player and club. The ‘Canes were counting on Wisniewski to be a regular contributor on defense this year, and help improve last year’s middle-of-the-pack power play.

    Wisniewski, meanwhile, was looking to bounce back from a disappointing ’14-15 campaign. He was shipped out of Columbus at the deadline to Anaheim but never made an impact for the Ducks, failing to see any playoff action as Anaheim made it all the way to the Western Conference final.