Jonathan Toews channeled his inner Alfred E. Neuman on Friday.
The ‘Hawks captain — when asked if the mood of his team was down following Thursday’s 2-0 loss to Detroit, putting Chicago in a 3-1 series deficit — replied as though everything was fine.
“What’s there to be down about?” he told the Chicago Tribune. “Dwelling on that and feeling sorry for ourselves isn’t going to do anything.”
Well, if there were some things to be down about, they might be:
— The Game 4 shutout was the first time Chicago had been blanked all season.
— The Game 4 loss was Chicago’s third in a row, the first time that’s happened all season.
— Chicago has scored two goals in its last 180 minutes of hockey.
— Toews is goalless through nine postseason games, as is Brandon Saad and Viktor Stalberg.
— Combined, those three scored 42 goals during the regular season.
— The Blackhawks are facing elimination and could fail to advance past the second round for the third straight year.
Fair or not, most of this is falling on Toews’ shoulders. (Of note, Captain Serious had to be talked down by Brent Seabrook after taking his third penalty of the second period last night.)
He’s the captain — and a good one at that — but, for what feels like the first time in his career, he’s getting heat from the Chicago fans and media.
Toews’ struggles are reminiscent of last year’s playoffs when Sidney Crosby lost his cool against the Flyers and the favored Penguins were eliminated in the first round.
Both players are young, Canadian captains with Stanley Cup rings and reputations for coming up big when it counts, whether representing club or country.
Of course, they’re also human.
To his credit, Toews continues to face adversity as best he can, trying to stay positive in what has to be one of the worst slumps of his career.
”As hard as we’re working, something’s got to go our way,” he explained. ”We’ve got to be positive.”