CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -
The Chicago Blackhawks left little doubt which team was the best on Friday night as they rolled over the San Jose Sharks 4-1. Jonathan Toews also wanted to leave little doubt he could stand up for himself when needed. In a move that won’t make much sense to many, Toews hit the 6’4″ Joe Thornton from behind which drew a penalty. Then the Hawks captain goaded Thornton into a fight and the Sharks captain finally dropped his gloves and accepted the challenge.
Some fans will think it was a dumb move on the part of Toews. As is well-known, Toews can’t afford to get another concussion and fighting a player who has a significant size advantage is risky. If Toews would have caught a few shots to the head and be forced to miss considerable playing time, as was the case last season, the Hawks high flying start may be wasted.
All that is probably true but there comes a point when a player has to say enough is enough. On Friday night Toews reached the conclusion, he needed to respond. Here are some post game comments courtesy of ChicagoBlackhawks.com in which Toews explains his motives.
“I think the last handful of games (versus San Jose), including last season, there’s always some stuff going on, whether it’s after the whistle or during the play, it just comes down to the players maybe trying to get under your skin and test you a little bit. I figured at some point I had to stand up for myself.”
When I think of Toews being manhandled by an opponent, the game last February 10 in San Jose comes to mind. Thornton, who is known as a player who won’t drop his gloves was dishing out some punishment to Toews. It was actually embarrassing to watch as Thornton, who prefers to throw punches with his gloves on, was using the head of Toews like a speed bag. Toews couldn’t protect himself from Jumbo Joe as he caught about three good raps to the head and face. Later that same game, the Sharks Ryane Clowe also took out some of his frustration on the head of Toews.
Many believe, and maybe Toews too, the punishment he took then led to his concussion. Toews kept playing through February 19 but then was out of action for about seven weeks. So Friday night was the time Toews concluded he needed to stand up to Thornton and anyone else out there thinking he won’t come back to retaliate.
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