Brad E. Schlossman / Forum News Service, Published June 25 2013
Schlossman: Former UND player Toews enters elite territory
The first is Wayne Gretzky.
The other? Jonathan Toews.
The former University of North Dakota star added to his legacy Monday night by winning his second Stanley Cup on a shocking night in Boston.
Toews scored a goal in the second period, set up the game-tying goal with just 1 minute, 16 seconds remaining in the third, then watched his teammates tack on the winner 17 seconds later in dramatic fashion.
Chicago beat Boston 3-2 and Toews, as the team captain, accepted the Stanley Cup from commissioner Gary Bettman for the second time in his career, joining a distinguished list of players.
The only guys to do it in the last 30 years are Gretzky, Mark Messier, Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman, Joe Sakic and Scott Stevens. Every player to do so since the 1930s is in the Hall of Fame.
Toews is only 25 years old. He was 24 when these playoffs started. His story isn’t close to complete at this point, but he’s on track for that type of a career as well.
When he became captain of the Blackhawks five years ago, he was the third-youngest captain in NHL history. When he led the Hawks to the Cup in 2010, he became the second-youngest Stanley Cup captain behind Sidney Crosby.
Toews is the youngest player ever to join the IIHF’s Triple Gold Club (Stanley Cup champion, Olympic gold medalist and World Championship gold medalist).
He also has a Conn Smythe as playoff MVP from 2010 and a Selke Trophy as the NHL’s best defensive forward from this season.
A week earlier, things didn’t look as bright for the Blackhawks. They trailed 2-1 in the series to Boston and the Bruins held down Toews and Patrick Kane.
At that point, a radio host in Calgary asked UND coach Dave Hakstol what he thought of people saying that Toews maybe wasn’t a “big-game player.” Hakstol called that assertion “laughable.”
Hakstol knew long ago that wasn’t the case.
At age 17, Toews was named the Most Valuable Player at the NCAA West Regional for leading UND to the Frozen Four. Toews played in two Frozen Four games at UND and scored in both of them.
So you can bet that Hakstol wasn’t a bit surprised when Toews bounced back to have three big games in leading the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup.
In Game 4, he was on the ice for four of Chicago’s six goals. He scored one and was the net-front presence on three. In Game 5, he set up two of Chicago’s three goals.
Monday night, Chicago trailed 1-0 in the second period and was looking lethargic when Toews stole the puck from Bruins star defenseman Zdena Chara and scored on a rush.
Late in the third period, it appeared that Boston was about to skate out of T.D. Garden with a one-goal victory when Toews helped force a turnover and set up linemate Bryan Bickell for the tying goal.
A few minutes later, Toews was holding the Stanley Cup for the second time in his career, as everyone else watched the legacy grow.
Brad Schlossman is a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald