10 Years Ago Today, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane Took The Ice Together For The First Time; What A Ride It’s Been
What an INCREDIBLE ten years here in Chicago. Not only did these two become the cornerstone of a Dyansty, they also convert Chicago in a born-again hockey market. Two perfect super-stars for a starving city to latch on to. The perfect balance of stoic leadership and showtime. It feels a little bit like destiny.
The Blackhawks did a great job with this video, but I want to go back a little bit further. I want to take you back to January 3rd, 2007. The Blackhawks suck, but nobody knows because they aren’t on TV, but there’s a little tournament going on in Sweden called the World Junior Championships. USA is playing Canada in the semi-finals. Jonathan Toews has already been drafted, but he’s playing college hockey for North Dakota. That game ended with Canada winning in a shootout and it was a “holy shit! We have that guy!?!” type of moment because Toews was TJ Oshie before TJ Oshie. You knew he was going to be special.
Three attemps, three different moves, all cash. Hero stuff for Jonathan Toews.
While Patrick Kane didn’t convert in the shootout, he showed a TON in that tournament as an underage player. You watched Team USA and would thought “god, please let us suck enough to be able to draft that guy”. The Hockey Gods/Ping pong ball gods answered our prayers and we ended up with the top pick in a draft that had a consensus top 3…Kyle Turris, JVR, and Patrick Kane. Dale Tallon knew he had the goods and took Kane first overall and that’s all she wrote. The Blackhawks had their stars.
Over the last ten years, its actually pretty rare that 19 and 88 are on the same line together. Coach Q always opted to have that balance in the top 6 by splitting them up. HOWEVAH, the coaching staff always had that nuclear option of putting them together when things started to go south, and perhaps appropriately two of my favorite games in the past 10 years happened with Kane to the right of Toews.
Western Conference Semi-Finals, Game 6 vs Vancouver. Even though this playoff run didn’t end in a Stanley Cup, this was the moment for me when I first legitimately thought for sure the Hawks would win a Cup with these two guys. Game 6, at home, up 3-2 against a really good Canucks team that had their own Stanley Cup aspirations and Patrick Kane buried them every time they tried to come back.
Clutch. Gene. That backhand snipe coming across the slot to put a stake in their heart was when the dynasty took shape in brain.
Four years later the Blackhawks were in the Conference Final against the defending Stanley Cup Champions, and with a chance to choke out their oppenent, Kane delivered another hat-trick
The past 10 years have been beyond our wildest dreams here in Chicago. Pre-2007 I think any of us would’ve just been happy to have home games on TV. Three Stanley Cups(and counting) and two superstars on the ice together for the next six seasons.