Toews could live the hockey dream

STEVE SIMMONS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:43 PM ET

PHILADELPHIA — Jonathan Toews can’t begin to count the number of times he has watched it from his home on television.

The captain being called upon to carry the Stanley Cup. And on Wednesday night, that captain could be him.

“Any kid growing up in Canada, anywhere as a hockey player, that’s the dream,” Toews said. “That’s the one thing you keep telling yourself, in your heart you kind of know you’re going to do it some year.”

Suddenly some year could be this year for Toews, who said he thinks about winning the Cup every time the Chicago Blackhawks win a playoff game and wonders if they’ll ever get there every time they lose one. But if the Cup seemed like a far-fetched dream, it took last year’s come-from-behind championship by the Pittsburgh Penguins to make it all seem closer than he ever imagined.

“That’s when it really first set in that I felt our team, and myself personally, never felt closer thinking that this is an opportunity, this is something that can really become a reality.

“It’s been a long year but I think we all knew all along that we can make it this far. Hopefully we can find a way to do it (Wednesday).”

While Toews has not been the scoring sensation he was expected to be in the Stanley Cup final, his leadership has gone unquestioned. Should the Hawks win the Cup at the Wachovia Center, he will get some consideration for the Conn Smythe Trophy based on his play in the first three rounds of the playoffs; Defenceman Duncan Keith is considered the favourite at this stage.

But it’s still young Toews that the Hawks look to for leadership and advice when they need it.

“We still have to check the birth certificate and make sure he’s only 21 or 22, whatever he is,” Patrick Sharp said. “From day one he entered the league, he hasn’t changed until now, on or off the ice. Maybe he has lightened up a little bit now ... It’s been great to see him over the years. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. But he’s a great leader if he wins or not.”

Toews, meanwhile, knows the Stanley Cup is here, and he’s ready to lift it over his head. Whether he has his procession plan in mind is another matter, but knowing Toews he’ll be leaving little to chance.

“We want to take that last and final step,” said Toews, who at 22 still leads the playoffs in scoring with 28 points.


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