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If you were on the fence about coming out to Thursday’s regular-season finale against the Philadelphia Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson made that decision for you. At a press conference this morning, Davidson announced that the Blackhawks would not be re-signing Jonathan Toews after this season, meaning this will be the final time he puts on his red No. 19 sweater.
Davidson went on to say that the decision not to bring back Toews and Patrick Kane was made to “clear the deck.” He is reasoning is much like we have discussed on the CHGO Blackhawks Podcast all season long. He wants the new leadership of this franchise to grow organically within the locker room instead of worrying about deferring to the two legends of Chicago hockey.
“I don’t know if resting on the past or on sentimentality does us any good for the future,” Davidson said, and he couldn’t be more right.
So, tonight’s game doesn’t just represent the end of the 2022-23 season; it signifies the end of the greatest era of Blackhawks hockey. This storied team’s greatest captain will skate in his final game wearing a Blackhawks uniform. This may not be Toews’ last NHL game, but it is sure starting to feel like his playing career has come to an end.
You can reserve Toews’ place in the Hockey Hall of Fame right now. Heading into tonight’s final contest, he has played in 1,066 games, scoring 371 goals and 882 points with a plus-149 rating. He won a Selke Trophy for being the league’s best defensive forward. He was one of the most significant contributors to three Stanley Cup championships and won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2010 for being the postseason’s most valuable player. All of this while being the longest-serving captain in franchise history.
It will be an emotional night in the United Center as “Captain Serious” will skate for the last time as a member of the team. All the magical moments. All the history made. All the great memories shared by a generation of Blackhawks fans. They all have one last hooray tonight. Thank you, Jonathan. For everything.
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