Saturday, September 27, 2008

Season Preview: Captain Fantastic

There isn't much more to say about Johnny B. Good, other than we won't have to hear Dan Kelly call him "Johnny Toews" ever again. We are lucky to have him, and it isn't an exaggeration to say that the Hawks have their Yzerman, Sakic, Modano, whatever. The best way to describe how important Toews is is to have some fun with and look as some sabermetrics for hockey. Except they're impossible to understand, but the one I did get is that Toews, as a rookie, led the Hawks in +/- per 60, which is a measure of a team's +/- per 60 minutes if he were on the ice the whole time and if he weren't. It also weighs the strength of the guys he plays with and against. Toews is worth a goal every 60 minutes. At least at even strength.

But he's obviously more than that. He's clearly the team leader, and has been from the moment he scored on his first shot, and certainly was when he told the entire team they didn't hate to lose after a lacklustre performance against the Kings. (Actually, all our performances against the Kings, save one, were lackluaster last year, but you get the point.) He's not only our best offensive performer, he's our best defensive center to. He also happens to draw the 3rd most penalties per game on the team. His PK time with Sharp last year was deadly. His wrist shot is still being studied by Chris Osgood. And he's handsome. And he loves his mother. Basically, it's not a stretch to say, barring injury, there'll be a 19 hanging in the rafters one day. So enjoy the ride. 80 points this season is probably the minimum we'll get, along with a challenge of his teammates during some losing streak. He's also looked to have bulked up a little, according to reports, so look for John T. Killer to be a physical presence as well. Who can wait?

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