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Captain Serious
MICHAEL FARBER
October 26, 2009
If it's hijinks you want, forget it. But at 21 Jonathan Toews has the skill, the grit and the determined demeanor to lead the Blackhawks to the Cup. No foolin'
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October 26, 2009

Captain Serious

If it's hijinks you want, forget it. But at 21 Jonathan Toews has the skill, the grit and the determined demeanor to lead the Blackhawks to the Cup. No foolin'

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Toews, who was a Blackhawks-best +6 through Sunday, is uncomfortable with the praise from hockey cognoscenti. He called his invitation to Canada's Olympic camp "surreal," saying he constantly had to remind himself that he belonged. "I'm watching Sidney Crosby, a young captain like myself, and it's pretty incredible to see a guy who's about my age doing the things he's doing," Toews said. "I get praise for things that are modest compared to what he's done."

Toews is composed, humble and dogged in his pursuit of excellence. The only thing that doesn't compute in the short bio of Captain Serious is Judy's Tavern.

Judy's Tavern is a hole-in-the-wall with a jukebox and pictures of Fighting Sioux hockey players 10 minutes or so off the University of North Dakota campus in Grand Forks. After sweeping a weekend series from the Gophers in Minnesota in 2007 some of the UND boys, 18-year-old Toews included, gathered at Judy's to celebrate. You can guess the rest. The police arrived. He bolted through the emergency exit, the alarm sounded, and Toews, bending to pick up his hat, felt a long arm of the law grabbing him. While he would have been of drinking age in his home province, he wasn't in Manitoba anymore. Toews was ticketed for his indiscretion.

From the perspective of moral relativism, there's probably a slight difference between an 18-year-old Toews out with the boys at a bar and a 20-year-old getting into an altercation at 4 a.m. with a Buffalo taxi driver, as Toews's linemate Patrick Kane did this summer. There certainly is a difference in the maturity levels of the forwards who are invariably lumped together because they entered the NHL so spectacularly together in 2007. "Patrick is a 20-year-old who's 20," Burish, 26, explains. "Jon is a 21-year-old who might as well be 60."

That's partly why one scout says that, while Kane might eventually lead the NHL in scoring, Toews will one day lead the way to a Cup. "In the playoffs he was impressive," says Calgary's Jarome Iginla. "Composed but fired up. We took some huge runs at him, and he took them. He seemed to enjoy it."

So you see, Captain Serious really does know how to have a good time.

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