Jonathan Toews was in a jovial mood as he walked with his parents down a Chicago street a day before they headed to Las Vegas for a little family vacation courtesy of the NHL.
"Who goes to Vegas on a business trip? You have a great time," Toews told the Tribune on Monday before he was scheduled to fly to Las Vegas for Wednesday night's NHL Awards, where the Blackhawks captain is a finalist for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, awarded to the league's best defensive forward. "My family — my mom, dad and brother — will be there. I can't say I'll be spending a whole lot of time with them. I'm not sure Vegas is the place you want to take a family vacation."
If you're Toews, Vegas is the place to go if you've excelled at both ends of the ice to be recognized as one of the NHL's best two-way players. The first-time Selke finalist finished second in the league during the season with 93 takeaways (behind the Sharks' Joe Thornton, who had 114) and won an NHL-high 937 of the 1,653 faceoffs he took. Toews also posted a career-high plus-25 plus-minus rating.
"In my opinion, (the Selke) is one of the underrated awards," Toews, 23, said. "Everyone wants to see who wins the Hart (for MVP) and all these different big-name awards going to the big-time points scorers. But to be in that category with two guys like (the Canucks') Ryan Kesler and (Red Wings') Pavel Datsyuk is a big honor.
"It would be exciting to win that award. I feel like to a certain extent I deserve it, but you have to give credit to those two guys too. In their own way they deserve it as well."
Toews' offensive play this season drew accolades as the Winnipeg native led the Hawks in scoring with 32 goals and 44 assists, but it was his defense that had a huge impact in the team's quest to repeat its Stanley Cup championship before falling in Game 7 of the Western Conference quarterfinals in Vancouver.
Toews off to Vegas for NHL Awards show
Chicago Tribune | Jun 21