Jonathan Toews was the best player for Team Canada at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
Since then, he’s won two Stanley Cup titles and a Conn Smythe Trophy, making him the logical choice to wear the “C” for the defending gold medalists at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
“If given that chance [to be captain], with the experiences I’ve had with [Chicago] going to two Stanley Cup finals and coming out on top … that’s the type of experience you take with you to a tournament like [the Olympics],” Toews recently told Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune (via PHT).
The Chicago Blackhawks center has captained the Original Six club since July 2008, when he was the second-youngest player to be given the “C” in NHL history.
As a player who rises to the occasion when it matters most, Toews is the ideal choice for the Canadian captaincy. In addition to his Conn Smythe Trophy and two Stanley Cup titles as the leader of the Blackhawks, the 25-year-old forward has also excelled for his country during international competition.
Toews has captured five gold medals and a silver medal in his six tournaments with Canada. Here’s a list of his other international honors:
- MVP of the 2005 World U-17 Hockey Challenge
- Tournament All-Star at 2007 World Junior Championships
- First Canadian to ever win the World Junior and World Championships in same year (2007)
- Named Best Forward and an All-Star at 2010 Vancouver Olympics
At the 2010 Olympics, Toews led Team Canada with eight points, and his only goal opened the scoring in Canada’s gold medal game against the United States. He has 20 points in 25 international games, with 64 points in 75 career NHL playoff games. For those who would prefer to give the “C” to a player based on recent performance, Toews is also deserving. He’s on pace to set a career high in points, and his Blackhawks have the league’s best record.
The other top candidate for the “C” is Sidney Crosby, who’s captained the Pittsburgh Penguins for most of his career and scored the golden goal in Vancouver. Despite his memorable goal, Crosby was one of the team’s worst players at the 2010 Olympics.
Toews’ leadership qualities and ability to play well in important games are Mark Messier-like. With more Stanley Cup titles than Crosby, a better international resume and a much stronger two-way game, Toews is the most deserving player to captain Team Canada.