Little Jonathan Toews took sleepovers very seriously


"I show up at the door and he's in his full workout gear just so excited," Riel said.

Riel was led into the basement, where Toews "had Jock Jams just blaring so loud."

"And he had like seven or eight stations set up – for chin-ups, pushups and lunges," Riel said. "We worked out for like an hour. As an 11-year-old year, that's a long time."

Riel got through the workout, and he thought he was in the clear. Nope.

"All right, put your skates on," Toews said. "We're going to play."

So they went out and skated for a few hours. When that was over, Riel thought finally, this has to be over. Bring on the video games and junk food. Nope.

"Hey, we're going to bed," Toews said.

"It's like 9 p.m!" Riel said. "What do you mean we're going to bed?"

Chris Hine, Chicago Tribune

The above is an account of one of the sleepovers Jonathan Toews once held - and it's absolutely adorable to picture a little kid getting so stoked about just going to work out. But when that little kid is Toews, it just makes sense.

The entire piece is a fantastic read on how Jonathan Toews grew to be one of the best hockey players in the world. He's had incredible drive his entire life, and it certainly shows now.

What it's like to drive the Chicago Blackhawks' Zamboni


Along with a dry sense of humor and a magnificent mustache (as far as Chicago sports ’staches go, his ranks up there with Quenneville’s and Ditka’s), Ahearn is defined by his passion for all things Zamboni. "This is a 1961 Model F," the 58-year-old Lombard resident says, excitedly pointing to an old picture in his cramped office at the United Center. "It’s the first machine I ever drove."

Danny Ahearn, via Rod O'Connor for Chicago Magazine.

The entire article is a great read, and shows just how integral and captivating Zambonis can be - to the point they're a part of the game experience, and people will just watch them. Ahearn, the Hawks' main guy, drove his first Zamboni when he was 12; his counterpart, Nick Cotsilis, saw him driving when he was 5 and knew that was what he wanted to do.

Jonathan Toews paying it forward with middle school visit


"It's one of those things that kind of slows you down a bit. Sometimes having success, you can kind of get wrapped up in it. When you come here and see the love you get from people who are so thankful and grateful that you're able to share some time with them, it definitely puts that back in perspective."

Jonathan Toews, via the Daily Herald, on his stop by Monroe Middle School.

What's really special about this is he had a similar experience with Wayne Gretzky as a kid, so he knows exactly how it feels to have a hockey hero stop by for a visit.

Marcus Kruger is loyal to the Blackhawks


"It took a lot of discussion for both of us. It’s a special situation. It’s not normal. They’re totally trying to keep this team together as much as possible. He wants to be on it. That’s why we were so patient."

Marcus Kruger's agent, J.P. Barry, via ESPN's Scott Powers.

Kruger really wanted a long-term deal with the Hawks, but it wasn't possible just yet, so he took a pay cut for this season. Hopefully Chicago will be able to figure out how to fit Kruger in long-term soon - it's not every day you get a player with an attitude like his.

Tomas Kopecky reflects on his 2010 Cup win with Chicago


"My first year in Chicago in 2010... it was unbelievable to see the city [49 years after winning its last Stanley Cup]. It was amazing to see the whole city, how close they got. Everywhere you looked, you went to the restaurant, you went to the parking lot, you know, anywhere, there’s always people wearing either hats or shirts. To see how the city gets close together, they stayed tight. That’s the feeling hockey players play for."

Tomas Kopecky, via ESPN. He has a lot of praise for the team, city, and even Coach Q - and as a UFA, if the Hawks had room for him and wanted, he'd love to come back.

Fan meets Jonathan Toews - at Machu Picchu


"He was just happy to meet us. He was asking more questions about us and our lives than we were about him."

Ryan Adorjan, from Oswego, ran into Jonathan Toews while exploring Machu Picchu. That's incredibly awesome - and even moreso that he's a "humble, genuine" guy, as Adorjan said. Probably not the place you'd expect to meet one of your heroes, but definitely one of the most epic.

Andrew Shaw has taken over the title of Mario Kart Champion


"I went four wins or five wins to the one loss [to Patrick Sharp], so it shows that I’m on top. Sharpie couldn’t handle it. Things got out of hand. He's the one that if he beats you, he makes sure everyone in the room knows. I make sure I focus on the next race and take it to him and give it right back to him."

Andrew Shaw, on his merciless defeat of Patrick Sharp. When we last checked in on the Mario Kart tournament, those two were behind Niklas Hjalmarsson, but the standings seem to have changed. (I'm still cheering for Hammer, by the by.)

Cristobal Huet is still stopping pucks and getting shutouts


"I feel fortunate to be able to still play and be competitive. It’s tough for me to say no to the French team. It’s always a pleasure, especially with the success we’ve had the last few years. It’s exciting to come here. It was tough for a long time."

That's Huet on playing at this year's Worlds in a career spanning over 18 years. Read the full article from the IIHF here. It's a real good one.

SCH SPG - March 2014-15


This will be the new default SPG post for March 2015 (until comments close & a new fanshot is needed) Default rules apply: 1) place your picks for first shot, penalty & goal for each period. 2) None is an option but can only be used once per period. 3) Deadline is 5 minutes after TV scheduled start. 4) Thread your picks under each game's main comment. If no comment is there, feel free to make one. Finally - have fun & good luck!