Throwback Thursday: Jonathan Toews shines in a Soldier Field snow globe
Hockey and snow - a perfect combination
Here’s the seventh entry of our 10-week Throwback Thursday series, counting down to the Hawks’ home opener on Thursday, October 5. Today, it’s the wonderful 2013-14 season and a cold, snowy night on the shores of Lake Michigan that was owned by Jonathan Toews.
Sports are pretty great, aren’t they? I assume that, by your presence on this website, you agree with some portion of that premise. But there’s one factor that can be added to virtually any sports situation that will add an exponential increase to an already borderline perfect combination.
Have you ever watched sports in the snow? It’s mesmerizing. When those fluffy white specks start fluttering across the screen, I can’t take my eyes away. It doesn’t matter what sport. It can be soccer. It can be baseball. It can be football. Or it could be, I don’t know, the most enjoyable Bears game of my lifetime.
But the NHL never gets in on this party because of that pesky enclosed stadium situation. And when the Chicago Blackhawks scheduled a March 1 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Soldier Field, it seemed like the major weather concern would be whether or not the ice would stay frozen. But the forecast for that night? Glorious. Temperatures would be below freezing all day, with the mercury heading towards zero by the end of the night. And there would be snow. So. Much. Snow.
It’s beautiful, isn’t it? Just look at it. Soldier Field has never looked as gorgeous as it did on that night, with the dying days of winter dropping one final blizzard on the Chicagoland area.
As for the game ... well, that was pretty fun to watch, too.
Patrick Sharp started the scoring late in the first with a perfectly-placed one-timer that went over the shoulder of Marc-Andre Fleury and off the inside the post to send the Hawks into the first intermission with a 1-0 lead. Then, in the middle of the second period, Toews delivered the game’s biggest highlight when he turned Brooks Orpik into a snowman:
But go ahead, tell me more about how Toews has no offensive ability.
Kris Versteeg added a goal later that period, becoming the answer to the trivia question “Name the one Chicago athlete to score at the United Center, Wrigley Field, and Soldier Field.” The Hawks owned the scoreboard and the play on the ice, outshooting the Pens 31-18 in those first two periods while amassing a 3-0 lead. Bryan Bickell tucked home a rebound in the third and Toews added his second goal of the night when his shot rebounded off of Simon Despres and into the Pittsburgh net, cementing a three-point night for the captain.
It was team-wide dominance, but this really was Toews’ night. Along with that highlight-reel goal and his three-point performance, he also hilariously called out Sidney Crosby when Crosby twirled down to the ice while drawing a penalty in the second period. Toews was immersed in the spectacle of the night, launching himself into the arms of his teammates on the bench after undressing Orpik in the second period. For one night, at least, Toews was like a kid playing on a pond in his native Winnipeg.
"We felt like we could find a way to score every time we got the puck," Toews said. "It honestly did feel like we were playing (pickup) hockey in the backyard."