I had a whole sass machine introduction to this post, except I wrote it in July, back when I started this primer and jokes about Evan Lysacek and the World Cup were still fresh to death. Then I sort of stopped working on it, until certain people issued A CHALLENGE to me to finish it, and I think we all know that I don't back down from a challenge.
So hide your eyes, it's a Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews primer.
Patrick Kane is a hideous hockey-playing weirdo who is bad at every aspect of life. "An unattractive, terrible dude?" you say. "He sounds like the worst! Tell me more! Does he happen to have a somewhat attractive, bossy captain/teammate/roommate/BFF/bromeo in his life? Do they perhaps have popsicle eating contests, weep over movies, fail miserably at fighting, buy matching furniture, read Twilight, and get called married by their mothers? As men do?"
Patrick Kane is a hockey player from Buffalo, New York. He is really, really good at hockey, which is remarkable because hockey is the only thing at which he comes close to succeeding.
Kaner left home at age 14 to go play hockey in Michigan, then played in the OHL for the London Knights. Like any kid who was really good at a sport and devoted their entire young life to it, he's pretty fucking goofy. Some people claim he is charming and socially adept, but I would be more inclined to believe them if there was any evidence whatsoever that he had ever managed to have a single sexual or romantic encounter with a human being, which as you will learn THERE IS NOT. Kaner enjoys drinking, taking his clothes off, embarrassing himself, watching Entourage, and jamming Kanye and Weezy. In short, he is a bro's bro.
At age 18, he was the number one draft pick in the 2007 draft, and was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks. NUMBER ONE. IN THE WHOLE DRAFT. Kaner is short and small for a hockey player, so it's even more impressive that he went first, given that people constantly underestimated him during his entire youth and junior career.
This video pretty much sums up all you need to know about him: he's damn good at hockey, and also he is a little tiny baby boy.
Lest you look at that first picture and the ones of him where you can't see his face and think that he was just going through an awkward phase and that maybe he started to look normal sometime in life, here is what he looks like now. He is and will always be a weird-lookin' dude. Get used to it.
Before they drafted Kaner, the Chicago Blackhawks hadn't won a Stanley Cup in almost half a century and their home games weren't even carried on local TV. Kane getting drafted was part of a larger strategy to make the team relevant again. Along with 2006's number-3 draft pick, Jonathan Toews, Kane became the face of the franchise. 2007 marked the last time that any sportswriter retained the ability to write about one of them without writing about the other, and also what is seen as the beginning of the Blackhawks' push to win a Stanley Cup and return themselves to their former glory.
So Jonathan Toews is definitely a giant weirdo. He is known for being intense, focused, serious, and hypercompetitive. When he was a little kid and had friends sleep over, he used to wake them up at 6 am to do conditioning. How does he have any friends, I mean, seriously:
"Jon would be out there skating with his buddies on a Saturday, and his buddies would come in and Jon would stay out," Bryan [Toews' dad] said. "We'd give hot chocolate to his friends and his friends would sit there and ask us, 'When is Jonathan coming in?' and I'd say, 'I don't know.' So they'd sit there for a half-hour, 45 minutes and realize he wasn't coming in. So they'd go back out and want him to come in and play video games or something but he'd just continue skating and shooting. They could do whatever they want. He was just happy on his rink and he just played and played. He just loved it."
Even if he wasn't insanely athletic - he gave up on taekwondo right before getting a black belt to focus on hockey, and he was also told that he could have pursued a career in pro soccer - Tazer probably would have willed his way to being a ridiculously good hockey player, because he's that hard-working and that annoying.
Tazer was nicknamed "Mr. Serious" by one of his teammates, and the nickname stuck. Probably it stuck because he does shit like this, as recounted by his teammate Adam Burish:
“Brent Seabrook [another Hawk] kept reaching over and slapping Tazer’s controller out of his hand. Toews has a bad temper so Seabrook did it twice. Then Seabrook was like, ‘I’m out of here. See you later.’ And then Tazer jumped up and tackled him with like one of those karate moves where you sweep your leg behind the other guy and you throw him down. So he threw him down, jumped on top of him and held him by the collar. And he was yelling, ‘You want to go? You want to do this? You want to do this right now?' He was like, seriously, wanted to fight him. Everybody got quiet because we thought they were really going to fight here. Then they got up and Seabrook threw him to the side and they got out of there.”
“That’s going to happen when you lock these guys up in the same hotel, playing the same video game. Toews got up and called Seabrook a fatty. Yeah, that was a good one.”
YEAH, THAT WAS A GOOD ONE. LOL JONATHAN TOEWS, WHAT IS EVEN WRONG WITH YOU. WHO DOES THAT.
Now, Jonathan Toews sometimes does things that normal people do. For example, he's been known to wear a good coat.
He plays golf.
And he speaks French and eats, like a person. And, uh, bosses his entire team around during his rookie season. Now we're back to him not being so normal.
Tazer and Kaner knew of each other before playing together for the Hawks - they had played against each other at tournaments when they were kids, and most notably at the prestigious World Juniors - but they didn't know each other well. At World Juniors, Tazer's Team Canada beat Kaner's Team USA in a shootout. To this day, Kaner can name the three shots that Tazer used in the shootout, and Tazer can name Kaner's linemates.
From the beginning, Kaner and Tazer were linked in basically everything they did. They were both rookies in the 2007-2008 season, even though Tazer is a year older than Kaner, because Tazer played college hockey for the University of North Dakota after he was initially drafted.
Well, that didn’t take long. In October, when they made their NHL debuts, they were still Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, separate entities. Now they’re Kane and Toews. As in, “Kane and Toews are great,” or “Kane and Toews are the future of the Blackhawks franchise.” Fewer than three months into their pro careers, and these kids have become linked forevermore. Good thing they like each other. Wait a minute. They do like each other, don’t they?
“I hate him,” Toews deadpanned, eliciting a laugh from Kane.
Everyone basically flipped out what ~*polar opposites*~ Kane and Toews are, down to the fact that Kaner usually likes blondes while Tazer is rumored to prefer brunettes. The phrase "opposites attract" has been used many times to describe them, most notably by Kaner himself. From the very first articles written about them, sportswriters harped on how different they were.
Toews, a tall and lean center from Winnipeg, Manitoba, wears his brown hair short and neat. Kane, a diminutive right wing out of the Ontario Hockey League by way of Buffalo, N.Y., wears his blond hair in a curly mop. Toews, whom the Blackhawks selected with the third overall pick in the 2006 draft, spent two years playing for the University of North Dakota. Kane, selected with the first overall pick in the 2007 draft, bypassed college completely in favor of one year in the OHL. Toews, who is one of the Hawks’ alternate captains, emulates Joe Sakic, the Colorado Avalanche captain, and wears his No. 19. Kane, who modestly says he’s still learning how to prepare himself for games and isn’t ready for a captain’s responsibility, doesn’t have a favorite player and wears No. 88 for the year he was born.
The friendship and on-ice chemistry of Chicago Blackhawks forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are proof that fitting the square peg with the round hole sometimes produces entertaining results... On the ice, they have been compared to former New York Islanders greats Bryan Trottier and Mike Bossy. Off the ice, they are more like The Odd Couple from vintage television days... "Jonathan is a very focused guy, and he is not going to change. Kaner always has that twinkle in his eye like he has something up his sleeve," general manager Stan Bowman said.
Kane, the Hawks' heartthrob, is a year younger than Toews. They share "face of the franchise" status, which Kane accepts as the NHL's No. 1 overall draft pick in 2007... But where Toews is as serious as a tax audit, Kane has an impish, mischievous side.
They are lumped together more often than not, sharing a burden practically written into their contracts and loving the responsibility thrust upon them. They were born less than six months apart. And while neither was bred for the game, they took to hockey like pedigrees.
On a team with plenty of heart and a well-defined soul, they are, as they were created to be, the face of the Chicago Blackhawks. But if that face were split into two, one lip would be curled up while the other would be a straight line, one eye dancing while the other staring straight ahead.
And, as we know so well by now, one side would be business in the front and party in the back while the other, well, all business.
We're starting to get a sense of where this whole Patrick Kane/Jonathan Toews relationship with the Chicago Blackhawks is going. Kane's the energetic little ball of offense, Toews is the consistent captain. Kane is the Fedorov, and Toews is the Yzerman. In comedy team terminology: Toews is Aykroyd, Kane is Belushi. Without the speedballs.
Fortunately, despite, or maybe because of, their respective weirdness, Tazer and Kaner got along almost instantly. They were assigned to be roommates on the road, sat next to each other in the locker room, realized they played really well together, and became close friends.
Even before camp began, they fell into an easy camaraderie; Kane good-naturedly questioning Toews' diligent backchecking during shinny with other members of the Chicago Blackhawks, and Toews giving Kane a good ribbing after Kane struck a goal post.
They laugh easily at their most emotional encounter at last year's World Junior Championship... They seem to have found that delicate seam between being immobilized by fear and nervousness, and being so cocksure they annoy the heck out of their teammates.
lol "their most emotional encounter." But seriously, World Juniors is a huge deal; losing to one of your friends can be such an issue that some friends who play for different countries have literally never spoken about the games they played against each other at the tournament. Tazer and Kaner didn't seem to have that many issues with it, though, with Tazer joking:
I did bring it up one time after he was bugging me about something. I wouldn't normally do that, but it was just a joke. Normally, other people bring it up, so I don't have to.
The two of them turned into "one hockey organism," if you will:
Despite their different personalities and styles, the two talented rookies' instant chemistry and subsequent success has transmogrified them into one hockey organism... The fact the two genuinely like each other and are comfortable not just in their own skins, but the greater skin that has grown up around them, seems to bode well for the future.
Yeah. I honestly don't even know what this means, but it sounds pretty gay.
And also there were frequent headlines like this, presented without comment. Actually, fuck that shit, here is my comment: HOW IS THAT NOT AN EXPOSE ABOUT GAY HOCKEY PLAYERS ~*DISCOVERING*~ THEMSELVES? DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND HOW READY TO BE A REVIEW OF A TRAGIC GAY MOVIE THAT HEADLINE IS, WHOEVER WROTE THAT DUMB ARTICLE? DID YOU MISS THE LESSON IN JOURNALISM SCHOOL WHERE COMING OF AGE IS A EUPHEMISM FOR BONING? GET OUTTTTT.
Now that you've read these excerpts, you have read literally every article ever written about them. In reality, both of them are incredibly devoted to hockey and the Hawks, and Tazer's seriousness is slightly overstated. Otherwise, pictures like this would never exist:
And also Tazer would have never gotten busted for underage drinking in college, which he did (WITH THE LIGHT OF MY LIFE, current St. Louis Blues player and his college bestie, T. J. Oshie). Get it, girl.
Tazer also probably wouldn't have sat on Oshie's lap so often if he really hated fun. As you can see, Broshie is basically Kaner lite. Tazer has a type, and that type is embarrassing as hell.
Their teammates agree that the whole "opposites attract" things is true, but a little overblown. Patrick Sharp says:
[Toews] gets in a zone when it's time to play hockey. He has his fun though, don't let him fool you. And anyone who knows Patrick the way we do, knows that he cares about hockey just as much as anybody else. He has that reputation of being laid-back and loose, but he's just as serious as Johnny is. They were both very professional right from day one. They're very humble kids as well, so it's nice to be teammates with guys like that.
Kris Versteeg adds:
I don't think Toews is as serious as people make him out to be, but he's definitely a lot more serious than Kaner. Kaner is a little more outgoing and Taser wound up a little tighter, so they're different in that way. But they both take the game seriously and both love the game. And they're not hard at all to tease, both of those little pukes. It's a lot of fun for me. They're both terrible at comebacks. They have no game.
The other great thing about them being different is that Tazer's default setting is "boring," which is what Canada beats into all future NHLers, but Kaner's isn't, and when Tazer talks about Kaner and interacts with him, he gets really interesting really quickly. He can't help it. Even years of Canadian instinct can't keep Kaner and those around him from being great!
The other important thing you should also probably know about them is that, unlike Kaner, Tazer is capable of being a babe.
Although, in Kaner's defense, he can sometimes look sort of moderately attractive, in two very specific sets of circumstances. First, when he's wearing a hat or helmet and you can't see some of his face.
Second, when Tazer is touching him. Fortunately, both of these situations happen a lot, because they score a lot together and hockey players insist on throwing themselves at each other after every goal.
For example, Kaner gave Tazer the assist on Tazer's first goal (Tazer scored on his first shot during his first game in the NHL, SERIOUSLY):
"Yeah, I gave him his first," Kane said.
During their first season in the NHL, the two of them got quite a bit of playing time for rookies, which you would think would make them happy but actually made Tazer feel GUILTY:
“[Blackhawks coach Savard] has been so great, I almost feel guilty about how easy he’s made it,” Toews said. “He’s done everything he can to let us play, and he’s respected our games. He wants us to limit the takeaways but not limit our creativity. That just makes me want to play harder.”
And since they also started doing a ton of promotional shit for the Hawks together. It takes about five seconds for Tazer to turn throwing the first pitch into a competition. Also, you probably know this already, but they're both terrible. All the time.
They continued to play really well during their rookie season. They play on the same line together a lot of the time, with Tazer centering Kaner. I love watching them play. Scope some highlights from throughout the years:
They emerged as two of the biggest contenders for the Calder Memorial Trophy (which is like the NHL Rookie of the Year award). They were both super gracious about it, which is probably the last time they were ever gracious about anything involving each other.
"So for us to be sitting here today and have the honor of being recognized and having the chance to win this award, I think it's special for us and a lot of this we owe to our teammates, our coaches; but I think that we helped each other get here, too."
"We roomed together and we did a lot of things away from the rink, and I think every step of the way, I think we've always been there. It's kind of like having Patrick around is kind of like having a shoulder to lean on almost.
"We've helped each other get through that, and I think it's been much more enjoyable having a guy like Patrick around all the time. So for us it's an honor to be in this boat together and to represent our team like this."
"If they ask him about it, who does he think is going to win the Calder, he'll say me and I'll say him. It's just one of those things."
As ridiculously skilled hockey players, neither Kaner nor Tazer are what you would call "fighters." Tazer's first fight in the NHL is one of the funniest things I have ever seen, mostly because he just sort of flails around furiously, looking Canadian:
Yes, he got in his first fight because he erroneously thought someone knocked over Kaner. Then he had to pay Kaner $100, because they made a bet on who would get into a fight first. That entire sequence of events is just so glorious and embarrassing. For the record, Kaner's "fights" mostly look like this:
In all honestly, anyone who has ever watched a second of Kaner playing hockey has wanted to do the same thing. Kaner is literally incapable of keeping his damn mouthguard in his mouth, which is just one of the many things at which he fails. He pops it out and chews on it so much that he goes through, like, twice the amount of mouthguards in a season that other players do.
Because of Kaner's inability to take basic safety precautions, Tazer apparently once accidentally sticked him in the mouth (YOU GUYS), and knocked out some of his teeth. lololololol. I'm sure Tazer was totally unrepentant. Kaner did kind of deserve it for being so dumb.
He's actually constantly playing with stuff in his mouth. Oral fixation?
Kaner and Tazer being roommates on the road has brought everyone endless delight. Kane and Toews themselves like it:
"I like having him as a roommate because he knows when it's time to be serious, but at the same time I can lighten him up if we were going through some tough times," Kane said. "Really, it goes both ways."
Although they have their complaints. Tazer really only seems to have an issue with Kaner always taking the far bed, but he's completely deranged about it and mentions it in like every interview. What is your damage, bro? Kaner, on the other hand, has a litany of complaints about Tazer:
He breathes heavily and works out in his underwear in front of you? My god, your life is terrible, Kaner. How do you stand it?
Their teammates love it, too. When they're not having shirtless wrestling nights (I know) and playing video games, various members of the Blackhawks love to torture Kaner and Tazer, particularly Patrick Sharp and Adam Burish (who is no longer a Hawk ;____;). However, here's the thing: Sharpie and Burish are REALLY bad at pranks. Ordering someone an incredibly delicious breakfast? I'm sorry, that is not a prank. It's a delight.
Putting a bunch of free shit in someone's bag is not really a prank, either, but okay. Things to note about this video:
1. Tazer shirtless. Jesus fucking CHRIST, Tazer.
2. Tazer whining on the phone to Bolland about whether or not Bolly has his bag. Oh, Tazer.
3. Just Tazer in general. He is so easy to wind up. It's amazing.
4. The part where Sharpie and Bur say that Kaner and Tazer are in the bathroom together, and whatever they're doing in the bathroom distracts them enough that they don't notice Sharpie and Bur sneaking in. What. What are they even doing in there? I don't even know whether I want them to be like, hotboxing the bathroom or jerking each off or something, or just... brushing their teeth, chatting while one of them is showering, or some other totally normal thing... with the door inexplicably closed. I don't know. Their lives.
As much as I may rag on Sharpie, I have to admit that he actually did come up with a decent prank for Tazer:
We were in Columbus and I took Toews' phone, and switched Brent Seabrook's contact information with a girl Jonathan had been seeing, so her name would come up from Seabrook's number. When Jonny came back from the bathroom, I texted him from Seabrook's phone, saying, "We have to talk. I'm pregnant." This is during dinner so he read the text and his face just dropped! He turned white as a ghost, and he just slid away from the table.
Well-played, Sharpie, although its effectiveness may have decreased when you decided to play literally the exact same prank on another teammate later. How do Kane and Toews respond to that kind of mistreatment?
And he has teamed up with Kane to play pranks on Burish and Patrick Sharp while on the road. One joke featured a garbage can full of water that spilled on his teammates when they opened their hotel room door.
So creative, boys. Although Kaner recently copped to the fact that he sometimes gave Sharpie and Bur keys to his and Tazer's room so that they could more easily fuck with Tazer, which is pretty great. But be better, Kaner :( Be better.
At the end of their rookie year, Kaner ended up winning the Calder. I told you guys, he's REALLY good at hockey. Don't be surprised if you find yourself getting really defensive of what a good hockey player he is. I'm just warning you. You will be just minding your own business, innocently reading something on the internet, and then someone will be like, "That Patrick Kane isn't even that good at hockey, and he really parties too much," and you will be like, UM HELLO!?!?!?! HE MAY LIKE TO PARTY BUT HE IS STILL ONE OF THE GREATEST HOCKEY PLAYERS THAT IS CURRENTLY PLAYING, JESUS FUCKING CHRIST, HOW ARE YOU SO WRONG ON THE INTERNET?!?!?
Not that I know this from experience or anything.
Also, sometimes horrible human beings write stories where the Jonas Brothers play hockey and they ERASE PATRICK KANE'S EXISTENCE AND PRETEND THAT JOE JONAS WON THE CALDER THAT SEASON AND THAT IS SO UNSPEAKABLY WRONG THAT I WANT TO BURN LIVEJOURNAL TO THE GROUND. HOW DARE THEY.
Basically, after that first season, everyone hopped on the Kane and Toews train, including their parents. Tazer's mom has said of them:
I think they're good for each other. I always call them the odd couple. Since they've been playing for the Hawks they've been rooming together on the road. They're a good balance for each other.
If they were both like Jonathan they'd be so serious. If they were both like Patrick they'd be wild. Patrick is good for Jonathan; he makes him laugh. They're fun together; they're buddies. They're always nitpicking each other like an old couple (laughs). They remind me of my husband and I.
Oh. I see.
(By the way, who in case you're wondering, who would Jonathan Toews actually like to marry, though? LET ME LET JONATHAN TOEWS HANDLE THIS ONE:
The perfect girl? “Now we’re getting personal, eh?” he laughs. “Someone cool and down to earth and maybe somewhat the opposite of me. Less goal-oriented, and spontaneous and free with how they plan their life. Or don’t plan, so to speak.”
...So, Patrick Kane, then. That's so embarrassing for you, Tazer.)
Other than becoming Jonathon Toews' husband, Kaner's great first year in the NHL also led him to become somewhat of a heartthrob, the reasons for which I cannot even begin to fathom. You've seen him, right? You've looked at these pictures, like the picture right about these words? In what universe is he a heartthrob????
“The girls like Kaner,” [Toews] said. “It’s the boyish good looks he has. I’m kind of rugged. He gets the pictures with the girls’ phone numbers on them. One girl came up to him, and she was so starstruck when she saw him. She was like, ‘I love you.’ Then she giggled and ran away. It’s like he was Justin Timberlake or something. It’s probably the hair.”
“You’ll get there,” Kane interjected. “You’re growing yours [longer].”
Oh, I see, the same universe in which Jonathon Toews is "rugged." Is that how you see yourself, Jonathon Toews? Do they not teach you what words mean at the Sidney Crosby Hockey Academy?
To be fair, members of the media often say equally stupid things about Kane and Toews. For example:
[Kane] was Vinny Chase from "Entourage," only with a humble streak intact and with lesser magnitudes of self-destruction in his bio.
[Toews is] the Dean Martin, the George Clooney of the Chicago Blackhawks' Rat Pack.
What the fuck, look at them. Obviously neither of these things are remotely true. Although I'll grant that if the first one was, Tazer would obviously be Kaner's E.
Kane and Toews seemed to be stepping into their roles as the ~*saviors*~ of the Blackhawks pretty well (there are other Blackhawks, like, many of them, they are a team of hockey players, but you would not know it from the early coverage of Kane and Toews). They were both really into ending the Stanley Cup drought for the Hawks:
“We want to bring a championship to this city,” Kane said. “And if we stick to the game plan, we’re going to help this team win and be more successful.”
“Well said,” Toews added.
SPOILER ALERT: the plan worked.
They also pretty much realized that they were never again going to be able to be seen as individual players:
They've clicked, on and off the ice. “Obviously, we’re linked,” Toews said over a recent lunch in a downtown restaurant. “There’s good in that. If I go out and don’t play so well but [Kane] gets a goal and an assist, at the end of the night they say, ‘Toews and Kane had a great night.”’
Well, no, they don't, because everyone says "Kane and Toews" and your name never comes first, Tazer, but nice try.
"I kind of made a comment when I got drafted that maybe we could be the next [Michael] Jordan and [Scottie] Pippen, and that kind of put high standards out there for us [laughs]."
Tazer sums up he and Kaner's relationship like this:
“Uh... love/hate, I guess (laughs), no, I’m just kidding, I mean we definitely get along off the ice. We’ll give it to one another as far as verbal abuse goes, but on the ice, we’re not afraid to let each other know when the other guy makes a mistake. So I think, with that trust and that respect right there, you’re not afraid to be honest with each other and I think you play better on the line when it’s like that.”
The interesting aspect of their relationship is that it has more tense moments on the ice than off. Although the two players have always been productive together, they don't always see the game the same way.
"If you are on a bench for a game, there are always about five or six times we yell at each other pretty good," Kane said, laughing. "Teammates have to tell us to calm down."
Kane said that the fact they can argue about how they are playing and remain friends was "a sign we have a healthy relationship."
Toews agreed: "Sometimes we will get frustrated at each other, and I think the other guys understand this is the way we figure things out. But what we don't want is anyone translating that into negativity."
Their chemistry on the ice developed insanely well:
"It's the perfect marriage; opposites attract," Blackhawks assistant general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said. "And to have them both at the ends of the spectrums on different things makes for a very diverse team."
I love it when the Blackhawks organization calls Kaner and Tazer married so I don't have to.
The first major bump in the road of their NHL careers was when Dennis Savard, the Blackhawks' coach, was fired, and Kaner cried on national TV about it. In Kaner's defense, he and Savvy were really close, Kaner was still a baby, everyone cries, blah blah fucked up expectations of masculinity, etc. etc. With that being said, LOL KANER. I can't find the clip on YouTube (shoemaster had to save a clip of it on her DVR for months so I could witness it), so have a video of his teammates making fun of him for it:
ft. Dustin Byfuglien not knowing the difference between "hungry" and "sad." Hint: if your mouth is watering, the emotion you are feeling is "hungry." God, I love Buff.
The 08-09 season was a good one for the Hawks. Tazer was named team captain in July 2008, despite being all of 7 years old, and his nickname was upgraded to Captain Serious. This made him the third youngest player to be named captain in the league, behind such notables as Sidney "What's That, Did I Just Hit a Home Run, I Haven't Played Baseball Since I Was 13; By The Way I Didn't Go To Prom, and Human Emotion Confuses Me" Crosby.
Toews was obviously qualified to be captain due to the excessive amount of Kaner wrangling he was already tasked with, like this gem:
Toews: Well, there definitely is a lot of girls, a lot of them come to the games, too and he's [Kane] got the wandering eyes, during the game for the most part and I’ve gotta make sure it he is focused.
Kane: Just during warm-ups.
Toews: I gotta keep him in the glass sometimes.
He was already extremely practiced at ordering Kaner around:
And he clearly doesn't have a problem with beating up on Kaner, if that's what needs to be done:
Kaner was stoked on Tazer becoming captain:
"I felt really good for him. Last year, he had to come along for all the Calder Trophy stuff, so I felt bad for him there, so it was nice he got something, too. He deserves it. The way he leads on and off the ice, he eats, sleeps and breathes the game, so it is good for him. He makes everyone better and everyone work harder.
"I don't know if I'd want to do it -- it's a lot of responsibility, but Jonny's done a great job," Kane said. "He's such a hard worker -- first one on the ice, stays after, always in the weight room. And as the year has gone on he's become more vocal.
"Plus he's probably our best player."
"When we came into the league, it was like Johnny's duty to be the next captain," Kane said. "And I was just trying to find my way around the NHL. That's not what the way we planned it, but that's the way our personalities are."
If Kane had to pick a word to describe Toews, it would be mature.
"It seems like he's 27, 28 years old in the locker room. He's really only 22. He's mature beyond his years where sometimes it makes me look like the little kid. ... Sometimes he makes me look bad," Kane said.
Oh, Kaner, don't sell yourself short. You don't need Toews to make you look bad. You can do that all by yourself.
“We’re all professionals on this team and take our jobs seriously,” Toews says. “We have our fun, but we know when it’s time to work, too. Kaner is right by my side here [in the dressing room]. That doesn’t just go for our work on the ice; it goes for how we conduct ourselves and lead this team together.”
But seriously, Tazer wears the C well. Sharpie says:
"I don't think he was too young when he got it. I think everyone was expecting Johnny to be the captain. Right from when he walked in, he kind of had that label put on his shoulders like he was the future leader of the team and at the time, we were all pretty young. We were all learning as we went, but he's done a great job as our leader."
And new head coach Joel Quenneville added:
"Johnny is a great kid," Quenneville said. "When talking with him and seeing him I think that he might assume all the responsibility and burden of what's going on on his own shoulders as opposed to it being shared by the coaches or his teammates. I talk to him (and say), 'Just play and be the best you can be. You're a great leader and a great example for how we want guys to compete and play.' He's a perfect citizen, a perfect teammate and a perfect captain."
If this doesn't make you want all the fic about Jonathan Toews frantically trying and failing to repress all the dirty shit he wants to do to Kaner because THAT'S NOT WHAT CAPTAIN IS SUPPOSED TO DO AND IT'S NOT GOOD FOR THE TEAM, then I'm not sure how you found this journal.
"Johnny has the appearance of a 20-year veteran, and Kaner has the appearance of a 20-year-old kid," Quenville quipped. "They're perfect together."
LISTEN TO THE MAN.
Kaner and Tazer also moved out of their rookie housing assignments and into their own places:
Toews purchased a three-bedroom condo in a luxury downtown high-rise. Two months later, Kane bought a two-bedroom unit in a similarly luxurious building just a few blocks away. Without knowing, they picked out the same sectional and the same carpeting.
LOL. JUST LOL. By the way, that sectional was one of only six pieces of furniture Kaner owned for quite some time (the others being two beds and three TVS, OH KANER).
Both Kane and Toews appeared in the 2009 All-Star Game, which led to this delightful campaign ad:
Yeah, that's how Tazer's last name is pronounced. Yeah, I know. He's the worst. Tazer on both of them being selected to the ASG:
"We kind of follow each other wherever we go, so it's no different this weekend," Toews said.
Everything seems to be going with him," Kane said of Toews. "We have a lot of fun together. With these types of events, it almost seems like it's planned that we always go together."
In the 08-09 playoffs, the Hawks made it all the way to the Western Conference finals (so, final 4), thanks in part to Kaner's first ever hat trick:
God, I love watching him play hockey. I can only imagine how thrilled Kaner was to finally have a hat trick, given how annoying he was about Tazer having them:
When asked how it felt to get a hat trick, Toews answered, “Well, I was lucky to get the garbage goals….” Kane interjected, “What else is new?”
Also, Kaner was battling illness during the playoffs, which wouldn't even be worth mentioning, except for how this happened:
When asked to talk about how to stay healthy during the playoffs, Toews said, “Well, Kaner got real sick during the first round, and I share a room with him, so I didn’t want to get sick.” [Blackhawks defenseman Brian] Campbell had a big smile on his face, making the crowd giggle, and Toews quickly responded, “Don’t get any ideas, though…” with a big smile on his face.
WHY ARE YOU SO WEIRD, TAZER? WHAT KIND OF IDEAS WOULD SOMEONE GET FROM THAT, TAZER? I WASN'T GETTING A SINGLE IDEA UNTIL YOU FOLLOWED UP A TOTALLY NORMAL STATEMENT WITH "DON'T GET ANY IDEAS!!" AND THEN I IMMEDIATELY GOT IDEAS ABOUT YOU AND KANER BONING.
The Hawks got knocked out in the Western Conference finals, but their deep playoff run was more than people had been expecting from such a young team, and it set the stage for the Hawks to dominate the 09-10 season.
Since everything was going so swimmingly, Kaner was Kaner all over the place. In the summer of 2009, he was arrested along with his cousin for supposedly punching a cab driver over a change-related dispute, earning him the nickname "20 Cent" and this embarrassing mug shot.
And a little later, he would come under fire for this hilarious set of limo pics, taken after a game against Vancouver.
Hands down the best thing about these pictures is how the girls kept their clothes on. Just a bunch of hockey players stripping down to their boxers in a limousine with a bunch of fully-clothed girls who don't seem particularly into them, NOTHING WEIRD, BRO. Anyone would do that after a loss to Vancouver.
I supposed this isn't so surprising, given Kaner's documented feelings on Canadian women:
“They’re pretty good. You know it’s funny — they know if you’re a hockey player. It’s pretty good. You don’t really have to initiate much out there, they’ll just come up and talk to you out there so it’s pretty cool.”
Oh, Kaner, you didn't need to tell us that you are bad at hitting on girls (because we already knew) and that you like it when girls hit on you (because it's obviously untrue that girls ever hit on you).
While never approaching Kaner's total shitshow mode, Tazer actually started loosening up a little. Tazer says:
"“Apparently, I’m pretty serious... the guys still like to ride that, ride that out as much as they can but I don’t know, I guess it’s who I am. Around the rink, on the ice, I just always take it pretty seriously but I think away from the rink, with the help of all these guys in the room, I’ve found a way to kind of just forget about hockey and loosen up sometimes, because, if you’re on the job all the time, it can become pretty tiring and kind of grueling at the end of it.”
Toews received the nickname Captain Serious early in his career. "But since then he has lightened up a lot," Kane said. "He enjoys the name, and he likes that people say he is serious. But when he is around us, he can be lightened up easily."
Each player seems to respect the other's personality. "(Kane's) dominant side is him always trying to put on a show and being the entertainer," Toews said. "But you can push his buttons a little bit, and he can get edgy sometimes."
Let's not even talk about my feelings about this, because they are EMBARRASSING.
Tazer even started to chafe at the Captain Serious nickname:
"I am a serious guy and very goal-driven, but obviously some people think that's all there is to me, which is kind of sad," Toews told RedEye after practice last week. "It's just an annoying nickname. I don't like it. ... It just doesn't sound fun."
To kick off the 09-10 season, the Hawks went to Europe to play a couple of games, and someone gave Sharpie a camera. Obviously he used it to annoy Kaner, Tazer, and the rest of the Hawks as much as possible.
Also in 2009, along with Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith, Kaner and Tazer signed contract extensions and sang about it.
They also gave this interview, which is mostly included here for Tazer fucking with Kaner's pocket square and Kaner claiming there are people who think he should be wearing the C.
And in the middle of all this nonsense, Kaner was chosen to cover the video game NHL 10, which was kind of a big deal. Tazer reacted like the mellow, good-natured person he is:
“We’ve been together with a lot of different things, and I remember when he found out that I was going to be on the cover of NHL 10, he was like, ‘That’s awesome, congrats,’” Kane recalled. “But, we were in the room tying our skates and he looks over to me and is like, ‘Why are you on the cover? Why am I not on the cover?’"
MAYBE BECAUSE YOU"RE THE WORST.
February 2010 meant the Winter Olympics, and Kaner and Tazer were both selected to represent their respective countries. Blackhawks Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook also represented Canada, and Marian Hossa and Tomas Kopecky repped Slovakia. AN EMBARRASSMENT OF OLYMPIANS!
To prepare for the Games, Kaner and Tazer had a popsicle eating contest. You know, for practice. To get ready for the Olympics. For the good of the team. I DON'T KNOW.
My favorite part of this is how they both claim to have sensitive teeth. Whatever, whiners. Kaner looks exceptionally heinous in this video. I love him. Word on the street is that Tazer was in a terrible mood before they shot this video and didn't want to do it, but then his competitive nature kicked in and his mood completely turned around after he beat Kaner. At a popsicle eating contest.
I honestly can't believe this gif exists. The entire Blackhawks organization is SO GOOD to us, and also nearly as obsessed as we are with what total babes their players are (see also: this Blackhawks official video campaign for Patrick Sharp to be the Sexiest Man in Chicago, the official Blackhawks Twitter constantly jizzing over how attractive certian Hawks are).