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Jonathan Toews strikes the wrong chords with Stan Bowman, Kyle Beach

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As the hockey world collectively pondered his flaws and transgressions on Wednesday and took an important step toward improving his culture, Jonathan Toews sounded conversely stuck in time and ignorant of the mood of the day.

When addressing the media following the Blackhawks loss for Maple Leafs Toews’ first public comments since the sexual assault investigation concluded Tuesday and victim Kyle Beachs came into the limelight on Wednesday, the Hawks captain hit all the wrong strings.

Toew’s final impassioned defense of the now disgraced ex-general manager Stan Bowman was the worst of all, but his comments weren’t exactly commendable even before that point.

He first said he didn’t want to exonerate himself, but then promptly prioritized emphasizing that he knew nothing about former video coach Brad Aldrich’s attack on Beach until the following season, at which point Aldrich had finally left Chicago (but not yet). finished attacking other people).

Patrick Kane, speaking a few minutes earlier, led by Beach for comparison, said it was very brave of him to come out and make his name known to the world after all he’s been through.

Toews recalled hearing the story of a bunch of guys talking outside the Sutton Place Hotel on the Near North Side, where the Hawks were meeting before the start of their 2010-11 training camp. But even then, he didn’t really consider taking action.

I thought what I heard was the beginning and the end of it, Toews said. Not that it was a joke, but it was something that wasn’t taken super seriously at the time. I thought Brad [Aldrich] letting go or resigning from the organization was the way it was handled. For me, the water was under the bridge.

If I had somehow been more connected to the situation and known some of the more gory details of it, I’d say, yes, I certainly would have acted differently in my role as captain.

Toews described Beach as a jolly kid, the exact same term Kane used, who apparently knew Beach a little better than Toews, but focused more on the facts that Beach never spent too much time here in Chicago and that he wasn’t in touch. [with Beach] for quite some time.

As sentences of sympathy were circulated, Toew’s comments carried a subtle but perceptible tone of separation and self-preservation that took precedence over responsibility and remorse.

And Toew’s goal of preserving himself and those most influential in his career, which Beach, ruining his NHL dreams with a cover-up that made him feel like he didn’t exist, apparently wasn’t taken up when asked if his opinion about Bowman and also-deleted longtime director Al MacIsaac had changed this week. In this respect Toew’s ignorance shifted from subtle to explicit.

For me, Stan and Al, make any argument you want, they are not directly complicit in the activities that happened, Toews said.

I just know them as people, and I’ve had a long relationship and friendship with them as part of the Blackhawks family. People like Al and Stan have made the Blackhawks one of the special places to play hockey.

Regardless of the mistakes that may have been made, for someone like Stan, who has done so much for the Blackhawks and Al, to also lose everything they care about and their livelihood… I don’t understand how that makes it go away, to just remove them from existence and [say]That’s it, now never hear from them again.

(To clarify, the investigation found that Bowman and MacIsaac were indeed involved and complicit in the May 23, 2010 meeting in which Hawks Brass decided not to take action regarding Aldrich until three weeks later, after the Stanley Cup final. )

Kane and coach Jeremy Colliton also mentioned their own strong personal relationships with Bowman, but did so in a way that made it clear that they nevertheless understood Bowmans’ guilt in Beach’s tragedy.

Kane called Bowman’s resignation necessary and rightly so, albeit with some interspersed couching. Colliton said the actions described in the report were unacceptable and later apologized, unsolicited, for not being more specific about my sympathy and admiration for the bravery of the victims…especially Kyle Beach.

It’s up to us, in leadership positions, to do everything we can to protect those without power, Colliton added.

Meanwhile, Alex DeBrincat, who was 12 years old in 2010, impressively didn’t hold back anywhere near the Hawks when asked about Bowmans’ departure, saying it was a change that had to happen and a good thing. that we broke up.

But despite Toews being the most powerful player in the Hawks locker room in both 2010 and 2021, he somehow seemed to miss the entire accountability memo.

Ultimately, Toew’s careless Wednesday interview will not cost him his place on the team, strip him of his captaincy or directly affect him in any significant way. Part of it is because of the aforementioned shortcomings of hockey cultures. Another part is that as the only player, Toews really wasn’t as culpable in the cover-up as his coaches and managers, despite his misguided defense of them.

However, in a day when the Hawks and the hockey community needed to show empathy and progress, Toews was disappointing and disturbing on both fronts.

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